London on a Budget: Jacob's Story
Jacob Tyler, who is currently working as an intern in Tampa International Airport's marketing department, loves travel and is a pro at exploring the world cheaply. This month, he traveled to London, paying $550 round-trip on British Airways -- a steal considering it's peak spring break season! The average base fare on either BA or Norwegian, TPA's newest carrier to offer nonstop London service, is approximately $500, though it varies widely by season and can be more expensive with basic add-ons and extras. To compare fares from Tampa, check out British Airways' or Norwegian's booking sites, or use a cheap fare search site such as Skyscanner.
London: a quick guide to a cheap trip to the British capital
By Jacob Tyler
London has always been a top destination for travelers and with two airlines flying direct from Tampa to London’s Gatwick Airport, taking a trip across the pond has never been easier. It has also never been cheaper. With competition significantly lowering fares, even a long weekend trip to London is possible, and affordable.
Getting to/from the Airport
Tampa passengers flying on either Norwegian or British Airways will arrive at Gatwick’s South Terminal. There are many options on how to get from Gatwick to Central London. The quickest option is the Gatwick Express, a train that offers direct service right to London’s Victoria Station. Tickets start at £18 ($24) one-way for an advanced booking. Other rail options that take a bit longer and do not offer direct service, are also available. These include the Thameslink, £10-12 ($13-16), and National Rail Services, £12-17 ($16-23). The cheapest way to get into central London is by coach. National Express will get you from Gatwick’s south terminal to Victoria Station in under 2 hours for just £6 ($8) one-way.
London boasts one of the world’s best metro systems. Become a master of “the Tube” and travel like a true Londoner by getting an Oyster Card. These rechargeable cards can be purchased when you arrive at Gatwick’s south terminal. A £5 ($7) deposit for your Oyster Card will be refunded upon your return to Gatwick.
Seeing the Sights
One of the great things about London is the amount of free attractions. Check out a few of my favorites:
The Sky Garden
Enjoy spectacular views of Central London from the top of one of London’s tallest buildings. Admittance is free but make sure to reserve a spot ahead of time. Some famous sights visible from the Sky Garden include:
- The London Eye
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- The Shard
- Tower Bridge
History buffs and families of all ages will find something to enjoy at the many free museums in London. Some of these include:
- Tate Modern
- The National Gallery
- The Museum of London
- The Bank of England Museum
Looking to do some unique shopping and get a quick bite? Camden Market is the place for you. Located next to Camden’s scenic canal, London’s largest market boasts over 1,000 shops, food stands, cafes, and bars that are open 7 days a week.