London is a world-class city that everyone should visit at least once. It’s also consistently rated one of the most expensive cities in the world — especially since the British pound is so strong against the dollar. Luckily, hostels are reasonably affordable (at least for a major city), and there are plenty of great free museums. However, the cost of attractions and food can kill your budget.
In this London travel price guide, we’ll outline the estimated travel expenses for food, accommodation, attractions, alcohol, and other things that you’ll experience when you visit London.
This article is part of our City Price Guide Series — Click here to see all our city price guides.
Average Daily Cost For Visiting London
These prices are based on what you’ll need to visit the city comfortably — they don’t include things like big nights out at the bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenir/clothing shopping, tours, etc. Don’t forget to budget extra for those “non-essentials.”
Daily Cost of Budget Travel in London: £74 (Approx. $100)
- Attractions: £15 (one paid attraction + any free museums)
- Food: £23.50
- Breakfast: £4
- Lunch: £6
- Dinner: £10
- Treat (dessert/beer/wine): £3.50
- Transportation: £7
- Accommodation (hostel): £28/night
Daily Cost of Frugal Travel in London: £47 (Approx. $65)
- Attractions: £0 (visit one of the many free museums)
- Food: £15
- Breakfast: £0 (free hostel breakfast)
- Lunch: £5 (ethnic street food or takeaway shop fare)
- Dinner: £7 (cook your own meal in the hostel or cheap takeout)
- Treat: £3 (something sweet)
- Transportation: £2.30 (single tube ride)
- Accommodation (cheap hostel bed): £20/night
London Attraction and Museum Prices
Good news… London has amazing museums and most of them are completely free. Bad news… all the other attractions are pretty damn expensive — so pick just a few if you’re on a super tight budget. That said, you might be able to save some money by using the London Pass. Read our London Pass Review for more information.
- Tower of London: £27.00
- London Eye: £28.00
- St. Paul’s Cathedral: £18.00
- Buckingham Palace: £23.00
- Westminster Abbey: £122.00
- British Museum: Free
- Victoria and Albert Museum: Free
- National Gallery: Free
- Imperial War Museum: Free
- Tate Modern: Free
- Natural History Museum: Free
- Walking Tours: Free (but you should tip the guides) — £20+
Tip: Most of these locations now offer online booking and there is often a small discount for booking online.
London Food Prices
England isn’t traditionally known for great food but London does have a world-renowned food scene — but that high-end food is a budget killer. Budget travelers will have to stick to the basics, and even then, the food isn’t cheap. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to cook for yourself as much as possible.
Budget Breakfast Prices: Free-£10
- Many hostels will offer a free, simple breakfast that normally consists of cereal, bread/croissant, and maybe milk, coffee, tea, or juice (some hostels will offer more and some less).
- A traditional English breakfast from a typical café will cost £4-£8.
- You can also find plenty of budget-friendly options at the bakery or grocery store. Croissants and other baked goods start around £1. Coffee from a typical café will cost around £2.
Budget Lunch Prices: £5-£15
- Super budget travelers can make a super cheap lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit from any grocery store for a few pounds.
- Takeaway meals (like kebabs with fries) or similar dishes from a takeaway shop will cost about £7-£9.
- Check out street markets for pizza, falafel, tagines, burritos, curries, wraps, and sandwiches for £5-£9.
- A simple, yet filling and tasty, lunch from a local (i.e. non-touristy) restaurant will cost about £10-£15.
Budget Dinner Prices: £5-£18
- Budget travelers will want to seek out the many ethnic restaurants in London. It isn’t too tough to find a good meal for about £12-£18.
- McDonald’s combo meal (burger, fries, and a drink) will cost about £5.
- Fish and chips from a typical fish and chips shop will cost around £5-£6.
- Many of the options from the Budget Lunch section above also apply for dinner.
Drinks and Alcohol Prices
- Pint of standard beer out: £3.20-£6+
- Pint of beer from a grocery store: £1-£2
- Glass of the house wine at a restaurant: £4-£5+
London Transportation Prices
London is a big city so you’ll want to use public transportation. Unfortunately, it can be kind of expensive (and a bit confusing). Consider purchasing an Oyster Card (a refillable travel card) to save money.
- Single One-Way Ticket: £4.90
- Single One-Way Fare with Oyster Card: £2.90 (peak), £2.40 (off-peak)
- Max Day Fare: £9.80 (you’ll never pay more than £9.80 in a single day when using the Oyster Card)
- Heathrow Express (fast train between LHR and London— travel time 15min): £22.50-£25
- London Underground (between airport and city — travel time 60min): £5.70
- Heathrow Connect (30min journey): £10.30
- Bus from LHR airport into the city (60-80min): £6-£10
- Taxi LHR airport into the city: £50 – £70
London Hostel, Hotel, & Rental Apartment Prices
London has plenty of hostels throughout the city and all the competition helps to keep the prices down a little — but you still shouldn’t expect super cheap prices. Don’t expect much from budget hotels as most are small, rundown, and dingy. Apartment rentals can be a very attractive option if you’re traveling with two or more people.
Hostel Prices: £20-£40/Night
Plan on budgeting about £26/night per person for a decent hostel, although many hostels raise their prices on the weekend. Remember, these prices are for a bed in a shared dorm room. If you want a private room, expect to pay £50-£100. Check out the latest hostel prices at Hostelworld.
Here is a list of the top-rated hostels in London:
- Wombats City Hostel London
- Astor Hyde Park
- Astor Queensway
- Barmy Badger Backpackers
- MEININGER London Hyde Park
Want to learn more? Read our guide to the Best Hostels in London.
Budget Hotel Prices: £50-£150
At the low end, you shouldn’t expect much, and cheap hotels tend to be located fairly far outside the city — but once you get around €100/night, the hotels get a bit better. Also note, hotel prices can fluctuate quite a bit during the summer, Christmas, and if there are any big conventions in town.
We suggest checking out Booking.com to see hotel prices for your dates since they’re always changing.
Rental Apartment Prices: £90-£130+
London has a lot of rental apartments throughout the city. They can be a good option for large groups or travelers who want a little more space (and a kitchen). On the other hand, you may also have to deal with inconvenient check-in processes and things like extra cleaning fees and service charges. For short stays, we prefer hotels/hostels but rental apartments can be a nice option for longer stays.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EUROPE TRAVEL COSTS
We’ve created a guide about the costs of traveling through Europe (including more City Price Guides) — Click here to read more about Europe Travel Costs.
Be sure to also check out our London Travel Guide for more London travel tips.
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Thanks For Reading! — Susan and James