How to save money in London as a tourist


London is a favourite travel destination for a city break – and for good reason. It’s cheap and easy to fly to London from numerous airports in Europe and the city has a great number of exciting sights. However, London is a rather expensive city to visit as a tourist so you can quickly spend a lot of money.

In this guide, I’ll give you some good tips on how to save money on your trip to London. You can actually save quite a lot of money if you’re willing to spend a moment on planning your trip in advance.

Here it is – the guide to saving money in London as a tourist.

Airport transport and public transport

gatwick airport arrivals

Sure, it’s usually cheap to fly to London, but as soon as you set foot in the airport it (can) get expensive. The transfer from the airport to Central London can be very expensive and it might take more than 1 hour to get from the airport to the area in London where you will be staying.

You should definitely check out my guides to airport transport in London.

There you can read more about how to get from the airport and to your destination in Central London – it can be done down to a few pounds but also cost a lot more – eg. if you take the express train from Heathrow to Paddington. 

There can be a lot of money to save by booking airport transport tickets in advance. Train tickets from Stansted Airport to London will be cheaper, if you buy tickets for the cheap bus from Luton Airport to Central London you’re gonna save a great deal of money and there’s also some nice travel hacks I’m sure you’ll appreciate when you’re going to travel from Gatwick Airport to Central London.

So be sure to read the guides on how to get from the airport to your destination as soon as possible – preferably just after you have booked your flights to London.

  • When it comes to public transport in London, there’s also quite a lot of money to save if you’re being smart.

visitor oyster cardFor instance i will recommend everyone who are travelling to London to buy a Visitor Oyster Card online in advance.

Visitor Oyster Card automatically gives 50% off all public transport in London, which is something most tourists are going to use many times a day.

The card must be purchased in advance from the VisitBritain online shop and it will be shipped by express mail to your address (everywhere in the world) so it is ready for use as soon as you arrive in London.

Read more about the Visitor Oyster Card at VisitBritain here.

Accommodation in London: hotel or apartment?

alexandra hotel london

The next point is also a place where potentially good money can be saved. It’s unfortunately very expensive to stay in London. The hotels are expensive and you do not get much value for money in the British capital. 

Personally, I have begun to spend a lot of time in holiday apartments when I travel to London. Prices are about the same as if you book a hotel in the same area, and you have the opportunity to prepare meals yourself – saving money by not always having to buy their food out in pubs, restaurants or cafes. 

In my huge guide to hotels and holiday apartments in London, I mention a number of excellent holiday apartments in Central London.

There are also many apartments in London that are offered at extremely high prices so do check out some of the hotels in the guide as well as they may be cheaper in the time period you’re going to be in London.

Sights & attractions – buy tickets in advance

london eye view
The view from London Eye.

London has extremely many attractions and experiences to offer. Many of them also cost money, but by booking your attractions tickets online in advance, money can often be saved.

Again, I have to refer to the excellent VisitBritain Shop, where there are often 10 or 20% savings on various attractions like London Eye, Madame Tussauds and boat trips on the Thames when you buy the tickets from home.

  • Also, remember that there are many free experiences in London 😉

If you are considering seeing a musical in London, but want to save money on the tickets, you can also choose to take a chance: by waiting for the last minute to buy tickets, you can save up to 50% on tickets for West End shows.

Check out my huge guide to musicals in London’s West End, where I also mention the opportunity to buy these last minute musical tickets.

michael jackson london musical

Please note, however, that it is not guaranteed that there are tickets available just when you travel to London – it’s always popular to see musicals in London, so it may be that all tickets are sold out. So if you want to be 100% sure to see a West End musical in London then I’d recommend buying a normal ticket in advance. 

Also take a look at my great guide to the best sights and attractions in London – you’ll get inspiration for what to see on the trip and there are also a number of free experiences on the list.

If you have questions about how to save money on your trip to London, please write a comment below and I will do my best to assist 🙂

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Kristoffer Fons

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