Find the best accommodation deals for culture vultures across all areas of London
London is the world’s culture capital, combining theatre, cinema, visual art, music, fashion and free museums to top the global culture charts. If you’re planning a journey to London to take in our vast array of cultural offerings, then take your pick from TravelStay’s vast selection of cheap London hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts. We have the best deals available for budget accommodation, so you’re bound to find something that suits you down to the ground. Whether you want to be in the heart of the action or save money by being a little further out, we’ve got money saving tips on our hotels (such as FREE extras) that will make sure you enjoy your trip all the more.
London’s most vibrant areas for culture are the famous West End, the museum district in South Kensington, and the Southbank.
Top attractions for London culture
For theatre, there is no more popular place than the West End, also affectionately known as Theatreland. However, there are great theatres all over London. The Arcola in Dalston, the Greenwich Playhouse (no prizes for guessing where that is), the Trafalgar Studios in Charing Cross, the Waterloo East Theatre and the Tricycle Theatre in Wembley to name but a few.
And, of course, there’s the National Theatre of Great Britain on the Southbank.
London is rife with art galleries, with particular favourites being the Tate Modern on the Southbank, the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, the Tate Britain in Pimlico and the Serpentine in Hyde Park. There are, of course, a great many more, smaller galleries all around London which specialise in more niche areas of art.
London is replete with museums too, offering magnificent exhibitions in all areas of endeavour; from the Natural History and Science Museum in South Kensington to the Museum of London in St. Pauls. And the best bit is that they’re all free.
There are smaller museums,, such as the Geffrye Museum in East London and the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street, that need to charge visitors in order to remain open but which are nonetheless well worth a visit.
Staying near the West End
Due to the popularity of the West End, hotels in the area tend towards the more expensive end of the range. In the nearby area of Victoria, which boasts some of London’s best transport links (both within London and further afield), we have a wide selection of cheap hotels. These are not only close to the West End venues of Victoria but within a twenty-to-thirty-minute walk of the West End proper (Liecester Square and Charing Cross).
Why not try the Chester Hotel Victoria, which offers free WiFi throughout and is free for children under eight years of age? The hotel has comfortable rooms at budget prices and is in a wonderful location for access to the West End.
You could also try the Holly House Hotel London, which comes with a free continental breakfast, helping to keep costs down and make sure you’ve got enough sustenance to do a full day’s sight-seeing.
Staying near the Museum District
If you want to stay near the museum district of South Kensington, then any of the above hotels offer easy access either by foot, by bus, or by underground.
However we also have a great selection of budget accommodations in the Earls Court area, which offer great prices, a popular social scene and excellent access to the museums of West London.
If you’re keen to keep the budget to an absolute minimum to save pennies for your cultural outings, then why not try our hostels in the area? Barkston Rooms have prices from £12 per person and the hotel has a shared kitchen, allowing you to prepare your own food to help economise.
For somewhere more upmarket but without the price hike, take a look at the Lexham Gardens Hotel. As a three-star accommodation with prices starting at £15.83 per person, you’d be provided with a comfortable room, all the hotel amenities, and all within a short walk of the museum district.
The Windsor House Hotel offers guests a free continental breakfast when they book, and the Anwar House Hotel has free WiFi in communal areas so you can book your exhibition tickets without needing to step outside!
We’ve got a great selection of cheap hostels, hotels and BnBs in the area, so take a look at our hotel list to find something right for you.
Staying near the Southbank
For top-notch music, art and theatre, there’s no better all-round location than London’s famous Southbank.
If you’re staying over the summer months, then you’re able to book one of our heavily discounted but top-rate student accommodations, which are repurposed to suit the needs of London tourists during this time.
Snugly nestled in one of London’s most desirable locations is Bankside House, which offers everything from basic single rooms to bespoke top-floor apartments, providing accommodation for every budget range.
Bankside House is situated literally minutes’ walk from the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre (not to mention beautiful views of the Thames) and is one of our most popular budget accommodations.
If you’re trying to keep overall costs down and want to stay somewhere very cheap, then Rest Up London both offer private single, double, triple and quad rooms as well as beds in dormitories, tailoring their tariffs to your budget.
With free WiFi in public areas and a very brief underground ride (or twenty-minute walk) from the Southbank, Rest Up London is a very cost-effective option for visitors on a budget.
Safestay London is located in Waterloo, a short walk from the attractions of the Southbank, and offers up-market hostel accommodation. This enables you to stay in comfort whilst keeping costs down. Just check out the customer reviews to see what people think of this great budget hostel!
For budget options further afield in South London, take a look at our tailored hotel list.
Getting around cultural hotspots
If you opt to stay outside the centre of London, then transport to the cultural hubs will take slightly longer but is by no means difficult.
For example, if you were to keep costs down by staying at the Queens Hotel London in Crystal Palace, you could hop on a train from the nearby train station and be in Victoria within fifteen minutes.
Or if you wanted to stay in one of our many budget hotels and BnBs in north/northeast London, such as Ilford or Leyton, then you could get the overground train to Liverpool Street or, latterly, just jump on the Central Line, which will take you straight into town.
The West End is the best served by tubes of London’s cultural hotspots, with Leicester Square being at its centre. However any of the surrounding tube stations, such as Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Goodge Street, Piccadilly Circus and Holborn are all a short walk away. There’s no need to feel that you can only get off at Leicester Square; in fact walking from nearby stations gives you a great sense of geography and a chance to see some lovely sights.
The Southbank is best reached by either London Bridge at one end and Waterloo at the other. These can be reached by both underground and overground trains. These are both served by multiple tube lines and are both on different branches of the Northern Line. Trains from a wide variety of outer-London locations serve the stations too.
The tube stations of Southwark and Borough are also nearby.
South Kensington is easily reached by tube from Victoria and Earls Court, or on foot from these locations. The area is pleasant and easy to walk around, and we recommend that you do so as far as possible as tube stations nearby can become crowded during peak times. If you enjoy walking, then you could get the tube to Lancaster Gate or Queensway and walk across Hyde Park to reach your destination.
Top Tips for doing London culture on a budget
West End tickets can be very expensive, so we recommend looking for ticket deals from the Audience Club, Groupon and Amazon Local.
Other theatres offer very attractive discount ticket offers. The National Theatre do £10 return and £5 standing tickets, and the Groundling tickets at Shakespeare’s Globe are only £5 too. Many theatres have begun doing a “pay what you can” night, and many also offer student, Over-60s and Young Persons discounts.
Museums are, in general, free to enter. However, if you do need to pay to enter, then being a member of a special interest group, an Over-60 group, an affiliated union, or being a student or a young person will usually entitle you to a discount.