The Cheapest Way to Travel in London

speeding train

Written by our web team

9 min read | 07 December 2023

Whether you’re visiting London for the day, weekend, or a few days, you’ll find plenty to see and do. To help you plan your trip, here are some of the city’s:

  • Cultural places of interest, like the British Museum

  • Free attractions, such as the Sky Garden

  • Retail therapy opportunities, including Harrods

  • Food experiences, which offers the likes of afternoon tea on a red double-decker bus

We offer cheap train tickets to reach London from all over the UK. There are plenty of budget ways to get around the city, too. 

First, we’ll talk you through the cheapest ways to travel in London. This way, saving money while enjoying the city becomes easy.

The cheapest way to travel in London 

A pair of red double-decker buses driving past Big Ben

Getting around London doesn’t have to be pricey. Here are four of the cheapest ways to travel in London.

1. The London Underground

Using the Underground train service is one of the cheapest ways to travel in London. Especially when you avoid rush hour and travel during Off-Peak hours. These hours are between 6:30 am and 9:29 am or 4:00 pm and 6:59 pm

Tube tickets are also cheaper when you make contactless payments or pay with a Visitor Oyster card instead of cash.

Scanning a contactless or Oyster card at the ticket barriers will cap the amount you’ll spend. It doesn’t matter how many journeys you make. In Zones 1 and 2, scanning your card will cap your spending to £7.70 per day and £38.40 per week.

You can buy a Visitor Oyster card online, at any London train station, and at some newsagents. These cards are £5, and you can decide how much credit you’d like to add. 

TFL recommends adding £15 if you’re visiting London for two days or £30 if you’re visiting for four days.

2. Walking and cycling

Many London tube stations are close together, and it’s easy to walk between them. Not only is this free, but you also get to enjoy the scenic routes. 

If you need to travel a little further, hire a Santander Cycle for £1.65 for 30 minutes. You’ll find these bikes dotted all over the city.

3. Buses and trams

London’s buses and trams are also some of the cheapest ways to travel in London. A Hopper Fare allows you to take unlimited bus and tram journeys for £1.75 within one hour.

4. Taxis

If you need door-to-door transportation, a taxi might be better than public transport in London. Taxis may not be the cheapest way to travel in London. However, they’re not always as pricey as you might think.

A typical ride from Heathrow Airport to Central London costs around £25. You can get this cost down to as low as £12.50 per person by ride-sharing with Uber.

What to do while you're in London 

A view of the exterior of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Once you’ve found the cheapest ways to travel in London, you can plan cultural excursions and visits to free attractions. Leave time for some shopping trips and meals out, too. 

If you need London travel inspiration, try these ideas to bring some excitement to your plans.

Cultural highlights to visit in London

London is awash with cultural spots to visit, many of which are free to visit. Here are three cultural highlights to enjoy while sightseeing in London.

1. The British Museum

Experience cultures from all over the world at the British Museum. Galleries cover Egyptian mummies, the Islamic world, and the Sutton Hoo ship burial, amongst other themes.

Entrance is free, but you can book in advance to avoid disappointment. Time it right, and you can visit specific exhibitions, too.

The British Museum: Essential Information
  • Address: Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG

  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 (18:30 on Fridays)

  • Nearest tube/train station: Tottenham Court Road Underground Station (a six-minute walk away)

2. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

There’s always a play coming up at Shakespeare’s Globe, and standing tickets are £5. Combine a play with a tour of the Globe to immerse yourself in the historic theatre experience.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre: Essential Information
  • Address: 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT

  • Opening hours: Varies depending on what’s currently running

  • Nearest tube/train station: Mansion House Underground Station (an 11-minute walk away)

3. Karl Marx’s Tomb and Memorial 

Visit Victorian Highgate Cemetery to explore the philosopher Karl Marx’s tomb and memorial. You can also walk through the cemetery’s winding paths, wooded hill, and ivy-clad monuments. 

Tickets to Marx’s tomb and memorial are £4.50. Tickets to the whole cemetery are £10.

Karl Marx’s Tomb and Memorial: Essential Information
  • Address: Highgate Cemetery, Swain’s Lane, N6 6PJ

  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday in March to October from 10:00 to 17:00 / Monday to Sunday in November to February from 10:00 to 16:30 

  • Nearest tube/train station: Archway Underground Station (a 15-minute walk away)

Free things to do in London

You don’t have to dig far to find free things to do in London. Try these three zero-cost experiences.

1. Catch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony 

Watch the famous Changing of the Guard at the Buckingham Palace forecourt. During this ceremony, the soldiers currently on duty exchange places with the soldiers taking over.

Buckingham Palace: Essential Information
  • Address: Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA

  • Opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 10:45

  • Nearest tube/train station: St James’ Park Underground Station (a nine-minute walk away)

2. Walk through the ruins of London’s Roman Amphitheatre 

In 1988, archaeologists discovered London’s Roman Amphitheatre beneath Guildhall Yard. Today, you can visit the ruins of this amphitheatre, which dates back to AD70. 

