How Much Money Do You Need for London? The truth (2023)

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Let’s talk money.

You need it to travel, you definitely need it to visit London, and knowing how much money you need in London is essential to making sure you have enough for your trip.

In this lesson, I want to talk about costs in London and give you some ranges to help you figure out how much to budget per day and how much do you spend in London per day, or how to plan your itinerary so it fits your budget.

James Street in London exterior

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Before you keep reading, I just wanted to make sure you know about my expert 7-day London itinerary that includes all of the iconic attractions plus off-the-beaten path activities and restaurants, as well as step-by-step walking and public transportation directions!

It can be stressful spending so much money on a London trip and not knowing if you’re fitting everything in or making the most of your time.

To help you out, I’ve taken my 10 years of London experience (starting as a visitor and then as a resident) to make sure that you have the ultimate step-by-step itinerary that will make sure you see the real London.

And, hey, if you’re not coming for exactly 7 days or already have some plans, don’t worry, as it’s editable so you can mix around the days, incorporate your own ideas, or pick and choose which days to follow.

The Absolute Must-Knows (from a Londoner)

How Much Spending Money for London (without hotel)

Let’s just cut right to the chase before we break everything down.

Assuming we are excluding hotel costs (which I’ll talk about below,) the answer to how much money to take to London per day is roughly as follows (including food, transportation, and activities).

My best answer is to plan to spend an average of around £80 per person per day in London if you plan on eating out and doing tourist attractions.

You can spend less than this though, around £30-40, which I’ll reflect in the table below.

# of Days in LondonAmount (Budget)Amount (Mid-Range)
1£40£80
2£80£160
3£120£240
4£160£320
5£200£400
6£240£480
7£280£560

If you’re on a really strict budget, you could technically spend as little as £15-20 per day if you only do free attractions, walk everywhere, and eat ready meals from the grocery store.

Or, if you want to do lots of afternoon teas, attractions, theatre shows, and eat out for every meal, you could easily spend £150 to £200 per person per day.

Use my guide below to help you break down how much money to take to London, as well as my guide on the best hotels in London for ideas on all budgets and the best AirBnbs in London.

Cost of Flights to London

Both the flights and your accommodation are going to vary drastically based on the time of year, your location, and your needs.

I’ve gotten flights from the East Coast of the US for as low as £300 round trip during absolute off-peak season, and I’ve paid as much as £1,000 during peak season.

Looking down airplane aisle with people either side

Flights from Australia, for instance, can go from anywhere from £600 to £1,500+.

Use the cheap flight finding tools like Skyscanner to snag yourself the cheapest deals, taking into account that if you’re flying around Christmas or in the summer, you’re going to experience much higher flight prices due to the demand for flights to London at that point.

Airplane wing over snowy mountains seen out of window

If you’re searching, say, late January, you’re probably going to snag some good deals!

Overall, budget around £500-700 per person for flights to London from the US, and more from further flung locations.

Cost of Accommodation in London per Night

Again, this is going to be slightly inflated during peak times and you can find some better deals during off-peak season, but in central London, hotel wise, you are going to have a hard time finding anything other than a hostel for less than £100 a night, with £200 a night being a good budget to get a safe and perfectly acceptable place to stay, £300 for a brand name hotel, and £400+ for a luxury hotel.

Type of Hotel in LondonAverage Cost per Night
Hostel£50
Budget£100
Mid-Range£200
Luxury£300-400
Colorful section of Neal's Yard in London

If you’re looking at AirBnbs in London (and this is why some people do opt for this option), you can usually rent an entire flat for about £150 – £200 pounds a night in central London, and around £100 if you go out a bit further.

Overall, accommodation in London isn’t cheap.

Price is at a premium for both residents and visitors, and you’ll want to book ahead as soon as possible to give yourself the greatest options and cheapest prices.

Camden Lock

But you can find perfectly acceptable and friendly places to stay on most budgets, which makes London a fantastic travel option for people with all kinds of budget requirements.

Sightseeing Costs in London per Day

The next question is the per day budget for sightseeing options, which is where the figuring out your personal answer to London spending money per day is going to come in.

I could plan you an entire sightseeing day in London that costs nothing, or I could plan one that costs hundreds of pounds.

Camden Market in London

On average, I would say, per person, £25-50 per day is a good average across your trip for attractions, but this doesn’t include day trips out of London or more expensive private tours.

