Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 04:10 pm
(By Lisa Aspeling)
While you may think it’s too early to start planning your Christmas break, if you’re hoping to pop over to London in December and you’re on a budget, now is the time to start…
Even though we can’t guarantee you’ll have snow, we can help you squeeze every ounce of value out of your stay.
1. Visas, etc.
Even if you’re only going for a few weeks, the United Kingdom offers a standard six-month tourist visa to holiday-makers.
There is a significant amount of documentation you need to supply, so make sure you apply for your visa approximately one month before your departure to allow for enough time for the visa’s processing and any unforeseen ‘whoopsies’.
For assistance with a smooth UK visa application process visit Move Up (www.moveup.co.za). They can assist with all UK visa types and even promise a money-back guarantee.
2. Flight of fantasy
You may have to fly economy class, but here’s how you can economise even further on your flights. December and January are considered ‘high season’, which means flights are in demand and can be sold for higher prices.
The golden rule of savings on flight bookings: the earlier you buy your tickets, the cheaper they’ll be.
www.kayak.com and www.rometorio.com are two of our favourite websites for finding low-cost international flights. (Pssst! Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are usually the cheapest high season days to fly).
3. Staying power
Who says you have to pay through the nose for overseas accommodation? Remember watching the romantic Christmas movie, The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz?
If you own your own home or your landlord doesn’t mind you subletting, you might consider doing a house swap this Christmas. Just sign up, pay a registration fee, create a profile, browse your options then get in touch with the owners. If you can’t find a perfect date match for a swap, you can always spend some credits on a one-sided arrangement. Check out www.lovehomeswap.com for some exciting options!
You can also sign up to be a house- or pet-sitter and stay overseas – for free! This option also requires registering with your preferred website, paying a registration fee and finding a suitable match.
4. Travel light
Next to flights and accommodation, your daily transport costs can make a big dent in your budget. Hiring a car for all-day sightseeing outside London will give you some independence, but the beloved oyster card will be your most useful asset within the city.
An Oyster Card allows you to travel on the underground, overland trains or city buses without the hassle of carrying cash. Just purchase and top your oyster card up at your nearest train station, then tap it on the designated spot as you pass through the turnstiles or step onto a bus.
We can’t decide which is more useful: the Citymapper app that compares London travel routes, methods and prices; or Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app for top-notch, guided walking tours of London.
Somerset House’s magnificent 18th Century building with its central courtyard, offers an unrivalled backdrop for stunning Christmas events. The venue has become renowned for epitomising the Christmas experience with its pop-up ice rink, grand Christmas tree and festive atmosphere throughout. The Portico Rooms offers balcony views over The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, creating the perfect Christmassy atmosphere for clients hosting within this space. The Seamen’s Hall is ideal for dancing the night away for up to 200 guests. With an option of adding ice skating tickets to your event for your guests, Somerset House really is the perfect place for Christmas events! . . . . • • • • • @somersethouse_venuehire #SomersetHouse #LondonVenueAwards #SKATE #Christmasparty #Christmasevent #Christmasdinner #LondonChristmas #LondonChristmasparty #Christmaslunch #Christmasvenue #xmas #xmasparty #londonvenues #venuehire #venuefinding #eventprofs #eventprofsuk #events #event #eventcatering #eventcaterer #londonevents #londoneventcaterer #eventmanager #eventmanagement #eventplanner #bespokeevent #sensationalfood #exceptionaldesign #tabletalk
The oldest centre of culture in the English-speaking world, from quirky restaurants and jaw-dropping art exhibitions to the world’s best theatrical productions, in London you’ll find a variety of entertainment, tours and museums to tickle your fancy.
Make sure you watch at least one of these celebrated productions: Wicked, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Lion King or Mathilda. Entry-level tickets start at approximately £25 (R500). Book early to secure your spot.
If you head to Trafalgar Square at 13:00 on week days you can take in a world-class classical music concert held at St Martin in the Fields. There’s no entrance fee, but they do accept donations towards maintaining their beautiful, old church.
To see their concert schedule, click HERE.