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Britain on a Budget: London

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Learn English in England on a budget

Life can be expensive in many of the world’s big cities, but Londoners are particularly resourceful! Living in the capital on a student budget is not as great a challenge as some may believe, especially when you consider how many students make London their home while attending university. Going to London as a tourist can be expensive, but live like a local and use these smart money-saving tips to save your pounds and pence.

Swipe that Student Card

All students at EC London are given a special card. Use this card wherever and whenever you can in your day-to-day life and benefit from discounts and deals. Showing your student card at shops and restaurants could get you a 5-10% discount. In addition, EC students studying for more than 14 weeks are entitled to a Student Oyster Card. Find out more by contacting EC London for information.

See the Sights

London is a treasure trove of galleries, museums, and historical structures dotted around the city. Take advantage of free guided walks around the capital (Discover Walks and Sandeman’s New Europe are two popular examples), or indulge your inner art critic and visit the National Gallery or the Tate for free. Learn all you can about British history and drop by the British Museum or the National History Museum, and don’t miss out on a chance to be inspired by the exhibits at London’s Science Museum. This full list of free museums and galleries around London is definitely worth a look!

Entertainment Capital

The English writer Samuel Johnson once wrote that ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. London remains an entertainment hotspot, with something on offer to suit every taste or mood any day of the week. You don’t have to break the bank to have a fantastic time in this city:

  • Learn English in London on a BudgetTreat yourself to the theatre: Watch hit West-End musicals and Shakespearean classics for a fraction of the price by picking your tickets up at theTKTS booth in Leicester Square, where off-price tickets are sold for performances on the same day. Expect to pay bargain prices for a first-class show!
  • Live acts: Enjoy classical music absolutely free at lunchtime in two of London’s churches, St. Martin in the Fields and St. James’s Picadilly. If you’re in the mood for something more contemporary, head down to the Southbank Centre for a variety of music and dance performances, or swing by Covent Garden and see street performers doing their thing.
  • Events & Activities: Get the lowdown on all the latest free or cheap events on in London by following The Londonist. You’ll find anything from live music gigs to comedy shows and outdoor film screenings, so make sure to check regularly for updates.

Remember: Booking tickets in advance or online will often save you money! 

Frugal Fashion

For the fashion-lover, London can be an absolute haven. Thrifting is very trendy here, and you can grab fantastic deals at thrift stores or shop for a good cause at charity shops all over the city. Don’t forget to shop smart – look out for sales and avoid spending too much on trends that will die out soon.

Learning English in London on a BudgetTransport

The Underground is definitely one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get around, however the bus is generally cheaper for short journeys. The best way to get from A to B on a budget is to use ‘Boris Bikes’; found all over London, these bicycles are available for the public to rent for 24 hours. This is a fantastic way to travel and keep fit on the cheap. If you need to use the train, however, try to get off-peak tickets to get the best deal possible on your seats.

Food, glorious food

How could we possibly forget one of our favourite things in the world? Food! This is a major part of every day life, so saving money here is really important.

  • saving money on food in LondonTry to shop for fresh produce at local farmers’ markets to get the best deals, and if you’re looking for a chance to save even more money, then try to go at the end of the day for reduced prices. If you’re looking for a bite to eat while you’re out, opt for a pub lunch instead of eating at a restaurant. Some pubs offers a great meal (roasts, curries, pies, etc…) for cheap!
  • Wetherspoons is a famous pub franchise with establishments all over the UK – it’s well known for its bargain prices, so keep it in mind the next time you’re out and about!
  • If you’ve got a long day ahead of you, why not prepare a packed lunch at home? You can choose exactly what you want to eat while saving money too.
  • Remember to have a good, nutritious breakfast before you leave home in the morning to avoid feeling hungry later. Studies show that a healthy breakfast can boost concentration and energy levels, so never miss the most important meal of  the day. Not sure what to eat? Here are some yummy suggestions.

Get Online

Using vouchers and discount codes from websites is a fantastic way of cutting costs (or even getting things for free!) in a big city. Websites like Vouchercloud and LivingSocial UK have hundreds of deals on offer, and you can even get second-hand items completely free on If you’re looking for ways to relax in London, why not visit Inner Space, a famous meditation and self-development centre in Covent Garden? It’s a great opportunity to unwind and meet new people!

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