There’s so much to see and do in London, no matter your budget! Many people think they need to spend a lot to really experience the city at its very best, but this is far from true.
Here are a few of our favorite experiences, sights and activities in t[he UK capital – and none of them will cost you the earth.
Find the free things
Luckily for the budget-conscious traveller, there are lots of great things to do for free. Many of the best attractions in London can be enjoyed without paying a thing. For instance, art galleries such as the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern are both free to enter, and will get you up close to some of the most remarkable contemporary and classic artworks anywhere in the world.
Likewise, museums such as the V&A (dedicated to design) and the British Museum (dedicated to everything else!) are evergreen visitor attractions all year round – and remain 100% free to visit. If you’re staying at the Park Grand Hyde Park, this is a great way to make your budget go further.
Eating on a budget
London is one of the top foodie destinations on the planet, with an array of incredible restaurants for you to choose from during your visit. However, some of them come with a hefty price tag – as many disappointed London explorers have discovered to their detriment.
There are ways to experience fine dining without blowing the budget, however. Try heading to a London market and browsing the food stalls and street foods of the city. Here you’ll be able to sample a range of (often) gourmet dishes without worrying that you’ll be paying too much. If you want to try dining in a restaurant, stick close to home and choose a Park Grand Hotel Afternoon Tea.
The Oyster Card
An Oyster Card is a plastic card-shaped just like a credit or debit card. You can use it to pay your way around London, enjoying a range of Tube, bus, railway and tram routes. Some people find this a cost-effective and time-saving way to explore.
To try the card for yourself, its pretty easy to get started. Cards can be bought from most London Underground stations and some National Rail ticket offices, as well as online and at a variety of different convenient spots around the city.
This way you can ‘Pay as you go’ without missing out on any of the key sights, and don’t have to calculate costs for every single trip you make. Getting an Oyster card is also a handy way to ensure you only ever have to carry one card with you for transport payments and can plan your budget more effectively and efficiently.
Get the London Pass
The London Pass is a custom-made pass designed for visitors to London. With this pass, you’ll be granted ‘credits’ to visit a wide range of fantastic venues and attractions. These include the Tower of London and The Shard.
There are more than 80 attractions covered with the London Pass. They include everything from highly desirable tours to culture-filled museums! All you have to do to take part is head to the official London Pass website and buy your very own pass. There are added savings at specific times of the year, so be sure to check when you can get the most the pass.
More than 3-million London visitors have already used their pass – and with the new downloadable London Pass app, you can also get even more from the experience, with tips on where to visit and planning materials.
Combining a London Pass with selecting the option to book your hotel and pay on arrival means you’ll be able to plan your budgeting better than ever before.
The airport transfer service you use may vary depending on the airport you’re flying into. At the more luxurious end of the market, airport transfers can include lavish limousines and racy sports cars. This is unlikely to be in your sights as a budget-conscious visitor, but that doesn’t mean your own airport transfer needs to feel like hell on wheels.
London Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick all have dedicated train services which get you into the centre of London. Likewise, City and Heathrow airports are both connected to the London Tube network.
National Express coaches and easyBus services also provide a particularly inexpensive way to get into London – however for some, they prove to be too uncomfortable and cramped to contemplate.
If you want to stick to a budget but don’t fancy slumming it, get a quote from a taxi or car hire service before you travel (and book in advance). This will avoid you being landed with a huge bill just as you arrive at Park Grand Hotels in London.
Free Walking Tours
Walking tours are a popular pastime in London, and you may already be planning your own experience! While this is a great way to see the sights and learn more about the culture and history of the city, walking tours also often come with a hefty price tag.
Yet this needn’t be the case. If you are desperate to find the perfect walking tour for free, check out providers such as Strawberry Tours – who provide more than 20 different tours each day, completely free of charge. Alternatively, the online Free London Walking Tours resource will help connect you to tours which are happening during your trip.
There’s a tremendous amount of variety on offer – including everything from tours which look at the role of the Royal Family in London life, to tours which tell you more about the Great Fire of London, architectural tours with a London focus, and much, much more.
Whatever you are interested in, there’s sure to be a tour for you somewhere in London – and chances are, it’ll be free.