Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How To Save Money On London Sightseeing


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Kaila Wells



London, the vibrant capital of England, is a city that fascinates visitors with its rich history, iconic landmarks, and diverse cultural experiences. However, exploring this magnificent city can often come with a hefty price tag. From entry fees to transportation costs, the expenses can quickly add up. But fear not, as there are plenty of ways to save money on London sightseeing without compromising on the quality of your experience.


In this article, we will unveil some insider tips and tricks to help you make the most of your London adventure while keeping your wallet happy. By following these savvy strategies, you can enjoy the best of what London has to offer without breaking the bank.


So, whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or simply looking to make your pounds stretch a little further, read on to discover how to save money and enjoy an unforgettable sightseeing experience in London.


*Note: All prices mentioned in this article are subject to change. It is always recommended to check the latest prices and availability before planning your trip.


Planning Your Trip

The key to saving money on London sightseeing starts with careful planning. Researching and organizing your trip in advance can help you find the best deals, discounts, and avoid unnecessary expenses. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Travel during off-peak seasons: London can be crowded and expensive during peak tourist seasons. Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) when prices are lower, and attractions are less crowded.
  • Create an itinerary: Plan your daily activities and prioritize the attractions you want to visit. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Research attraction pricing: Look for discounted rates, combo tickets, or special offers for the attractions you wish to visit. Many websites and travel agencies offer reduced prices when you book in advance or bundle multiple attractions together.
  • Check for free entry days: Some museums and galleries in London offer free entry on certain days of the week or month. Take advantage of these opportunities to explore cultural treasures without spending a penny.

By planning ahead and being aware of the various discounts and promotions available, you can make significant savings on your London sightseeing adventures.


Choosing the Right Accommodation

The choice of accommodation can greatly impact your overall budget when sightseeing in London. Here are some tips to help you find affordable yet comfortable lodging:

  • Consider alternative accommodations: Instead of staying in expensive hotels, think about booking a vacation rental, hostel, or guesthouse. These options are often more budget-friendly and can provide a unique experience.
  • Stay outside the city center: Accommodation prices tend to be higher in central London. Consider staying in a neighborhood slightly outside the city center and utilizing public transportation to get around.
  • Look for promotions and discounts: Keep an eye out for special offers or discounted rates on accommodation websites or through travel agencies. Booking in advance or during off-peak seasons can often lead to significant savings.
  • Consider amenities and facilities: Look for accommodations that offer shared kitchen facilities, as this can help you save money on meals by preparing your own food.

Remember to carefully research and compare different accommodation options to find the best value for your money. Pay attention not only to the price but also to the location, amenities, and guest reviews to ensure a comfortable and cost-effective stay.


Utilizing Public Transportation

London has a comprehensive public transportation system that is not only convenient but also cost-effective for sightseeing. Here are some tips to make the most of it:

  • Use an Oyster card or contactless payment: Get yourself an Oyster card, a smartcard that offers discounted fares on buses, trams, trains, and the underground. Alternatively, you can use contactless payment with your debit or credit card, which also provides the same fare benefits.
  • Avoid peak travel times: Fares during peak hours (weekday mornings and evenings) are more expensive. Try to plan your sightseeing activities outside of these times to save money on transportation.
  • Take buses instead of taxis: London buses can take you to most major attractions, and the fares are cheaper compared to taking a taxi. Plus, you get to enjoy the scenic city views along the way.
  • Walk when feasible: Some attractions in London are within walking distance of each other. Take advantage of this by exploring on foot, not only saving money but also getting to experience the city up close.

Using public transportation is not only economical but also a great way to experience the local culture and navigate the city like a Londoner.


