6 ways to enjoy London’s nightlife on a budget
Post by Laura Bill, from inspiringinterns.com
London is filled with so much potential – there’s more to see and do than you could ever imagine, so when it comes to planning a night out, you perhaps just don’t know where to start. While you may be spoilt for choice on where to go and what to do, there; there’s always the fear that you could end up with an empty wallet extremely quickly.
If you’re new to the city, you may not have much of an idea of the best ways to enjoy London on a budget, therefore we’ve provided some tips and tricks on how you can have a night out in the big smoke for a fraction of the cost.
#1 | Transport
Although you may be used to jumping in taxis to get to and from a venue, this wouldn’t always be advised in London if you’re on a tight budget. Between 10pm-5am, fares cost up to £9.20 for up to one mile, which may be cost-effective if you’re sharing with a large group, but alone, this wouldn’t be worthwhile.
Taxis often run on meters, therefore you may end up spending far more than planned if there happened to be high volumes of traffic; especially in and around the centre of the city.
One option would be to catch buses or tubes. There’s the option to buy pay-as-you-go day passes which can be used all day and then capped at the maximum day limit – so you always know how much you’ll be spending on transport each day. If you’re staying in London for a longer period of time, it would be worth investing in an oyster card, which allows you to get a small fraction off the cost of journeys.
Buses and tubes will take you to pretty much any location in the city, so it would be worth planning your journey beforehand using the journey planner.
#2 | Hotels
Staying in London hotels can often set you back hundreds of pounds; especially if you’re looking at central locations. Reliable chains such as Travelodge and Premier Inn are always a cheap option and if you’ve stayed in one of their chains before, you know exactly what to expect. Be aware that you may need to book in advance to get cheaper rates and of course, secure a suitable room, due to the high-demand.
#3 | Discounted West-End shows
It’s always believed that west-end shows are extremely pricy, but this isn’t necessarily the case if you know where and when to purchase. Buying online in advance is often great for securing discounts; or purchasing tickets from TKTS ticket booth Leicester Square means you can claim specific show tickets for a fraction of the original price. Be aware that you may need to queue at the booth fairly early in the morning as tickets are always limited.
#4 | Small shows
If you’re looking for something a little different to do on your night out rather than a standard bar or club, why not try a comedy club? Venues such as Angel Comedy or the Top Secret Comedy Club (which is ironically now very un-secret) often allows free entry on most evenings, or sometimes for as little as £2 if certain acts are playing.
There are also smaller theatres and live music venues around the city which charge very low entry fees for a whole evening’s worth of entertainment. Browse here for more information.
#5 | Food
Popping into a London restaurant and having a sit-down meal isn’t always the cheapest of options, but as in any UK city, there are a vast amount of inexpensive restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut, Nando’s and Bella Italia if you wish to have a standard dining experience.
Street food is also a great choice if you’re short of time and watching the pennies, as meals are sold for as little as £5 and can be eaten on the move. There are various locations around London to grab some exquisite street food, however the most popular include Camden and Brixton, which offer hundreds of stalls with a huge choice.
#6 | Bars and clubs
Entry fees and price of drinks can often be eye-wateringly expensive in bars and clubs in the capital city and it’s often difficult to work out where the cheaper venues are hiding. Don’t fret though – there are loads of great venues offering buzzing atmospheres, free entry costs and half-price drinks around London.
If you’re looking for venues in central London, Gem in Soho offers a happy hour between 5-8pm, in which you can get 50% off all drinks and it’s also free entry throughout the night. In the South West district of Battersea, Infernos offer 2-4-1 cocktails every single Friday and Saturday night before 11pm. These are just two examples of the types of deals on offer, but click here to see more for hundreds of bar and clubs across London.