A compact and culturally dense city, London beckons travelers from all over the world to its sights, some of which dates back thousands of years. While it is one of the most fascinating cities in the world, it can also be one of the most expensive. Lodging in the city is often difficult to find and even what is available might cost as much in one night as an entire week in another city. Savvy travelers have an interest in exploring the city and saving money must find a delicate balance between proximity to the sights and price of lodging. Luckily, there are tricks travelers can use to get a great deal on hotels that are close to the action.
While booking last minute rooms is not for the faint of heart, it does sometimes pay to procrastinate. Desperate hoteliers will sometimes offer lower room rates in order to fill up the hotel, forfeiting the extra revenue they normally charge. Hotels such as the Saint George’s Hotel or the Apex London Wall Hotel are conveniently located and offer five-star amenities, often for a two-star price when booked at the last minute.
Many London hotels combine the comforts of the modern age with wonderful detailing that recalls London’s long and historic past. Twenty Nevern Square is one such example, a cozy hotel that manages to offer the convenience of its swanky Knightsbridge location, the period detailing of its Victorian townhouse styling and a bar, concierge and parking for around Â£100 per night.
Many of the best sites to visit in the city are actually free; museums typically do not charge an entrance fee, but do ask for a small, voluntary donation to be made. Some of the finest art and archaeological treasures in the world are in London and can be seen at no ticket charge; it also costs nothing to enjoy the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, a tourist favorite.
Visitors should pay attention to the times at which British schools have their holidays, as monuments and other attractions will have longer lines, hotels will fill up quickly and rates will also increase. The end of October, at Christmas time, early in February, around Easter and during the months of July and August are popular times for travel. Off-season rates are a nice way to cut costs, so travelers should keep an eye on the calendar when planning their travel.
Heathrow is London’s primary airport and it features Tube stations right inside its terminals, making travel in and out of London extremely convenient and inexpensive. There is also a range of airport hotels to fit any budget, from the very expensive to cheaper alternatives such as the Heathrow Lodge. Gatwick is another airport servicing the city and it, too, offers budget alternatives for lodging and convenient Tube travel into the city.
Sights such as the Tower of London, the British Museum, Westminster Abbey and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre are historic gems that distill London’s heritage into a fascinating and accessible adventure. Any visit to London is repaid in memorable experiences; it doesn’t have to cost a fortune in order to visit if travelers decide on a budget and use a few travel tricks to bring their costs down.
This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the most comprehensive travel search website allowing you to find the best deals on anything from flights and hotels to train rides and Homeaway rentals.