Taking Advantage of Discount Passes

If you plan on visiting multiple attractions in London, consider purchasing a discount pass that offers bundled entry to various sites. Here are some popular options:

  • London Pass: The London Pass provides access to over 80 attractions, including top landmarks, museums, and tours, along with skip-the-line privileges. It also comes with a free guidebook and additional discounts on dining and shopping.
  • Explorer Pass: The Explorer Pass allows you to choose a set number of attractions to visit from a list of options. This customizable pass allows you to save money while selecting the attractions that interest you the most.
  • City Cruises Pass: If you’re interested in cruising along the River Thames, the City Cruises Pass provides hop-on-hop-off access to their fleet of boats, allowing you to enjoy iconic river views while traveling between attractions.

Before purchasing a discount pass, carefully consider the attractions included in the pass and compare their individual prices. Additionally, check if the pass offers any additional benefits such as fast-track entry or discounts at local restaurants and shops.


Note that these passes are often valid for a specific number of days, so plan your itinerary accordingly to make the most of your pass and maximize your savings.


Exploring Free Attractions

One of the best ways to save money on London sightseeing is by taking advantage of the city’s numerous free attractions. Here are some top picks:

  • British Museum: Explore the world-famous British Museum, which houses an extensive collection of art, artifacts, and historical treasures from around the world.
  • National Gallery: Admire masterpieces by renowned artists at the National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square. The gallery showcases works from Europe’s greatest painters, including Van Gogh, Monet, and da Vinci.
  • Natural History Museum: Immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world at the Natural History Museum. Discover dinosaur skeletons, marvel at the vast collection of specimens, and learn about the Earth’s history.
  • Tate Modern: Enjoy contemporary art at the Tate Modern, housed in a former power station. Explore a diverse collection of modern artworks and take in stunning views of the city from the museum’s viewing platforms.
  • Sky Garden: Visit the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street for breathtaking panoramic views of London’s skyline, lush gardens, and a variety of dining options. Entry to the Sky Garden is free, but advance booking is required.

These are just a few examples of the many free attractions London has to offer. Take advantage of these opportunities to immerse yourself in art, history, and culture without spending a penny.


Eating on a Budget

London is a gastronomic haven with a wide range of dining options to suit all budgets. Here are some tips for enjoying delicious meals without breaking the bank:

  • Explore local markets: Visit vibrant food markets like Borough Market, Camden Market, or Spitalfields Market, where you can find a variety of affordable street food options and local produce.
  • Grab a takeaway or picnic: Take advantage of the city’s beautiful parks and green spaces by picking up a takeaway meal or packing a picnic. This way, you can savor your food al fresco without paying for a sit-down restaurant.
  • Opt for lunch specials: Many restaurants in London offer lunch specials, which are often more affordable than dinner menus. Take advantage of these deals to sample delicious cuisine at a lower price.
  • Look for pre-theater menus: If you’re planning to catch a show in the West End, consider dining at a restaurant that offers pre-theater menus. These menus are designed to be quick and affordable, allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal before the show.
  • Try ethnic cuisine: London is renowned for its diverse culinary scene. Explore neighborhoods like Chinatown, Brick Lane, or Little Italy for affordable and authentic ethnic dining options.

Remember to ask locals for recommendations on affordable eateries or check online review platforms to find hidden gems that offer great value for money.


By being savvy with your food choices, you can satisfy your taste buds while keeping your food budget in check.


Shopping Smartly for Souvenirs

Bringing back souvenirs is a wonderful way to cherish your memories of London. However, souvenir shopping can also be a trap for overspending. Here are some tips to help you shop smart and save money:

  • Avoid touristy areas: Souvenirs in popular tourist areas tend to be marked up. Venture off the beaten path and explore local markets or independent stores for unique and reasonably priced mementos.
  • Compare prices: Before making a purchase, compare prices across different shops to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t be afraid to haggle or ask for discounts, especially in street markets where bargaining is common.
  • Consider practical souvenirs: Look for souvenirs that are not only decorative but also serve a practical purpose. Items like keychains, mugs, or reusable bags can be both useful and affordable.
  • Support local artisans: Seek out handmade or locally crafted souvenirs. These items often have more character and charm, and your purchase helps support local artists and small businesses.
  • Buy in bulk or sets: If you plan to purchase multiple souvenirs, consider buying them in sets or bulk, which often saves you money compared to buying individual items.

