First time in London

Budgeting for a week in London

Some actual expenses for accommodation, transport, attractions and food in London to help you to budget your trip

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How much does a week in London Cost?

When we googled “how much does a week in London cost?” when planning our first trip, the answers were often the same.

“The budget for your trip to London will vary largely upon your tastes, travel style and the type of accommodation you choose.”

This response frustrated me when planning our first trip to London.  It gave me absolutely no idea of where to start budgeting.  So I have detailed some of our expenditure from a week in London as a starting point for you to budget your own trip, based on your plans and travel style.

When we travel, we look for budget hotels in the city, close to attractions with breakfast included.

A big breakfast in the morning means we can then have a lighter lunch from one of the many sandwich chains. We will then have dinner at a local pub or restaurant, occasionally dining in at the hotel. We don’t aim for five star restaurants or theatre performances.

The few extravagances on our trip were our guided coach tours and hotel dinners. It would be possible to spend considerably less than we did.

Budgeting for Accommodation in London

Our trip to London came about by luck. When planning our first trip to Berlin,  we planned to fly through London Heathrow. We were fortunate to find a package deal through our airline. This included the flights and a week’s accommodation in London with breakfast for not much more than we were budgeting for flights alone.  Needless to say we took the opportunity.
We stayed in a mid range hotel in Kensington, close to both Earl’s Court and Gloucester tube stations.

To book the same room in 2018 for a week, including breakfast, we would be looking at GBP 1033 or AUD 1827

It is possible to find cheaper accommodation,  but do research the proximity to the major attractions, restaurants, pubs and transport. It was very much worth the expense to have an easy walk to either Tube line, some attractions as well as restaurants and pubs.

Transport costs in London

  • Transfers. As first time travellers we took the “safe” option of pre-booking airport transfers at a cost of GBP 200 AUD 370.
  • The cost of travelling the 15 minute journey on the Heathrow Express is GBP 74 or AUD130 return for two people. This is obviously  a cheaper option if you feel confident navigating “The Tube” to your accommodation under the effects of heavy jetlag.
  • Alternatively, you can take the 50 minute “Tube” ride from Heathrow, which is included in Oyster Card.
  • We purchased an “Oyster Card” before we left which provided us with 7 days transport on the Tube, buses and some ferry services. GBP 30 AUD53 each
  • Free transport can also be included in the London Pass (see below) it is worth researching to see which, if either, is the best option for you.

Cost of Food and drink in London

  • We had a light meal at our hotel on two evenings, and had a couple of drinks of an evening. This came to GBP 170 AUD 300 for the week.
  • Cost of a sandwich and coffee for lunch at Pret-a-Porter GBP 10 AUD 18 each
  • A “pub meal” (without drinks) GBP 25 AUD 45 each
  • Pint of beer in a pub GBP 4 AUD 7
  • Glass of wine at a pub GBP 5 AUD 9
  • A meal at an Italian restaurant, including wine and beer GBP63 AUD 112 for two

Cost of entry to London Attractions

We chose to pre-book two guided coach tours, which included entry into some of the major attractions which we felt gave us value for money. Not only did this give us the convenience of having a guided orientation of the city on our first day, the second tour took us to locations out of London that we may not have otherwise seen. However you can save money with a self guided tour.

  • London in one day coach tour including entry to St Pauls Cathedral and Tower of London GBP 99 AUD 175 each.
  • Entry to St Pauls Cathedral GBP 16 AUD 28 each (included in tour)
  • Entry to Tower of London GBP 22 AUD 39 each (included in tour)
  • One day coach tour to Bath, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge GBP 99 AUD 175 each
  • Stonehenge entry GBP 17.50 AUD 30 each (included in tour)
  • Windsor Castle entry GBP 21.50 AUD 38 each (included in tour)
  • Roman Baths entry GBP 16.50 AUD 29 each(included in tour)
  • Hampton Court Palace entry GBP 20 AUD 35 each
  • Westminster Abbey entry GBP 22 AUD 39 each
  • London Hop on Hop off bus GBP 30 AUD 53 each for one day
  • London Pass -3 day pass with transport, Hop on Hop off Bus and entry to 80 attractions  each with optional Oyster Card. GBP 144 AUD 255 each
  • It would be well worth doing “The Sums” to see whether there are cost savings in pre-purchasing the London Pass before you leave home.

The above costings are estimates based upon our own travels, which we hope will assist in planning your trip. Your own budget will depend upon your tastes and travel styles.

Read also: Travel to Europe on a Budget
Money saving tips for London
Summer packing list for London

If you have enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about planning a trip to Europe, click on the Amazon link at the bottom of the page, where you will find a range of travel guides which we found helpful. We do earn a small commission from any sales at no additional cost to yourself.

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