The world in travel girl eyes.

5 Ways for Students to see London…on a budget

One of the most visited cities in the world. London is definitely a place that many people see as a hive of culture, royalty and shopping. It is also expensive. As a brit that lives in the north when I go down to London it is a mini break. I have found that outside of the UK people don’t quite realise that the north/south divide does exist. The north isn’t usually a hotspot attraction for visitors venturing over this side of the pond (even though it should be!) but that’s for another post… Anyway, London. It’s a fab city that has plenty to do, but for a traveler on a budget it can be tricky to experience as it is so bloody expensive. So here are my 5 top tips on how to do London on a student budget.

1. Use the Boris bikes!

Getting around London is expensive, tubes, trains and buses all eat away at your ever dwindling pocket so why not see the sites on one of (in my opinion) the best inventions ever…the Boris Bike.

If your there for more than a day these are definitely the best way to get around central London. They’re fairly cheap to hire if you work the system right. It costs £2 to get a bike pass for 24 hours. This allows you to use the bikes for 30 minutes without any extra charge. So if your savvy with your route you can make sure you keep popping your bike into the station before the half an hour is up and just print off another number to unlock a different bike. Simples. There are docking stations all over the place meaning you can literally hop on and off as you please. Which lets you…

2. See the sights in a much better way.

You can bike past the amazing globe theatre and see where Shakespeare made history, cross the many bridges that are dotted across the Thames or take a nice bike ride around one of the many pretty parks in the city.

You can still experience London without actually paying to visit the attractions, they’re just as beautiful from the outside. But if you do want to venture in…

3. then you can get into places on the cheap…

As students we are classed in many places as concessions. Some places even have a special student discount or free entry days that you should really make the most of. A ‘must-do’ in London is visiting one of the amazing West-End shows which I happily did last time I was down. Some theatres release a certain amount of student tickets at a seriously cheap price. Now not all of them do this so it is definitely worth researching before you waltz up to a booking office expecting to get a ticket for a fiver. We were lucky and managed to do just that but don’t be surprised if they look at you and say ‘jog on…’ Matilda the musical definitely have discounted tickets so if your between 16 and 25 and fancy seeing an amazing show for next to nothing head on down there.

As a musical nerd I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it as the movie is so iconic. I was blown away by the talent of the cast and the set was the best I’d ever seen on the west-end. The lyrics (written by funny man Tim Minchin) are genius and my foot was firmly tapping away to many of the numbers. If your not one for the musicals but enjoy the arts you can see a shakespearean play at the amazing globe for a fiver if you don’t mind standing up or pop into the Tate for free entry to many of the exhibitions.

4. Try not to eat in…

…restaurants. They are one of the biggest expenditures on trips like this so my advice is to eat out, on the grass, on a bench or just chilling in Piccadilly Gardens. Head to one of the independent street vendors that London is crawling with and make the most of the amazing variety on offer. In Camden there is an amazing selection of food from Crepes to Thai. I decided to try some famous Chinese bang bang chicken and loved it, you cannot miss the vendor in the market as it’s the first one you hit before heading into the market itself, and it was only £3!

Camden is full of weird and wonderful characters and it’s a great place to grab some awesome (and delicious) street food and watch the world go by. You may even have a few pennies left over to treat yourself to some funky jewellery…

5. Friends, family or even strangers…

may let you crash on there sofa for a couple of nights. I’m not saying grab the nearest stranger in the street and ask to stay over but if you know someone that knows someone else it’s time to use that connection! Yes it’s cheeky but one day they may need your couch too! If you don’t have any mutual friends in the city couchsurfing can be a good option if you feel comfortable and confident with the idea of it. I’ve never done it so can’t comment on any successful or otherwise attempts but this is mainly because I haven’t needed to! I’d definitely do a lot of research around couchsurfing before deciding anything but it’s an option. If you’ve ruled all of them out then the next best (and safest) thing is a hostel. There are loads in and around London which vary from £7 a night to £30. HostelWorld is were I always book my accommodation from so I’d definitely recommend heading over there and seeing what suits your needs.

I hope these give you a few ideas if your ever heading into the city. I love London and hopefully over the next few months I’ll get to explore it some more!

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