London hardly needs an introduction.

It’s one of the world’s most iconic cities. It’s a city filled with history, culture, creativity and perfect for any kind of traveler, no matter what you’re looking for. London is also expensive. Like, super expensive. That means traveling around the city even for a few days may burn a serious hole in your pocket.

But we don’t think you need to spend excessively to enjoy London, or any other city around the world – so here it is, Nas Daily’s Ultimate Travel Guide to London on a Budget. Whether you’re traveling solo, going on your honeymoon or going as a group – these tips will help you save big in London.

Travel Guide to London: Where to spend the night

Cost of living is high in London, that means accommodation might take up the largest chunk of your expenses while in the city. Options typically include hotels, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) or hostels. For this budget travel guide to London, we’ve included some of our personal favorites.

Comfort + Great Location

  • Premier Inn Hotel $ – familiar hotel chain with comfortable rooms, close to major areas
  • Novotel Paddington $$ – Close to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. This gives you classic hotel feels, and they even have a heated pool.
  • Citizen M Bankside $$ – luxury vibes, great decor, and a great location
where to stay in london

For Solo Travelers

  • Hub by Premier Inn – a futuristic concept where you check in and out, control the room etc. all from your phone. These are really COMPACT but comfortable rooms that have everything you’d need.
  • Wombats City Hostel – highly rated hostel chain across Europe. The London location is great!
  • One Notting Hill – no breakfast, but fantastic location right on Notting Hill (yes, from the movie!)

Explore other cities in Europe

London on a Budget: Free Stuff to Do

When it comes to free experiences, London has a lot to offer – including museums, galleries, and more. You could even build an entire itinerary out of just the free things. For this travel guide to London, we’ve picked a few of our favorites.
what to do in london

1. Take a ‘Free’ Walking Tour

Many tour companies offer free walking tours around London. We personally love Sandemans (for London and all of Europe) because of their passionate tour guides who will give you all the inside details. Strawberry Tours is another popular London tour company that offers walking tours based on your interest. Do keep in mind, however, that though these tours are ‘free’ – it IS customary to tip the tour guide for their time. How much, is up to you.

2. The Victoria and Albert Museum

Most museums in London are free but this is one of London’s best museums. They have millions of artefacts from all over the world on display, but they also routinely host incredible limited exhibitions and shows featuring global artists or culture. Other free museums include The Natural History Museum, The British Museum, The Queen’s House and more. There are probably enough to warrant a Museum Travel Guide to London.

3. Changing the Guard

Outside Buckingham Palace Check Schedule here. The Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms in the palace’s forecourt from 10.30am and is joined by the St James’s Palace Old Guard at around 10.45am. The New Guard then arrives from Wellington Barracks and takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard in a formal ceremony accompanied by music. Windsor Castle on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
changing the guard in london

4. Tate Britain and Tate

Modern art galleries featuring some of the best classical and modern works from all over the world.

5. Royal Opera House Live at Lunch

The Royal Opera House puts on a free lunchtime show that anyone can attend. Seats are limited though so get there early.

6. Abbey Road and the Studio – for The Beatles fans

Take a picture crossing the iconic Abbey Road and see the studio where they recorded their most famous album.
abbey road

7. Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station

Have a go at pushing your trolley through the walls, just like Harry Potter did.

8. Greenwich Park

For great views of the London skyline.

9. Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is one of London’s most popular tourist destinations. Think of it like the Times Square of London.
guide to Piccadilly Circus london

10. Visit the Markets

Camden Market, Leadenhall Market (from Harry Potter movies), Columbia Road Flower Market, there’s a market for everyone. Find cheap eats and produce here.

11. Street Art

London is home to a LOT of street art, like Leake Street Arches which is home to a Banksy. Check out Visit London, for a detailed guide on where to find Street Art and plan your walk around it.
travel guide to london street art

12. Sky Garden

Located in the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie, you can go here for panoramic views over London in a great cafe setting.

Travel Guide to London: Ticketed Stuff to Do

A lot of London’s top attractions are ticketed, but even a budget travel guide to London would be incomplete without those icons. Don’t worry though, even those can be explored for cheaper, if you book right.
Ticketed Attractions in London:
  • The London Eye
  • Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
  • London Dungeon
  • Tower of London
  • The Shard
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Emirates Air Line – A cable car above the city thats actually part of the transport network. Not included in any of the passes, but it costs between £5 to £10.
westminster abbey

How to save on ticketed attractions in London

  • Get The London Pass: The London Pass gives you one ticket to almost 90 attractions including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle and even the View From The Shard. But you have to pre-load sightseeing credits and pre-book the ones you’d like to see best. The best part is that it lets you use a fast-track queue, saving you a lot of time at each attraction.
  • Get a Big City Saver Pass: this pass lets you create your own package of a few top attractions, at almost 50% off the listed price. Attractions include The London Eye, Madam Tussauds, the London Dungeon and more
  • London Explorer Pass: The Explorer Pass is quite similar to The London Pass, meaning it covers a lot of the same attractions, and even includes the London Eye and Madam Tussauds. But unlike The London Pass, it doesn’t let you use the fast-track lines.
tower of london

Travel Guide to London: How to Get Around?

