The best ways to get around London on a budget

The best ways to get around London on a budget

London is a big, busy, and pricey place that can be difficult to navigate if you’re visiting for the first time. Luckily there are ways to navigate London like a local while saving money in the process. Forget about using the famous black taxi if you count every penny you spend. Also, make sure to book accommodation close to all the attractions by checking out these  London Hotel Deals With Breakfast Included.

With fuel prices skyrocketing, limited parking spots and congested roads, Public transport and walking your way through London are fun and cost-efficient alternatives when equipped with this insider information on the best ways to get around London on a budget. 

Planning for your journey

Living in a technology-driven era has its added advantage. With just a click of a button, travellers access an array of information that makes visiting a new city a breeze. Make Citymapper your go-to app for finding your way around London. This easy-to-use app provides real-time information about traffic, tube delays, and bus or train waiting times based on live data from London’s public transport systems. With Citymapper, you can type in your destination, giving you the cost, travel time, and route, with options such as walking, cycling, public transportation, and Uber.

Paying for your travel

London’s cashless system for public transport commute is a game changer and great for travellers to get an overview of their budget. When you use a contactless bank card, mobile payment app, or Oyster card, you can pay for Tube, bus, and train travel at the start of your journey. While paper tickets are possible on the Tube, rail and tram networks, they are much more time-consuming and costly.

Many newsagents throughout the capital have Oyster Ticket Stops, where you can use your Oyster card and top it up. The travellers Oyster card can be purchased at any Tube or Overground station, as well as from Oyster Ticket Stops at Tube and Overground stations. There’s a £5 refundable deposit to get a new card. Any money and remaining pay-as-you-go balance can be retrieved from any Tube station ticket machine before leaving the capital. Use your refund money to treat yourself to the best  Indian Afternoon Tea in London.

You’ll find different fares depending on where in London you’re going. As a result of its concentric layout, London is divided into nine zones beginning at the centre. Therefore, as you travel outward, public transport becomes more expensive.

Travelcards provide unlimited daily, weekly and monthly fares, but pay-as-you-go fares are subject to a daily and weekly cap. This means that you can take as many trips as you like until Transport for London charges you no more when your total fares amount to a certain amount. Of course, the cost will vary based on where you are travelling from and the time of day, but it is worth doing the math to see if you can save some money.

To ensure you pay the correct fare, make sure you tap in and out on the card reader when entering and leaving the Tube, bus and tram. 

London Underground

London Underground

Nearly 5 million passengers a day travel through the London Underground, or Tube, which is a vast network of underground railway stations. With an Oyster or contactless card, you will pay £2.90 during peak hours and £2.40 during off-peak hours. Hotels like the Park Grand Lancaster Gate are strategically located close to tube stations, giving guests ease of accessibility to different parts of London. Additionally, most stations in Central London are relatively close to one another, and sometimes walking can be faster than taking the Tube. 

Bus travel

London’s iconic red buses cover almost every corner of the capital with over 19,000 stops. Travellers can expect to pay £1.50 per journey. Taking the bus is an excellent alternative if you’re travelling in unconnected areas and want an overview of the city. The Citymapper first is great for planning out your route.

Overground and rail

In addition to the Tube, London has the Overground, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), TFL Rail, tram lines and, in autumn 2019, the Elizabeth line. Oysters or contactless bank cards are used to pay fares, as are buses and the Tube.



Central London is full of Santander Cycle docking stations that allow commuters to pick up and rent. Bike access costs £2 for 24 hours, including the first 30 minutes of riding. After that, you will have to pay another £2 for every 30 minutes or less. However, an insider tip to help you save, getting another bike and starting the clock again can help you avoid the additional charges. Upon unlocking a new bike at a new docking station, Santander Cycles will provide you with a code so that you can start your free 30 minutes over again. As a result, you can make multiple daily trips for only £2. To view real-time docking station availability, download the Santander Cycles app.

Riverboat cruise

There are plenty of great reasons to take a riverboat trip along London’s Thames, regardless of whether they are practical for most travellers. Services like the Thames Clipper are a great way to get from point A to B while enjoying a sightseeing experience of London. It is like killing two birds with one stone and a fantastic money-saving tip in London. Boating in the summer is one of the popular things to do in the city. Thames Clippers River Bus passengers with a Freedom Pass or 60+ London Oyster photocard can receive 50% off the adult fare. 


Of course, there is no better way to experience any city than on foot. Luckily, London is pedestrian-friendly, with some of the top attractions within walking distance. As you navigate through the city, keep an eye for hidden gems and sample incredible gastronomy at one of these  Lancaster Gate Restaurants. Out of all the transport options in London, walking is the one that promises you the best money-saving option.