London, the vibrant and multicultural capital of England, is a city that offers a plethora of activities and attractions for tourists and residents alike. But it is also an expensive city. However, exploring this bustling metropolis doesn’t have to break the bank.
We lived in London for more than 10 years and in this article, we will guide you through 20 must-do activities in London on a budget, ensuring that you make the most of your visit without emptying your wallet. There are the places we would recommend to all our friends and familyLet’s dive in shall we? 🙂
- Tower Bridge and Tower Bridge Vault: Start your London adventure by visiting one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, Tower Bridge. Take a stroll across the bridge and soak in the breathtaking views of the River Thames. While you’re there, you can also explore the Tower Bridge Vault, a fascinating exhibition that delves into the bridge’s history and construction.
- Westminster Walk: Don’t miss this at all as it covers some of the most iconic sites of London. Embark on a self-guided walking tour of Westminster, where you’ll encounter some of London’s most famous landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. This walk is a fantastic way to soak up the city’s history and architectural wonders.
- Tea with a View: Indulge in a traditional English afternoon tea, but with a twist. Visit one of the many river-side restaurants such as Yacht London that offer stunning views of the city skyline while you sip on your tea and savor delicious treats. The combination of tea and a panoramic view is sure to create a memorable experience. If you’re on a strict budget, you could grab some treats from a supermarket and picnic by Thames
- St. Paul’s and River Viewpoint: Head to St. Paul’s Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece, and marvel at its grandeur from the outside. Then, take a short walk along the riverbank to reach the Millennium Bridge. Cross the bridge for a fantastic viewpoint that showcases the cathedral’s majestic dome against the backdrop of the River Thames.
- Greenwich: Hop on a riverboat or take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Greenwich, a historic neighbourhood brimming with charm and our personal favourite. Explore the beautiful Greenwich Park, visit the Royal Observatory, and stand astride the Prime Meridian, where the eastern and western hemispheres meet. Entry to the park and the observatory grounds is free of charge.
- Covent Garden & Seven Dials: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Covent Garden, a bustling district filled with street performers, boutique shops, and charming cafes. Take a leisurely stroll through Seven Dials, a picturesque area known for its independent shops and quaint architecture.
- River Ferry: Take advantage of London’s river transport network by hopping on a river ferry for something unique. Enjoy a scenic boat ride along the Thames, passing by many famous landmarks. This affordable mode of transportation offers a unique perspective of the city. The river ferry is also a great way to reach places like Canary Wharf and Greenwich.
- Shoreditch: Explore the trendy and artistic neighbourhood of Shoreditch, known for its vibrant street art and creative vibe. Take a walk along Brick Lane, a bustling street lined with curry houses, vintage shops, and market stalls.
- Brick Lane: While in Shoreditch, don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the diverse culinary scene at Brick Lane. Indulge in a traditional British dish – fish and chips – from one of the many renowned fish and chip shops in the area. You cnjoy this classic comfort food at an affordable price at many shops in Brick Lane.
- Street Art: London is renowned for its thriving street art scene. You can take a street art tour or take a walk through the neighbourhoods of Brick Lane, Camden, and East London, where you’ll encounter some truly vibrant and thought-provoking murals by both local and international artists.
- Notting Hill: Wander through the charming streets of Notting Hill and Kensington to discover rows of picturesque paste coloured houses that you might have seen in many instagram photos. These vibrant facades make for excellent photo opportunities and showcase the city’s architectural diversity.
- London’s Free Parks: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring London’s beautiful parks. From Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath, these green oases offer a serene environment where you can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy a leisurely stroll. The perfect way to spend a relaxed day in Lndon.
- Buckingham Palace: No visit to London is complete without catching a glimpse of Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch. Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside the palace, a free event that takes place on select days.
- Food Markets: Sample a variety of delicious cuisines at London’s bustling food markets. Borough Market, Camden Market, and Maltby Street Market are just a few examples where you can find an array of mouth-watering street food and fresh produce. These also offer many photography opportunities.
- Soho: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Soho, a lively neighbourhood known for its entertainment venues, theaters, and vibrant nightlife. Take a stroll along Berwick Street, a hub for independent record shops and trendy boutiques to truly immerse yourself in the rhythm of London.
- Berwick Street: Discover the eclectic charm of Berwick Street, located in the heart of Soho. Explore the vinyl stores, browse through vintage clothing shops, and savour delicious street food from the market stalls.
- Camden: No visit to London is complete without a stop at Camden, a quirky neighbourhood famous for its alternative fashion, bustling markets, and live music venues. Explore the sprawling Camden Market, where you can find unique crafts, vintage clothing, and international cuisine.
- Little Venice: While you’re in Camden, don’t forget to escape to Little Venice, a peaceful canal-side area that offers a tranquil respite from the city’s fast-paced vibe. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterways, enjoy a boat ride, or relax in one of the charming waterside cafes.
- Check out London from Above: Experience breathtaking panoramic views of London from above, depending on your budget. Consider options such as the London Eye, a ride on the Emirates Air Line cable car, or a visit to Primrose Hill or the Greenwich Observatory for stunning vistas.
- Go shopping at Oxford Street: London is the mecca of shopping. Don’t forget to take a stroll at Oxford Street and neighbouring Bond Street and shop to your heart’s content. You will find literally every store, be it designer or luxury, here!
And that’s it – This list is perfect for first-time visitors to London. It will allow you to explore the city’s rich history, culture, and diverse neighbourhoods. With these 20 must-dos, you’ll be able to create lasting memories without straining your wallet. So, pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to discover the wonders of London on a budget!