Many German tourists are afraid of high prices in London. Overall, London is not cheap, but it was worse. The details below are my personal impression from a trip to London in January 2017. The exchange rate was about 1 pound = 1.16 euros.
To sum up: hotels are significantly more expensive in London than in Germany, food (restaurants, supermarkets, fast food) only slightly more expensive than in Germany, prices for public transport, if you know your way around, about the same, beer in a pub is a bit more expensive in London. A big hole in the travel cash in London eats up the entrance fees for some sightseeings.
Prices for accommodation in London
The price level for accommodation in London is slightly higher than in Germany. This is least true for hostels (private youth hostels). There are a large number of private hostels in London with low prices. Dormitory beds start at around 16 euros (20 euros). But then one is usually with 10 other guests in a room, in a dump or far away from the centre of London. A realistic price for a good hostel bed is 20 to 25 pounds – in summer a little more, in winter a little less.
Hotels are pretty expensive, I’m afraid. Even in winter, a single room without bathroom costs at least 50 pounds (60 euros). For a double room with bathroom and breakfast you have to expect at least 85 pounds (100 Euro) (as of 2017). In summer the prices are even higher. For many tourists in London, the overnight stay eats up more than half of the whole travel money. The hotels are the cheapest if you book in advance at home in peace in the internet. In our opinion, the best website for this is Booking.com with more than 3,000 accommodations in London. One should not only pay attention to the price, but also to things like evaluations of the hotel by other guests, location of the accommodation in London, inclusive services like breakfast or free WLAN and much more.
Our excursion tip
Harry Potter tour from London to the film studios outside the city. It is currently the most popular day trip from London >>> More information
Of course there are also holiday flats in London. Also holiday apartments are unfortunately more expensive in London than in most other cities in Europe. From time to time, however, you can also find bargains in London.
Prices for food in London
Those who need a real restaurant with a 3-course menu will find London more expensive. You have to expect at least 25 euros per person. But at the Indian or Chinese snack bar at the corner, one can eat well for less than 10 euros. Also Mc Donalds and the like is rather cheaper in London than in Germany. If you go in the suburbs, especially to the poorer ones in the east and south of London, you will find prices in the restaurants as cheap as in East Germany. Unfortunately, tourists rarely come to these areas of London. More about the topics restaurants in London and fast food in London. Tip: In London, one can eat wetherspoons cheaply and somewhat British in the pub chain (very many branches).
Supermarkets aren’t too expensive in London. Aldi and Lidl are the cheapest, as in Germany. Branches of these two German chains can be found in London – but less in the centre. The British supermarket chains in the city centre have a large selection, good prices and quite high quality. Also the service is usually good. My favourite chain Tesco is widespread, with smaller shops in the centre and large markets in the suburbs of London. The prices are in my opinion slightly higher than at Rewe, Tengelmann or Edeka in Germany.
Prices Sights London
Many great sightseeings in London like the zoo or the wax museum Madame Tussauds or the Tower cost a lot of admission. Some national museums like the Museum für moderne Kunst Tate Modern do not charge an entrance fee. The entrance fees in London are a real fare jungle.
Many sightseeings should be booked in advance on the internet in order to avoid long queues for the ticket at the box office. It is best to buy the tickets for Madame Tussauds, Tower of London, the Zoo, the Giant Ferris Wheel and so on in advance on the internet. We have bought some tickets on this website.
Saving money with the London Pass: Those who want to visit several sights with a high entrance fee in London can possibly save a lot with a London Pass. It is an admission ticket for tourists to more than 50 sights in London: More information about the London Pass on this page.
Tip: Excursion Harry Potter (Warner Brothers Studio Tour)
One of the most popular excursions in London goes to the film studios where the Harry Potter films were shot. The Warner Brothers studios are located about 30 kilometres north of London near the city of Watford. The tour includes a bus transfer from central London and has very good reviews. A “must” for every Harry Potter fan on a London holiday. The trip by bus and the visit to the film studios takes about 7 hours. One should book early, the popular Harry Potter trip from London is often sold out. The alternative arrival by public transport is not easy. The excursion to the Warner Brothers Studios is the highlight of the trip for many London vacationers.
On this page you can find more information and book the tour.
Prices in the pubs of London
Everywhere in London you can hear locals swearing: The British pubs are no longer what they used to be. Above all, the high (beer) prices are criticized. This is probably true – a pint (a good half litre, see: Conversion pint) of beer can cost 5 Euros or even more in the centre of London. However, many pubs have great special offers. Almost all pubs offer different beers with different prices. In many pubs in London there are also meals, mostly cheaper than in restaurants. For those who want to save money, the pub chain Wetherspoons is recommended (for beer and food).
Prices for metro and buses in London
Caution: Prices for single tickets are very expensive in London – minimum 4.90 pounds for a short metro ride. You should definitely get an Oyster Card. So you get the same ticket that costs 4.90 for 2.40 (both British pounds). In addition, with the Oyster Card there is a maximum of one day. Depending on the zone, this is from 6.60 pounds. So you don’t have to buy a day ticket, the maximum of the day is automatically activated when you cross it by the single rides. With the plastic card Oyster Card, in London, the subway and the buses have approximately the same prices as in Berlin or Munich.
Cigarette prices in England 2018 / 2019 (London)
Cigarettes are significantly more expensive in Great Britain than in Germany and prices continue to rise. A pack of cigarettes costs at least 50% more than in Germany (depending on the brand so 6-10 pounds in 2017). Turned tobacco is also very expensive (at least twice as much as in Germany). This means that cigarette prices in Great Britain are the highest in Europe alongside Ireland. Even in Sweden and Finland cigarettes are much cheaper. So if you can’t stop smoking, you should take cigarettes with you on holiday to England. As far as we know, up to 800 cigarettes (40 packs) are allowed within the EU. But they have to be for personal use, you are not allowed to sell them in London or anywhere else. After the Brexit the free quantities should sink, presumably on a carton (200 cigarettes).