Always wanted to experience London like the rich? The city is drowning in high-end hotels, some of the hottest restaurants in the world and bars that make you feel like you’ve stepped straight in a 1920’s movie. London is expensive, we all know that. But it doesn’t have to cost as much as you think. Us backpackers can get a taste of the high life without breaking the bank. Just use our guide and you’ll be eating fine dining and experiencing the city’s highest heights in no time. You just need to know a few tricks…
GET THE BEST PANORAMIC VIEW, FOR FREE
London is known for its iconic skyline but there are some skyscrapers in the city that will rip you off to get to the top. For example the View from the Shard experience will set your bank balance back around £30. For a free view (and one of the best), head to the Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden. You’ll actually manage to capture the Shard in your skyline shots by coming here instead.
While it’s free, make sure to book in advance on the website.
LOOK OUT FOR DEALS AND OFFERS ON LONDON’S HOTTEST RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Keep an eye out on offers and deals on websites such as Time Out, Groupon and Wowcher. These websites always have incredible deals on fine dining or London’s fancy bars so that you can actually afford to go more often.
Time Out always has offers on food and drink in London’s coolest, trendy eateries.
Wowcher is also incredible. Fancy getting bottomless Prosecco and dining for 2 people for just £24 in a sophisticated Chelsea restaurant? Sounds like a no brainer.
And it’s not just food. Groupon does deals for discounts on massages, spa days, hair treatments and nail treatments. We recommend signing up to Groupon’s daily newsletter because you’ll get pretty incredible deals sent straight to your inbox every single day.
UBER POOL. SHARING IS CARING
Want to travel in luxury and sack off the public transport for the day? Instead of paying for black cab or normal Uber, try Uber Pool. Uber Pool allows you to share the car with another person going in a similar direction to you - and it makes it cheaper for the both of you!
ALL YOU CAN DRINK: AFFORDABLE BOTTOMLESS BRUNCHES
Corazon, a Mexican joint that serves up a delicious £25 bottomless brunch. Get 2 hours of Buck’s Fizz, Hibiscus Fizz or Bloody Marys.
London is famous for its bottomless brunches. Unlimited alcohol for 2 hours while you eat, it’s no wonder the trend is peaking in popularity. Some of the bottomless brunch experiences can get pretty pricey, which is why we rounded up …
MAKE USE OF THE 5* HOTEL BARS
Ever walked into a random hotel before just to use the bar? Well, it’s a really great way to make the most of London’s 5* hotels without having to actually pay for a bed in one. The opulent hotel lobbies, highly skilled bartenders and overall interior design all adds to that luxury experience - and all you have to do is pay for a drink. Our favourite hotel bars are Radio Rooftop (above Hotel Me), the Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental and Scarves Bar in the Rosewood Hotel. They aren’t cheap, but one cocktail won’t hurt...
...AND HAPPY HOURS
Happy Hours are the best way to get the most your of your money on alcohol in London. Plenty of cool bars in the city have daily happy hours, usually in the evening. It just depends on what kind of vibe you’re after. If you’re after a few cocktails and dancing, try Barrio Central in Soho or the London Cocktail Club. If rum is your favourite spirit, try the Rum Kitchen.
BE STYLISH FOR LESS
Get some cutting-edge threads from London’s coolest, quirkiest markets. Camden Market, Old Spitalfields Market or even the London Designer Outlet have some really cool bargains on awesome fashion. Try Camden’s vintage scene, or head to Portobello road for a handbag or sunnies. Think handmade jewellery, sunglasses, clothing, denim jackets and hats, all for amazing prices.
WINE IN THE SHARD
There is a bar in the Shard with killer views that will let you in for free. And while it’s not at the highest point in the building, Chinese bar and restaurant Hutong can be found on level 33 (which is pretty high). You’ll be expected to order something here, and trust us, it’s pricey, so we recommend coming for drinks during the day and ordering a glass of wine for £9.50 instead of coming for a meal.
STAY IN A HOSTEL PRIVATE ROOM THAT OVERLOOKS THE SHARD
Trust us, you’ll feel like you’re in a hotel but for a fraction of the price. St Christopher’s Inns offers a really good value for money private room experience at their hostel in London Bridge - right in the centre of London. The double private room overlooks the Shard, has its own modern en suite and boasts a lot of space. Being in a hostel also means you get the best of both worlds and get to party downstairs in the epic Belushi’s backpacker bar where you’ll benefit from cheap drinks, daily deals and a long happy hour.
GET A FULL ENGLISH FOR 2 PEOPLE IN HAWKSMOOR GUILDHALL
Eat brunch how the bankers of London would at Hawksmoor Guildhall. This sophisticated British restaurant is always filled with businessmen having meetings - and they choose this place because the food is never a let down. The breakfast in particular. A feast not for the faint hearted, the full English which is meant for 2 people (but three could easily be satisfied) will fill you up until dinner if you book a table around noon. For £18 each, you won’t be disappointed. Your plate will include grilled bone marrow, smoked bacon chop, 3 meat sausages, trotter baked beans, fried eggs, mushrooms, unlimited toast, tomatoes, HP gravy and more…
GO TO THE THEATRE FOR LESS
You can get cheap theatre show tickets in London, you just need to know the tricks. Some theatres release last minute show tickets which are considerably cheaper. Try and show up at a theatre box office for a reduced rate for a show on the same day. Or better yet, book online at London Theatre Direct .
Last Minute.com also release discounted tickets on some of the West End’s hottest shows.
CREAM TEA IN KEW GARDENS
Step back in time and spend an afternoon like a "rich" Victorian. The Botanical in Kew Gardens do a Cream Tea that will hit the spot. And the best thing is, it won’t break the bank. For just £8.50 opt for the cream tea and indulge in English scones paired with clotted cream and Tiptree jam. Mouthwatering.
VISIT THE V&A
Visit the V&A for free. This is the world’s leading museum of art and design where you will find some fascinating collections and exhibitions. If you appreciate contemporary art, you won’t regret spending an afternoon here. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the beautiful lounge pictured.
EXPLORE THE AFFLUENT AREAS
Wander around London’s most expensive areas and get a feel for how the other half live. The affluent areas of Kensington, Notting Hill, Knightsbridge and Chelsea provide all the #housegoals and these areas are simply a pleasant place to take a stroll.
GET THE DRINKI APP
For drink deals or a free drink in over 100 of London’s coolest most exclusive bars. What’s better than free drinks with no catch?
You can get one free drink a night with this App .
A POT OF ROYAL TEA IN FORTNUM AND MASON
Enjoying a cup of tea in London has never been more appropriate than in Fortnum and Mason, the department store where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth buys her tea. This store really does sell some of the best brews in the country. The extravagant department store has a lovely (and affordable) cafe called The Parlour where you can order a pot of tea of your choice for £5.75.