Red bus in Oxford Street in London

London | Top 20 things to do on a budget

How can you go to London on a budget? Looking for the best free things to do? From free museums to budget concerts, art exhibitions and natural beauty landmarks, there is so much to do in this great city.

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a woman standing in Greenwich pier in London,things to do in greenwich london
Greenwich Pier

London is one of the most vibrant cities I have ever visited. There is always something to do, whatever day of the week or the weekend you visit. From discovering the city’s attractions or eating at a fancy restaurant, choosing the perfect place can present a challenge. Which London attractions are free? What can you do if you are on a tight budget? Here is a guide on how to save money on sightseeing, food and things to do.

a woman standing and looking over scyscrapers in london, Skygarden

TOP 20 THINGS TO DO

  1. Skygarden is a popular skyscraper, that features a rooftop restaurant and coffee shop, offering spectacular views of the city of London free of charge. Visit Skygarden for free. All you have to do is to plan a free visit and book a slot via the Skygarden website.
  2. Visit Greenwich Pier! Greenwich is one of my favourite places to visit! Greenwich is a beautiful borough in South London with lots to see and do as the Old Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory.
  3. The Tower Bridge Exhibition, located in Tower Bridge is one of London’s famous bridges. The Bridge is open daily from April to September from 10:00 to 17:30 and October to March from 09:30 to 17:00. Join the exhibition offering panoramic views to the city from the Walkways! There is a glass floor, 42 meters above River Thames, where you can walk on. Tip: If you travel outside London you can get a 2 for 1 entry on daysoutguide.co.uk. The National Rail tickets are valid, a printed voucher is required per two people per attraction. One person pays the full adult price and the second person goes free on presentation of each voucher.
  4. Explore the Engine Rooms that once powered the Tower Bridge lifts and learn about the engineers and about how the bridge works. The tour offers informative videos, films and panels to explain the tower’s history.
  5. Walk around the central business district Canary Wharf, which is one of the main financial centres of the United Kingdom, hosting some of the tallest buildings in the city of London.
Trafalgar Square in London
Black cabs in central square in London
  1. View the Changing of the Guard taking place outside the Buckingham Palace. The ceremony takes place, at 11.00 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and daily in June and July.
  2. Ready for a jog and a walk? Pack a picnic, engage in physical activities like boating, cycling, tennis, horse riding in London’s major park, Hyde Park. The park is one of the eight Royal Parks of the city and covers 142 hectares (350 acres).
little venice in London
Boats in a water canal in London
  1. Walk around Little Venice! Walk by the canal! If you like to take to the water book your tour ahead to secure your spot.
  2. Did you know that free guided tours are offered to all visitors by the Central Hall Westminster? The tours are available 7 days a week and last for 20 minutes each. Dive into the history of the Methodist Church, learn about the unique history of the Central Hall Westminster, explore the building’s beautiful architecture. Be sure to climb to the top to the skyline terrace, which overlooks the city.
National Portrait gallery in London
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana portraits
  1. Visit the National Portrait Gallery! The entry to the building is free of charge, however there are ticket prices for special exhibitions.
  2. Explore the natural beauty and wildlife – deers and a range of other mammals live – in Richmond Park, engage in power kiting, horse riding or golf. Discover the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens, come across a range of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers. The park covers an area of 2500 acres. Walk up to Pembroke Lodge tea rooms which are located in the Park, overlooking the grounds, taste those amazing decorated delicious cheesecakes.
  3. Get your camera ready to capture the beauty of the grounds and the artwork displayed in Kensington Gardens. The park covers an area of 265 acres.

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THE MUSEUMS TO SEE FOR FREE

  1. There are several museums to visit for free. Check out the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the amazing Tate Museum, the London Mithraeum, the Sir John Soane’s Museum, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Museum of London, the British Library.

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WHERE TO EAT ON A BUDGET

  1. Visit the Borough Market which is open Monday to Saturday and located in the heart of the city. Borough offers a wide variety of fish, meat, fruits, paellas, oils, plants and flowers, cheese spices and foodies ready to eat.
  2. You can not miss visiting Camden! There are more than 1000 stalls from street food to clothes in Camden market. There are plenty of options to choose from traditional fish and chips to noodles and Mexican cuisine.

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HAVE YOU HEARD OF SELFIECCINO?

  1. Have you ever heard of Selfieccino? What about getting your face printed on your coffee or chocolate? If you like the idea then visit the Tea Terrace restaurant and tea room, which is located at House of Fraser (Victoria Street Branch). I was impressed by the elegant environment, decorated on white, pastel blue and pink, the Victorian-style chairs and sofas. What to order, a cappuccino topped with your face printed in foam. How Selfieccino is made up? First, you take a photo of your self and send it to the baristas team via what”s up or email. Your selfie is scanned afterwards and sent to a machine, named “Cino”, which prints it onto froth.
  2. Having lived in the United Kingdom for three years, a habit I picked up was to order my coffee from Coffee Nero, an award-winning Italian style chain coffee house. Get a free hot drink with the Caffe Nero when you make your first purchase using the app.
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Exchange money with no hidden fees in 140 different currencies
  1. Explore some of the gorgeous districts to live and walk around, like Covent Garden, Chelsea, Soho, Notting Hill, Angel, Mayfair, Hammersmith, Kings Cross, Elephant and Castle, Maida Vale, Knightsbridge, City of Westminster, Isle of Dogs, Battersea, Shoreditch e.tc.
  2. How do you navigate on the London Underground? Buy an Oyster Card and get around in the lines and stations, Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo and City, King’s Cross St. Pancras, Paddington Station, Oxford Circus e.tc.
  3. Explore China Town! The nearest Underground stations are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.
This picture shows hundreds of bicycles parked in a railway and underground station in London
Paddington station is a major railway and underground station, usually overcrowded and busy

THINGS TO DO, ATTRACTIONS AND TOURS

Here I introduce you things to do in the city from popular attractions and activities to the wondrous site of Stonehenge. The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and buy a tour.

  1. A trip on the London Eye
  2. London by Night: 90-Minute Open Top Bus Tour
  3. Jack the Ripper Walking Tour
  4. Chelsea Football Club Stadium and Museum Tour
  5. St Paul’s Cathedral discounted Entry Ticket
  6. Afternoon Tea Cruise on the River Thames
  7. View from the Shard Entrance Ticket with Champagne Option
  8. Stonehenge Half-Day Tour
  9. Big London Ticket: London Eye, Big Bus and Thames River Cruise
  10. British Royalty: Changing of The Guard Walking Tour

Hey Traveller

Clouds and nature lanscape over a lake
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Looking to travel solo and need a little inspiration to make that first step to book your solo trip? Follow my tips and advice to go the extra mile and get ready for your adventure!

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HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU BUDGET FOR LONDON?

How much spending money do you need for a day in the city? Following the budget things, I recommend you should plan to spend €30 per day on your holidays. This post recommends additional tours and activities to get the most out of your holidays!

Here’s a quick guide on how to have a great time on a budget in London! There are so many things to do, the list of things to do and see is inexhaustible!

This post was most recently updated on September 24th 2020.

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