London Money-Saving Tips
Sneak A Peek at British PoliticsDo your best to nab a seat during a Parliamentary debate (Mon.–Thurs.) or Prime Minister’s Question Time (noon Wed.) at the Palace of Westminster (free seating on a first-come basis, with UK residents getting first dibs; www.parliament.uk).
Oyster CardAvoid fumbling for coins with this multi-ride access pass for public transportation – trust us, it's a must. Store up to GBP£90 on the card and pay as you go; fares are discounted for card users.
Snag the Best Seat in the HouseIf you have your heart set on a particular West End show, try the theater box office on performance day. They often have prime seats available. Less finicky theatergoers can save money at the half-price tkts booth in Leicester Square.
Travel like James BondBypass the lumbering sightseeing boats on the Thames and get a cinematic view of the city courtesy of the zippy 12-seat inflatables operated by Flying Fish Tours.
Picnic in Royal StyleLondon's pricey, but an afternoon picnic in serene Green Park or neighboring St. James's Park, with its view of Buckingham Palace's famous guards, makes for an inexpensive afternoon. Grab sandwiches from nearby Marks & Spencer's Simply Food.
Breakfast at WimbledonTickets for the main tennis courts sell out far in advance via public drawing, but 500 tickets are released daily (except the final four days) during the June tournament for those willing to queue with cash – and wait overnight.
Bag a BargainThere are various sightseeing passes on offer to make a trip to London better value. One is the London Pass, www.londonpass.com a day pass that gives fast access to a range of London’s very best sights. The other is the Days Out Guide, www.daysoutguide.co.uk, which gives two-for-one tickets on many attractions.
Laterooms.comIf you are making a last minute trip to the capital check out the website, www.laterooms.com, as it often has extremely good discounts on hotel rooms.
The Religious ExperiencePay your respects to past monarchs by attending mass at Westminster Abbey (held multiple times daily; all are welcome). While attending a service is one of the only ways you’ll get an inside look at the famed cathedral for free, the adjoining, centuries-old Cloisters is worth a peek and never charges admission.
The Royal TreatmentGet your royal fix (without paying a king’s ransom) by witnessing the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Find Local Flavors at the Markets
Browse jungles of stalls hocking unique and international wares at Camden and Brick Lane Markets.
Free MuseumsA startling number of London’s first-rate galleries and museums cost nary a thing, including the Tate Modern (www.tate.org.uk/modern) and the British Museum (www.britishmuseum.org), home of the Rosetta Stone. The Victoria & Albert (www.vam.ac.uk), with 4.5 million-object decorative arts collection, is a must-see, flanked by huge fountains and lion statues in scenic Trafalgar Square.
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Early morning flights often have lower fares than midday departures.
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