London is a pretty pricey travel destination, but despite this, it still has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tourists visiting it year upon year. It is somewhere that every tourist must see at least once though, even if cities are not their ‘thing’. But for those who are trying to see the city on a budget, it can be quite difficult to keep costs down, so here are some tips on how to save money when you’re travelling in London.
The first thing you need to know is that there are a number of attractions in London that can be visited completely for free. All of the national museums in London are open to visitors at no charge, only the special collections and exhibitions incur a charge. If it’s history you’re looking for, head to the British Museum or the National History Museum; art is best shown at the Tate Galleries; and science at the Science Museum. Remember that London’s expansive parks are also free to explore, so check out Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens where you can take some time to relax away from the crowds and visit the Diana Memorial or Peter Pan statue.
Travel can be one of the more expensive commodities when in London. If you’re planning to stay fairly central with your explorations, your best bet is to use the underground which will get you where you need to be quickly and at a fairly low price. The Barclays Cycle Scheme is also a very popular way of getting away in central London, where you can hire a bike from a stand around the centre and return it to any other one you like. But if you want to head further afield and would prefer not to have to rely on a bike in the rain and cold weather that Britain is known for, you would be best picking up a car at London Gatwick airport car hire. That way you have the freedom to explore the outer districts of London at your own pace, and you’re not restricted to public transport which can be unreliable.
Food is another way that you can easily spend your money without realising. If you’re in the capital for more than a couple of days, you should definitely try out at least one of the well-known places such as the Hard Rock Café or Planet Hollywood, but try to limit your eating in these. Instead, use the internet or word of mouth to research independent eateries that the locals like. These are usually much cheaper and have a much wider range of food on offer. With the huge mixture of cultures in London, the types of food on offer are amazing. If you want to sample foods you would normally only find in far flung destinations, head to the markets where you can pick up anything from the traditional jellied eels and pies to Vietnamese and Mexican.
Don’t forget that London is one of the shopping capitals of England. This is one of the easiest ways to throw money away, by buying random souvenirs and spending too much time on Oxford Street. Make sure that you take a look at the shops, particularly the big ones such as Harrods, but try not to spend too much! It can be just as much of an experience to wander the streets as it is to buy.
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