If you’re planning a trip to London, you may be looking for information to budget for the trip. However, it’s not as simple as setting aside money for food, activities and travel because if you don’t know the cost of things in London, you could end up way out of pocket.
Our London Guide
Depending on where you’re coming from, you may find London relatively affordable or very expensive. Our guide will run through some of the everyday things that people buy, to give you a basis to budget from.
The Big Mac Index and How to Use It
If you’re arriving from overseas, you’ll need to change your currency to sterling. Getting the most competitive rate will be a significant factor in how affordable the trip is. Rather than heading to your local bank, secure CFD trading is an excellent way to get a better exchange rate, but you’ll need to know when to do the deal.
The Big Mac Index was created in 1986, and it’s a fun way to view the currency market. If the forex charts leave you cross-eyed, the Big Mac Index will help everything make sense.
The idea is that roughly speaking, a Big Mac should cost the same everywhere. By comparing the two prices of the burger in different countries, it’s possible to calculate the burger exchange rate. By comparing the burger exchange rate to the actual exchange rate on the market, it’s possible to see whether a currency is under or overvalued. This insight can be invaluable in deciding when to trade your money.
In the UK a Big Mac costs £3.29 while in other countries you can expect to pay:
- $5.66 USA
- €25 EU
- ¥390 Japan
- 40 yuan China
- A$6.48 Australia
- NZ$6.80 New Zealand
- C$6.77 Canada
- 17 shekels Israel
- S$5.90 Singapore
- 90 reais Brazil
- E£50 Egypt
- 54 pesos Mexico
- 190 rupees India
The Cost of London
Now that you know how to use the Burger Index, how about finding out some of the actual prices in London. Obviously, prices may fluctuate in response to external factors, but this should give you a rough idea of how much a visit will cost:
- A pastry £5.00
- Lunch at Starbucks (or equivalent) £13
- One-day unlimited Oyster card (travel card) £20
- Pint of beer £5.19
- A glass of wine £6-8
- Bottle of water 60p-£50 (**but tap water in restaurants and takeaways is free so ask!)
- Breakfast £6.00
- Steak dinner £23+
- Fish and chips £7-10
- A soft drink can/bottle £2
- Ride on the London Eye £31 (**cheaper to buy online and in advance)
Free Things to Do: Some Ideas
Although there are many places to go and things to see in London, many have a price tag attached. You could easily spend a small fortune seeing the best of what the city has to offer.
Why not save your pennies and enjoy what’s available in the capital for free? Here are some ideas of things you might like:
Watch the Changing of the Guard
A formal ceremony which takes places just outside Buckingham Palace roughly every other day, the Changing of the Guard is a much-loved ritual. Lasting around 45 minutes and free to watch, the old guards are replaced by the incoming guards, all dressed in the traditional bearskin hats and red tunics while playing brass band instruments.
Visit the British Museum
Completely free to enter, the British Museum was founded in 1753 and has a collection of human history encompassing more than two million years. Infamous artefacts such as the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies and Parthenon sculptures are all exhibited here and visited by around six million people annually. As well as the permanent displays, the museum also has installations, exhibitions and special events, so it’s worth checking what’s on before you travel.
One of the most well-known green spaces in London, Hampstead Heath, lies just four miles from Trafalgar Square. If you’ve had enough of the crowds and want to enjoy some fresh air and quiet, head to Hampstead Heath and enjoy spectacular views over the city. It’s more than just a green, open space though; there’s also an open-air lido, splash ponds, athletics track, zoo and butterfly house, playgrounds, listed pergola and the much-loved Parliament Hill.