London on a Budget

In August, my wife and I are traveling to London for our 10th wedding anniversary.  In the past, we have avoided traveling to London because it is one of the most expensive cites in the world.  In October of 2016, as the result of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we were able to book a trip to London for an amazing price.  We managed to book our trip for only $2,500.  That price included airfare from New York and 7 nights at a 4-star hotel in Kensington.

The first major part of planning the trip is complete.  Now we have to work on establishing a budget.  We will have to budget for food, guided tours, as well as having money for enjoying the city.


My wife and I are foodies, so exploring the eclectic flavors that London offers is exciting.  Now we need to create a budget for our meals.  When booking the trip, we selected a hotel that included a daily breakfast.  That would save us about $140 for the week.

For lunch, we are going to budget for $30 per day.  We are just planning for sandwiches or kebabs.  We are satisfied with eating lunch at street vendors.

For dinner, we are going to budget for $40 per evening.  Our dinners will mainly consist of going out for Indian or Chinese food.  We also would like to visit a pub for a traditional British meal.  We don’t drink alcohol, so that will save us money.

We will bring our own snacks from home.  We will pack almonds, jerky, protein bars and other snacks. That will cost about $50.  While in London, we will buy fruit or beverages for our hotel room.  We will budget $50 for the snacks and drinks we buy in London.

Guided Tours:

The next section of our budget is for guided tours.  We are planning on enjoying two full-day guided tours.  A large part of our budget will be spent on these tours.

Our first tour is to Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath.  My wife is excited to see the English countryside.  This tour will cost a total of $202.

Our second tour is an anniversary gift to my wife.  It is a one day guided tour of Paris.  It includes the Eurostar passes, Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Seine River Cruise.  This tour will cost $620.  It is expensive, but it is a special occasion.

Pocket Money:

The rest of our vacation will be spent exploring London.  We will visit all of the tourist hot spots.  I want to go to Piccadilly Circus.  My wife wants to see Big Ben.  We will also go on a bus tour of the city.  I have gone on bus tours in other cities and you do get a good feel for a city that way.  We will budget about $400 for roaming around the city.

We don’t tend to buy too many souvenirs when we travel.  We do buy street art when we find something we like.  A painting is a souvenir that lasts forever.  We will budget $300 to be safe.

Total Budget:

Our total budget adds up to about $2100.  That is most likely on the high side.  It is our 10th anniversary, so I am not going to focus too much on the budget.  This trip is just about having fun and celebrating our special occasion.   I am happy, however, with the thought of enjoying a fun-filled week in London for under $5K total.

Note: If you are interested in reading about how everything went on this trip, please check out London on a Budget: Part 2.

4 thoughts on “London on a Budget

  1. My Sons Father

    This sounds like an awesome trip. London is probably my favorite city (but it’s been too long since I was last there.) You’re right the prices are insane, but it sounds like you scored a great deal. The Guided Tours sound amazing, I think that is money well spent.

    I’d recommend finding a grocery store and buying water there, this is particularly true on your Paris leg of the journey, but you can easily get gouged on the cost of a bottle of water if you aren’t prepared. If you are theater people, it might be worth checking out a play or musical. They usually have discounted same day ticket vendors around the Theater district (sometimes the seats aren’t great, but it’s hard to argue with the price (at least it was 10 years ago). Leicester Square is where I remember the best discounted ticket place (can’t say if it’s still there.) Covent Garden is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon (plenty of street artists and other forms of entertainment) with some nice shops and cafes.

    And if you happen to be there on a Sunday head down to Hyde Park. At least I think it is on Sunday’s. You’ll probably want to check with locals to find the right time and exact location, but it’s a unique experience.

    Have a blast, I’m super jealous!

    1. thefinancialjourneyman Post author

      Thank you for all of these tips. Other than our two days of guided tours, we have no plans. We will look into seeing a play, Covent Garden, as well as Hyde Park on Sunday. The trip is a few months away, but we are getting excited for it.

      Thank you again, I appreciate it.

  2. Mustard Seed Money

    Sounds like an incredible trip that you all are going to love!!! $5k for a week seems like a really good deal especially with all the good food I’m sure that you all will eat. Sounds like you have it really well planned out and it should be quite the adventure 🙂


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