London on a Budget

London is home to some of the world’s most famous and most expensive attractions. Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck, er, pound in the English capital.


Located inside a Paddington-area Victorian townhouse, Stylotel is an ultra-modern 40-room boutique hotel. While the sleek (standard) rooms are small, reservations include a hearty English breakfast, a drink at the hotel’s bar and, in some rooms, bunk beds for the kids. Rooms start at about £65.


Start the day at Camden’s Cereal Killer Cafe with more than 120 cereals, 30 varieties of milk (think custard, semi-skim and soy milks) and 20 different toppings to choose from (bowls start at £3). Then head to Soho to try a £6 South African bread bowl filled with pulled pork curry at bunnychow or a Thai sweetcorn fritter at Ethos, which charges for its vegetarian dishes by weight (starting at £2.60 per 100 gram).

Rock out

Head to the Hard Rock Shop in Old Park Lane to take a free guided tour of “The Vault,” an old bank safe that now houses priceless music memorabilia. Check out Freddie Mercury’s antique chair, John Lennon’s glasses and Sting’s bass.

Go to church

Every evening, Westminster Abbey hosts a free, 40-minute-long evensong in the church. Listen to the choir and organ bellowing off the 700-year-old walls while admiring the High Altar, the Cosmati Pavement (a medieval tile mosaic), the grand Gothic vaulted ceilings and memorials for the Unknown Warrior, Isaac Newton, English composer Henry Purcell and more.


Take a self-guided stroll through four royal parks on the seven-mile Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk. Enter Kensington Gardens near the Lancaster Gate Station and follow 90 rose plaques past three palaces, a daily pelican feeding, a pirate ship playground, an old police station and the whimsical Peter Pan Statue, which author J. M. Barrie erected overnight in 1912 to surprise London’s children.


Order a £4 pint and a £4 Chip Buttie (a slice of bread with butter, fries and gravy on the side) at Morpeth Arms in Pimlico. Then head up to the Spying Room, a 1920s-themed lounge dedicated to espionage, and use the bar’s binoculars to peep across the Thames at the MI6 building, featured in many James Bond films.

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