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London on a Budget: Cheap Tips for a Great City Experience

City Guide 1 giugno 2023
Nannybag - London on a Budget: Cheap Tips for a Great City Experience

 

London can be an extremely expensive place to visit. Seeing a play, going to fancy restaurants, or catching a premier league football game are amazing parts of the London experience. However, they tend to be quite tough on the wallet, as is finding somewhere to stay.

However, there are some ways to mitigate the worst of these costs. In this article, we’ll look at the best free places to visit, like museums and parks. Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey are free to look around and ideal for cheap traveling.

London has some amazing neighborhoods which are beautiful to stroll around and appreciate. Check out Belgravia, Mayfair, or Marylebone and walk the streets.

While you explore, use Nannybag luggage storage in London! It's the most budget-friendly luggage storage if you're stuck with bags. It's a great way to drop off bags at locations all around the city for only £6 per day.

There are eight Royal Parks in London. They're all very well-kept, peaceful, and relaxing green spaces to escape the city. As you would expect, they are free to enter. On a good day, they fill with other people, locals and tourists alike, who are enjoying the sun and socializing.

If you’re on a budget, why not skip the restaurant, grab a picnic, and enjoy one of London’s parks? Read on for more information about budget traveling in London!

 

Regent’s Park

Another great park to spend some time in is Regent’s Park, located between Camden Town and Marylebone. This beautifully landscaped park is home to London Zoo. It boasts immaculate gardens and serene lakes. There are also vibrant flower displays, including the Queen Mary's Rose Garden, a fragrant haven with over 12,000 roses.

The London Zoo, while impressive and fun, is quite expensive. So maybe not the best option if you’re on a budget. However, the park is still a beautiful place to hang out. Check out Primrose Hill on the park's northern edge for one of the city's best views and a chill family vibe.

 

Victoria Park

Victoria Park, known as "Vicky Park" by locals, is a lively green space in East London. Its expansive meadows, picturesque lake, and charming pagoda offer a refreshing escape from the urban jungle. The park's history dates back to 1845, and it was designed as a leisure space for the working class.

Today, it continues to be a popular spot for picnics, music festivals, and leisurely walks. It’s worth checking out if you’re hanging out in east London. This part of the city is home to London’s more artsy, hip, and young neighborhoods, represented by Victoria Park's vibes.

One of the best things about traveling to London is that many of the art galleries and museums are completely free. Not just on certain days of the week or for senior citizens only. Completely free, all the time.

It's an ideal way to spend the day on your London trip. You won’t pay a cent while exploring some of the world’s most fascinating museums and galleries.

 

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is a picturesque oasis in Hampstead, North London. This vast park offers amazing views of the city skyline from its rolling hills. All visitors agree: it really doesn’t feel like you’re in a city park!

You can even take a refreshing dip in the park's swimming ponds during summer. It's a favorite spot for locals to escape the urban hustle and enjoy nature, and it’s free to swim.

Nannybag - London on a Budget: Cheap Tips for a Great City Experience

 

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Nestled in South Kensington, a glamorous West London neighborhood, it houses a vast collection that spans millions of years. From dinosaur skeletons to gemstones, this museum showcases the diversity of life on Earth.

The iconic skeleton of the Blue Whale in the main hall is a must-see. Follow the signs and take the Tube to South Kensington station (on the District, Circle, and Piccadilly lines) to get there. Whether you're a budding scientist or simply curious about the world, the Natural History Museum is an awe-inspiring destination.

It will leave you with a deeper appreciation for our planet's past and present. There is so much to see here: life in all its amazing forms over billions of years.

 

British Museum

The British Museum is a true cultural gem located in the heart of London. Renowned for its extensive collection of artifacts from around the world, it showcases human history and culture spanning thousands of years. This museum offers a fascinating glimpse into civilizations long gone, from the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles.

The British Museum in Bloomsbury is easily accessible by public transport; take the Tube to Russell Square or Holborn Station. You'll be just a short walk away.

 

Science Museum

The Science Museum in South Kensington is a haven for those eager to explore the wonders of scientific discovery. This museum has something for everyone, from interactive exhibits on space exploration to displays showcasing cutting-edge technology. The Science Museum is sure to ignite your curiosity and spark new ideas.

It hosts different galleries showcasing various scientific inventions, discoveries, and amazing technology. The Clockmakers Museum (the world's oldest clock and watch museum) and the Exploring Space Gallery are both fascinating.

 

Wallace Collection

Tucked away in a stunning townhouse in Manchester Square, the Wallace Collection is a hidden gem in the heart of London. This museum houses an exquisite collection of art, furniture, and armor from the 15th to the 19th century.

The opulent surroundings add to the experience as you wander through rooms adorned with masterpieces by artists like Rembrandt and Fragonard. You'll also see some wonderful European paintings, weapons, and armor from around the world. Some are as old as almost 700 years old!

Also, the café (the Wallace) provides one of the cheapest afternoon teas in London. Only twenty pounds per person. A great option for a luxurious but cheap way the spend the day!

