Weekend Breaks in London: Cheaper Alternatives to City Centre Accommodation

The concept of a weekend away in our buzzing capital is an attractive one for many people all over the country. However, the cost of staying in some of its accommodation can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you’re hoping to stay in the city centre. For tourists looking to enjoy the sights and sounds of London, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Looking into the cheaper alternatives to central hotels can save a fortune and make a trip to the city much more feasible.

Thames with Big Ben in the background

Leave your car at home and avoid London traffic. Rather than entrusting rail travel with transporting you to the city for a weekend break, consider air travel. It’s surprising to know that, if booked in advance, off peak flights can cost less than a stint on the train. OK, so you may have to put up with inevitable delays, just like you would on a rail service, but the convenience makes up for the shortfalls. Plus, you can find here hotels near Heathrow airport, meaning you’re a stone’s throw away from London and in the right place for your return journey.


Accommodation away from the city centre will automatically reduce the costs of staying in London. With Heathrow being connected via the underground links, being based a little further out of the city shouldn’t affect your enjoyment. You can also catch the Heathrow Express from Terminals 4 and 5, which will get you into central London in a mere 15 minutes.

Alternatively, staying in Greater London can save pounds. With areas such as Barking on the district line, in zone 4, you can use the Tube to get into the centre in approximately 20 minutes. The cost of the extra travel doesn’t even need to outweigh the savings – if you arrange an Oyster card and top it up before you travel, you could save money on standard underground tickets. If you do decide to go down this route, it is recommended to plan your itinerary so that you only have to take one trip into central London per day, saving you going back on forth which would be kinder to both your purse and your legs.

London Eye

If you prefer to stay local but need to find cheaper alternatives, you could choose to stay slightly further afield areas, such as Battersea or Southwark. Just south of the river, you’re only a few minutes away from the action but in areas that can’t get away with hiked hotel prices.

See also  Cheap Hotel / Hostel in Vietnam

Once you’ve decided on accommodation, there’ll be no stopping you. There is so much to see and do in and around London that you may need several return trips to achieve it all. Winter is a magical time to visit, with the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland being one of the main attractions. Why not head to the city for the last bits of Christmas shopping, followed by catching the Aladdin panto at the O2 Arena?

Big Ben

Whatever you choose, consider flying to Heathrow instead of accepting the stress of driving or rail travel. Book a room at the airport hotel and enjoy your time in this incredible city.

Maybe this is not the most “trampy” way of traveling, and you can probably notice it has not been written by us, but we believe it could be helpful for some English folks with a weekend off and a desire to see the capital.


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Cez Krol
Cez Krol
I’m always positive and never bored – there’s just so much more to see and experience! I began my journey around the world in 2011 with just $400 and one-way ticket to Asia. Still going and blogging today. You can typically spot me working on a laptop or rock climbing.
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18 thoughts on “Weekend Breaks in London: Cheaper Alternatives to City Centre Accommodation”

      1. Avatar of Agness

        Awesome! Enjoy guys!! Wish we were there as well :-). Bet the weather’s great. Have a lovely time and we can’t wait to read about it on your blog!

  1. Avatar of The Guy

    Oyster cards are great. We’ve got a couple even though we are hours away from London.

    People may be interested in getting onto the e-mailing lists of Travelodge and Premier Inn (UK versions). Periodically they release hotel rooms from £19 or £29 a night if you book in advance on their specials. We’ve stayed at the Covent Garden one and a few others right in the centre. A great bargain if you can get it.

    1. Avatar of Cez

      Thanks for this comment Guy. I borrowed Oyster cards from friends every time I visited London. Not sure if it’s against the rules, but it worked.

      It’s great deal if it’s per room. Sometimes hostels are more expensive in London. Well, not the cheapest place in the world…

    2. Avatar of Agness

      Every time I got to London, I grabbed the oyster card and it’s so cheap in comparison to Brussels or Oslo. Now I appreciate it ;-)!

    3. Avatar of Chris

      Ha! Yeah the Oyster Card is the first thing I get (or keep) each time I’m in London (proof: – the site is still under construction) although it’s still pretty expensive to travel in London.

      I also found a hostel for £85 per week or £12/£17 per weekday/weekend just outside of Central (New Cross) that has two full kitchens and everything you need. Other than that, go Couchsurfing!

      1. Avatar of Agness

        Thanks Chris for sharing. You seem to be a London expert :). We will check these links up! Great bargain on the accommodation!

  2. Avatar of Jennifer

    An Oyster card is a very smart idea if you are visiting London. It only costs £5 for the card, which you can get back if you return it, then just top up with how much you like. You’ll save a lot of money off the regular fare, and there’s no need to queue up every time to get a ticket for the tube. Oysters can be used on buses too – very handy!

    1. Avatar of Agness

      Cheers! Your Birthday wishes for me were from London, weren’t they? :-) Did you go travelling or shopping? :-) Bet BOTH!

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