London on a budget: Top 5 cheap things to do in London

A young person in a wheelchair explores the sights of London including the London Eye and Big Ben

A white banner with text that reads 'young people's voices'

I’m Tiayana, a 17 year old girl living in London. I study English literature, Philosophy & Ethics and Government and Politics at sixth form. Outside of my studies, I enjoy reading and watching movies/shows! London isn’t always the most affordable place to be, so I’ve put together a list of my top 5 cheap things to do in London.

Right now the cost of living crisis makes it difficult for many to see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

It can be increasingly hard to plan an enjoyable day out but as someone who has lived in London for 17 years of their life, I can say the diverse capital of England, is an unbeatable destination for getting an enriching experience without breaking the bank.

If you really can’t spend anything at all, check our our article on what to do in London for free.

 Here are some tips to cut down your costs:

  • Note that this article mostly focuses on the top 5 cheap things to do in London, but can be applied to anywhere if you do research, these are just ideas! Free galleries, museums etc are usually accessible in most places in the world.
  • It is almost essential to go with friends!
  • Try to get discounts, rewards and go out during off peak times.
  • Utilise the internet and free resources online to guide and inform you.
  • Take into account accessibility needs and visit areas that are abundant in activities so that you don’t have to spend more money or time on travel! Use websites that compile travel guides and calculate costs, such as dayoutwiththekids
  • Keep an eye out for free events and festivals taking place throughout the year. Check local listings and event websites to discover the latest happenings. 


London boasts an impressive array of museums, and the best part is that many of them offer free admission to their permanent collections. Different museums have collections that span over a variety of time periods, encompassing a variety of themes, even having interactive displays and hands-on experiments. 

Some of the most popular include The British Museum, The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum. Instead of buying food at a cafe, an affordable and scenic alternative could be making your own lunch and having a picnic. For example, The Natural History Museum has both an indoor and outside picnic area.

It is always a good option to book guided tours and visit gift shops as well.


Galleries, like museums, are also usually free and can be a part of any exciting day out for those interested in art and design. 

The most famous galleries in London include Tate Modern, The National Gallery and The Saatchi Gallery.

Not only does the Tate Modern offer exhibitions, it also offers workshops, film screenings, talks and tours – all for free! On the website it also offers an option to filter to only free events, which can save an immense amount of time if you’re on the go or are planning last minute.


Parks, giving a glimpse of the beauty that London has to offer, can be perfect on a sunny day to relax or have fun in the sun after a tiring day of walking around. London has a copious amount of parks, each with their own unique quirks and landscape.

  • Hyde Park, one of the largest and most famous parks in the city, offers sprawling green spaces, tranquil lakes, and even a rose garden.
  • Regent’s Park is another delightful option, boasting beautifully manicured gardens.
  • St. James’s Park, located near Buckingham Palace, provides stunning views of the iconic palace and features a picturesque lake and resident pelicans.

Other interesting ideas to immerse yourself in the nature that London has to offer is the Sky Garden, however under 18s need to be accompanied by an adult.


Another idea, great for children and adults alike, who are keen on animals, are zoos.

Zoos and animal sanctuaries such as Hanwell park, Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, WWT London Wetland Centre, Horniman Butterfly House all offer cheap tickets around £10 or under, with Golders Hill Park Zoo being free!

Not only have animals been proven to help with issues such as high stress, they can also reduce loneliness and boost your mood!


Markets can offer a widely customisable experience as the amount of money you spend is on your own terms. London’s markets are a treasure trove of unique goods, delicious food, and vibrant atmospheres. 

  • Camden Market is a mecca for alternative fashion, vintage finds, and international street food.
  • Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is renowned for its antique stalls and colourful facades and not only its vigorous carnival.
  • Borough Market, near London Bridge, is a food lover’s paradise, offering a vast selection of fresh produce, artisanal treats, and street food samples. 

More ideas for exploring London on a budget!

  • A walk along the South Bank of the River Thames provides a spectacular view of London’s skyline and allows you to discover some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. 
  • The River Thames even has a boat riding opportunity at a very low cost!
  • The South Bank is also known for its street performers and musicians, ensuring there’s always something entertaining to see and experience. Marvel at the grandeur of Tower Bridge or the London Eye.
  • Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace, a tradition that has captivated visitors for generations.
  • Explore the British Library, home to historical artefacts, manuscripts, and literary treasures. 

In conclusion, London may have a reputation for being an expensive city, but it also offers an abundance of affordable adventures. Whether you’re exploring world-class museums, strolling through picturesque parks, or immersing yourself in the vibrant markets and street art scene, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

Next Steps

By Tiayana Julian

Updated on 02-Aug-2023

Sorry, comments closed