Things To Do In London On A Budget This Summer
Living and working near London, means I’m often in town working, exploring, and searching for interesting places to eat (of course). Without proper preparation, a day in the city can eat into my purse - in a big way.
There is no doubt London has reputation for being one of the most expensive cities. However, when you dig a little deeper, you can discover a surprising amount of activities for free or on a budget. This summer, take advantage of London’s many free attractions, cheap eats and beautiful parks. Also make use of London’s travel cap in Zones 1-9, as pay as you go fares are cheaper than buying paper single tickets. And, if you squeeze lots of activities and travel into one day, the total cost of your daily travel will be capped (so you’ll pay less than the equivalent day travelcard).
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
1) Cheap eats
Not every trip to London needs to cost you a bomb, especially when it comes to fuelling up. It’s tempting to dip into one of the many artisan cafes and restaurants, but these come with a hefty price tag. If you’re on a budget - and don’t want to end up munching on a McDonald’s - head to Borough Market, Cereal Killer Café or Chinatown. All offer cheap, but delicious food options. Cereal Killer Café offers bowls of cereal from £3 for a quick and quirky eat. Alternatively, Borough Market offers an array of food, from hog roasts and fresh bread, to deserts and pastries. You can also pick up cocktails and wines at a bargain there!
Right by Borough Market, also lies Boro Bistro, where you can get light bites and share cheese boards for a reasonable price. They have a lovely outside seating area, with blankets for when it gets chillier in the evening, - it’s a great, affordable spot to grab a bite to eat with friends.
2) Check out the free museums
Spend an afternoon enjoying a few of London’s free museums, such as Natural History Museum, the Science Museum or the Victorian and Albert Museum. All offer unique and vast snippets of history or culture that is worth a visit. Not many cities offer free access to so many attractions, so take advantage of it whilst you can.
3) Hangout in the many beautiful public parks
From Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park and Kensington Gardens to St James’s Park, London is not short of public parks for you to set up camp for the day. Head over to one of the parks on a sunny day, with a picnic and some games, and enjoy all the glory they have to offer. Don’t forget to also check out Hyde Park, which covers 350 acres, with a selection of cafés hidden inside. Perfect summer’s day out.
4) Check out Southbank
Take a stroll along the pretty Southbank, watch the skateboarders, grab a drink in one of the thriving bars or restaurants, and enjoy the many acts performing along the bank. Southbank Centre also holds regular free musical performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.
5) Go to the Barbican Conservatory
Visit the second biggest conservatory in London, plush with exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. Enjoy a lazy Sunday with friends strolling around enjoying the tropical space. The conservatory is close to Barbican tube station and is free to enter (last entry is usually 4.30pm).
6) Enjoy free festivals
London offers plenty of free festivals for its fellow Londoner’s to take part in. Attend London music festival, Notting Hill Carnival, Totally Thames Festival or Pride in London, to enjoy the culture and vibrancy of the city. All are completely free to attend.