Having worked, lived and hosted many business events here in the capital, I want to share my top five tips for business travelers, showing you why London doesn’t have to cost a fortune and why (in my opinion) it’s still one of the most exciting cities on earth.
1. Free, free, free
If you know where to look, London’s is a great value city where you can do amazing things for little or no cost. Did you know the vast majority of London’s major museums and galleries are free? From stunning contemporary art at the Tate Modern, housed in an old power station overlooking the River Thames, to the Victoria & Albert (or V&A), the world’s leading museum of art and design, to dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, to tiny but perfectly formed gems, such as the stunning Sir John Soane’s Museum.
2. A city of events
London is always hosting events and many of them are free or low cost. Ensure you take advantage of free festivals and activities which are often found in key tourist destinations such as Trafalgar Square. One of the best websites to use is the official tourism body website visitlondon.com which gives advice on free events and festivals taking place across the city.
3. Get to the heart of the city
One of the best ways to see London is from the River Thames. It’s the main artery running through this beating heart of a city and gives you a fantastic opportunity to see amazing venues and bridges including the famous Tower Bridge, The Globe Theatre, St Paul’s Cathedral and even down to Greenwich – the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). A great (and cost-effective) way to explore the River Thames is the Thames Clipper service, used by Londoners as a quick alternative to the London Underground. Although you don’t get a guide, a trip using the Clipper service means you get to see the same sites as a guided tour boat, but for a fraction of the cost.
4. The world is your Oyster!
London is an easy city to navigate whether using public transport or walking. But if you want to pay the cheapest fare when you travel around London then using a Visitor Oyster Card is the best way. The digital card can be purchased at most train stations, airports or at London Underground stations. The cards can be used on the Underground, buses, DLR and trains.
5. To market, to market
London is jam-packed with great street markets which are a great place to soak up local culture and also ideal for picking up some affordable street food or quirky souvenirs. Portobello Road Market at Notting Hill Gate, Camden Market, Columbia Road Flower Market in East London, and my personal favorite – the food and wine heaven of Borough Market. Stuffed with foodie goodies, Borough Market is the perfect place to pick up a cheap eat – whether breakfast, lunch and dinner.