London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With its iconic landmarks, world-class museums, diverse neighbourhoods, and vibrant culture, it’s easy to see why. However, with its reputation as an expensive city, you may wonder how to enjoy London on a budget.
Fear not! There are plenty of affordable, entertaining things to do in England’s capital that won’t break the bank. From free museums and parks to local markets and hidden gems, London can be enjoyed on any budget.
Fun Best Things to Do in London
1. Take a Walking Tour of Budget-Friendly Attractions in London
One of the best ways to see London’s most famous sites is on foot. Several companies offer excellent pay-what-you-wish walking tours of places like:
- Westminster Abbey
- Big Ben
- Buckingham Palace
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- Trafalgar Square
These walking tours allow you to experience the city like a local. You can also take in the sights at your own pace and save money on transportation. These are some Fun Cheap Things to Do in London.
2. Explore Budget-Friendly Museums and Galleries in London
London boasts a wealth of world-class museums and galleries, many of which offer free permanent exhibitions. These include:
- The Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- National Gallery
- National Portrait Gallery
- Tate Modern
- Tate Britain
- The British Museum
Beyond saving on admission costs, these institutions gift you the opportunity to view:
- Rare artifacts
- Works by great masters, and
- Exhibits covering everything from history and science to modern art
These are some Fun Cheap Things to Do in London. Don’t wait anymore! Plan your trip today.
3. Free Parks and Green Spaces in London For Fun and Relaxation
London’s a hustling and bustling place, no doubt about it. All that commotion can leave you craving some peace and quiet.
Luckily, the city’s got eight magnificent Royal Parks spanning a whopping 5,000 acres. These lush green oases are perfect for:
- Leisurely strolls
- Laidback picnics
- Free shows, or
- Just soaking in the ornate gardens and historic sights
Hyde Park – An Oasis of Green in the Heart of the City
Smack dab in the middle of London, Hyde Park is a huge haven of tranquillity. Its 350 acres of greenery give you a break from the hustle and bustle.
Looking for a peaceful lakeside walk?
A relaxing ride on a boat down the Serpentine?
A friendly tennis match?
Hyde Park’s got it all.
The park also hosts concerts under the stars and the ever-popular Winter Wonderland. These are some Fun Cheap Things to Do in London.
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Green Park – A Lush and Serene Retreat
Right near Buckingham Palace, Green Park beckons you with its sea of green. This lush retreat is ideal for a casual picnic or quiet introspection.
With no formal flowerbeds, Green Park’s natural splendour shows off its simple charms. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony nearby.
St. James’s Park – A Royal Jewel in the Heart of London
Next door to Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Park is a true royal gem. Its pristine lawns, glistening lake, and delightful ducks make it a joy to explore.
- Meander along the tree-lined paths
- Snap pics of the iconic pelicans, or
- Catch a glimpse of the Queen’s Guard marching to the Changing of the Guard ceremony
These are some Hidden gems and quirky spots in London that won’t break the bank!
Regent’s Park – A Botanical Wonderland
Regent’s Park is a botanical wonderland with colourful gardens like the breathtaking Queen Mary’s Rose Garden.
With vivid floral displays and picture-perfect lakes, it’s a plant lover and photographer’s paradise. Regent’s Park also hosts the famous Open Air Theatre for a unique cultural experience. These are some affordable and fun activities in London that you shouldn’t miss out on!
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4. Go on Self-Guided Tours and Walks in London For A Fun and Low-Cost Adventure
To discover London’s vibrant street art scene, grab a free printed or mobile map. Embark on your own urban adventure!
Spanning neighbourhoods like Shoreditch, Camden, and Brixton, this DIY excursion takes you past:
- Captivating works from renowned British artists like Banksy,
- As well as lesser-known talents
In addition to eye-catching murals and graffiti, you’ll gain insights into each area’s unique culture. These are some Fun Cheap Things to Do in London.
5. Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
Catching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is an only-in-London experience that should not be missed.
The daily ceremony (at 11 am daily from April to July) features marching bands and soldiers decked out in red coats and bearskin hats.
Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot outside the gates. The pageantry is free to watch and makes for memorable photos and videos. These are some Free and entertaining things to do in London!
6. Ride the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
See top London sights on the cheap with a flexible hop-on hop-off bus tour. Companies like Big Bus Tours and City Sightseeing offer multi-day tickets. These allow you to travel major routes and revisit attractions at your leisure.
Buses run regularly and come with entertaining live commentary. An unlimited bus pass often includes free entry to certain locations. Look for discounts online. These are some Fun Cheap Things to Do in London.
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7. See Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Two of London’s most iconic landmarks – Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – can be admired for free.
Sitting majestically on the River Thames, the famous clock tower has been keeping time in Westminster since 1859. Nearby, the towering Gothic Revival-style Parliament showcases London’s political hub.
While entry inside requires a paid tour, you can appreciate both structures’ exteriors at no cost.
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8. Cross the Tower Bridge – Cheap or Discounted Experiences in London
While crossing the Thames on the iconic Tower Bridge requires no fee, for the full experience, visit the interior Glass Floor.
