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London on a Budget
- Monday October 9th 2023
- Big City Saver
- Secret London, Cheap London, Budget Holiday
Days out in London on a budget
• Introduction: Looking for a cheap day out in London? We’ve got you covered
• Good Value London Attractions
• Fancy the theatre? Cheap London shows
• Hungry? Affordable Places to Eat in London
• Feeling Curious? London’s Free Museums and Galleries
• London on a budget FAQs
Introduction: Looking for a cheap day out in London? We’ve got you covered
With constantly rising prices and no end in sight, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a cheap day out in London was impossible, but that’s just not the case. In fact, there’s a lot of things you can do in the nation’s capital for free or on a shoestring budget. So, in the interest of saving you money and letting you experience the city of London in all its splendour, we’ve put together a guide to all the events and attractions that you can see and do on a budget (or for free).
Good Value London Attractions
Considering London plays host to some of the world’s most famous attractions, you might not believe us when we tell you that it’s perfectly possible to see and experience quite a few for less than you think.
SEA LIFE Aquarium London
The wonderous and magical SEA LIFE Aquarium London is a must-see on your day out in London. Once you’ve entered at your chosen 15-minute time slot, you’ll get the chance to discover species from across the globe in 14 themed zones (including penguins, turtles and sharks) and, even, the opportunity to interact with some of them at the public feeding/diving displays and touch pools.
If screams, scares, thrills, and a truly chilling history lesson is what takes your fancy, you can roll on over to the London Dungeon for around the same price and discover the horrors lurking in the dark underbelly of Victorian London. From the Dead Drop: Drop Ride and underground boat trip, to the infamous Jack the Ripper (London’s most prolific serial killer) and the Dungeon’s brand-new attraction, the Guy Fawkes Escape Room, this an experience not to be missed.
The London Eye
As one of the most iconic structures in the London skyline and currently the UK’s most paid-for visitor attraction, the London Eye is the perfect way to see multiple different parts of London on a budget. Standing at just over 135 metres tall (the equivalent of 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other), you’ll be able to see up to 40 kilometres in all directions (on a clear day, that’s as far as Windsor Castle) from one of its 32 enclosed, climate-controlled pods. In fact, with Big City Saver, it’s possible to get a ticket for two of the above for £50 or three of the above for £70 (if you book online). And if you can’t see everything you want in one single trip, don’t worry because your tickets will remain valid for up to 90 days - all you need to do is choose a date to visit your first experience and the rest can be decided later. You also have the opportunity to reschedule for free if something comes up and you can’t make it all of a sudden.
Fancy the theatre? Cheap London shows
Traditionally, when we think about the theatre or a musical in London, we think of a rather large price tag and some very expensive seats. However, the latest West End hits don’t have to be too dear (especially if you book online). Here’s a list of the best value for money London shows we could find:
Back to the Future The Musical
From around £24, it’s possible to grab a ticket to the winner of the Best New Musical 2022, Back To The Future The Musical. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this 80’s classic, you’ll join Marty McFly, a typical ‘rock ‘n’ roll teenager’ who gets accidentally transported back to 1955 by his friend Dr Emmett Brown in a time-travelling DeLorean. With lots of fun and laughs to be had at this award-winning show, you’ll have even more fun knowing that you didn’t break the bank to see it.
If you want an evening that’s truly electrifying, then slap on your leather jacket, gather up your T-Birds and your lovely Pink Ladies, and prepare for a night under the bleachers - for under £20! Grease comes back to the stage 50 years later in all its splendour. Combining the electric feeling from the original 1971 musical, the extravaganza that was one of the most successful films of the 20th century and a brand-new look, Grease’s amazing acting, music and choreography is worth every single penny. It's sure to get those chills ”multiplyin’”.
Arthur Miller’s moving fable of dread, witches and all the consequences of abusing power is faithfully brought to the stage from June this year in London. Set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, against the backdrop of the witch trials, The Crucible is a harrowing tale of how superstition and paranoia tore apart the fabric of a community, leading to a host of false accusations (of witchcraft) and the execution of around one-third of the accused. Not for the faint of heart, this stunning piece of theatre is available for under £25.
Hungry? Affordable Places to Eat in London
A budget day out in London would never be complete without a good meal for a reasonable price. So, as London is considered to be the gastronomy capital of the country, it’s no wonder that there are a number of fine places to eat quality food for cheap.
If you want to sample some high-quality Chinese food and expand your palette with new delicacies all at the same time, then we recommend you make your way to London’s famous China Town. From dim sum (starting from a couple of pounds) to regional specialities, you’ll find a huge variety of authentic and affordable restaurants where you can fill up for the day ahead (and even the journey home). You’ll also be able to find other eateries specialising in other cuisines, including Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese.
The London Markets
From street food and fresh food stalls to restaurants and cafes, London’s markets are renowned for a global array of excellent quality food at reasonable prices. From all the markets in London to choose from, we recommend Borough Market near London Bridge. A true foodies’ paradise, you can find anything from British fruits to international delicacies, handmade chocolate and even some French raclette. You’ll spend more time worrying about what to eat than how much it costs.
If you’re looking for a slightly healthier option on a budget, we recommend heading over to West Kensington and entering the doors of 222 Vegan. Offering a healthy, all-you-can-eat buffet (with no fried foods or refined ingredients), stopping off here to eat will leave your mouth, body and your wallet feeling better than it has done in a while. However, as this is a popular venue in London because of its quality and price, it’s worth calling ahead to make a reservation.
Feeling Curious? London’s Museums and Galleries
With some of the world’s most precious artefacts and priceless works of art on display, it must come as a surprise that many of London’s biggest and prestigious museums and galleries are completely free to enter.
First on the list of incredible museums with free entry, let’s begin with the Natural History Museum and the colossal titanosaur ’Patagotitan mayorum’, one of the largest known creatures to have ever walked the planet. Or, for something a little more human, why not try the National Science Museum where you can watch one of its fabulous documentary movies played on the museum’s IMAX movie screen in the Ronson Theatre. Or, for a truly captivating look at 2 million years of treasures from every corner of the globe, you could try spending your day at the famous British Museum.
London is home to some of the best galleries (with free entry) and the finest works of art you can find, which is a great introduction to the city’s National Gallery. Here, you’ll find one of the biggest collections of classical art in the world. However, if you prefer a Picasso to a Peter Paul Rubens, we recommend trying the Tate Modern and its renowned collection of modern art. And finally, for something a little different, try the National Portrait Gallery, which contains 11,000 portrait paintings, drawings, miniatures and sculptures, around 250,000 photographs and negatives that range from the 1840s to the present day, and over 80,000 portrait prints, drawings, silhouettes and caricatures.
London on a budget FAQs
There are many different attractions for free in London on the weekend, including the delicious Borough Market, the famous Natural History and National Science Museums, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Modern.
The cost of a day out in London doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, with a Big City Saver pass, you can see a combination of attractions, including the London Dungeon, London Eye, Madame Tussauds, the SEA LIFE Aquarium London and Shrek’s Adventure, from only £50 with free rescheduling.
You can spend your afternoon in London doing a variety of different things that won’t break the bank, including visiting some of the city’s famous museums and galleries, taking a ride on the London Eye and seeing the capital from the sky, or even taking some time to explore the sea at the SEA LIFE Aquarium London.
One way that you can see the sights of London cheaply is with a Big City Saver pass, which gives you access to a combination of the London Dungeon, London Eye, Madame Tussauds, the SEA LIFE Aquarium London and Shrek’s Adventure from only £50 with free rescheduling.