London is a city that’s known for a great many things. From the beautiful River Thames that’s so integral to the city’s structure and history, its long line of famous monarchs and one of the best culture scenes in the world, London is a haven for tourism thanks to hotels like the Park Grand Hotel Hounslow and is loved by many who live there.
But one thing London isn’t known for is low prices. Many of the best restaurants, and even transport can rack up a hefty bill if you don’t plan ahead. Whether you’ve visited the city before or it’s your first time, you can already find great London hotel deal special offers on the Park Grand website, so planning a budget friendly trip shouldn’t be a problem with a little forward thinking.
This blog will outline some of the best tips and tricks for a budget stay in London, providing guests of hotels near Heathrow airport with exciting things to do and London hacks for saving your money.
Transport Money Saving Tips
When visiting London, one of the quickest ways to lose track of your money is through the public – and private transport system. It’s worth mentioning from the get go that London is one of the largest cities in Europe, spanning over 1500 square kilometres and 32 boroughs with countless more distinct districts. It’s unsurprising then, that the public transport system is a massive financial undertaking for the city and therefore costs the user more than they might be used to paying in other parts of the world.
Travelling By Car
Many visitors are discouraged from exploring the city by car through city centre congestion charges and high cost car parks. If you’re a guest of Heathrow Airport accommodation and planning to spend your England visit in London, then it might be cheapest to avoid car rentals. Buses, trains and tube services will always get you to – or near – where you want to go.
Express Trains Or Tube?
Another key quandary when visiting London from airports is whether to buy express train tickets from your airport to a central city terminus or whether to utilise slower but cheaper underground or train services. It’s worth remembering that the Heathrow Express to Paddington can cost at least double the price of a normal train ticket, as can the Gatwick Express and tubes may take longer on the Piccadilly Line but will provide you with more options for destinations, perhaps even taking you closer to your destination thanks to its many stops.
Tube journeys rise in price between the times of 06.30 and 09.30 and between 16.00 and 19.00 in the evening. This is to accommodate for the steep rise in usage between these hours, many school children and commuting adults are returning home from their day. For a more comfortable and up to a third less expensive tube journey, consider travelling outside of these times. It’s worth remembering that there are no peak time fare hikes on weekends.
Oyster Card Or Travel Card?
Another decision for budget tourists is whether to invest in a travel card or an Oyster card. Oyster cards cost about £5 and are blue contactless payment cards. You can buy a daily travel card for your visit which will cost on average £7.70 for an adult staying in zones 1 to 2 on their travels and £9 for zones 1 to 3.
It’s worth remembering that a daily travel cap between zones 1 and 3 is £8.70, so buying a travel card for these zones will actually see you lose out on 30p. The only time a daily travel card will save you money is through buying the zoes 1 to 2 card or if you buy the weekly travel card and take 3 or more journeys a day for 6 days of the week.
Railcards For UK Citizens
If you are travelling to London from another part of the UK and are eligible for one, consider linking your Oyster card up to your rail card. Senior, under 30 and under 25 railcards save you a third on train travel prices. If you link it to your oyster card it will also save you a third on individual off peak journeys.
The City Hopper is an Oyster card based deal that allows you to take two buses within an hour for the price of one. This deal can save you money on multiple journeys and will give you the freedom to explore the city the way you want to.
Uber, Bolt Or London Taxi?
Uber and Bolt are two forms of app-based taxi ordering that are available in the city of London. Generally speaking, they come out cheaper than the classic London cab but may be subject to cancellations or surges in price at hours or in areas that have a heavy need for pickups – say for instance, after a large evening music event in the city. It’s during these “surge” hours that classic London cabs might be cheaper for a journey.
The relatively recent phenomenon of Santander Cycles is a popular method of commuting and exploring London. The Santander Cycle is available at hundreds of docking stations across the city and costs £2 for every half hour you ride. This can be an incredibly freeing, healthy and great value way of exploring London for first time tourists.
Free Cultural Excursions
London is home to a great many free museums and art galleries. Alongside the landmarks of London which you can see for free, visitors with an interest in art might be inclined to visit the permanent exhibitions of the Tate Galleries, the Newport Street Gallery, the National Gallery and Portrait Gallery, the Wallace Collection and many more free to visit London art museums. For those more interested in history, design and science, check out the famous trio of museums on Exhibition Row in South Kensington, where permanent exhibits are again free to visit. Other famous museums that are free to visit include the British Museum and the London Museum.