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How to Explore London On A Budget

A beautiful view from Sky Garden in London

London is one of the world’s biggest and most vibrant cities. It’s a must-visit place for any person who considers themself a traveller; however, it’s not cheap! We’ve pulled together a list of things to do in the city that won’t break the bank.

If you’re lucky enough, when you visit London, you’ll be able to afford the 5* experience without burning through your pockets. The city is a labyrinth of experiences, with myriad things to do that won’t set you back too much. This budget-friendly guide of 10 cheap things to do in London will help you plan for your next visit.

The Natural History Museum

Spot a black metal dinosaur inside the National History Museum in London
Inside the National History Museum in London

Is the Natural History Museum free? Yes, not only is the museum one of the world’s leading, but it’s also completely free. That’s right, entry is free! There are usually additional exhibitions you may have to pay for should you wish to see them, but the entrance to the famous building itself won’t cost you a penny, giving you the chance to learn about history without paying a dime.

Located on the edge of Chelsea, as a bonus, you can wander around the affluent streets afterwards. It’ll feel expensive, seeing all the mansions and luxury cars, but as long as you stick to the pavement you won’t be charged a thing. But if you get hungry and are dying to indulge in modern British dishes, head to Ivy Asia Chelsea for a grub.

How to get there: Take the Piccadilly, District and Circle line trains​​ to South Kensington station.

The Charles Dickens Museum

Conveniently located a short walk away from Kings Cross St Pancras underground station, the Dickens Museum is a small yet incredibly fascinating place. With prices starting at £12.50 to enter, the museum is housed in the same building that Dickens himself lived in and wrote some of his great works.

How to get there: Take the Piccadilly line train​​ to Russell Square station.

The Changing of the Guard

The changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace in London is an experience
Changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is only open on certain days, and prices start at £30 for adults to get into the historic landmark. But don’t let that put you off going to the monumental building. Stop by to witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, which takes place every day and is free to watch. And watch it you should; it’s one of London’s finest traditions and one of the symbols of our great nation.

How to get there: Take the Jubilee and Victoria Lines train​​ to Green Park station.

Columbia Road Flower Market

You don’t have to have green fingers to enjoy one of London’s oldest flower markets. Located in Bethnal Green, a short walk from Shoreditch High Street Station, the big open-air market is a busy spot with tons of locals and tourists taking over the streets, hoping to find a good find. Of course, if you want to take any flowers home, you’ll have to pay, but walking around and admiring the area is free. If you want to avoid the crowds, head to the Sunday market when it opens. 

How to get there: Take the Hammersmith & City and District lines train​​ to Aldgate East station.

Columbia Road Flower Market opening times: 8am-2pm

Emirates Air Line cable car

Emirates Air Line cable car at sunset
Photo: Keith Belton via Flickr

Who doesn’t love cable cars? See London from above by riding the 90-metre-high (295 ft) Emirates Air Line cable car while enjoying stunning views of the Thames, London’s famous skyline, the Greenwich Peninsula, The O2 and the Royal Docks. Purchase a single ticket for just £5 or a return ticket for £10 to experience the 10-minute ride, which takes off at Royal Victoria Docks or Greenwich Peninsula.

Tip: Ride the Emirates cable car at sunset to get those stunning panoramic shots of a colourful sky.

Brick Lane

Lookinf for cheap things to do In London? Visit Brick Lane in East London
Brick Lane is famous for its colourful murals

It’d be rude not to have a wander around the vividly-coloured part of London. The home of hipsters, Brick Lane, is home to many independent fashion boutiques and eateries boasting international cuisines. Get your grub on at a restaurant or stop by one of the food markets to eat your way around the world – you’ll find something to please your stomach here. And afterwards, wash it down with a locally made beer from any number of bars and pubs in the area. Street art fanatics will want to stop by to admire the endless buildings and large murals painted by local artists. Regardless of your preferred graffiti style, you’ll have plenty to see to find your favourite.  

Tip: Try some Brick Lane bagels at Beigel Bake, the iconic 24-hour bagel shop in the heart of Brick Lane.

How to get there: Take the overground to Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street station. Alternatively, take the Central line to Liverpool Street.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum 

The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street London
The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London is a must if you’re a fan of the fictional character

Found on, you guessed it, Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is a homage to the great fictional detective. Situated only a short walk from Baker Street station in central London, it’s the world’s only Sherlock Holmes museum, giving you access to fascinating memorabilia. Enter the tall, easily accessible townhouse by purchasing a £16.50 adult ticket where you can spend 30-45 minutes on a self-guided tour as you learn about the man himself, his famous assistant Watson, and his great nemesis, Moriarty.

How to get there: Take the Jubilee, Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines train​​ to Baker Street station.

Borough Market

London is home to amazing markets, and like the Columbia Flower Market, Borough Market is another one you can’t miss. On the north bank of the Thames, a short walk from London Bridge, this historic market is a maze of food, flowers, and candles. Seriously, it has any kind of knick-knack you could possibly imagine! The market, which dates back to the 13th century, serves quality food you want to sample, from Spanish paella and fresh oysters to French Cheese and tasty Lebanese falafels – the popular food market has it all. If you fancy a drink after your food escapades, try out one of the borough market pubs like the Market Porter, a traditional Victorian pub overlooking the market.

How to get there: Take the Jubilee and Northern Lines train​​ to London Bridge station.

The Sky Garden

A beautiful view from Sky Garden in London
A beautiful view of London from the Sky Garden

Standing at 160 metres tall on the 34th floor, the Sky Garden is the 13th tallest in London, offering impeccable views of London. Found atop the Walkie Talkie building, a mere 5-minute walk from Monument Station, the skyscraper is free to visit, meaning you can come here and soak in the views or take a shot or two for your gram without spending a dime! If you want to quench your thirst, enjoy a drink at Sky Pod Bar or City Garden Bar for an evening filled with good drinks and live music.

How to get there: Take the District and Circle lines train​​ to Monument station.

Camden Town

Camden is one of London's most popular places. One of the cheap things to do In London is visiting food markets for delicious and affordable foods
Camden is one of London’s most popular places

This market is in the centre of Camden, one of the busiest parts of London. Whether you want to touch up your goth chic, support one of the numerous independent traders, or visit the statue of Amy Winehouse, Camden’s most famous daughter, you’ll find something to entertain you. And it won’t burn your wallet! When you’re done sightseeing, head over to Camden Market West Yard, where over 30 street food stalls await seven days a week. 

How to get there: Take the Northern Line train​​ to Camden Town.

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