London is the most expensive major city in Europe. Sure, there are some corners of Scandinavia that are even costlier than London, but for big metropolis action, London stands out as terrifyingly pricey. Aside from hotel costs, expect to spend at least £30 a day—hardcore Cheapos may get away with spending as little as £20 but only by foregoing restaurants. If you're seeking any sort of entertainment, factor in another £10-£20.
Expect to Spend: London
With rates dipping as low as £50, the Crestfield Hotel represents a good bargain for London.
Ouch! Quite average hotels can easily reach £175 a night in London. Our upper limit for London hotels listed on EuroCheapo is £125 (low season) for a double. The least expensive beds we profile are as cheap as £40 for a double room, or as little as £15 for a hostel dorm bed.
Kebab shops and fish and chips shops can be the best way to get tasty, cheap food. Photo: Emily Webber.
Restaurants are similarly expensive in London, but good cheap deals can be found. Restaurants range dramatically in price. Takeaway shops selling cheap local fast food like kebabs and fish and chips can be found throughout London and are particularly prevalent in neighborhoods catering to residents, not tourists. A very average pub meal will cost £10 at a traditional pub and between £15 and £20 at a swankier gastropub. A three-course dinner at a gastropub will run between £20 and £30.
Check out our article on cheap eats for some tips on keeping costs low.
On the alcoholic beverage front, a pint of beer will cost around £4. A lower-end bottle of wine will start around £7 at supermarkets and from £18 at most restaurants. A cup of coffee will cost from between £2 and £4 at a café.
Unless you plan on doing a ton of walking, public transportation is likely your best option to see a lot and keep costs manageable. Manageable is relative for London, though, and like everything else in the city, public transportation is a little more expensive here (£4.50 for a one-way Underground ticket and £2.40 for the bus).
That's why the Oyster card is absolutely essential for anyone that's planning to ride the bus or Tube more than once. It gives significant discounts on fares, and puts a limit on how much you can spend on transportation per day. If you're travelling between zones 1 and 2, the price cap is £8.40 for the Underground and £4.40 for the bus. See the Transport for London website for details.
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- London cheap eats in Soho
- London cocktail bars with great happy hours
- A Cheapo guide to free music and comedy clubs in London
- Free performances galleries and tours in London
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London blog posts
- London: Cheapo neighborhood guide to Islington
- The cheapest way to travel between London & Paris: Planes, trains & buses from £1.50
- London Day Trip: Visit Brighton for a low-cost seaside getaway
- London: Where to eat for cheap near the West End theatre district
- London: Affordable hotels close to the city’s top attractions
- Budget food shopping in London: A guide to the city’s supermarkets
- Pre-Trip Checklist: 10 ways to save time and money before you leave for Europe
- London: a cheapo neighborhood guide to the City of London
- London: 7 tips for surviving the British Museum
- London Summer Fun: Taking a sightseeing break with a cool dip in a pool or pond