Frugal Holidays in London

by A Guest Writer · 8 comments

in Guest Posts

I love London. It’s one of my favorite cities, ever. Yet I don’t go as often as I would like- mostly because it’s also one of the most expensive cities too! Thanks to this guest post, by Simon Migliano of, I’ve got some good ideas on saving money in London for my next vacation there… whenever that may be!

Staying frugal on holiday is a challenge at the best of times. If you are visiting London however, it’s tougher still. This city can pick-pocket even the most frugal traveler.

Like it or not, food is a necessity and spending every single lunch and dinner time huddled on a bench eating a sandwich is hardly what you daydream about as you plan your big trip .

Yet with just a little inside knowledge and an internet connection, you can live it up without sacrificing your principles of frugality. This blog will help you save up to 50% at top restaurants, get cheap theatre tickets and even save on takeaway pizza.

Before eating out, you should search voucher websites for restaurant vouchers for local eateries. Download a coupon for the restaurant most tickles your fancy, print it out, and then hand it over when you get there.

One of the best places to start is’s useful page which brings together the all the best restaurant offers from across the UK, as well as many exclusive savings.

Typical offers include two main meals for the price of one; half price food bills and kids eat free. The potential savings are huge, particularly for families.

Even if you don’t have an internet connection in your hotel, you can always nip into one of London’s many internet cafes and print out your coupon. The cost of doing so will only be a fraction of what you save.

A family of four dining at Pizza Express, a stylish and family-friendly pizza restaurant chain, could easily spend $125. With a two-for-one printable voucher, this could be slashed by almost $35. An even better deal can be had at La Tasca, a popular Spanish restaurant chain. La Tasca’s 50% off food voucher would save the same family almost $50 on a typical bill of $125 that included drinks.

It’s not just restaurant chains either. How about 2 for 1 pre-theatre meals at the elegant Johnstons Brasserie at the luxurious Strand Palace Hotel? Or the stylish Mimosa restaurant, just a stone’s throw from the legendary Harrods in well-heeled Knightsbridge, which is offering 50% off food.

Another great way to get cheap eats is to log on to the Time Out restaurant guide. An online bible for food-loving Londoners, this guide has all the latest independent reviews and reveals the latest budget restaurant secrets.

Taking in a show in London’s West End is likely to be high on your to-do list but it is very expensive. Avoiding paying full price usually means running the gauntlet of ticket touts or wasting an afternoon queuing up for hours for a cut-price ticket.

But there is an alternative: with a Lovetheatre promotional code from, you can book online and save up to 40% on popular shows, including Billy Elliot, Dirty Dancing and Hairspray.

There will be nights, particularly after a hard day tramping around the city, when you just want to hang out at the hotel. Hop online and use Pizza Hut vouchers to get 2 for 1 pizza either delivered to your room or for collection from your nearest outlet.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you avoid being ripped off and enjoy your holiday safe in the knowledge you are being as frugal as possible.

Obviously this post is about vouchers or coupons that will save you money in London. But what’s your favorite city to visit?  And how do you save money on travel?


1 Hannah Dee September 29, 2009

The fantastic Martin Lewis has a page of restaurant deals in the UK on his Money Saving Expert site. These are usually from national chains – 2 for 1s, free drinks, that sort of thing – and click and print stuff. However there are some “kids eat free” things too, and deals on takeaways. So they’ll be useful for London but also for everywhere else. When I was living in the UK a friend and I used to use this site pretty much every time we went to the city centre:-)
.-= Hannah Dee´s last blog ..A long way… =-.

2 Amy Reads Good Books September 29, 2009

Great tips! Thanks! I hope to get to London sometime soon. It's such a great city!
.-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday =-.

3 Kirsten September 30, 2009

A stranger I met on a train introduced me to Boots, a drugstore where they also sell pre-made sandwiches, yogurt, and you can also pick up an apple or banana. I did this for a lot of lunches when I was out and about, with the added bonus of not having to succumb to the usual fast food chains or take at least an hour at a sit-down restaurant. Another thing I would do is stop at Tesco or another grocery store and pick up some fruit, cheese, and bread. Snacking this way was healthier and saved my pennies for a more substantial dinner.
.-= Kirsten´s last blog ..Encyclopedia of Me – J is for Jobs =-.

4 Viviana September 30, 2009

Great post about London on the cheaper, as it is NOT cheap. I live here so I know. There is a good free iPhone app that will figure out where you are and what offers are nearby.

There’s an award waiting for you over at my blog.
.-= Viviana´s last blog ..The Kreativ Blogger Award =-.

5 mark September 30, 2009

I have to agree martin money savers website is full of great deals, but messy to find your way around, but well worth it with cheap hotels, meals etc just last night we ordered a takeaway online!! from our local , which is only 2 mins down the road and thanks to a code for 118menu on martin money it was 20% off, brilliant

6 Lawrence October 2, 2009

It is so funny to see this above in Kristin's comment but I also had a complete stranger introduce me to Boots. I was on the tube and struck a conversation with some random girl. Next thing you know we had been walking and talking all morning. She led me into Boots and we grabbed some food. I was a little skeptical at first but was willing to give it a shot. We headed to a park and ate. I was really surprised because the food was great. It might have been the company but… I would recommend Boots any day if you're looking to save a dime and get a great meal.

7 rachella October 8, 2009

I know this is not food-related. but don’t forget museums. Almost all the museums in London are free.
.-= rachella´s last blog .. =-.

8 Siebrie March 10, 2010

I can't resist, I have to leave a comment: skip all the chains and go to Chinatown or a curry house. Typical main meal or all you can eat buffet: $11. An all-day bus pass costs around $5 and is great for sight-seeing and resting your feet, especially if you manage to get the front bench on the top floor of the red double decker! Most museums are free, as mentioned before.

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