London has a reputation for being expensive. It’s true that you can spend a fortune on hotels and wining and dining here, it’s equally true that there are plenty of ways to enjoy the world’s greatest capital city without bankrupting yourself.
For something more than a dorm bed but less than the Ritz, chains such as Travelodge, Premier Inn and easyhotel offer great deals. Who cares about bland furnishings when rooms start from just £25? Or try the range of hotels on Lonely Planet’s website for trustworthy reviews and online booking where available.
Free museums and concerts
One of the best things about London is its museums and one of the best things about the museums is that they’re nearly all free. The British Museum, National Gallery and Natural History Museum to name just a few, all cost nada. And if you want to up your culture quotient without upping your expenditure, many churches have free classical concerts at lunchtimes.
Eat at lunchtime
Speaking of lunchtime, it’s also the perfect time to try one of those great London restaurants you’ve heard about. All the top places offer set menus with the same food that you’ll fork out a fortune for in the evening - but at reduced prices. To keep costs down at dinnertime while discovering just how multicultural this city is, seek out one of London’s ethnic eateries. Indian and Chinese restaurants usually offer good quality and low prices, though you can also find everything from Afghan and Korean to Hungarian. Or for something more traditional but still cheap, fish and chip shops are still easily found.
You’ve been fed and now you want to enjoy London’s famed theatre scene. As long as you’re not particular about what you see, head for the half-price ticket booth in Leicester Square. Tickets are sold for the same evening and getting there as soon as it opens (10am) means more choice. The cheapest cinema tickets in town can still be found at the Prince Charles off Leicester Square.
Rather dash off down Endell Street for some haddock and chips followed by a pint at the Coach & Horses than read online articles about London? Of course you would. Grab Lonely Planet's latest Pocket London guide to help get your plan together.
This article was refreshed in June 2012