This clear walkway suspends you 42 metres above the river, offering thrilling views straight down. Entry is just £12. The exhibitions in the Tower Bridge tours are equally worthwhile to learn about the bridge’s construction and inner workings. These are some Fun Cheap Things to Do in London with loved ones!
9. Watch Artists Perform at Covent Garden – Affordable Entertainment Options in London
London’s popular Covent Garden marketplace is a one-stop spot for shopping, dining, entertainment, and street performances.
Head to the West Piazza, especially on weekends, to catch amazing free shows. These range from captivating musicians, dancers and acrobats to actors. With so much talent on display, you’re sure to be impressed. Stop at a pub or cafe for drinks and prime viewing!
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10. Go on a Harry Potter Film Location Tour – Fun Outdoor Activities in London On A Budget
Immerse yourself in the magical world of Harry Potter by visiting real filming sites from the blockbuster movies.
Search online for self-guided and group tour options that incorporate:
- King’s Cross Station (Platform 9 3⁄4)
- Leadenhall Market (Diagon Alley)
- The Millennium Bridge, and
- Other spots where key scenes were shot
Many tours are pay-what-you-want or completely free. Feel like a wizard as you encounter each location!
11. Take in Stunning City Views from Primrose Hill
For breathtaking 360-degree views over London’s skyline, head to the top of Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park.
At 208 feet high, this free viewpoint lets you take in icons. These include the London Eye, Big Ben, The Shard, and St Paul’s, especially sparkling at night. Walk, cycle or take public transport to get there and then enjoy an elevated picnic while admiring the panorama.
12. Visit Columbia Road Flower Market
For a burst of colour and fragrance, browse the vibrant blooms at Columbia Road Flower Market.
Running Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm, this street market in East London overflows with:
- Beautiful Bouquets
- Potted Plants
- Gardening Items, and More!
Even if you don’t buy anything, seeing the mix of flowers and inhaling fresh scents is a sensory delight. Arrive early for the best selection.
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13. Shop at Borough Market – Thrifty Shopping and Markets in London For a Fun Day Out
Foodies flock to Borough Market, where you’ll find over 100 stalls selling:
- Farm-Fresh Produce
- Artisanal Wares,
- Gourmet Treats, and
- Street Food
Try samples as you wander and pick up quality ingredients and pre-made snacks. These offer and economical, delicious picnic by the Thames. Open Wednesday to Saturday, entry is free, so you only pay for what you eat or buy.
14. Have a Picnic in Hyde Park
Pack snacks or pick up food to go and head to Hyde Park for an inexpensive mealtime picnic on the grass.
With over 350 acres to explore, find a scenic spot beside the Serpentine Lake. Or go under a shady tree to spread out your blanket and eat al fresco. People watch, play casual sports and games, or just nap and relax in the fresh air after your meal.
15. See a Show or Performance at The Scoop – Cultural Events and Festivals in London That Are Fun and Inexpensive
Along the riverside near Tower Bridge, The Scoop Amphitheatre hosts a wide range of excellent free entertainment.
Expect concerts, dance, circus acts, musicals, poetry readings, and other performances from local talent.
Bring a blanket or low chairs to sit comfortably on the steps and slopes. Events are usually held in the evenings from spring through fall. These are some fun street performances and buskers in London!
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Fun & Inexpensive Festivals in London
Here are some affordable and fun festivals in London:
1). Notting Hill Carnival – A Caribbean Extravaganza
The Notting Hill Carnival is one of London’s biggest yearly bashes, happening every August Bank Holiday weekend. It’s a vibrant celebration of Caribbean culture, with colourful costumes, upbeat music, and delicious food.
2). RHS Chelsea Flower Show – A Floral Wonderland
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held each May, is a world-famous floral extravaganza. It showcases the crème de la crème in horticulture and garden design. You can marvel at beautiful flower and plant exhibits, plus attend fascinating talks and workshops.
3). London Jazz Festival – A Melodic Celebration
The London Jazz Festival is a 10-day musical celebration happening each November. It features jazz performances from top artists around the world. There are also cool workshops and talks for jazz enthusiasts!
With its wealth of Fun Cheap Things to Do in London, you can enjoy it even with tightest budget.
Take advantage of all the free museums, parks, markets, attractions, entertainment, and hidden gems the city has to offer for an affordable adventure.
Some of the best free museums and galleries in London include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Museum of London.
The best sources for up-to-date schedules of free performances and events are the Timeout London website, individual venue websites and Welcome to London app. Many venues like the Scoop also display programming at their location.
The most budget-friendly transportation options in London include the hop-on hop-off bus, walking, Santander Cycles bike rentals, and purchasing an Oyster card for discounts on buses, trains, and tubes. Avoid using black cabs.
Top London neighbourhoods for free activities include Westminster, South Bank, Covent Garden, Shoreditch, Brixton, Peckham, and Richmond. These areas have an abundance of free museums, markets, performances, street art, parks, and sights.
The best times for budget travel in London are September through November and January through March when airfares and hotel rates are lower and crowds are smaller. Free museums and parks are open year-round.
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