January 18, 2018

5 things to do in London for less than £5

As I am getting back in the groove after a long week off for Thanksgiving, I thought we should enjoy an awesome guest post about visiting London on a budget.  Enjoy and hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Visiting London can really pull on the purse strings – lots of the famous tourist attractions are very expensive and, if you’re on a budget, it can seem impossible to stick to it! Thankfully we’ve come up with a list of great things for the thrifty traveler to do in London, all for less than five pounds…

Test your brain at a museum

Visiting one of London’s world-famous museums may already be on the top of your list – so you’ll be glad to know that it’s actually the cheapest suggestion here! Many galleries and museums in the UK are ‘not for profit organisations’, which means that they’re absolutely free to visit. Famous attractions include the real life Egyptian mummies at the British Museum and a 26 meter dinosaur at the Natural History Museum. Other smaller, less well known museums, are devoted to everything from design to dentistry – and with over 240 to visit in the capital, there’s sure to be something to suit everyone.

Kings Library British Museum London England

Kings Library by Mujtaba Chohan

Fill up at a farmers market

Borough Market has been trading since 1014, so visiting the famous food stalls near London Bridge isn’t just about filling up on tasty treats -it’s also about experiencing a bit of London’s culinary history. Eating out in London can be very expensive, but farmers markets are a great place to track down good quality traditional British cuisine. You should be able to find a chunky meat pie for under a fiver!

Borough Market London England

Borough Market by Magnus D, on Flickr

Take in some Shakespeare

The Globe was a fantastically ambitious project- to replicate the original Elizabethan theatre where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, by creating an identical structure, built exactly as they would have built it back then. The resulting fully-functional theatre, not only allows people to step inside and experience a piece of London’s history, but also brings the work of one of the most famous playwrights back to life. Taking a tour of the Globe costs £12.50 but, in the summer, you can get standing room at a performance for just five pounds. So, if you can cope with standing up for two hours or more, you can watch some of the best Shakespearean actors for next to nothing – all whilst feeling as though you are actually part of the original Elizabethan audience!

Hop on the back of a Routemaster

Is there anything more ‘London’ than a red, double Decker bus? Seen in countless films, they are true icons of London, along with big tourist attractions like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Very few of the original 1960’s buses survive, however the ‘heritage routes’, otherwise known as London Bus Routes 9 and 15, still use an original red Routemaster. You can hop on the open back of the bus, just like in the movies, and enjoy a very rickety ride past icons like St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and The Royal Albert Hall. At just £2.20 per journey, it’s a much cheaper alternative to a £25 guided coach tour.

The Routemaster 9 to Aldwych London England

The Routemaster 9 by zawtowers, on Flickr

Boat along the Thames

The Thames River is the second longest river in the UK and, aside from its cultural and historical significance, it’s also a pretty cool way to get around. If you’ve bought a travel card for your duration in the city, you can travel via the Thames Clipper for just £3.70 – and pass by the London Eye, Tower of London, and under Tower Bridge. If you want to incorporate the river into some of your cultural sight-seeing, then traveling from the Tate art gallery to the Tate Modern art gallery by boat costs a mere £5.


Share your favorite ‘budget’ thing to do while in London?


Amy Heritage writes about short break destinations for idealshortbreaks.co.uk which is dedicated to news and ideas for short break holidays!

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  1. It can be difficult finding something cheap to do in cities in Europe, but these are some great options.

    I love that so many of London’s museums are free, I really think that if a city offers many fun and interesting things to do for free they get more tourists visiting and in the long run have more money coming in.

  2. Will keep this for my next trip to London.
    Thanks, Debbie!

  3. Libby says:

    Planning a trip to London and this is brilliant- now I know all the places to go and see without breaking the bank,thanks!

  4. These all sound like fun activities! I haven’t been to London in years so will have to try them when I return someday 🙂

  5. I am not big on museums, but I was really impressed with the British Museum. It is definitely a great thing to do on the cheap in London.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’m not a huge museum either but I do find there is something intriguing in most! I just have to find the art that catches my interest.

  6. Laurel says:

    Great list. London is expensive so nice to hear about some of the cheaper things to do there.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      When I see great lists like these I am always amazed because they are usually things that are in every city! It is easy to find some amazing things to do that are absolutely free!

  7. Denise says:

    my impression of London is that it’s either free or a bit pricey, but not cheap. There are so many free museums, galaries, markets, gardens and spots that I hardly spent a cent on sightseeing when I was there, but I did indulge in some lovely, but not cheap meals.

  8. jenjenk says:

    yay! i’ll be in london next summer so this is great info!!! can not WAIT to get to Borough market!!!

  9. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to London, so I don’t have a tip other than know your currency conversions because the UK is expensive!

  10. Great list! We will be in London next year, so this will come in handy. I’ve gotta ride one of those double deckers!

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I thought it was a great list too! Yes, the double decker buses are a must. I’m still bitter they hide the old taxis in all the advertisements. Somethings should just be left alone.

  11. Not just in London, but anytime I’m travling I try to save by doing breakfast and lunch on the cheap. Coffee and pastry in the morning followed by something cheap in the afternoon. This saves me plenty and allows me to spend way more on big fancy dinners:)

  12. Renee King says:

    I think riding that Routemaster is a requirement…..how English….how London! Thanks for the tip….I probably would have hired the tour guide for £25!!

  13. Very good suggestions. The Thames Clipper is a nice ride. On a budget — just walking around the city is fun. I love the South Bank in particular.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Walking is wonderful in London! In fact, it is one of my favorite thing to do in most cities. You just never know what you’re going to find around the next corner.


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  3. […] London as a major metropolis came into being after the Roman invasion in AD 43. Although trade along the Thames was by then well established, it was the invaders who first bridged it, probably with a pontoon bridge of the sort used by troops. The first permanent, substantial London Bridge appeared a little over a decade later, but this wooden edifice was destroyed during the revolt led by Boudica in AD 60. Once the rebellion had been put down, the London Bridge was rebuilt.  This cross-river link helped to confirm London as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia. […]

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