Top Tips To Enjoy London On A Budget
Whilst London can be an expensive city, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a visit to London on a budget. From free views of London through to free tickets into the Tower of London for those that know how to keep the costs down there are savings to be made.
Budget Visit To London?
If you are planning a visit to London, then finding affordable accommodation is likely to be a priority. Worth checking out the 10 best cheap London hotels from TripAdvisor packed with reviews & top tips from fellow travellers for peace of mind.
Follow our guide to London on a budget below packed with free and cheap things to do in the city.
Budget Views of London
Enjoy the FREE Sky Garden on 35th floor of London’s latest skyscraper, climb the 311 steps to the top of the Monument to enjoy aerial views or take the lift to the free public roof terrace at the One New Change for dramatic views of St Paul’s Cathedral. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the views of London on a budget without spending a fortune.
The London Pass
This sightseeing pass offers free entry to 60+ top London attractions plus fastrack access to popular settings such as the Tower of London & Windsor Castle. For those that are planning a few days in London, then The London Pass can offer value for money & includes access to the Thames River Boat Cruise and the Hop On & Hop Off Bus Tour too.
Budget Trip Down the River Thames
Why not do as the locals do and use the commuter ferry to enjoy a trip along the River Thames that runs at a fraction of the price of other river cruises? With ferries running from London Eye to Greenwich, you can take in all the sights along the River Thames including the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament & the Cutty Sark.
Straddle The Meridian Line For Free
Straddle the Meridian Line and you’ll be standing with a foot in both the eastern & western hemispheres. It draws hundreds of thousands of tourist each year and whilst most people purchase tickets to the Royal Observatory to straddle the Greenwich Meridian Line, you can do this for FREE! Follow our Guide to Greenwich which includes information on how you can straddle the Meridian Line for free.
Free Tickets to the Ceremony of Keys at the Tower of London
Here’s a chance to watch a 700 year old tradition in operation at the Tower of London and tickets are FREE! The Ceremony of the Keys is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London that takes place every night without fail. Visitors can apply for free tickets to watch this ceremony from within the grounds of the Tower of London in the company of an actual Beefeater as your guide. You will need to plan ahead to apply for tickets but well worth a visit.
Cheap Tickets for the London Eye
This iconic London attraction is a popular stop for visitors to the city. If you are looking for cheap tickets for the London Eye there are ways & means to keep the costs down including 2 for 1 vouchers during off peak times and even a chance of free tickets in the ballot that runs each year.
Top Tip; why not follow our top tips to beat the queues at the London Eye to keep your wait times down too.
Tower Bridge For Free
Tower bridge remains one of the symbolic images of London and has been a working bridge over the River Thames since 1894. You can walk across the high level walkways or simply watch for free the lifting of Tower Bridge from the banks of the River Thames. Follow our Guide to Tower Bridge for more information on cheap ticket options as well as further information on lifting times/days to plan your visit accordingly.
Free Entertainment in London; Covent Garden
There is a never ending stream of entertainers at Covent Garden so there is bound to be something for everyone at this venue. Acts tend to last around 20/30 minutes and often involves audience participation! Whilst we like suggest things to do on a budget, do remember to tip the entertainers as this is how they make their living.
Top Tip; for those planning a few days in London it can be worth investing in a sightseeing pass that offers entry to 60+ top attractions plus fastrack entry to popular settings such as the Tower of London.
Budget London; Santander Cycles, (aka Boris Bikes)
The Santander Cycle Hire Scheme is a great way to get around London on the cheap and ideal for exploring the Royal London Parks, (some restrictions on use). Bikes are available to everyone over the age of 14 and offers a cost effective method of seeing London on a budget as the first 30 minutes of every journey is free.
Visit The Tardis for Free!
If you are looking for quirky ideas for London then how about a chance to check out the Tardis for Free in London! Well of course, it’s actually an old 1960’s style police box but a great photo opportunity for Dr Who fans. This police box can be found directly outside Earl’s Court tube station, (next to the newspaper stand) and is in pretty good nick considering all that time travelling.
Buckingham Palace, Clarence House & Windsor Castle; FREE Annual Pass
If you are planning to visit Buckingham Palace, Clarence House or Windsor Castle, did you know you can pick up a FREE annual pass upgrade for The Royal Collection? Simply purchase a day ticket directly from the Royal Collection and pick up a 1-Year Pass, that gives you 12 months’ complimentary admission to the Royal visitor attraction,(s) that you have visited.
Top Tip; plenty of visitor attractions offer a free annual pass upgrade that can offer value for money throughout the year.
London Street Art Tours
This quirky tour around the East End of London, in the company of your guide, gives you a new perspective on contemporary art. These London Street Art Tours also come with the added advantage of running on a ‘pay-what-you-like’ basis too for an alternative view around London.
Unusual Way To Explore The River Thames
Discover the River Thames from above, below or even sailing along the Thames without spending a fortune. There are plenty of ways to explore the River Thames on a budget including the commuter ferry, cable cars over the Thames ore even a foot tunnel that takes you under the banks of the river.
Free National Museums
All the ‘National’ Museums in London are FREE & full of interactive exhibits for children of all ages. Try the Science Museum in Kensington full to brimming with interactive activities or the British Museum which contains some fascinating finds throughout the ages.
Top Tip; keep an eye out for family sleepover events that run regularly at the British Museum!
Free Tours of the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
Did you know that UK residents can take advantage of FREE tours of the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben? These FREE tours of the Houses of Parliament are also available during Parliament session times so you may also catch some action. Whether you are planning a guided tour or want more information on how to apply for a free tour, follow our Guide to the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben for further information.
Free Street Entertainment; South Bank
The South Bank transformation began with the London Eye but has developed over the years into a vibrant area full of street entertainers, bars & cafes. Put into the mix the new playground at Jubilee Gardens & skate-park that lies on the undercroft of the Southbank Centre and you’ve entertainment galore for all the family.
Please do remember to tip the entertainers if you are going to watch their show.
Cheap London Aquarium
Check out the Aquarium at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill that offers entry from just a few pounds. This is an ideal aquarium for younger children and offers a day out at a fraction of standard aquarium costs. If you are planning a visit, look out for the well loved over stuffed walrus and the outdoor sound garden too.
Top Tip; if you are looking to stay more central then follow our money saving tips for the London Sea Life Aquarium including ways to beat the queues.
Exploring London on a Budget; London Markets
The London markets offer an opportunity to explore a different side to the capital city experience and a chance to pick up a bargain to boot! Our favourite has to be Camden Market to check out the world of alternative fashion. There are plenty of other markets to choose from including Portobello Road renowned for their antique & flea market or the Columbia Road Sunday flower market.
Free Playgrounds in London
Located within Kensington Gardens and based upon Peter Pan’s Neverland, the Diana Memorial Playground is an idyllic spot for adults and children alike. With water & musical features, pirate ships and wigwams to explore, this extensive play area is fantastic for under 10′s.
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace
The Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place regularly throughout the year, (weather permitting) and offers a FREE look at the royal guards in actions accompanied by a Royal Guards band. Children & adults alike will enjoy this experience although this does get busy during peak times of the year, (.
You can also take see similar ceremonies at Windsor Castle & Horse Guards Parade that run throughout the year.