It’s way more easy to get flat broke in London than it is on a city break to Skopje, Tallinn or even Paris for that matter. Britain’s capital is known for its relative expensiveness compared to other western European cities. We want to show you it’s still perfectly feasible to keep your costs low. We summed up our expenses during our two-day, one morning and one evening stay. All expenses are based on two persons, so if you’re going solo, just divide it by two:) I put everything in euros, but I also added a currency converter at the bottom of the page.
We flew from our local airport, Groningen (Netherlands), to Southend Airport on the east coast of England. These tickets, including return tickets, cost us €126.24. Although the ticket price varies per country, I’m pretty sure you can find a similar price at any discount airliner. Upon arrival we had to take the train to Liverpool Street Station. These tickets cost us €17.56 per ticket. Obviously we also wanted to get back home, so four tickets amount to €70.24 for four tickets total.
London is an enormous city with a lot of sights, such as the Big Ben, the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. Many of these are easily reachable by foot, but it’s crazy to walk every single mile on your city break. Luckily London has an amazing Underground network to save a lot of time, but also to spare your feet. Our room was in Shoreditch, a really cool neighborhood in which we spent a lot of time, so that was convenient. To reach the center, we had to take the Underground from Liverpool Street Station, because the nearby Overground was under construction.
If you want to use public transportation in London, and I recommend you do, you’ll need an Oyster Card. This card gains access to metro stations, train stations and buses. It is obtainable at some of the larger stations with a customer desk and will cost you a deposit of five pounds which you get back upon returning the card, plus any leftover credit. Topping up a card is easily done at any of the stations at a machine or at a desk.
Using the underground and a bus cost us £53 total during our stay. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to see the city, so we crisscrossed London like maniacs. Not surprisingly this resulted in the most money we’ve spent on city transportation ever. Of course this is also because London isn’t the cheapest place on earth. On our journey through the city we’ve visited Kensington, Camden and Greenwich from our London base Shoreditch.
Airplane tickets – €126.24
Train tickets – €89.90
Public transportation – €74.40
Total – €290.54
It’s no secret London is expensive, especially a place to sleep can be pricey. We spent our nights in a room in a small three bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom near Shoreditch. Awesome place. At first we felt not at ease because of the pot smoking teenagers in front of the entrance of the building. The kids appeared to be kind, so that’s another lesson about first judgement. However clean, the apartment wasn’t the place to spend the day. Luckily this wasn’t our intention, so we spent very little time in it.
We’ve spent our weekend at Karslake House, a perfect place if you want to keep things cheap.
Food and drinks
Food is important! Without food, you die.. Especially on intensive trips it’s really important to get enough healthy food…. and alcohol:) The Borough Market is a great place to refuel at one of the stands that make the most incredible meals with recipes from all over the world. The Camden Town Street food Market was also a maze of international kitchens. Even our country was represented with poffertjes; thick pancakes barely larger than a coin, covered with sugar. Old Spitafields Market is a covered market with also some nice stands offering burgers, juices and other snacks and healthy snacks. Since we always get a sandwich and an egg from the supermarket we had little experience with having breakfast outdoors. Only the last morning we went to Cereal Killers, a small place with hundreds of different kinds of cereal. Pretty cool..
Expenses on food and beverages – €163.38
When you want to make pictures on a trip, it’s definitely smart to not leave your SD card in your computer… at home.. So, the first morning I turned to Google to look for a camera shop in the neighborhood to buy a new memory card. It’s also a very good idea to bring a plug adapter so electronics can be charged. All that cost about €20, so not the end of the world, but still.. Not really smart.
We didn’t have to buy a magnet because Kir’s brother went to London on a school trip and brought her one. That’s money saved people! So no magnet collection extension, but we did buy a hand made John Lennon magnet for my parents.
For public toilets a small fee is demanded, so we both spent 50 cent on a toilet near Green Park. Other times we put on our McDonalds face to blend in and use the restroom there.
Magnet – €4.22
SD card – €15.18
Converter plug – €5.61
Toilet – €1.41
So.. How expensive is London?
Our answer to the question “How expensive is London?” is: €709.40 total. That’s €354.70 per person for three days, tickets included.
Way more expensive than other city breaks we’ve had, but it was definitely worth it! If you want to spend less, it’s probably a good idea to walk more and tube less. This was a big expense for us seen the percentage we normally spend on public transportation.
Do you think this is way too expensive or do you have tips to make a city break to London cheaper? Let in know in the comments!