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SIM card: Ways to get Internet as a tourist | April 2024

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Last update: April 1, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
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In a nutshell

Buying a SIM card in London will give you the mobile data you need as a tourist. But be aware that it's not the only option available to you. You can activate your provider's roaming, connect to a free wifi hotspot or rent a pocket wifi device. That said, we think the best way to get unlimited data during your trip is via an eSIM card.

Book your London eSIM with Holafly

Buying a SIM card for tourist in London

The first thing you might think about doing is buying a SIM card in London. This would not be a bad option, as it will solve your Internet access problems. Plus, you won't have to commit yourself to any one company, as you can sign up for a few days' worth of packages.

You can buy your London SIM card in all kinds of supermarkets and phone shops, which are plentiful in all parts of the city. You can also buy online, although you'll have to wait until you receive it at your accommodation before you can get an Internet connection. In any case, you will need your passport in order to start the recruitment process.

Please don't buy your SIM card at any of the London airports. You will be tempted to do so, as you will find all sorts of shops as soon as you get off the plane. You're sure to pay more than they're really worth, so spend a few minutes getting to the centre to save a bit of money.

These are the main UK operators that you can buy your London SIM card:

  • EE SIM card for London: It offers big data plans starting at 60GB and going up to unlimited data.
  • O2 SIM card in London: This is the second-largest phone company in the country and has different tariffs for permanent residents. However, for tourists and people who will be in the UK intermittently, they offer a prepaid card plan.
  • Vodafone SIM card for London: You have the Big Value Bundle. This prepaid SIM plan offers 6GB of data, 1,000 minutes of calls and unlimited SMS.
  • Three SIM card in London: This company has a wide range of plans of 30GB or more for very low prices.

Other alternatives to get access the Internet in London

Of course, a London SIM card will provide you with internet access during your stay in London, but there are many other options. We urge you to check them out, as you can find some real bargains.

You can activate your carrier's roaming, get a virtual SIM or connect to a wifi network. We don't want to confuse you, so we're going to detail all your options, one by one, so that you can go for broke and not waste time on your trip.

How much does it cost the Internet in London?
Service Price/Days Data
eSIM London Holafly
  • From £29/10 days
  • Unlimited
O2 SIM card in London
  • From £17/30 days
  • From 5GB
Wifi in London:
  • Portable
  • Public

  • From £4/day
  • Free

  • 2GB/day
  • Unlimited

Get an eSIM for London: The best wat to have unlimited data

Of all the options we have mentioned, we believe the best of all is to buy a virtual SIM in London. Or eSIM card, as it is starting to be called these days. It's a virtual model that you receive directly in your email to activate from your phone when you need it.

What is an eSIM card?

Therefore, its advantage over the usual SIM cards is convenience. With an eSIM for London, you won't have to waste time looking for a shop or supermarket. Just use its QR code and ready to go.

We must tell you that not all phones support these virtual SIM cards. If you have a latest generation model or an iPhone, you won't have a problem. But we recommend you check before you spend a single pound. Here are the main manufacturers with eSIM compatible models:

  • Apple.
  • Xiaomi.
  • Samsung.
  • Huawei.
  • Oppo.

And while you'll find many companies offering digital SIM cards, there's one that shines above the rest: Holafly. In addition to 24/7 customer service, its biggest advantage is that it offers unlimited data plans.

eSim United Kingdom
Prepaid: 5 days expiry
Data Unlimited

Connection speed 4G
Pay as you go£195 days expiry
taxes included

Buying a SIM card in London may be a good idea, but if you want unlimited internet access for a few days, you may be better off with Holafly's London eSIM.

To find out for sure, here are all their plans and prices:

London eSIM Holafly: all the plans
Plan Price Gigas
5 days £19 Unlimited
10 days £29 Unlimited
15 days £44 Unlimited
20 days £49 Unlimited
30 days £59 Unlimited
60 days £77 Unlimited
90 days £87 Unlimited

Sign up now for your Holafly eSIM with a 5% discount including the coupon ROAMS

While we believe Holafly is your best option, we understand that you may want to check out other options before you sign up for anything. Here are some of the other companies you can buy your London travel eSIM:

  • Airalo.
  • Truphone
  • SimOptions.
  • Ubigi.
  • Yesim.

