London seems to exude history and culture at every turn. With so many boroughs with different specialties, it’s easy to find just about anything you could want somewhere in the vast metropolis. One word that can’t usually be used to describe London is ‘cheap’, but where there’s a will, there is a way. We’ve put together a list of things you can do for very little to no money in the city, so you can save your pounds for pints and souvenirs. Check out some of our top recommendations:


1. Walk around the British Museum.


The British Museum has existed since 1753 and is home to over 8 million exhibitions. It is said to have the most extensive and varied collection in the world. It focuses mainly on human culture from the beginning of civilisation until today. The best part? It’s absolutely free! It’s open daily from 10:00 until 5:30 and until 8:30 on Fridays, it’s in a beautiful area of London for walking around, and it’s not the only (free) museum worth checking out.Try the Tate Modern while you’re there – some exhibitions are available at an additional fee, though these are usually no more that £15.


Photo by Diliff

Photo by Diliff


2. Listen to some interesting public speakers at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.


In the north-east corner of Hyde Park (near the Marble Arch tube stop) you can find an interesting mixture of orators, speaking on any number of topics from religion, to relationships, to politics, and everything in between. You can even participate if you have something to say and are willing to make a public speech of your own. The only caveat is that all topics and discussions must stay within the laws of free speech.  You can find Speakers’ Corners in other parks in London as well (such as Victoria park) though the one in Hyde Park is one of the more famous. While you’re there, why not have a picnic by the lake? Hyde Park itself is an amazing place to spend an afternoon.


3. Watch a movie or a play at The Scoop.


The Scoop is a sunken amphitheatre capable of seating around 1000 people. In addition to the amphitheatre they also have events and showings on the riverside, which is much more public and receives a lot more foot traffic. It’s located near City Hall and close to Tower Bridge and often has some of the most interesting plays and film screens available for free or cheap during the summer. They also host live music and are a great starting or finishing point to a walk around City Hall.


4. Wander around a famous street and buy a few cool souvenirs.

London has some of the most interesting outdoor markets and shopping streets in Europe, many of which are famous. If you’ve ever seen Bedknobs and Broomsticks (one of my favourite Disney movies growing up), you’ll remember the song about Portobello Road. The place is insane on weekends, packed with people and street vendors selling some interesting antiques and clothing. It’s a great place to go shopping for your more eccentric friends. Once you’re finished with Portobello Road, head to Camden Market, where you can find souvenirs of the “Great Britannia” style, bizarre garage sale finds, clothes, jewellery, furniture and some really interesting art pieces and statues.


Camden market is also a mecca for international food stalls; you’ll find Hungarian, Spanish, Moroccan, French, Jamaica, American style BarBQ… you name it and it’s probably there. Last, though definitely not least, check out Brick Lane. This is much more of a food exploration but you’ll find some of the best curries, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian (East and West) food on display here. Brick Lane also has an amazing collection of street art and graffiti, so bring your camera so you can take some really original holiday snaps. You only really need to spend what you want to at any of these venues, and the food is plentiful and not terribly expensive.


Portobello Road 26/05/12 - 26

5. Get a Boris Bike and Explore!


Named for the Mayor who introduced them, Boris Bikes can be found all over the city and don’t cost very much to rent – about £2 per 24 hour period, and £10 per week. You can pick one up at any docking station (you can find them all over the city) and drop them off at any docking station. They work for just about any height and they seem to glide through the streets of London without any effort at all. Pack a lunch and explore the city on a Boris bike, you’ll be happy you did and it’ll save you the tube fair while still giving you some exercise!

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