But don’t scratch it off your bucket list just yet. There is plenty to do and see in this diverse, vibrant city that will not leave you up the Thames without a paddle.
Here are 5 things you can do in London that will cost you virtually nothing, but still give you that trip of a lifetime!
I know this may sound crazy, but many of London’s top museums are free, with a suggested donation. Pay what you can (the average is 5 pounds) and enjoy. With a large variety of exhibits, from ancient artifacts, and rare jewels to modern art and fashion, there’s something for everyone. Spending a couple days of your trip enjoying London’s free museums will not only stretch your budget, but also…you’re mind.
-Natural History Museum
Amazing dinosaur exhibits and load of information on Charles Darwin. This may be one of my personal favourites, with stuffed animals and an amazing gem and stone collection.
-The British Museum
One of the world’s top museums, it houses collections from the Acropolis in Athens to the Rosetta Stone. If you are familiar with British history, you know they loved exploring and much of the treasures they returned with are here on display.
-National Portrait Gallery
Filled with portraits and images from British monarchs to everyday people. You can walk through history gazing into the eyes of those who lived it. If you are a fan of British history, you’ll love the chance to put a name to a face, including Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn and Oscar Wilde to name a few.
Displaying art from the 1500’s to present day, you’ll get a chance to see works by masters such as Degas, Andy Warhol, Henry Moore and even Beatrix Potter! For those of you looking for more cutting edge galleries, the Tate Modern houses a vast collection of new works.
**These are some of my favourites, but there are still even more free museums to choose from!
This may seem like an obvious idea, but most of London’s top attractions sit along this scenic river. Here’s a great walk that takes about an hour and gives you fantastic photo ops, and a glimpse of both old and modern culture.
Starting at Westminster Station, you’ll get a chance to see Westminster Abby. Take some time to stroll around the area. The highlight will definitely be Big Ben!
Cross Westminster Bridge to the opposite side for an even better view.
Once on the south bank, stroll east (your left as you cross). You’ll pass the London Aquarium and have the best views of the Parliament buildings and the embankment. But, of course, you’ll also get to see the London Eye.
As you walk along taking in the sights on both sides of the river Thames, you’ll also be walking through one of the trendy areas filled with food trucks, street performers and skate parks. The whole area gives off a really hip vibe, and makes a great place to grab a cheap lunch to eat as you watch the overpriced tourist boats float past.
A further walk along the river will take you past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. While this building is a reconstruction, it was built using all the same technology and tools as the 1597 original. They still perform Shakespeare’s plays, in the round, and for 15 pounds there are various tours. By now you’ll see the iconic Tower bridge, or London bridge as most know it. If markets are your thing, to the south (to right) you can heard to the Borough Market, an awesome food market filled with locals!
When you hit Tower bridge you’ll also have the chance to cross over to the iconicTower of London! (Which is totally worth it, but not on the cheap list.)
Before you know it, you’ll have had an awesome day and didn’t break the bank, plus you got a workout in!
Located at 3Abby Road, St. Johns Wood, this iconic recording studio is best known for gracing the cover of The Beatles, Abby Road Album. They were recording here, when they stepped out to take the photo. Pink Floyd has also laid down tracks here, and after a visit, you’ll have enough rock n’ roll cred to say things like “laid down tracks”. The wall outside is covered with fans messages to the band, and even for those who aren’t fans, this little slice of pop culture history is totally free! But the best part… watching tourist crossing the street, back and forth trying to get the perfect picture without getting hit by a car.
When the sun does shine in this cloudy city, locals and tourists alike head to one of the many London parks. You can’t go wrong with Hyde Park with the beautiful Kensington gardens (attached to Kensington Palace) or St. James Park which will lead you right to Buckingham Palace.
With London’s rich history and tearooms galore, it’s easy to forget that they have a great alternative scene as well. The current home of punk rock culture and hippies, London’s Camden Market is a killer way to spend the day. Whether you spend time wandering through stalls of funky discount thrift shops, dabble in steam punk fashions, or grab some vegan treats, you’ll love the cool vibe. Check out local artists hand made goods, and if you do grab a souvenir, you’ll find some great one of a kind shirts (Curtis loves the graphic Ts). Admittedly, it is great for shopping, but just seeing the alleys of eclectic shops is enough to make it worthy of a place on the cheap list.
I’ll leave you with some great London advice from my grandma, ‘Just make sure you’re wearing clean underwear, in case you run into the Queen.’