London is a big city but its public transport system is extremely well connected. Your options range from the iconic ‘Tube’ (the underground train) and buses. The Tube is definitely the fastest way to get around the big city and one of the cheapest too. For this travel guide to London, we’ve listed public transport as well as cycling or walking options – so you can choose what suits you best.
  • Get an Oyster Card – the Oyster Card is an official London Metro offering that helps tourists and short term visitors get around for less. You can take unlimited Tube or bus trips every day, but the maximum fare cap is £8.50 – so no matter how much you travel, you won’t spend more each day. It’s a definite must-have in London. Always remember that traveling at Off-Peak hours is cheaper than peak time, so plan your trip accordingly.
  • Santander Cycles – You can get a Santander Cycle for the whole day at just £2. Just keep in mind that London is a very busy city, so stick to designated cycling lanes and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk – as a visitor, it may be hard to decide whether to take public transportation or walk to your next destination. There are a few walks that are better than transport – like Covent Garden to Leicester Square (4 mins), Trafalgar Square to the Thames (3 mins), but the best way to plan your trip is to use the Route Planner offered by Transport for London.
how to get around london metro

Where to Eat in London

It’s no secret that London has one of the best food scenes in the world. With such a huge mix of cultures and talent from all over the world – it’s inevitable. However, for this budget travel guide to London – we’ve closed in on the most bang-for-buck meals, and some for when you just need fuel.
  1. Addie’s Thai in Earl’s Court
    30 year old joint that everyone loves, a London staple. Really hearty delicious meals. Must try: Som tam papaya salad, pad Thai
  1. The Hoxton Grill in Shoreditch
    Best for digital nomads, because work and sightseeing can go hand in hand.  Must try: American classics – burger, fries you can’t go wrong
  1. Bang Bang in Colindale
    Pan-Asian food hall where you’ll be spoilt for choice. Great portions.  Must try: Nasi Goreng from Coconut Tree, Dumplings from Xi Home
where to eat in london on a budget
  1. Box Park in Shoreditch
    Part food pop up, part creative showcase. The best way to take in London’s creative side. Must try: Great Vegan options at Vegan Wing Shack and Mercy Burger. Great pasta at Pasta Evangelists.
  1. The English Rose Tea Shop in Westminster
    If an iconic British High Tea is on your list, this is one of the best. The full afternoon tea for two costs a little less than £40. Best if paired with a trip to Buckingham Palace or the park (they will pack up your tea as a picnic as well).
  1. Supermarkets all over London
    Yup, you read that right. Supermarkets like M&S, Aldi, Tesco, and even WHSmith have meal deal – a sandwich/wrap, drink and chips you can have for between £3-5. It’s filling, it’s decent (not super delicious) and its great on the go for a day of sightseeing.

What to pack for a trip to London on a budget

If there’s one thing London isn’t known for – it’s the great weather. The weather in the UK is quite unpredictable, but generally they experience all four seasons. As a traveler, definitely pack for the season you’ll be visiting in but remember to carry these essentials just in case of sudden weather changes.

How to travel to London

London is a big city, and is home to 4 airports. Depending on where you’re flying from, you can get to one of these:
  • Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Luton Airport
  • Stansted Airport
Heathrow is the most popular airport and is well connected to most major cities in Asia, the Middle East and North America. For this budget travel guide to London, we’ve included some of the best resources to find the cheapest flights and our favorite airlines to fly with.
how to get to london

Where to find great flight deals to London?

  • Skyscanner – an easy website that shows you the cheapest and fastest routes from anywhere in the world.
  • EasyJet – budget airline that connect most of Europe to London. Another great option in RyanAir.
  • Flydubai – headquartered in Dubai, and one of the official airlines of the government of Dubai – they connect 100s of Asian and African destinations to London Gatwick.

Bonus: Books to read about London

Lonely Planet London

Navigating London can be a real challenge. What to do, where to go and where to stay? London has so much to offer. Let this guide help you make the trip to London a memory of a lifetime.

National Geographic Walking Guide: London

Put on your walking shoes and let’s explore London on foot. Walk in Hyde Park, down Abbey Road, over Tower Bridge. There is no better way to get around London than by foot. Get the best advice on walking routes in London with this book.

What are the visa requirements to travel to London?

You will need a Visa to enter the UK. And though the application process is fairly easy, do be prepared to wait up to a month or more to receive your visa.

Unfortunately, unless you already have a multiple entry visa, visiting London requires some planning. But on the bright side, the earlier you make your bookings – the cheaper they’ll be.

That brings us to the end of the Budget Travel Guide to London. We hope we were able to help!

We only include products that have been independently selected by Nas Daily’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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