Accommodation, eating out and having fun all take up a large portion of any London visitors budget so finding ways to live like a Londoner makes sense.
If you want to eat what you want when you want and not be disturbed by hotel housekeeping you should try staying in a house or flat.
It's easy to find and compare prices of apartments in London and you'll then have a more home-from-home kind of stay with a fully-equipped kitchen and a separate lounge for relaxing. When travelling with family or in a group it can work out to be much better priced than a hotel stay and a lot more flexible to your needs.
Discover a New Area
Rental apartments are often in neighbourhoods you wouldn't otherwise visit and you'll find new parks and children's playgrounds to keep the family happy. You'll also find more independent coffee shops and cafes outside of central London and will find more interesting food shops and depending on the area you choose to stay.
You can save a lot of your holiday budget by choosing to cook at the apartment. Every London neighbourhood has plenty of grocery stores from the chain supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury's, etc – to the classic 'corner shop' that stays open late and sells most basics. It can be hard to find fresh fruit as snacks while travelling in a big city like London but a trip to your local market or shop can mean you have a fruit bowl at home and don't live on junk food all day as it's easier to find. If you don't fancy cooking every night you can also order a takeaway delivery such as pizza, Chinese or Indian food. All and more popular in London.
Many London corner shops are also newsagents and sell Oyster cards so you can get your London travelcard and 'top up' the credit away from the queues at the tube station. You'll definitely want an Oyster card for public transport as it offers a cheaper rate than cash fares. It's a simple plastic card, (credit card-sized) that you touch in and out to use at tube stations and on buses and local trains. Remember to travel after 9.30am so you don’t incur peak rate fares. The Oyster card will cap the rate it deducts at the maximum daily rate however much travel you do after that so it is a great way to save on fares.
Don't think because you may be staying outside of zone 1 – the very centre of town – that you'll need a car. Most Londoners don't own a car as there's no need with the tube network, trains and buses. Parking is also an issue in London so most Londoners do not drive into the centre plus there is a daily Congestion Charge for taking a vehicle within a central zone.
While London has some excellent attractions that need to be paid-for, such as the London Eye, there are also many museums and galleries that are free every day to all. The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square is outstanding, as is the British Museum and the worldwide artefacts it displays. And that's before we even mention the South Kensington museums – V&A, Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. All free every day and with amazing collections.
Stay Home Some Evenings
Sometimes you don’t want to go out every night and having an apartment gives you the option to relax at 'home' maybe catching up on messages and chatting online on the free wifi – something not all London hotels offer but most apartments do – or watching the TV or a DVD.