No-Budget Tips for London and Stockholm, Revisited

October 24, 2007

in Cheap Activities, City Tips, Contest, Drink, Europe, Food, Luggage, Reader Tips, Sweden, Travel, United Kingdom, Web Tips

In August I posted a request for reader tips to the high-budget destinations of London and Stockholm. To the worthy advice of my readers on the former, I add my own observations following my recent travels to both.

London . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

+ There are so many free museums in London, I think you’d have to live there at least a year and make concerted effort to see them all. Figure out which ones are interesting to you and add one a day to your schedule.

+ Same goes for the variety of parks. Add a walk through a different one to your daily schedule.

+ London has a number of markets throughout the year. Foodies should check this list of farmers’ markets. Jed at The London Traveler is covering each of the markets one by one.

+ Walking through different neighborhoods is free and interesting. The London Tourism people offer a variety of walking routes, but there are probably others online (here, for example) or in your guidebook.

+ The winner of the Reader Tips contest, Ann, mentioned that it is possible to visit famous churches for free at evensong. Westminster and St. Paul’s actually hold a number of daily services which you can attend for free. Believer or no, this is an atmospheric way to see a church and after sitting respectfully through the service, it’s always possible to linger and look around afterwards.

+ Other churches plan a free daily or weekly organ concert for the lunch hour. Some may, as the larger churches above, have a free evensong. If there’s a church or two you’re interested in seeing, try to visit during one of these concerts.

+ London Tourism again beats me to the punch with a list of free concerts, films, comedy shows and more. There’s a page on scoring cheap tickets to theatre productions and concerts. They also highlight cheap food and drink options around the city.

+ The cheapest to-go food I saw on the trip was fish or chicken and chips boxes near the Tower of London. Two retailers there are advertising a price war and sell their wares for £1 only. These big boxes would have certainly cost £4 somewhere else in town.

Free things I didn’t have the chance to do but plan to in the future:

+ attend a BBC taping

+ Prime Minister’s Question Time

+ Tower of London Ceremony of the Keys

+ Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard

+ Sunday morning at Speakers’ Corner

+ Open House London

Getting to and from Stansted: right now, the cheapest option is Terravision at £14 return. If you book far enough in advance, easyBus may be even cheaper.

Luggage storage: near Victoria station, you will save at least £2/day by storing your luggage at the Coach Station rather than the Train Station.


Stockholm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all the national museums that were free in Stockholm have begun charging admissions fees under the new, more conservative government. This is unlikely to change before the next elections in 2010. Let me tell you, it really put a damper on my plans.

The other bad news about Stockholm museums is that there are generally no student discounts. Nearly every museum is free for people under 18 and there are some discounts for seniors. The exception I discovered in my travels was the Vasa Museum, which had half-priced student tickets when showing ID.

That said, there are still three free museums: the Dance Museum, the Stockholm City Museum, and the Medieval Stockholm Museum. The latter is under renovation and a small exhibition can be found in the basement of the Kulturhuset. It looks like there’s a great art show (Russian artist Nicholas Roerich) on at the Dance Museum right now. The Royal Coin Cabinet is free on Mondays.

+ The Swedish Parliament offers free tours year-round.

+ Plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans have a deposit in Sweden. Consider bringing your own refillable bottle to make sure you get your deposits back.

Getting to/from Skavsta: if you purchase a round-trip ticket with Flygbussarna, it works out as cheaply as taking public transportation and is more straightforward.

If you haven’t already, you might also want to read

Baring My Budget: London

Navigating London-Stansted Airport

Baring My Budget: Stockholm

More No-Budget Tips for Stockholm and Nyköping

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 poetloverrebelspy 10.24.07 at 8:36 pm

A couple more free museums in Stockholm that I overlooked:

+ Forum för Levande Historia

+ Haga Park Museum

+ Svensk Form Stockholm

+ Swedish Customs Museum

+ Bergius Botanic Garden

2 waltzingaustralia 10.30.07 at 5:04 am

Wow. I can hardly wait to get back to London to try out some of your tips. I knew a few of the items, but your list gave me enough new things to consider to want to plan another trip. (Of course, it doesn’t take much to make me consider planning a trip anywhere.)

Thanks for the useful info.

3 poetloverrebelspy 10.30.07 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for your comment, Cynthia. I know I am already planning my next trip to London. What amazes me is how *little* I was able to see in 5 days (even seeing things non-stop)!

4 poetloverrebelspy 11.24.07 at 5:21 pm

View this post and others at the Carnival of Travel Tips, hosted by Co$tly Travel Mistakes.

5 poetloverrebelspy 01.13.08 at 5:28 am

Check out more money-saving tips for London at the Times Online.

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