Is London the Most Underrated Budget Destination in Europe?

Is London the Most Underrated Budget Destination in Europe?

When we think of budget destinations, we usually look towards eastern European countries such as Poland or Romania. We largely overlook western European cities and countries, especially in the United Kingdom.

From the outside, London might seem like a costly experience, and you might be right. The city has astronomical taxi fares, a lavish dining scene, and overpriced tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds.

However, if you do your research before you get here, you may find that you might spend the same as you would in what most people call budget-friendly cities. I will show you that London can be visited on a budget.

Free Museums in London

Like every city, London has free museums around the city. On top of that, London has some of the best free museums in Europe. You can spend an entire week in London visiting museums without coughing up a penny.

Some museums are free year-round, while others have free entry on certain days of the week or at certain times. So be sure to do your research before you leave for London.

The National History Museum in London
National History Museum

Top free museums
1. The British Museum (WC 1B)
2. Natural History Museum (SW 7)
3. The National Gallery (WC 2N) 
4. Museum of London (EC 2Y) 
5. The Science Museum (SW 7)

For more information on free London museums, click on the link down below.

Free Attractions in London

There are countless free attractions littered throughout London. Some are world-famous sights, some are world-class markets, and others are peaceful parks. When visiting any famous city or region in the world, there are certain areas you need to explore.

For example, New York has Times Square, and Sydney has Sydney Harbour. You cannot visit these cities without witnessing such attractions.

If you want to experience the best of England, visit Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Chinatown, Trafalgar Square, Carnaby Street, and Buckingham Palace for free.

Piccadilly Circus in London
Piccadilly Circus

Top free attractions
1. Hyde Park (W 2)
2. Camden Market (NW 1)
3. Borough Market (SE 1)
4. Greenwich Park (SE 10)
5. Covent Garden (WC2)

For more information on free London attractions, click on the link down below.

Transport and Travel in London

As mentioned above, London’s taxi prices are one of the most expensive in the world. So, all you have to do is avoid using them. In fact, since London’s public transport system is so good, you don’t need to use them. Purchase an Oyster Card (pre-paid public transport card) once you arrive. It will save you a lot of time and money.

To save more money, avoid travelling to zone 1 on the tube. Not only are the prices higher, but the more you explore on the foot, the more of this fascinating city you will see.

The tube in London, England
London Tube

Another reason why London is a budget-friendly city is because of its airports. The city has 5 airports, 4 of which are used by budget airline Ryanair. The airline has numerous routes throughout Europe, with seats starting from just 9.99 EUR!

Many argue that these budget bases are located too far from the city. And they would be right. London Stansted Airport is located around 62km from downtown London. Even though the airport’s express train costs a ridiculous 15 EUR (one way), National Express offers a bus service. You can expect to pay around 6 EUR (one way).

Altogether, this is still cheaper than a flight to other European destinations.

Budget Accommodation in London

There’s no way around it, accommodation in London’s city centre is expensive.

The solution? Don’t stay there.

Many people want to sleep here to be close to attractions. The reality is no matter what part of London you’re based in, you need to take the tube or walk quite a bit to visit its top attractions. For example, the Camden market is 45-minute North of the city centre, while the Tower of London is over an hour’s walk East.

You can find some reasonably priced accommodation in the city’s suburbs. Earls Court is a great area to start searching.

A budget hotel room in London
Budget hotel room

My favourite budget hotels/hostels
1. Ibis Style Kensington (SW 5)
2. Smart Hyde Park View (W 1)
3. Generator Hostel (WC 1)
4. Wombat’s Hostel (E 1)
5. Mama Shelter (E 2)

Food & Drink in London

The most important thing you need to remember is to not eat or drink outside a tourist attraction!

Cafés and restaurants outside tourist attractions may look traditional, but these are only aimed at tourists. You will never find any locals stopping for lunch here. That is because the food is overpriced and not authentic to the area.

If you want authentic cuisine, head for the side streets or food markets.

Street food in London
Street food in Camden Market

Top food & drink venues on a budget
1. More Than Just Subs (SW 7)
2. ICCO (W 1)
3. Padella (SE 1)
4. The Barrel Vault (N 1)
5. Goodman’s Field (E 1)

Visit London on a Budget

London is whatever you make of it. If you want a luxury visit you can come here, stay in the city centre, get a taxi to a show in the west end before heading out for a fancy meal. Or, you explore the city on foot, pick up some street food at a market, and enjoy it in one of London’s amazing parks.

So next time you’re thinking of a weekend away, don’t overlook London!

For more information on visiting, click on the link down below.


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