Full of culture, fine food and spectacular historical sights, London is one of the most desired destinations in the world and many a bucket list. With a wealth of budget accommodation, attractions and cheap eats, a visit to London need not break the bank. We reveal a round-up of London’s best on a bargain and the best season to go!
Discover the Charms of London
Spring is an ideal time to explore London because the winter chill has lifted and the British capital is greeted with the prettiest flowers in various hues. But do dress in layers as London is infamous for her unpredictable weather. Other than the weather, you’ll get to avoid the summer tourist crowds and save considerable cash with low airfares and room rates. Here’s our pick on what and where to sleep, see and eat.
LONDON BUDGET ACCOMMODATION
Sleep cheap with Hanover Hotel, a fuss-free hotel with a superb location and fair price. You can reach the tube, rail or coach stations of Victoria in under 10 minutes, and roam to St James Park in 20. Hanover is also located within 2km of various attractions such as The Supreme Court, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. With an ensuite shower, free toiletries and crisp Egyptian bed linen, Hanover sure provides you with a decent space to unwind. Drift off in a sumptuous, world-renowned Hypnos bed (the stuff of dreams), topped with a toasty duvet and soft pillows for the soundest sleep ever.
A design-led hostel chain headquartered in London, Generator Hostel is modern, super clean and well-equipped with amenities. There are no bellboys, minibars or jacuzzis but its vibrant ambience, fabulous communal spaces (think cinema room, bar etc.) and incredible price make up for everything. It’s a breeze to get around and explore the city’s sights and sounds with the hostel’s centralised location; you’re a mere stroll from the British Museum and a stone’s throw away from major international train stations (Kings Cross and St Pancras), plus Russell Square tube station.
If you’re not comfortable with bunk beds and shared rooms, private ensuite rooms are available too – a great compromise between shared rooms and the full features of a hotel. To be honest, Generator’s private rooms feel more like a fun boutique hotel room without the designer price tag.
LONDON ATTRACTIONS ON A BUDGET
For a splendid demonstration of British pomp and pageantry, watch the free Changing the Guard ceremony outside the Buckingham Palace on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It lasts for 45 minutes and features royal guards dressed in traditional red tunics with bearskin hats.
Gape at the iconic Tower Bridge from afar at no cost or step inside for a tiny little fee (£8.70 adults online, £3.80 kids online). Your ticket guarantees a panoramic view and access to the Tower Bridge Exhibition where you can discover the Bridge’s historical significance, function and engine rooms. A new development in the Exhibition, termed as the Glass Floor, is a see-through walkway that allows you to experience London through a unique viewpoint. Look down to see those famous red buses and pedestrians whizz through traffic over the Bridge whilst riverboats sail under it. Plan your visit for the chance to see the magic of the Bridge lift beneath your feet too!
Natural History Museum
Give your credit card a rest and frolic around the Natural History Museum for free. With 80 million specimens from across the natural world, come face-to-face with a roaring T-rex, a blue whale skeleton and a chunk of cool moon rock.
WHERE TO EAT ON A BUDGET IN LONDON
Flat Iron offers super simple steaks at £10, a decent delight that’s tender and flavoursome. Be warned though, their free popcorn is popped with beef dripping and will put you in total addiction. Revisits to this cheap and cheerful joint are recommended!
Smack Lobster Roll
Forget Burger & Lobster, visit its spin-off for cheaper alternatives. Smack specialises in decadent lobster rolls and serves three flavour variations (California, Classic and Seven Samurai). Sink your teeth into chunks of lobster tucked in a warm, buttery brioche parcel for £16 each. If your wallet forbids, opt for a more affordable shrimp (£8) or shrimp and lobster (£12) version instead.
Our favourite burger can be found at The Frenchie’s market stall in Bricklane, Broadway and Southbank Centre. Its market menu is not extensive, but you get a drool-inducing duck confit burger with duck skin scratchings, red-onion chutney and your choice of cheese on a toasted brioche bun for £7. Excellent doesn’t even begin to describe this!
From museums to markets and parks to pubs, squeeze the most of your London trip and get power from your Pound with our top tips because travel doesn’t have to be expensive.