London on a budget – 5 tips and tricks

This post is almost a year late. There is no excuse other than I’m THE BEST procrastinator there is! Take that Tim Urban! (just kidding, I love him and his Procrastination Posts!)

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If you’re planning a trip to London you are awesome! I’m now going to give you some tips based of my experience.

Walk everywhere!

I didn’t use the underground, taxis or buses. I walked. everywhere! I may not be the fittest person on earth but I’m good at walking. I love to walk. If you’re like me, there is no better way to see London. (There are even Free Walking Tours if you’re interested.)

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I was staying in a hotel in Pimlico so I divided London in 4 sections as you can see in the map bellow.

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Pimlico is quiet, beautiful and right next to the Victoria Coach Station. I couldn’t recommend it more! It’s a great location with walkable distances to every major attraction.

In the first day, after checking-in and looking for a place to have lunch I decided to pick section 1 and visit the London-Eye and the Big Ben to take that classic selfie letting people know where we were.

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I started in the Westminster Cathedral where so many cute kids were rehearsing Christmas songs. We aimed for the Westminster Abbey and Big Ben next but made a quick stop in the Victoria Tower Gardens.

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After Crossing the Westminster Bridge we got to the London Eye, took a few pictures and walked back.

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The second day started with the Changing of the Guard at the Buckingham Palace. We made it to a really cool spot right at the front without having to arrive super early.

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Right next was Piccadilly where we had lunch.Β Covent Garden was where we wanted to go on the afternoon and everything was beautifully decorated.

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One of my main goals in this trip was Winter Wonderland and that was on the other side of town in Hyde Park so we decided to go to Trafalgar Square, visit the National Gallery and then go over there after the sun set to appreciate it at the best time.

After going to Hyde Park at night I realized I had to see it with the sun beaming so on the third and last day we took a walk there and relaxed while everybody did different things. From horseback riding to rollerblading to football and running, it was filled with happiness and activities.

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On our way to Notting Hill we stopped to get a Teddy Bear dressed as a Palace Guard for my godson. After lunch at the park we went to Harrods and as our time in London was getting to an end we decided to walk back to our hotel to get our bags and head over to the coach station.

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Because I had to walk I ended up seeing so much more than if I had just taken the underground and getting out in the goal destination. Wear comfortable shoes, have internet service to navigate google maps and you’ll be good to go.

Visit in the Christmas Season

This one is particularly personal. I love Christmas and London is magical in this season. The weather is not that aggressive, everything is decorated, there is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, hot cocoa…. what more could a Christmas geek want?

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If you go at the end of November like me instead of full on December, the flights and accommodations aren’t that expensive and you get the same experience.

Eat on the go

This one is easy for most travellers on a budget. I discovered that Tesco andΒ Sainsbury’s had amazing on-the-go food for really affordable prices and they were really close to my hotel.

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Other alternatives are big chain places like Pret A Manger, which is in almost every street! I loved their spicy veggie sandwich with avocado. Ate it while sitting on a bench in Hyde Park escaping the busy streets and looking at squirrels… wishing Flash was there.

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Notting Hill is crazy on Saturdays

I decided to leave Notting Hill for last and it was a terrible decision since that meant I was going during the Portobello Market… that’s perfect if you want to go to the Portobello Market… but I didn’t. I only wanted to check the neighborhood and appreciate the beauty, which is almost impossible when trying to navigate through a crowd.

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So in hindsight it probably wasn’t the best idea, but it kind of worked out because I got to see those beautiful houses on a shortcut on my way back to Hyde Park.

Choose wisely

London is huge and there is so much to see. Because it was my first trip and I didn’t have that much time I had to “give up” on visiting places away from the center and pick carefully where I wanted to spend time.

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I recommend planning everything in advance and buying tickets for everything you want to see before leaving. It can be cheaper than buying on site and you’ll save yourself so much time.

I only went to free places in this trip. There are so many free museums and gardens and squares…

Bonus: Souvenirs at the National Gallery

I knew Β I wanted to bring souvenirs back but there are hundreds of shops dedicated to just that. Since we were close to Christmas, I was only searching for cute tree ornaments. These things in London can be quite expensive for their value but when I was visiting the National Gallery there were so many cute ones available in the store! I couldn’t resist.

And to me it was money well spent because after getting so much knowledge FOR FREE, it was a simple way of supporting the Gallery.

 

I hope you have a wonderful time visiting London!

Let me know if you enjoyed this, share your own tips and tricks in the comment section and if you have any questions feel free to ask!

Don’t forget to follow me on InstagramΒ @daleian_, where I post almost every single day!


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