London travel guide: where to stay, what to do and more
Traveling is not just about fun and excitement; it comes with many other scientifically proven health benefits that can positively impact your mind and body. Taking a few days off from your daily routine to visit the UK’s thriving capital will provide benefits beyond short-lived happiness!
London has so much to offer including fashion, art, music, cuisine and a long history of breathtaking buildings, museums and architecture. Whatever your tastes, budget or cultural beliefs, London can satisfy them.
London has also proven to be a great place to travel if you want to reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve your quality of life and improve your life expectancy, so pack your bags and book your flight.
This article can help you plan a budget trip and get the most out of your time in this great city.
Where to stay
Make your London experience unique by choosing from the best hotels and hostels the city has to offer. After a long day of exploring, you want to rest in a clean, comfortable and stylish room!
Intercontinental London – The O2 – IHG
If you’re looking to splurge on high-end hotels, this is a great place to start. This luxury hotel enjoys an ideal location just five miles from Big Ben and Trafalgar House and nine miles from Buckingham Palace! And, if you’re lucky, your room might overlook the Thames. It also offers spacious rooms, delicious breakfasts, friendly staff and a spa!
- Nearest airport: London City Airport
- Duration: 20 minutes
- Distance: 6 miles
The Assembly London is a stylish West End hotel with a heavenly setting next to Leicester Square. Its rooms are simple and comfortable, and being budget-friendly doesn’t mean it compromises on quality, convenience, and utmost satisfaction. Also located in its surroundings are theaters, bars, restaurants and clubs that will give you an ecstatic experience.
- Nearest airport: London Heathrow Airport
- Duration: 41 minutes
- Distance: 16 miles
The Zetter Hotel
The Zetter Hotel is a fun hotel in Clerkenwell with beautiful, colorful designs and stimulating local amenities. The rooms inside incorporate a design of primary colors, botanical patterns, dark hues and thick carpets. It also offers a casual atmosphere to match and great food. Just in case you don’t want to eat, it’s within walking distance of several places, including many excellent restaurants and markets.
- Nearest airport: London Biggin Hill
- Duration: 58 minutes
- Distance: 20 miles
Astor Hyde Park
London can be expensive, like any other big city, but there are plenty of budget hostels. Astor Hyde Park Hostel is one of them!
This hostel is located in a beautiful area of London, one minute from Hyde Park. It is surrounded by great museums, pubs and some of London’s best bars, clubs and restaurants. It’s also a short walk to public transport, making it easy to catch direct trains to Heathrow Airport and all of London’s attractions.
- Nearest airport: London City Airport
- Duration: 46 minutes
- Distance: 11 miles
what to eat
One of the best parts of traveling is trying out various foods! Every major city has several vendors, restaurants, and hidden places waiting to be discovered by you on your next trip. London, England is no exception when it comes to tasty and varied food, so be sure to try the restaurants we recommend below!
“$” = economy or cheap
“$$” = average
“$$$” = expensive
Core by Clare Smyth
Food is one of the strengths of any big city, and London is no different. This luxury place has no less than three Michelin stars! From steamed crab to carrot lamb to linguine, customers rave about the quality of the food here. If you don’t mind expensive but divine meals, this is a great place.
Paradise by way of Kensal Green
If you’re looking for a moderately priced restaurant that doesn’t give up on quality service, this is a good place for you. The ambience and interior decor are beautiful, and the food is excellent and inclusive with vegetarian dishes included on the menu. There is also a bar and a pub in the building.
- Ideal for brunch, dinner and drinks
Fish and chips is a common British delicacy, and this is one of the best places to eat it. The service is excellent, and the staff are friendly. It’s also convenient because you can eat on site or have your food delivered to your location!
- Best for lunch and dinner
You’ll love stopping by London’s food markets to try tons of delicious food at low prices. A stop at the internationally renowned Borough Market located in the heart of London Bridge is an introduction to an endless supply of options to suit all diets.
Kappacasein raclette is made and sold in the borough market, and it is made with cheese and potatoes. The cheese is grilled into delicious brown crust shapes, which are then scraped into your potato plate. Make sure this place is on your stop list so you can enjoy the delicious aroma and even more delicious food.
- Ideal for breakfast, lunch and dinner
What to do
No matter your budget, there are plenty of things to do in London! The thriving big city has plenty to offer, so check out our recommendations below, and don’t forget to ask the locals too!
Shop at Harrods
Founded in 1834, this shop has undoubtedly stood the test of time. You really can get everything at Harrods, from hard-to-find perfumes to the latest designer creations and gold bars. You can even get a personal shopping service if you want. So if shopping until you – or someone else – drop is part of your itinerary, and budget isn’t a big deal, this is definitely for you!
Getting to the London Eye
With VIP chocolate and luxury champagne treats and a whirlpool in the capsule, the London Eye is more than just a Ferris wheel. It is, after all, the largest observation wheel there is. It’s open year-round, takes 30 minutes to complete a ride, and you can reserve a ticket or buy one in person on the day. Many believe that a trip to London is incomplete without a ride in the London Eye. So why not go on and find out how true it is?
Visit the Theater
You’d love a ticket to London’s West End theatre, which stands out as one of the best in the world. It hosts a variety of exciting plays, musicals, classic comedies, operas and dance performances. Book a seat at a fascinating time to spice up your visit.
Take a free walking tour
A free walking tour is one of the best ways to learn about a city on a budget. You can stroll down to Trafalgar Square and stroll around while admiring its fountains and famous landmarks. It could also be a great place to people watch and observe London life. If you want to continue saving money after the walking tour, get some recommendations from your guide for the best free museums!
How to save money on your trip to London
Being in a big city means a stay in London can make you dig deep into your pocket. The city can be quite expensive, but the good news is that you can visit on a budget and still have a fantastic time.
Start your journey by visiting the free museums. Most museums in London are open to the public for free, and you can create amazing memories by visiting them. A few to visit are the Museum of London, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the National Gallery.
You can also just walk around and explore! There’s no better way to really experience a city’s culture, and London is a big city with beautiful historic buildings. You can pick up free maps at any tourist information store in London and show them around.
Due to the size of London, there is an endless amount of accommodation to choose from. That means you have several hotels and hostels to choose from if you’re trying to save a few bucks. If none of our previous recommendations are exactly what you’re looking for, click the link below to explore your options further.
Although London offers many modes of public transport, you may find that a rental car is the most convenient for you. Fortunately, you can get a reliable vehicle for as little as $29 a day!