Remember, the value of a souvenir lies in the memories it represents, not its price tag. Focus on finding meaningful and unique items that will bring you joy and remind you of your time in London.


Booking Tickets in Advance

When it comes to sightseeing in London, booking tickets in advance can lead to significant savings. Here’s why:

  • Early bird discounts: Many attractions offer discounted rates for those who book their tickets well in advance. Take advantage of these early bird discounts to save money on entry fees.
  • Skip-the-line privileges: Booking in advance often allows you to skip the long queues at popular attractions. This not only saves you time but also maximizes your sightseeing opportunities.
  • Combo deals: Look for bundled ticket options that include multiple attractions. These combo deals often offer a discounted rate compared to purchasing separate tickets for each attraction.
  • Flexible time slots: Booking in advance gives you the flexibility to choose the time slot that works best for you. This allows you to plan your itinerary efficiently and make the most of your sightseeing experience.

Whether you’re planning to visit iconic landmarks like the Tower of London or attend a popular theater show in the West End, booking your tickets in advance can save you money and ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.


Joining Free Walking Tours

One of the best ways to explore London on a budget is by joining free walking tours. These tours are not only informative but also an excellent opportunity to discover the city’s hidden gems. Here’s why you should consider joining a free walking tour:

  • Expert local guides: Free walking tours are typically led by knowledgeable and passionate local guides who can provide fascinating insights into the history, culture, and landmarks of London.
  • Cover popular attractions: Most free walking tours cover popular attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, or the Tower Bridge. This allows you to visit major landmarks without spending money on guided tours.
  • Off-the-beaten-path discoveries: Free walking tours often take you to lesser-known spots and neighborhoods that you might not discover on your own. This adds a unique and authentic touch to your London experience.
  • Flexible duration and schedule: Free walking tours are usually available at different times of the day, allowing you to choose the tour that fits your schedule. Additionally, most tours have a flexible duration, so you can join or leave as you please.
  • Tips-based system: While these tours are free, it is customary to tip the guide at the end based on your satisfaction. This pay-what-you-wish system allows you to appreciate the value of the tour while giving you control over your spending.

Do some research to find reputable free walking tour companies in London, and make sure to check their schedules and meeting points in advance. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle of water, as you may be walking for a couple of hours.


Joining a free walking tour is not only budget-friendly but also a fantastic way to explore the city, learn interesting facts, and meet fellow travelers.


Making Use of Travel Apps

In today’s digital age, travel apps are invaluable tools for saving money and enhancing your sightseeing experience in London. Here are some must-have travel apps to consider:

  • Citymapper: Citymapper is a comprehensive navigation app that provides real-time transit information, including bus, tube, and walking directions. It helps you find the fastest and most cost-effective routes to your desired destinations.
  • Google Maps: Google Maps is an essential app for exploring any city. It provides detailed maps, directions, and recommendations for nearby attractions, restaurants, and even public transportation options.
  • Xe Currency: Xe Currency is a reliable currency converter app that allows you to convert prices to your home currency, ensuring you stay within your budget while shopping or dining in London.
  • YPlan: YPlan is a handy app for finding last-minute deals on entertainment, including theater shows, concert tickets, and more. It offers discounted prices and special offers, allowing you to enjoy London’s vibrant nightlife at a fraction of the usual cost.
  • Toptable/iOS Reservation: Toptable (iOS Reservation) is a restaurant booking app that offers exclusive discounts, special deals, and last-minute reservations. You can explore various dining options in London and secure a table at a discounted price.

Ensure you have a reliable internet connection while using these apps. Consider getting a local SIM card or connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots available throughout the city.


Travel apps are convenient tools that can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress during your London sightseeing adventure. Download these apps before your trip and make the most out of your experience.