Whether you’ve forked out for flights or train tickets, getting to London often isn’t cheap. As a result, lots of travellers, whether from the UK or abroad, feel the pinch as soon as they arrive. That’s where this guide comes in.
Try one of these five cheap days out in London and you can see the sights on a shoestring. We’ve included ideas that are great for couples, families and groups of friends, so whatever brings you to the capital city, you can enjoy it on a budget.
1. Enjoy a picturesque walk along the Thames
This river walk isn’t only a pretty stroll because of the water. The Thames rubs shoulders with some pretty impressive neighbours, too. From the historic Tower Bridge and Houses of Parliament to the stylish Shard, iconic London Eye and groovy Gherkin, the list of landmarks goes on. If you’ve got a little more to spend, why not buy tickets for a Thames river cruise tour? Step away from the river a short distance and you’ll soon be in the vicinity of Buckingham Palace, too.
2. Kick back at the park
Fancy a picnic by the palace at St James’s Park or want to stand where world-renowned athletes once did at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford? Perhaps you’d prefer to amble through scenic gardens? However you want to experience them, London’s green spaces offer a budget-friendly day out that promises to be a breath of fresh air.
3. Uncover the city’s history from the streets
London is littered with blue plaques. Cast a keen eye around the street and you’ll soon spot them on walls, commemorating notable houses, people and points in time. From authors to scientists and singers, there’s a huge amount to discover. Why not challenge yourselves to find as many as you can in one afternoon? Plaque tracking is fun and free, plus it’ll give you the low-down on London’s history too!
4. Swot up at museums
While London’s museums might bring to mind big queues and big prices, you’ll be pleased to discover that some of the most sought-after are free! You can have a nosey around the Natural History Museum and the British Museum without even opening your wallet. If you’re travelling as a family, your kids will be entertained for hours by the various exhibits. It’s a seriously good option for cheap days out in London… for absolutely no money!
5. Hop on the iconic London buses
The tour buses that traverse London’s streets aren’t free, but they can still be good if you’re on a budget. You’ll cover all the big ticket sights, with many giving you the flexibility to hop on and off as you please. That means entertainment and transport are all covered in this one price – we think it’s a steal! Expect to pay around £30 for an adult’s day ticket. If you’re in London for longer or in a larger group, it might be worth taking advantage of the discounted family or multi-day tickets on offer.
The same applies to other journeys you make. Try the day tickets for the Underground and family bundle tickets at attractions to explore on a budget. For more help planning your journey to and around London, check out this guide
Planning a visit to London in the winter? Check out this photo tour of the city at Christmas and you’ll fall in love!
I love London so much. People say it’s an expensive city which CAN be true, but it’s all a matter of budgeting and alternating “expensive” activities with experiences that don’t cost you a dime like most of the ones you listed. It’s also a good idea to look for offers etc. Loved this post!
I love that London’s museums are free. I wish other cities would do that too. If the weather is good (which it probably won’t be!) you can’t beat just walking around exploring London’s neighbourhoods.
London is definitely expensive but these are great tips for not going broke. Most people probably assume that all museums cost an arm and a leg but, as you’ve pointed out, that’s not true. Great tips for the traveler on a budget.
This is a great article! Whenever I hear of London, my mind automatically goes to thinking about how expensive it is. Thanks for sharing your ideas! London seems less intimidating now!
You’re so right, London’s best museums are free! By being so used to this, whenever I visit another city and need to actually pay to visit a museum I always gasp in horror. Haha 😛
This was a great read! Typically, London doesn’t really come to mind when you’re thinking of budget travelling, so it was great to get some ideas on how to explore the city without going broke. I especially think riding an iconic bus is a great idea but I LOVE just wandering around streets while I’m travelling and getting lost in the neighbourhoods!
I have a 24hr layover in London next month. I actually think ill be walking along the thames after you recommended that 🙂 Thanks love!
Honestly number 2 is sooooo good. Such a great tip for any city really. I love London thanks for the ideas. xx
Great tips!! I was looking for these exact tips when i went to London last… London really doesnt need to be expensive!
This is actually really useful, because London is indeed a pricey city! That said, it’s true that there are a bunch of things cool things to see and do on a budget! I love the fact that so many museums there are free of charge! And, simply going for a walk or hopping on a London bus is a great way to get around and experience more of what London has to offer. Thanks for the share! 🙂
I love the colorful buildings and old streets. My favorite thing to do is stroll the streets and find charming doors *drool* and graffiti art!
I used to live in London and some of my favourite things to do were always the cheap ones! You’ve covered some of the best budget things to do in London right here 🙂
This is my kind of city escape. Walk a lot and just absorbe the people, the streets, the parc ect. But one can’t miss the famous London tour bus when in London! They cant be that expensiv!
Excellent suggestions for budget travel in London. We haven’t done the plaque hopping so will have to give that a shot next time to see how many we can find. I do admit we do stroll the streets in hunt of street art and beautifully colored buildings. Adding this to Pinterest!