London on a Budget

In 1777 Samuel Johnson said, “A man is tired of life when he is tired of London.” That is just as true today as it was then. As London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, all-inclusive holidays can give you the opportunity to visit the city, within budget. Even better, there are ways to save money and things to see that don’t cost anything once you’re there.

Just walking down a street like Charing Cross Road or Shaftesbury Street is a great way to spend an afternoon. Of course, you have to take in the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. It takes place at 11:00 am every morning in the summer months but be warned, it does get crowded.

Don’t miss the National Gallery behind Trafalgar Square. It’s free and contains some of the most famous works of art in the world.

London has a very vibrant theatre scene, so try to take in a play or two while you’re there. You can buy half-priced same-day tickets in Leicester Square or there are deals for dinner and a show. Try eating in pubs: many are reasonably priced and the atmosphere is great.

Each one has a history and it’s kind of neat to be sitting in a place that’s hundreds of years old. There are many to choose from; the Cambridge on Shaftsbury is a good one to go to before the theatre (or any time for that matter). Also worth mentioning is the Volunteer on Baker Street.

After a pint, you can visit the Beatles store or pop along and see Sherlock Holmes (some people think he was a real person). Even if you’re not a big shopper you have to go to Harrods in Knightsbridge just to look around and watch people spending hundreds of pounds without batting an eyelid.

Also, take in some of the trendy shops on Bond Street and Oxford Circus. Remember it doesn’t cost anything to look! If you do have a shopping agenda then don’t miss Westfield in Stratford, the biggest mall in the city and celebrity watching is a favorite pastime for lots of visitors. There are many things to do in London for the budget-conscious, so don’t let that put you off visit a truly fantastic city.

So who says a trip to the big city has to cost big bucks? The best of London isn’t only reserved for the affluent, and if you’re on a budget you can still enjoy everything the city has to offer. Your smartphone navigation will guide you flawlessly wherever you decide to go. Need a little inspiration? Here are 10 fantastic things to do in London for $10 or less.

Participate in The Key Ceremony at the Tower of London

The ceremonial locking up this famous fortress has taken place on a nightly basis for the last 700 years.  The Ceremony of the Keys is free, but interested parties must apply in advance for tickets.

Oggle Oddities at the John Soane Museum

Though the bigger name museums are certainly not to be missed, Sir John Soane’s collection of curiosities is ideal for anyone with a taste for something different. Entry to this (and all of London’s museums) is free.

Pay Homage to the Illustrious Dead at Highgate’s East Cemetery

Visit the resting place of Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, George Eliot, and other celebrated corpses. You can take a leisurely walk through the East Cemetery for only $5. (A guided tour of the West Cemetery is also worthwhile though it boasts a slightly steeper $11 entry fee)

Bargain Hunt at Old Spitalfields Market

Thursday is the day for antiques at Spitalfields. You can easily spend an afternoon browsing bric-a-brac, and expert hagglers might find that even £5 can go a long way.

Be a Groundling at Shakespeare’s Globe

In summer, a fiver gets you a standing ticket for a performance of one of the Bard’s best-loved works. This really lets you enjoy the best cultural flavors London has to offer.

Celebrate Freedom of Speech on Speaker’s Corner

Stop by the North-East corner of Hyde Park on a Sunday to observe (or take part in!) the 150-year-old tradition allowing anyone with an opinion to hop on a soapbox and speak their mind.

Take Tea at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Tea Rooms at the V&A are absolutely not to be missed. You can dine in jewelry-box-like surroundings and if you’re lucky, you might even be treated to a midday recital on the beautiful grand piano. (Of course, you ought to take the opportunity to wander through the museum itself while you’re there!)

Sip a Schooner of Sweet Sherry at Gordon’s Wine Bar

Located between Embankment and Charing Cross is one of London’s subterranean treasures. Billing itself as London’s oldest wine bar, the candle-lit vaults of Gordon’s are the perfect place to get out of the rain and warm up with a sherry.

Enjoy a Lunch Time Recital at St. Martin in the Fields

While most classical music concerts in London cost a pretty penny, St. Martin’s in the Field hosts a series lovely lunchtime recitals every Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 1 pm. The concerts are free but a suggested donation of £3.50 goes to support future musical endeavors.

See the Waxworks at Westminster Abbey

Entry into the Abbey proper can get a bit pricey, however, the Abbey Museum is entirely free of charge, and located in one of the oldest parts of the building. Though on a significantly smaller scale than Madame Tussaud’s, the museum contains a series of impressively old wooden and wax effigies, including the earliest known likenesses of England’s medieval monarchs—Definitely worth a visit for any history buff.