London has always attracted many different types of people; those interested in the arts, those with a fascination of the royal family and those with a keen interest in sport. Whatever your passions and interest, England’s capital is an exciting and vibrant place to visit. With places such as Lillie Bridge ground, Madame Tussaud’s, and not forgetting Buckingham Palace, to visit, you’ll be spoilt for choice on what to do first.
If you’re planning a trip to London, then you’ll need to think about many different factors before you travel, such as how long you will stay and which accommodation would best suit the purpose of your visit. To be able to plan a trip successfully, you’ll also need to set aside a travel budget so that you won’t overspend or run out of capital throughout your trip. Once you know how much money you have to play with, you’ll be able to start looking into places to stay.
The easiest way to save money on accommodation in London, is to avoid, where possible, choosing a central London hotel, as these are often much pricier than those just outside of the heart of the city. Don’t forget that cosmopolitan hotels on the likes of Oxford Street might also be susceptible to a lot of street noise, so take that into consideration when deciding where to stay too. Consider choosing a Piccadilly hotel instead, as the location means that many of the city’s tourist attractions are easily reachable by tube. Staying at a cheaper hotel might also mean that you’ll be able to afford to extend your trip, and stay for longer. And, bear in mind that often cheaper hotels are out to impress and certainly won’t compromise on comfort or style.
Another thing you’ll need to consider before a trip to London, is how you’ll get there. Using trains is a popular choice, as it means that there are no hidden costs (such as fuel or toll road charges) and it also means that you are free to relax on the journey, rather than getting stressed out if you take the wrong turning or get stuck in traffic. With this route, the earlier you plan the better, as if you book your tickets online, they are often considerably cheaper, and usually the further ahead you book, the more savings you can make. Also if children will be travelling with you, it is worth knowing that little ones under the age of five can travel for free with an adult when journeying by rail. (This also applies to buses once in London too.) Therefore, if you are well organised, travel needn’t take up too much of your budget at all, leaving you with more money to spend on the important things- making memories.
If you do intend to explore different areas of the city, then you might wish to obtain a travel Oyster card, which can be topped up with an amount of your choice- depending on how often you think you will travel. This card can then just be handed over to easily and quickly pay for fares across the London underground, trains, trams and London buses too. This means that you won’t need to concern yourself with having enough cash on your person to pay for fares, neither will you hold up any queues as you’re fumbling around in your purse for the last of your change.
Another way to make your money go further whilst in London, is to take full advantage of any breakfast options that are available at the hotel you have chosen to stay at. Much of the accommodation in Piccadilly London will offer both hot and cold breakfast options, so be sure to eat a hearty meal before leaving your hotel for a day of sightseeing. Doing this will ensure that you don’t frivolously waste money on expensive snacks whilst you’re out and about, as a good breakfast should see you through until lunch time.
If you want to visit attractions such as Madame Tussaud’s or the London Dungeons, then the earlier you start to plan your trip, the better. On the run up to your London visit, look out for 2 for 1 offers on tickets for London attractions, that are usually printed on cereal boxes or pizza packaging. Collecting these can half your admission costs, leaving you more money to spend whilst you’re there.
Another thing to remember is to avoid paying for pricey Wi-Fi in your hotel room, as there are lots of coffee lounges, restaurants and even shops that offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. So if you want to stay in touch with what’s going on back at home, then wait until you reach a free Wi-Fi spot in order to maximise your travel budget. It’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a delicious gourmet coffee.
If you do find that you’re fast running out of money then consider thinking about doing something that is totally free yet wonderfully refreshing. Consider taking a strollaround one of London’s Royal parks, you could even bring along a picnic lunch to really make a day of it (which will also save shelling out on lunch bills!) And, if you’re travelling with children, don’t forget to bring along a ball and make the most of the vast green open space with a family game of football. It’s the perfect way to tire out the little ones before heading back to the hotel for a wonderful night’s sleep before another full day of exploring.
Fergus Brandon is a travel writer by profession and nomad by choice. He was born in Cambridge and completed his masters (International Tourism Management ) from London School of Commerce. He is working as the travel Editor for TheMontcalm hotels group.