Free wifi hotspots in London

If it's free internet you're after, you can always connect to one of the many free wifi hotspots around London. London is a big city, so you'll be able to access them from almost any hotel, restaurant or even in public parks.

However, you shouldn't bank or shopping online connected to one of these networks. They are extremely insecure, so it could be the case that a stranger gains access to your data and bank accounts.

Connect to a pocket wifi in London

To cover your back when it comes to such things, it is best to connect to a pocket wifi or MiFi. You can rent one of these devices from a company to have mobile data wherever you are, so this can be a good option for your trip. Remember, however, that you must return the equipment in perfect condition.

These are some of the companies from which you can rent a pocket wifi:

  • WifiVox: This company offers 1GB per day data plans to stay connect to the Internet.
  • Travel Wifi: You can connect up to 5 different devices with 2GB of mobile data per day.
  • MioWifi: The Internet connection provided is 4G and high speed.
  • Klook Wifi: If you're looking for variety, you can choose from plans ranging from 1GB to 4GB of mobile data.

Roaming in London

Depending on the country you are travelling from, you may want to activate roaming. We recommend that you check your carrier's terms and conditions, as not all carriers include the same countries in their free roaming zone.

Be careful, because even if your carrier includes the UK in its list of countries with free roaming, you won't get unlimited data. Providers usually set a cap. If you exceed it, you are likely to be charged a hefty surcharge on your phone bill.

In order to enjoy Internet access with your home carrier, remember to activate data roaming in your phone's settings. And if you don't want to be charged without realizing it, turn it off as soon as you leave your home country.

Reasons why you should have Internet in London

Regardless of the length of your stay, having an Internet connection in the UK gives you a wide range of day-to-day possibilities. Both in the gastronomic and tourist section, without forgetting the basic needs of everyday life.

Here you have some reasons to have mobile data in the UK:

  • Check the weather: Before you make any plans, you should consider whether the clouds on the island are going to dump a downpour just when you're going on an excursion.
  • Get around easily: With VTC services like Uber still booming, you can order a ride and keep track of where it is at all times via the app.
  • Order food: If you've been caught out on a rainy day, you can always eat without having to wander around your own accommodation through apps like Glovo or Just Eat.
  • Find your way around: With Google Maps you can plot routes, know your location and check traffic on different roads. So even if you're in a foreign country, you'll never feel lost.
  • Get to know every nook and cranny: There are several apps, such as the National Trust, that warn you when you pass near a historical monument. With them, you can learn about the history of castles, churches and more.

It's clear that having Internet access in London is a must, whether you're staying for a few months or a few days. That's why we think your best bet is to get Holafly's London eSIM.

Sign up now for your Holafly eSIM with a 5% discount including the coupon ROAMS

Tips for travelling to London

From enjoying the best Fish N' Chips to knowing urban routes and hiking. If you are going to travel to the United Kingdom, there are free services that you can take advantage of to make the most of your stay.

On the one hand, the well-known TripAdvisor will help you discover the best restaurants near you at a quick glance at your mobile screen. In addition, you can filter based on ratings or type of cuisine, so that you go practically to the plate.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom goes much further than London. There is a wide variety of routes through towns and mountains that allow you to discover the island from a unique point of view. We recommend iFoorpath. This mobile app shows you different routes that you can do both by city and by the orography of the United Kingdom.

FAQs about SIM card in London

Where to buy a SIM card in London?

To buy a SIM card in London, you can go to a specialized phone shop or even a supermarket. You can also buy a SIM card at the airport, but it will be more expensive.

What is the best way to get unlimited data in London?

Apart from signing up for a SIM card plan or connecting to a free wifi hotspot, your best option for unlimited data in London is with an eSIM.

What SIM card for London is the best?

There are many companies you can buy a SIM card from, but EE may be one of the favourites, as it is the UK's largest provider and offers outstanding coverage and service.

Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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Nadia Pérez
Edited and revised por Nadia Pérez