Fun + Lifestyle

Pennies or Piles of Cash: London on a Little or a Lot


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  • If you’re traveling to London, it doesn’t matter if you have pennies or piles of cash—you can still have fun
  • Depending on the season, expenses and events may differ
  • London is chock full of fun activities and great food

London is a large city with tons of historical landmarks, fun restaurants, and beautiful museums.

This city rich in architecture, fashion, and entertainment features plenty of things to keep you busy. To say London is a great vacation spot is an understatement. Whether you’re a cash-strapped law student taking your bar trip or a senior partner with money to spend, London is the perfect travel destination for you.

Pennies

Travel: London is a popular travel destination year-round. However, in the winter months the brisk weather tends to scare away some potential tourists. For the cheapest travel options, plan to travel in winter in order to avoid the steep costs or try to book your flights several months in advance.

Accommodations: As per usual, booking an Airbnb can be a lot cheaper than any hotel. With listings in every neighborhood, Airbnb is a great way to save some money and still stay in the heart of the city. If you’re traveling during summer or another school vacation, another option you have is to stay in a university dorm. Although this might not sound very alluring, the rates can be as low as $22/night and since not many people know about this hack, there are almost always rooms available. Many campuses are centrally located, and when it comes down to it, won’t you be spending most of your day outside exploring anyway?

Transportation: As a general rule, taking public transportation is the cheapest way to travel in any city aside from walking. The London Tube is known for being easy to use to explore the city. To save even more, buy a Visitor Oyster card, which is more than 50% cheaper than buying a one-day card or single tickets.

Things to Do: Like any big city, London is chock full of attractions that won’t break the bank. Some of the most famous London landmarks are free to walk around and explore on your own. Not only are there a handful of free and cheap museums and tours, but also a plethora of fun areas to sight-see and people-watch.

  • The British Museum, one of London’s top attractions, is absolutely free and filled with artifacts from every corner of the world. The National Gallery, which houses one of the world’s most impressive collections of art, exhibits all permanent collections for free.
  • Borough Market is one of London’s most visited tourist attractions. For over 1,000 years, this market has been filled to the brim with great food, featuring cuisines from all over the world. With everything from free samples, to to-go breakfasts or lunches, Borough Market is a great place to wander around, get a bite to eat, and people-watch.
  • Exploring Piccadilly Circus, London’s own version of Times Square, can be a great way to spend the day immersing yourself in London life. You’ll see live performers on street corners, cute cafes, and tons of shopping.
  • Stop by Columbia Road Flower Market on a Sunday, when flower vendors set up stands to sell all sorts of imported flowers and plants. Not only can you find great deals, but it’s also a lovely outdoor photo-op.
  • If you’re interested in any of London’s paid tourist attractions, take a look at the London Pass, which allows you access to 80+ of London’s attractions for a reasonable price. The pass includes access to the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and many more.

What to Eat: You’ll appreciate London’s food scene—you can find something from almost every culture. Luckily, a ton of these places feature cheap eats. Enjoy these inexpensive meals guilt free!

  • Beigel Bake, located on Brick Lane, makes delicious sandwiches for around £3.50.
  • As most people know, fish and chips are a London staple. Try Master’s Superfish for a delicious fish and chips dish for around £9.50.
  • The Lido Café offers a brunch menu, soups, salads, burgers, and great sandwiches. Not only is the food delicious, but most of it doesn’t cost more than a tenner.
  • For more cheap eats in London, check out TimeOut’s 100 best cheap eats in London or Business Insider’s 19 of the Best Things to Eat in London for Under £10!
What kind of London trip do you picture having? What’s on your “must-see” or “must-do” list?

Piles of Cash

Travel: If money is no object during this trip—you’re celebrating making partner or your bonus is just that good this year—feel free to travel during any of London’s seasons. From March to May is the perfect spring season, with flowers blooming amid mild temperatures. The summer season is pretty hot, so tourists tend to avoid it, but with the weather at its peak, rooftop bars, parks, and cute outdoor restaurants can be thoroughly enjoyed. From September to November the autumn season features mild weather and in winter, London tends to be chillier, which attracts fewer tourists.

Accommodations: If you’re traveling without a budget, London has some beautiful and grand hotels that are sure to please. For a part-contemporary, part-traditional hotel, check out the Mandarin Oriental. Not only is the hotel beautiful, but it also has great service and is located right next to Hyde Park. For a more cosmopolitan feel, choose The Lanesborough, a hotel with a rich history and charm. If you’re looking for an “old-world” feel, check out The Rosewood. This beautiful hotel was built in the 1910s and showcases historic artwork. For more luxurious hotels, check out this article from Luxury Hotel Guides.

Transportation: Taxi cabs or ride-share services are faster than the tube unless there’s heavy traffic. If you’re traveling via car, you can also explore various parts of the city in the same day very easily.

Things to Do: If you’re not concerned with prices, indulge yourself and experience London in extravagance!

  • After booking your trip, look at the schedule for the O2 arena. Featuring tons of music and stage shows, the O2 constantly houses performers and would be a great addition to your trip.
  • Make sure to check out the London Eye, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. The ferris wheel provides you with an aerial view of the whole city, giving you a look at the city’s beautiful architecture and sights.
  • Be sure to see a play or musical in London’s West End. With over 100 shows playing at any given time, you’ll be sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
  • Stop by Oxford Street if you’re looking to pick up a few new pieces of clothing. Over 300 stores call Oxford Street home, so you’ll be sure to find something that catches your eye. Receiving over 500,000 visitors each day, Oxford Street is one of the most popular streets in all of London.

 What to Eat: Check out some of these cool spots.

  • For a beautiful restaurant with views of the whole city, be sure to visit The Shard, whether for drinks or dinner.
  • If you’re looking for a classic London experience, make sure to plan an afternoon tea. Since afternoon tea is a staple in London, there are many restaurants to choose from that offer tea menus. For the most luxurious options, check out this article and book your reservation!
  • Head to Restaurant Gordon Ramsey for a 3-Michelin star experience.
  • For a truly lavish experience, make a reservation at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught. Not only is the food delicious, but the vast wine and champagne menu will make your experience even more memorable.