8 things to do in London on a budget

8 things to do in London on a budget
 
London on a budget: 8 things to do in this beautiful city
 
From a tourist’s perspective, it would be hard to incorporate London with "low-price" especially with how books and literature have labelled the picturesque European city. Thanks to the countless images of the Queen and the royal couple on TV, we’ve long thought of this city as a place solely reserved for romance, for the stylish, and for everything sophisticated. But just like any other city, London has its fair share of wondrous simplicity that won't break your wallet, too.
  
Visit the museums
 Among the greatest things about London are its government’s high regard for culture and the arts. The city is replete with free museums. If you find solace and beauty in history and culture depicted through paintings, sculptures, and art installations, London is the perfect city for you. 
 
Some to check out are:
  • The British Museum (Bloomsbury), 
  • Museum of London (Smithfield), 
  • Science Museum, 
  • National History Museum (Brompton), 
  • National Gallery (Trafalgar Square), 
  • and Tate Modern (South Bank)
 
But if you feel like spending some cash, there are the likes of London Transport Museum and York Art Gallery, which you can enjoy for as low as £17. 
 
Experience the free theatre performances
 
If you still can’t get enough of still lifes and sculptures, you can check out the city’s free and public theaters which are mostly available all-year-round. For instance, the Gods and Monsters Theatre Company offers free public performances from August to September on Queen’s Walk, as well as the amateur but fantastic Woodhouse Players, which does a couple of free plays every quarter at different venues.  Croydonite’s Festival of New Theatre, which typically runs from March to April, will let you experience the city’s budding theater scene.

The Breakfast Cat Theatre Company and Chain Reaction Theatre also do free stuff, but if you want to see bigger productions for a reasonable price, then you could go to seat filling services such as PlayByPlay and My Box Office and see how it’s done. Tickets can get as low as £5 from £100+.
 
Walk the city
 
London is a very walkable city, especially if you’re into architecture and urban planning. But for those who want to walk the city while learning its history, the clear route is surely the guided walks offered by its many local tour service providers. 
 
The most famous and inexpensive are the Old Map Man tour (£8 for two hours), Black History Walks (£7.50 per person, minimum group size of 20), the Jack the Ripper Tour (£5), and the Harry Potter Tours (£8). If you’re into tours and guided walks, visit this link. Also, remember to bring an umbrella, because London is not London without the rain.

Explore the markets
 
Travel writers always say that the best way to understand a city or town is through its food, which practically tells us that visiting its marketplace/s can be a good start. This is one aspect of London that’s typically ignored in films and books. The city has a handful of beautiful markets perfect for window shopping, exchanging pleasantries with the delightful grocers, and tasting a few delicacies for a few coins (and sometimes for free if you end up chummy with the vendor after a few tête-à-têtes).  The Borough Market is on top of the list, followed by the Camden Market, then the Spitalfields, and the Maltby. Yes, the markets offer not only food but anything you can get from the posh arcade next street (dress, antiques, toiletries, toys) only cheaper.

Treat yourself with cheap eats
 
The thing is, you can enjoy a full meal in London for under £10 (average fast food meal in London is £4, luxury meals in Westminster cost up to £200+). The ones that have been getting immense media attention lately are the Koshari Street (Egyptian, 56 St Martin's Lane, £2.95-£4.95 pax), Honey & Co.(cafe and restaurant, 25a Warren Street, £3–£6 pax), Scandinavian Kitchen (Scandi food, 61 Great Titchfield Street, £2.25–£9 pax), and Pizza Pilgrims (Italian, 11 Dean Street, up to £7 per meal).

Enjoy the view
 
Visiting a city would be incomplete without witnessing its entirety from above. You can do it for free via One New Change, a modern shopping centre right opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral, or for as low as £4 at The Monument or the Emirates Cable Car (a cheaper alternative to London Eye, which costs up to £25). You can also experience it without spending a dime via Tate Modern, Parliament Hill, Primrose Hill, and King Henry’s Mound.

Enjoying a drink without hurting your pocket
 
London is indeed a place for a cash-strapped, booze-loving tourist. London-based website Design My Night has collated a long list of pubs and restos across London offering alcoholic beverages for as low as £2 for a pint of excellent quality beer or £14 signature teapot cocktails for a go. But London travel experts suggest that the best way to experience quality booze for a few coins is by asking the establishment’s “happy hours.” These “leeway” hours vary, so better make a note of the times at the establishments you want to try.

Hoard handed-down books
 
Brand-new books aren’t for the broke as they typically cost 400 percent more expensive than those you can find at books-for-less across London’s hidden alleys. But most of them are really hidden. Like Skoob Books and Judd Books on Marchmont, Book Mongers on Coldharbour Lane, and Quinto Bookshop on Charing Cross Road. 

The best thing about these bookstores is chancing upon copies of first edition books typically sold at an exorbitant price in private auction halls or translations you can only find abroad, as well as the obscure writers from previous generations and locally published independent authors. But perhaps the best are the signed copied buried under piles of dog-eared tomes from writers whose surnames you can’t even pronounce.
 
If you want to scour the city on your own for affordable things to do, you just have to avoid the Greater London Area or simply go straight to Chinatown, Soho, Clerkenwell, Picadilly, and Smithfield instead.  Or ask the locals, and surely they will be delighted to tell you where to find them.
     
What's your favourite "budget" thing to do in London? Let us know in the comments below! 
 
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