Europe’s great cities on the cheap – London

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TO walk the streets of London is like being dropped in the center of a movie set, so recognisable are the city’s landmarks.

Despite two millenia of history, in this city the old and the new sit alongside each other in perfect harmony.

One of the world’s truly great cities, from London has it all from its illustrious and colorful history to art and culture, iconic architecture, royalty and an ethnic diversity in part built from its past as the hub of an empire and in part from its present – where its sheer scale draws people like moths to a flame.

From the Tower of London, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square, the list of sites for the average visitor to check off on their list is both exhaustive and exhausting.

In the final of our series Booked.net gives you some tips on how to take in the wealth of London without spending a fortune.

London

Hotels

It’s a capital city, with capital city prices, it is also still basking in the glow of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, so in a city the size and scale of London accommodation options run the full gamut, but for the truly budget conscious there is a chain known as Tune hotels that can place you in the center of London’s attractions.

Located in Paddington (www.booked.net/hotel/tune-hotel-paddington), King’s Cross (www.booked.net/hotel/tune-hotel-kings-cross) and Liverpool Street (www.booked.net/hotel/tune-hotel-liverpool-street) this chain is a subsidiary of the budget Air Asia X and (by London standard) offers cheap rooms starting from £35. Don’t expect acres of space (and London hotel rooms can be small be world-standards anyway) these hotels offer a quality, cleanliness and level of service that belies the cheap prices. As always it pays to book ahead to get the best deals.

Dining

As with all major cities, a bite to eat in London can set you back a pretty penny.

But there are alternatives.

Why not try the newpaper-wrapped fish and chips the UK is famed for – this takeaway food is both affordable and can be delicious and is best consumed on a park bench taking in the sights and atmosphere of the city.

Or if you prefer your meals at a table, then a quick scan of the website TopTable.co.uk, will not only show what is available, but also offers a section devoted to offering discounts – often up to half the usual price.

Sites and attractions

To use the movie analogy again is too easy, but this a city packed with internationally recognised iconic buildings and structures on almost every corner – simply walk and take it all in, it will cost you nothing. However be warned, to see everything you will walk a long way and the size of London means you cannot do it in a day.

So take your time, as well as the sights London is has many free museums and galleries from the Tate Modern (www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern) and the famous old institions that are the British Museum (www.britishmuseum.org) and the National Gallery (www.nationalgallery.org.uk).

Another must, although you have to do battle with throngs of people to do it, is to witness Buckingham Palace’s Changing of the Guard.

Navigation

Buy an Oyster card for access to London’s public transport network (https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do) and invest in a detailed map.

The London Underground’s stations are actually quite close together, so  it is worth remembering it might be faster to walk between stations rather than pay for a Tube ride.

Don’t forget to check out the rest in this series Rome, Paris and Vienna.

4 thoughts on “Europe’s great cities on the cheap – London

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