Ask the Expert: is London an expensive city to visit?
Although the value of GBP (Great British Pound) has fallen in recent years, it is still one of the world’s strongest currencies and a major currency benchmark. This means that for many tourists, London can be an expensive city to visit. Luckily, there are many ways to explore the city without spending much money, especially if you make plans in advance.
Many of London’s best galleries and museums are free. These include the British Museum in Bloomsbury, the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in South Kensington, the Tate Modern on the South Bank, the Imperial War Museum in Kennington and the Museum of London, near the Barbican.
Watching a classic London theatre show such as Les Miserablés (above) can be an expensive outing, but many West End theatres offer low-price tickets on the day of each performance. The best strategy is to pick a show you would like to see, call the theatre using its direct number and ask if it sells day seats. If it does offer day seats, you will need to arrive at the theatre when the box office opens in the morning, on the day that you would like to see the show. Normally, day seats are the first two rows of seats in the auditorium, at the front of the stage, and they sell these tickets to whoever buys them first.
Some theatres do things differently: The Book of Mormon, for example, holds a ticket raffle every day, 2.5 hours before each show begins. All you need to do is arrive at the theatre and fill in a form. If you are lucky and they pick your name, you will receive two front-row tickets for approximately £40 (£20 each). Meanwhile, if a performance of Les Miserablés sells out, the theatre begins selling standing tickets for the rear of the stalls which cost £15 each (these are only for sale on the day of the performance).
Don't forget to check out tickets.londonplanner.com too, which will help you find great theatre ticket deals with us.
Make sure to get the most out of your Oyster travel card, too. For example, if you travel from Baker Street to Earls Court Station on the number 74 bus, you’ll see many of London’s best sights, including Hyde Park and South Kensington. Your Oyster card can also be used on the river with Thames Clipper River Bus: we particularly recommend taking a boat from Waterloo to Greenwich for a great day out with lovely London views.
Finally, exploring London beyond Zone 1 will save you money, in particular if you are looking for a restaurant. Good places to explore for lunch or dinner include Brixton Village in South London, Haggerston and Dalston in the east, Kentish Town in North London or Fulham Broadway to the west.
Expert advice courtesy of: Derek Murphy, West End Box Office Clerk for Nimax Theatres
Les Miserablés image © Johan Persson