If you want to learn more about paying a flat fee to get into most London attractions, check out my advice on the London Pass, otherwise check out this list of current entry prices for some of the major activities you might like to do to help you get an idea for whether you have expensive plans or not!

People walking through Camden Market with overcast sky
AttractionCost in London
Natural History MuseumFree
V&A MuseumFree
Science MuseumFree
British MuseumFree
All London MarketsFree
All London ParksFree
National GalleryFree
Tower of LondonKids: £16.40 / Adults: £32.90
St. Paul’s CathedralKids: £7.70 / Adults: £18.00
Westminster AbbeyKids: £12.00 / Adults: £27.00
Churchill War RoomsKids: £14.50 / Adults: £29.00
London EyeKids: £32.50 / Adults: £36.00
West End Show£20 – £££ (depends on where you want to sit!
Walking Tours£15 – £25
Kensington PalaceKids: £11.00 / Adults: £22.00
The ShardAll: £32.00
Hampton Court PalaceKids: £13.00 / Adults: £26.10
Windsor CastleKids: £14.50 / Adults: £26.50
Kew GardensKids: £5.50 / Adults: £16.50

London Transportation Costs per Day

Aside from transportation to and from the airport, which depends on the method of transport you use, daily travel costs if you’re just taking the tube and buses should run about £10 a person at most.

People sitting on the tube

If you’re taking Ubers or black cabs or prebooked car services, this will obviously be more and particularly for Uber, it depends on the time of day.

Read more about how much your taxi may cost you here.

Here are some at-a-glance London transportation costs.

The “price cap” is the maximum amount that you will be charged per day if you use an Oyster card or contactless payment card, no matter how many journeys you take within that zone.

Type of TransportationDaily Price Cap
Tube (Zone 1 and Zone 2 only)£7.70
Tube (Zone 1, 2, and 3)£9.00
London buses only£4.95

Food and Drink Costs in London

One of the final, but very important, major sections when it comes to your daily budget is your food and drink!

A bread shop at Borough Market London

Again, it’s hard for me to come up with a suggested number or range because if you’re a student on a budget, I can suggest ways for you to survive on £5-10 a day (check out my guide on saving money in London here), whereas if you have the money to spend, you can easily rack up hundreds of pounds of food costs for a family in one day.

To help you figure out where you might come in on your food and drinks budget, I’ve provided a ton of examples below of the costs of various items and what you might expect to spend when out a particular types of restaurants.

boroughmarketlondon

This is per person, so multiple this cost times the number of people in your traveling party if you’re traveling as a family and need an overall budget.

One thing to note is that food in UK grocery stores is not very expensive compared to other countries.

Sainsburys exterior
Photo by Stacey Harris [License]

Grocery Food

If you have your own self-catering apartment when you’re staying in London, here are some food prices in stores:

12 eggs: £1.50 – £2.00
Loaf of bread: 55p – £1.50
Banana: 15p per banana
Pasta: packet of spaghetti for £1.00
Pasta sauce: 50p – £1.00 for a standard sized jar
Whole chicken, uncooked: £3.00 – £5.00
4 pints of milk (about a gallon): £1.00 – £1.25
Meal deal with a ready-to-eat sandwich, crisps (potato chips), and a drink: £3.00

Eating Out at Restaurants Cost in London

If you’re planning on eating out, here’s a helpful list for you:

Egg and Cress sandwich at Pret (inexpensive): £2.99
Cheese pizza at Icco (inexpensive): £5.00
McDonald’s Big Mac (inexpensive): £2.49
McDonald’s Large Fries (inexpensive): £1.49

Traditional English Breakfast at Bill’s (mid-range): £9.75
Fish and Chips Main at Mayflower Pub (mid-range): £10.95
Dessert at Mayflower Pub (mid-range): £5.95
Pepperoni Pizza at Pizza Express (Mid-range): £10.10

Shepherd’s Pie main entrée at the Ivy (more expensive): £19.50
Profiteroles (dessert) at the Ivy (more expensive): £9.75

Americano at Costa Coffee: £2.20
Small glass of Pino Grigio at Mayflower pub: £5.25
Average cost of a pint of beer in London: £4.50

As you can see, you’re looking at around £10-15 for a main/entrée at many of London’s mid-ranged restaurants and £17-25 at more expensive restaurants (and then it can just keep going up from there!)

Add in drinks, any starters and desserts, and you could easily spend £150-200 on a dinner for four at a mid-ranged restaurant if you all get starters and drinks and mains.

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