35 Best London Travel Bargains, Part I

6 Aug, 2023

35 Best London Travel Bargains, Part I

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Long-time house sitter Kelly Hayes-Raitt calls London her second home since she’s housesat there so many times. Here are some of her tips for enjoying the very best London travel bargains.

By Kelly Hayes-Raitt

This American’s first overseas house sit was for 6 weeks in London during the 2012 Olympics. It was love at first crumpet! On a budget, I sussed out these 35 London travel bargains. So Can you visit London cheaply? Yes – Read on to learn more:

Olympic rings suspended from Tower Bridge in 2012. Photo by Kelly Hayes-Raitt

Housesitting is my best London travel bargain!

1. House sit! By far, accommodations can be the most expensive part of any holiday. That’s one reason I’m sold on house sitting as my “secret weapon” London travel bargain. Not only do I save on the sleeping costs, but I have my own kitchen to help shave my food costs, and a clothes washer, private, secure WiFi, and premium TV channels to spare me high hotel markups.

HouseSitMatch offers a plethora of London house sitting opportunities. I’ve enjoyed more than a decade of visiting London annually – and have never paid for my accommodations! Moreover, many of the homeowners I’ve house sat for have become dear friends.


Dining out can put another large dent in one’s travel budget, but here are my favorite “foodie” tips to score London travel bargains:

2. Sunday markets. Actually, the international food stall Sunday markets have expanded to other days of the week, too! From Brick Lane to Brixton to Borough Market, you can munch your way through London on exotic dishes such as Venzuelan arepas to Turkish zerde for a fraction of the cost of a sit-down restaurant meal.

During my Olympic summer house sit in Leytonstone, I often stalked the Brick Lane Market close to closing time and bought meals at a discount. This list of 43 street food markets will be sure to get you started!

3. Food trucks. My new favorite London travel bargain is the burgeoning food truck scene. These pop-up events feature a cluster of trucks offering mouth-watering dishes from every corner of the globe. Meals are not only under £10 generally, but they are so bountiful, I usually can stretch them to 2 meals. Locations vary.

Portion of the Berlin Wall at the Imperial War Museum, a genuine London travel bargain — free! Photo by Kelly Hayes-Raitt

4. GroupOn coupons. Free to join, this site often offers 2-meals-for-the-price-of-1 restaurant deals. It’s a more affordable way to try that new trendy cuisine you’ve been hankering for! I once invited 3 friends to an upscale Dim Sum brunch – unlimited prosecco included – for less than £100 total!


5. Museums.  Actually, the best London travel bargain is its museums – most of which are free.  You can enjoy the sprawling Victoria & Albert collection, the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, the British Library’s original Shakespearean folios (my favorite!), the overwhelming British Museum, the provocative Imperial War Museum – and so many more.  Here’s a list of London’s 139 museums – more than half are free!

6. London skyline. For an unparalleled – and free! – bird’s eye view of London, visit the Sky Garden. From the viewing platform, you can enjoy a 360 degree of London’s remarkable skyline overlooking the Tower of London. Inside, there’s a 2-story garden and an affordable snack bar with drinks. It’s the perfect bargain cocktail hour that’ll make you feel on top of the world! Advance booking required.

7. Walking tours. As in any other major tourist city, London boasts a plethora of free walking tours. Check Trip Advisor, AirBnB experiences or GuruWalk. Tours range from traditional historic tours to themed tours like Harry Potter or Jack the Ripper Tours. It’s customary to tip the guide.


Although one might not guess this, theatre is a terrific London travel bargain!

London travel bargain
London’s Coliseum, home of the opera and ballet. Photo by Kelly Hayes-Raitt

8. Internations. This subscription membership offers group activities for expats and visitors in many major cities. The London Live Music and Theatre Group is particularly active and offers deeply discounted tickets to major shows, including West End plays, major musicals, dance performances and more. I once experienced the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe from the fifth row at Sadler’s Wells for a song!

9. TodayTix. One of several on-line ticket brokers, this free site offers discounted tickets to many West End shows providing incomparable travel bargains in London. I’ve seen several top-billed plays and musicals for a fraction of their advertised prices. I like to go to the mid-week matinee, where I am more likely to get bumped to a closer seat.

10. Ticket lotteries. Often, blockbuster shows like “Hamilton” hold on-line “lotteries” in order to provide more affordable options.

Whew! All this sightseeing is exhausting! Photo by Kelly Hayes-Raitt

11. Smaller theatres. London boasts dozens of small, often quirky, theatres with provocative performances. I recently saw a timely play about Artificial Intelligence at the Park Theatre, a 200-seat theatre located behind a Lebanese restaurant a few minutes walk from Finsbury Park Tube.

Around the corner, I found a restaurant offering 2-for-1 Tuesday tacos. Dinner and a show for less than £17! To find these gems, pick up a free copy of the Evening Standard at major Tube stops or buy a weekend newspaper, such as The Guardian.

12. Groundling tickets at The Globe. To experience a Shakespearean play as his contemporaries would have, you can stand at the edges of the stage for as little as £5. You are exposed to the elements (sun, rain!), and must stand for the duration. You will also have a view limited to the area where you are standing. But it is the most intimate theatre experience you can have. While I was a groundling, the actor performing Henry V made direct eye contact with me during several scenes and it was thrilling!

During my many house sitting assignments in London, I’ve been fortunate to experience a lot! Hence my accumulating a fun list of London travel bargains. In Part II of this blog, I’ll cover other offbeat London travel bargains, how to get around the city affordably, and where to find free art and music.


“I sleep around. Usually with animals,” Kelly Hayes-Raitt jokes in her book How to Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva. By far, her favorite housesitting destination is London, where she’s not only revamped herself as a culture vulture, but has made many dear furry friends.




At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about homesitting and London travel bargains. We hope you find this small selection of blogs on house sitters and sustainable travel useful.

Dog sitting in London  – A guide

London house sitting – London calling

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Visit London on a shoestring

What is House Sitting?

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Kelly Hayes-Raitt

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