Tickets are free, and there are £7.50 tours available on certain dates. Your ticket will also grant you free entry to the Guildhall Art Gallery. Book ahead of time to secure your date.

The Roman Amphitheatre: Essential Information
  • Address: Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE

  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:30 to 16:00

  • Nearest tube/train station: Bank Underground Station (a five-minute walk away)

3. Visit the Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden, and it’s free to enter. Aside from enjoying the beautiful views, you can visit the Garden’s two bars, restaurant, café, and gift shop.

Time your visit around specific events, like the SoLo Craft Fair, Rooftop Wine and Dine Terrace, and Halloween events.

The Sky Garden: Essential Information
  • Address: Sky Garden, 1 Sky Garden Walk, EC3M 8AF

  • Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 08:00 to 00:00 / Friday to Saturday from 08:00 to 01:00 / Sunday from 08:00 to 00:00

  • Nearest tube/train station: Monument Underground Station (a two-minute walk away)

Best places to go shopping in London

Whether you love an old-school market, luxurious department store, or busy shopping centre, London has it all. Here are three of the best places to go shopping in the city.

1. Explore London’s markets

There are several bustling markets in London, each full of food, flowers, fashion, antiques, and music records. 

Camden Market is a good starting point. You’ll find lots of adjoining markets here, winding from the tube station to Regent’s Canal. Explore Camden Lock Market for its arts and crafts and the Stables Market for its quirky furniture.

Camden Market: Essential Information
  • Address: Central Camden, the market runs throughout the town centre

  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 until late

  • Nearest tube/train station: Camden Underground Station (a four-minute walk away)

2. Visit London’s top department stores

London is full of iconic department stores. Think Liberty London, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols. And, as the world’s leading luxury department store, Harrods is a must-visit.

Harrods: Essential Information
  • Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL

  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 21:00 / Sunday from 11:30 to 18:00

  • Nearest tube/train station: Knightsbridge Underground Station (a six-minute walk away)

3. Enjoy retail therapy at Westfield Shopping Centre

Europe’s largest urban shopping centre, Westfield offers more than 350 retailers. All under one roof, this shopping centre makes the perfect day out in the classic London rain.

Westfield Shopping Centre: Essential Information
  • Address: Westfield London, Ariel Way, Shepherds Bush, W12 7GF

  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 21:00 / Sunday from 12:00 to 18:00

  • Nearest tube/train station: Wood Lane Underground Station (a one-minute walk away)

Where to go for great food in London

Freshly baked bread for sale at the Borough Market.

There are countless restaurants, cafés, and street markets to suit all tastes in London. Here are three starting points to inspire you.

1. Themed afternoon tea

Afternoon tea lovers will find an array of themed teas across London. From Mad Hatter's tea parties to train-themed afternoon teas, there’s something for everyone.

You can also pair a classic afternoon tea with a double-decker bus tour. This means you can eat sandwiches and scones from Brigit’s Bakery while looping around Central London’s iconic buildings.

Classic Afternoon Tea Bus London Sightseeing Tour: Essential Information
  • Address: Victoria Coach Station, SW1W 9RH or Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DS

  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, from 12:00 to 17:00 every 30 minutes

  • Nearest tube/train station: Victoria Coach Station (a one-minute walk away) or Charing Cross Underground Station (a one-minute walk away)

2. The Cheese Bar

The Cheese Bar is an unbeatable choice for cheese lovers. The menu features pots of molten cheese fondue, London Burrata, and Blue Cheese Raclette, amongst many other options. 

Since opening in Camden, The Cheese Bar has expanded to several locations across London, including a barge and a food truck.

The Cheese Bar: Essential Information
  • Address: Unit 93-94, Camden Stables, Camden Town, NW1 8AH

  • Opening hours: Monday and Tuesday from 12:00 to 20:00 / Wednesday from 12:00 to 21:15 / Thursday and Friday from 12:00 to 21:30 / Saturday from 11:00 to 21:30 / Sunday from 12:00 to 19:00

  • Nearest tube/train station: Chalk Farm Underground Station (a five-minute walk away)

3. Borough Market street food

If you’re looking for casual meals while out and about, London’s street food markets won’t disappoint. Start with Borough Market, where you’ll find seafood dishes, chicken shawarma, and Persian sharing plates, to name a few.

Borough Market: Essential Information
  • Address: 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL

  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00 / Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00 / Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00

  • Nearest tube/train station: London Bridge Underground Station (a two-minute walk away)

A cheap way to travel to London: book train tickets through Avanti

Once you’ve earmarked exciting attractions and found the cheapest ways to travel in London, it’s time to find the cheapest way to get to London. 

When you book trains to London through Avanti, you can get direct train tickets without paying a booking fee. 

If you’re looking to save even more on your journey, consider acquiring a Railcard for savings on all your rail travel, or a Group Travel Ticket if you’re going with friends and family.

You can even sign up for Priority Ticket Alerts to know when we release our cheapest train tickets. This could lead to savings of up to 75% on your ticket price by booking early.

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