London has a reputation for being expensive. While that’s certainly a valid point, that’s not to say there aren’t ways to save money in the English capital. London hotel offers, affordable transport, and free activities mean that all tourist budgets may be catered to.
Here is the ultimate guide to saving money travelling in London.
Getting around London
Much of Central London is walkable and it pays to consult your maps app for walking distances between museums and attractions. For example, did you know that the walking distance between the Grand Royale London Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace is a mere 45 minutes? Furthermore, the route takes you through two of London’s best parks: Hyde Park and Green Park.
When it comes to certain London Underground stops, it makes sense to walk rather than ride the “tube.” Covent Garden to Leicester Square is a prime example of where you can save the cost of a single journey.
But, when you do require the tube to get around, you should always pay with an Oyster card. This gives you the best fare. Alternatively, you can “tap in” with a contactless debit or credit card. Check with your provider in case you will be charged any currency fares.
Daily and weekly capping apply which means that once you’ve travelled a number of times, you will not be charged anything else.
The daily cap for travel between Zones 1 and 2 is £7.70. This means that you can take unlimited journeys on the tube or the bus and not pay any more than £7.70.
As well as being scenic, the bus is the cheapest way to get around London. Each journey costs £1.55 and you must pay onboard via Oyster card or contactless. You can consult London bus routes using popular (and free) apps such as Google Maps and CityMapper.
Where to stay in London
In order to reduce time spent in transit and cut travel costs, you are recommended to seek a hotel in Central London. The West End is convenient for accessing all the major tourist attractions and will maximise your time in the city.
Spend time consulting London hotel offers such as advance purchase savers and deals that apply to multi-night stays. Signing up for newsletters is a great way to stay one step ahead of the curve in terms of sales.
Check whether you will receive a complimentary breakfast during your stay. This is a great way to save money! Grand Royal Hotel Bayswater and other lodgings in this boutique chain provide free breakfast to guests that book directly.
Best time to visit London
London experiences four distinct seasons. The hottest months, July and August, bring the most footfall to the city. You will find that attractions, activities, and accommodation are cheaper out of this peak season. Visit London in the shoulder season of spring, early summer, and autumn to benefit from savings.
Free Things to in London
Now that you have the basics up your sleeve, let’s consider how you can fill your days during a stay at the Grand Royale London Hyde Park. These are some of the best free things to do in London.
Visit a museum or art gallery
There are over 200 museums and galleries in London, many of which are free to visit. Some of the big names include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Britain, and the Tate Modern. If you want to support the institution, you can leave a donation or purchase a ticket to a temporary exhibition.
Explore a park
London’s glorious green spaces are free to visit. When you stay at Grand Hotel Hyde Park, no prize for guessing which of these serves as your backyard! Other parks include the flower-filled Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill and its epic skyline views, and the sprawling Hampstead Heath with ancient woodlands and swimming ponds.
Score a bird’s eye view
If the Shard and London Eye are out of your price bracket, you can visit the Sky Garden for a free viewpoint. This botanical garden is located atop the “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street. Although it’s free to visit, you do need to secure your timed admission slot in advance.
Stream a movie at the BFI
The British Film Institute (BFI) holds an archive of over 11,000 British films and television series that you can access for free. Head to the BFI, London South Bank, and claim a booth where you can watch a flick of your choice. You can even save yourself the journey and stream media through the BFI Player in your hotel room at the Grand Royal Hotel Bayswater.
Walk the Thames Path
The Thames Path is a National Trail that, in its entirety, offers 185.2 miles (298 km) of free walking ground within and beyond the city limits. However, you can just walk a section of the trail during your stay. We recommend the stretch between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge. This passes by where some of the city’s prominent landmarks are sited.
Hang out at a farm
It’s not what you expect from a major metropolis, but the city is teeming with urban farms. Such farms as Vauxhall City Farm, Spitalfields City Farm, and Surrey Docks Farm are great for kids and anyone interested in learning about sustainability. You can leave a donation or purchase a meal at the cafe, this is cheaper than visiting London Zoo.
Catch a cheap comedy show
This one isn’t technically free but it’s extremely economical if you’re seeking free and cheap things to do at night in London. Tickets for stand-up comedy in London sell for as little as £1. These events are typically when comedians test new material on a live audience. The Top Secret Comedy Club offers these budget-friendly nights during the week. By comparison, West End theatre shows are costly. But, subject to the London hotel offers you find, you might decide to treat yourself to a last-minute deal.