London is a city of opportunity and therefore many people flock to the UK capital to find work and to try and fulfil their dreams. With such a broad spanning creative culture in the city, the creative industries have rooted themselves in London. From the film making dazzle at Ealing Studios to the heart of British Television at the BBC, there are a vast range of companies to find jobs at but in a highly bustling market place and with a lot of competition, there are often long periods of unemployment. This also goes for the music and arts industries as well with countless internships at music and arts organisations. With more and more performing arts and creative academies opening up around the city, a large amount of international people will flock to the city and like many, will find it difficult to get work and afford to live. With this in mind, there are countless shortcuts Londoners can take to make their stay in the city a budget but brilliant one. Whether you’re a tourist short on cash or a copper counting city worker, we’ve rounded up some of the ways that Londoner’s retain their city lifestyle on a shoestring.
Go contactless – 100 words
Contactless makes everything cheaper in London. From contactless payment cards to Oyster Cards, these little pieces of plastic can be the difference between a swift journey and a bumpy ride. With London being designated to zones 1-6 underground travel costs are all dependant on where you’re travelling to. If you’re staying in zone 1 then it’ll be cheaper to travel whilst an underground trip from zone 1 to 6 will be far more expensive. If you have a good idea of what zones you’ll be travelling in then you can choose a travel card that suits your needs and not have to travel outside of your designated cards. These vary in price and range from a daily travel card to a monthly one. If you know you’ll be travelling through further zones then you may have to spend more, but if you’re taking more than two journeys a day then you’ll be saving money on daily travel expenses and won’t have to worry about travel costs.
British Pubs on a budget – 100
Drinking in London is definitely not cheap. Pints will rarely be any lower than £3.50 and the pubs that sell lower prices are few and far between. The further out you go, the cheaper pubs will become. There are several pub chains that are cheaper in their drink prices. If you are central and are looking for a good bargain then try and hit the happy hour periods, usually after work hours, between 5 and 8 in general. There are also areas where drinking may be cheaper, with nightlife centres such as Camden and Shoreditch holding many pubs and bars off the beaten track. At the end of the day, whether you’re a tourist or just new to living in London, you’ll find yourself spending a fair amount of time in our charming British pubs, whether drinking or not.
Museums on a budget – 150
One of the ways you can save money is through our broad range of museums. London is very good at making learning both fun and cheap with its plethora of museums. The Science Museum is great for families due to its interactive exhibitions, as is the Natural History museums. Both are even within a five minute walk of each other in South Kensington whilst the British Museum can be found in the centre of London’s Holborn area. The Tate Modern and the Tate Britain will have you whittling away hours absorbed in great works of art, as will the countless other free galleries such as a the National Portrait Gallery and the Newport Street Gallery.
Theatre on a budget – 100
Seeing the performing arts live can be very expensive indeed, especially with musicals and West End theatres selling tickets for relatively high prices. There are ways round this however, booking far in advance can meant that ticket prices may be lower and you can find great ticket deals at ticket stalls in Leicester Square. On top of this, if you’re a student you can find tickets for theatre at places like the National Theatre for lower prices. This is the same with some of London’s most prominent theatres, such as the Royal Court and the Old Victoria Theatre where you can see the best in both contemporary and classical theatre. There are also days where you can buy your theatre tickets on the day for cheaper.
Music on a budget
The best thing about London’s bursting at the seams music scene is that many up and coming musicians play at open mic nights which are often in bars and pubs where you’ll find you’ll pay by donation only. There are also many music venues where you’ll find cheap all day music festivals and will find it easy to find the next big thing in a small pub somewhere.
Shopping on a budget
Shopping on a budget can be difficult as there is so much to choose from in London. Of course, the designer shops in high end parts of the city are going to be more expensive than, say, the thrift shops of Shoreditch. There are many places in Central London to choose from with many bargains down Oxford Street giving the best in inexpensive and trendy street wear and homewares. Try Muji for minimalist homeware whilst Beyond Retro in Shoreditch will have fashionistas of all ages delving through the clothes rails for hours on end.
Accommodation on a budget
London has a plethora of different accommodation for you to sample. One of the best in luxury yet Budget Accommodation in London is the Grand Park Lancaster Gate hotel. As a city well renowned for its great hospitality services and the Grand Park Lancaster Gate is no different with great transport links to airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick. It’s also located right next to Hyde Park in the heart of the city. If you’re a young traveller without enough money to spend on cheap five star accommodation then there’s a wide range of youth hostels spanning the city, from right in the centre to the outskirts.
With so much of the aforementioned helping you have a thrifty time in London then you may not even have time to do much else. Of course you’ll need to eat and areas such as Soho have a wide range of cheap restaurants, especially in China Town where you can find the best in Chinese food. There are many other budget restaurants dotted around areas such as Shoreditch, the South Bank and even Brixton Market.
With such a wide range of parks around the city of London you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time lounging in the sun (or escaping the rain) in a wide range of amazing green spaces. For a city as built up as London, it’s surprising how many green spaces you can find. From the group of parks formally known as the royal parks, which include Green Park, Hyde Park, Richmond Park, Bushey Park and Greenwich Park to the public parks in the London Boroughs, you’re bound to find something to do, from free ping pong tables to boules and cycling.