I love living in London.
Sometimes my little country mouse self cannot believe I get to live here day in day out, surrounded by what has to be one of the world’s greatest cities. Everything is here, and there’s no mood or craving London cannot satisfy!
Architecture? From the dome of St Paul’s to the jagged top of the Shard, the city is packed with icons!
Art? Two Tates, the nationals, myriad smaller galleries.
Green spaces? Richmond Park (home of one of my favourite funny YouTube vids ever. Never fails to lift the mood) or Hampstead Heath.
History? Everywhere. If you walk down an unfamiliar street or a new avenue, you’ll always find a new blue plaque, unusual house, or little slice of this vibrant city’s past.
Shopping? Oxford Street, Fortnum’s, Portobello Market…whatever you want to buy, we have plenty for you!
Theatre? From the West End to some of the finest fringe venues on the planet, we’ve got you.
I could go on.
There is so much to do here in town, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Especially for the wallet. With so many wonderful but expensive options, I’m always keen to mix these in with more frugal and equally fabulous things. This is why I describe myself as a pick-and-mix blogger: I love a bit of luxury, a bit of mid-range, and a bit of a bargain sometimes too! With this in mind I thought I’d put together a post on my ten favourite free-or-cheap things to do in the city (this may well become a ‘London on a budget’ series!).
1. Mooch around a market for some bargains, top street food, and some very instagrammable shots! From Portobello to Borough, or the flower bonanza that is Columbia Road, the city’s markets are so pretty and vibrant.
2. Take in a little history – you can snap Tower Bridge, or Buckingham Palace, or the Houses or Parliament, or St Paul’s easily and get that quintessential London picture! If you’re a London resident or planning a trip pretty far in advance, booking tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London will reward you with a one-of-a-kind experience!
|Ducks at Spitalfields City Farm|
4. Go to one of the city’s beautiful city farms for a slice of country calm amongst the hubbub. I’ve enjoyed Kentish Town, Hackney and Spitalfields city farms – next on my list is Mudchute! All these farms are free to visit, but as they are charities donations are appreciated.
5. Get arty, for free! The National Portrait Gallery, The National Gallery, Tate Modern and Tate Britain are all free to visit. The Tate-to-Tate boat between the latter two does cost money (£7.50 single, £15 return) but is a great way to see a whole swathe of landmarks from the river!
|Stunning architecture at the Old Royal Naval College|
6. Head over to Greenwich. From the Queen’s House to the National Maritime Museum to the Old Royal Naval College, there’s so much to see, as well as some cracking views of London and a lovely park. There are other paid museums to enjoy too (the Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark), but the three linked are free/donation only.
7. As well as the more central parks such as Hyde Park, Regents Park, Green Park and St James’, you can also enjoy some of the more unusual parks by venturing a little further afield. With swimming ponds in Hampstead Heath, dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park, and deer in Richmond, the capital’s parks are a true wonder!
|Love walking past the ‘Pringle’ in the Olympic Park – site of so many golds for team GB four years ago!|
8. Visit the newest of the big parks (this one gets its own entry as I’m local and biased!), the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As well as being a super park, it has great play areas and wildlife hubs, and it’s really cool to snap pictures of the Olympic Stadium and the Orbit – London 2012 has left such a great legacy.
10. Find cheaper eats by embracing the street food vibe, lunching for your main meal, or eating in up-and-coming neighbourhoods a little bit away from the centre of town, where tourists can be targeted with higher prices.
Still looking for inspiration? Cheap Flights have put together this fab post on thirty things to do in London for under £20 – we even agree on some of our favourite things, and they cover a few of my faves that didn’t make my own list (love the Prince Charles Cinema, especially for the singalongs!).
Disclaimer: Cheap Flights asked me to write a post with my tips for London on a budget. As a London fan and someone who adores a bargain, I was very happy to collaborate with them on this sponsored post!