 

Victoria and Albert

Located in the fashionable neighborhood of South Kensington, the Victoria and Albert Museum (the V&A )celebrates art and design. It is the world's largest decorative arts museum.

The V&A boasts an extensive collection, including textiles, ceramics, and fashion. Marvel at historical costumes, admire intricate sculptures, or immerse yourself in the world of photography. This is a truly family-friendly museum, with lots on offer that children can enjoy as well.

 

Tate Modern

Situated on the banks of the River Thames, the Tate Modern is a beacon of contemporary art. Housed in a former power station, this museum contains an impressive collection of modern and contemporary artworks from around the world. From Picasso to Warhol, the Tate Modern pushes boundaries and challenges traditional notions of art.

To reach this mind-bending art museum, take the Tube to Southwark or Blackfriars station and stroll along the river.

Southbank is also fun, from food trucks to street art, skaters, and street performances.

 

Nannybag - London on a Budget: Cheap Tips for a Great City Experience

Tate Britain

Tate Britain, located on the banks of the River Thames, is a haven for art enthusiasts. This historic gallery displays British art from the 16th century to the present day. It is great for foreign tourists to get a taste of the country’s art. There, you'll encounter masterpieces by some of the most famous British artists, like J.M.W. Turner and William Blake.

The vast collection encompasses paintings, sculptures, and even contemporary installations. To get to Tate Britain, take the Tube to Pimlico or Vauxhall station. You'll then enjoy a nice stroll along the river, where live music or street performances are often happening. Immerse yourself in the rich artistic heritage of the UK and let the vibrant works ignite your imagination.

 

National Gallery

The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square is a true gem for art lovers. This iconic institution houses a remarkable collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th century.

From Leonardo da Vinci's "Virgin of the Rocks" to Vincent van Gogh's vibrant "Sunflowers," the gallery is filled with world-renowned masterpieces. Lose yourself in the timeless beauty of art as you explore the exquisite galleries of the National Gallery.

Nannybag - London on a Budget: Cheap Tips for a Great City Experience

 

Transport

You should know a couple of things about getting around London on a budget. Firstly, instead of buying a ticket, you can use your credit card or even your phone for contactless payment. It's super convenient!

The London Oyster card is worth it if you plan to get a weekly or monthly pass. You won't save any money compared to using Contactless. If you’re in London for only a weekend, you may want to consider another option.

Getting an Oyster card might be a good idea if you're visiting London for a week. Get a weekly ticket and make sure to use it enough to make it worthwhile!

London is split into six travel zones. Zone 1 is right in the heart of the city, and as you move further out, the zone numbers increase. Keep in mind that travel costs go up depending on how many zones you pass through.

If you're hopping around a lot, a weekly or monthly pass on your Oyster card for unlimited journeys is worth considering. It can save you some cash.

The price of your Oyster Card depends on what zones you want it to be valid for. So, before you visit, identify which areas you will hang out in, and buy your Oyster Card accordingly. Also, while London is certainly an enormous city, you can be clever about exploring on foot.

The V & A, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum are all in South Kensington. This means you could spend the day exploring here on foot.

You could also see Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye without using any transport. It might seem like a small thing, but you would be shocked at the cost if you aren’t careful using public transport!

 

Restaurants

While eating out in London is generally a fairly expensive business. If you want to eat out in London, there are some good cheap options that won’t break the bank. As a general rule, getting outside of the city center is a good idea. Some of the best, cheapest restaurants are found in neighborhoods that are a little outside the center.

You can find some brilliant Caribbean restaurants in places like Brixton. There are many options if you want to have a fancy night out for dinner in Central London. The best budget-friendly version is Brasserie Zedel, situated in Piccadilly Circus, a bustling and lively area in London.

This restaurant showcases the best beaux-art interior dating to the 1930s anywhere in the city. The menu features classic French dishes such as escargots, steak frites, and beef bourguignon. Although the food's location and quality are great, the prices are reasonable.

Need other cheap options for nice but affordable restaurants? Manteca in central London and Leroy’s, a Michelin- star restaurant in Shoreditch, are both nice. Head over to Chinatown in the West End to find some really authentic, cheap Chinese food.

 

Hotels & rental

Let’s face it, hotels and housing in London are expensive. For a cheaper option, check out Youth Hostelling Association (YHA). They have locations including central spots near Oxford Circus and King’s Cross.

There are a fair amount of other cheap hostel options, but we get that a hostel isn’t for everyone. If you’re going the Airbnb route, the best option is to find somewhere outside the city's center. Maybe in Zone 2 or Zone 3 (anything too far out and you’ll be spending lots on transport anyway). We would advise you to avoid hotels if you’re on a budget.

A great way to explore London is through its lesser-explored facets. Embark on a journey through the enchanting streets of Kensington and its charming lanes. Venture into the vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Camden, each with its own unique character. Discover the maritime history and hidden treasures of Greenwich, soak in the theatre-themed wonders of Covent Garden, and explore the heart of the city's artistic scene. 

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