Monday, 31 October 2016

An Overnight Stay in London On A Shoestring

Sunset over Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament viewed from the London Eye

I recently took a budget friendly trip to London with some family and friends. As one of the most expensive places in the world to visit, I've got a few tips on how you can enjoy a show and overnight stay in London for under £100 per person!

Travel - £20 (to £40)

London Underground sign with black and white background

To travel cheaply you normally need to book weeks ahead. Coaches and trains offer advanced prices at a significant reduction, for example a London return on the train from Cardiff costs around £75 if I was leaving tomorrow, but around £36.50 if I was to book tickets for 9 weeks time! Similarly on the coach, tickets can go as cheap as £5 each way.
If my trip to London crops up last minute I usually drive to Slough and park at the train station for £4.40 (on the weekend) for 24 hours. I then buy a day pass to London for around £13 which includes Zone 1 Underground.
If you map out your itinerary well, you can limit the need for public transportation or Uber.

Food & Drink - £20 

Shake Shack burger and crinkly fries

Firstly, save money when travelling by taking some essentials with you. The mark up on bottles of water and snacks in London can be over 300% compared to supermarkets! For lunch and dinner, I'd recommend exploring www.londoncheapeats.com to find the latest deals in the city for £8 or less, or you can wing-it and (dare I say) grab some fast food.

Theatre Show / Entertainment - £25

The Royal Albert Hall In Black and White

Like most theatres, The Royal Albert Hall sells more budget-friendly seating the further away from the stage that you are. Interestingly though, Choir Stalls are sometimes available, located just behind the stage in two tiers. These tickets are often a lot cheaper than floor seats because the performers are facing away from you. I've watched the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from here and didn't have any issues with the sound quality. Alternatively, you can book a standing ticket at the top of the hall if you want to casually watch the show besides the bar and restaurants.

Royal Albert Hall View from Choir Stalls
The Tower of London with a Queen's Guard

Another option is the Merlin Attractions in London you can visit inexpensively by using the ongoing 2-for-1 offer. You'll often find this deal on cereal boxes or confectionary which gives you one free ticket for one paying adult, meaning you can split the difference and pay half each! These attractions include The London Eye, London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds.

Sculpture in Hyde Park with Kensington Palace in Distance
Arched view of Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral

If you really are tightening the purse strings, there are plenty of free things to do in London - a museum/art gallery, stroll through Hyde Park or sightseeing the city's famous landmarks are just a few ideas.

Accommodation - £35

View of the city of London and The Shard from The London Eye
Days Inn Hyde Park Hotel London near Paddington

It sounds obvious, but a hotel comparison website really is likely to get you a fair deal for your budget. You can bag a 3* hotel in Central London (with breakfast) if you come in a group for around £35 per person. I stayed in Day's Inn near Paddington for this price as there was four of us (room total was £142). The cost of a hotel is ultimately down to your preference - for me, sacrificing hotel facilities, room size and a hot breakfast is fine if it's clean and in a good location.

London on A Shoestring pinterest image

There's also quite a few favourably reviewed Hostels in Central London for as cheap as £20 per person with the option to book a dormitory for yourself. I've opted to stay in one around Christmas time as hotel prices inflate around this period.
For those who love eco-friendly travel, check out Hungry City Hippy's stay at London's Greenest Budget Hotel 'QBic'.

Like this? View my other city breaks in the UK by clicking here.
* Prices correct at the time of posting.
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© Explore With Ed | Wales based Food, Travel and Cruise Blog

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