Hi I’m Chloe and you can normally find me over at Thengguidetolondon.co.uk. I’m originally from Leeds but moved to London about 6 months ago where I was inspired to start a blog on exploring London on the cheap – yes, I know it’s hard to believe but it is possible – so I jumped at the opportunity to guest post for Lauren where we decided I should do a 48 hour guide to London on a student budget. So… here we go.
48 hours in London on a student budget
Obviously the easiest way to travel here is by train. Depending on how many train journeys you’re likely to take, it’s often worth investing in a railcard. I have a 16-25 railcard which knocks a third off all rail travel but there are others such as family and friends cards etc. Each card is £30 to buy for the year and can be found at https://www.railcard.co.uk/
Now you have your railcard you can start booking/looking at train tickets. It’s true what they say, the sooner you can book the better. Most train companies release their tickets 12 weeks in advance and offer an email reminder service, sending you an email when your dates are released. Failing that, set yourself a reminder in your calendar to go on and book.
If you have a little bit more time spare the megabus is also a great way to get to London with journeys genuinely costing £1 (+ a £0.50 booking fee) but the journey is significantly longer than the train so best avoided for flying visits!
I cannot recommend enough downloading city mapper before you arrive. It works in a similar way to google maps but gives you a lot more options in terms of alternative routes for travelling around London.
Go contactless. The London transport systems now accept contactless cards as a payment option and for day travel it’s definitely the easiest way. It charges the same fares as Oyster but it stops you having to top up/worry about how much you need to top up by. There is a daily cap for whichever zones you’re travelling to so it’s also easier than getting a day ticket and restricting yourself to whichever zone.
We ourselves are huge, huge fans of Airbnb. We’ve used the site probably five or six times including staying in London and we’ve always had amazing experiences but I do know there have been some horror stories so if it isn’t for you check out sites such as hotels.com who have great deals or compare the cost of the hotels through trivago.
During the day
Skip the queues and cost of The Shard and head to one of the many parks that have amazing views of London such as Greenwich Park and Regents Park. Both have amazing hills with stunning views which will save you the pricy ticket of The Shard.
(just one of the incredible views from the top of Greenwich Hill)
If you fancy braving Oxford Street for shopping, sign yourself up for a John Lewis loyalty card before you go, they’ll post you out a voucher for a free hot drink and slice of cake. Perfect for a pick me up / de-stresser following the shopping. For the real bargains, head to areas such as brick lane in Shoreditch; The East End Thrift Store regularly have £1 days where the first x amount of customers will get a back to fill of vintage goodies all for £1. Check out their facebook page to keep up to date with when these are taking place.
A whole host of museums in London are free to visit making them great for culture and rainy days! Some of my favourites include the V & A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum. If you want to make a little more of your visit check out breadcrumbs. For £3.99 you can turn your museum visit into a treasure hunt where they will text/facebook message you clues – only sending you the next when you get the answer correct.
If nature is more your thing there are obviously the stunning parks located around London but there are also a whole host of indoor natural gardens to check out including the roof garden in crossrail place in Canary Wharf, the sky garden at Fenchurch Street and the Barbican Conservatory.