With the Big Ben, St. Paul’s, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, London might have the most famous landmarks in Europe. Add to that an amazing vibe, beautiful architecture and an impressive range of restaurants. And you can imagine how popular London is with both travellers and tourists. Unfortunately the city can be a very expensive destination because of that as well. But don’t worry, you don’t need much money for your city trip to the English capital. We give you the best budget tips!
# 1 The free museums
A cosmopolitan city like London is full of impressive museums. And what’s the best part: almost all of them are free! Watch mummies in the British Museum, gaze at the old masters at Wallace or admire jewels and tiaras at the Victoria & Albert Museum? All for free.
Tip: that does not mean that the museums have no line. Expect a long line at the popular British Museum and the Natural History Museum. You have a better chance of easy entrance right at the opening or late in the afternoon.
# 2 Free walking tour
You can join free walking tours in so many cities. The concept is simple: you pay nothing for the tour, but at the end you can just tip your guy what you thing the tour was worth. And if you have a very limited budget, then the guides will also very happy with a good review on sites like Tripadvisor.
Tip: London also has very cool theme tours, so look for a tour that fits your interest. Architecture? Harry Potter? It’s all possible in London!
# 3 The markets
If there is anything we love about London, then it is the markets. How about the vintage market in northern Portobello or the Sunday flower market on Columbia Road in Shoreditch? That’s all amazing, but the best markets are of course the food markets. We love how you can find dozens of stalls selling the tastiest food in the city all in one place! The best-known markets are probably the Borough Market and Camden Market. We are fans of both.
# 4 Grab a free bike
London is very big and the must-see areas and highlights are far apart. The underground is of course an efficient way to cross the city. But wouldn’t it be much better if you can enjoy the city along the way? Good for you that London offers free bikes! All around the city you can find bicycle parkings on the street where you can take one of them for free. You pay 2 pounds per 24 hours. For that money, you can make unlimited use of the bicycle within those 24 hours. You can then ride it for half an hour each time (after that you will be charged). On this site, you can read more about the free Santander Cycles, including a map with the bicycle parking facilities.
Tip: do you want to cycle for more than 30 minutes for free? Hand in your bike after half an hour and just grab a new one right away. This allowed us to cycle around the city for a wonderfully long time without that surcharge after half an hour.
# 5 Free viewpoint from Tate Museum
The Shard is one building that’s very hard to miss. The top offers you an amazing view of London. But that comes with a price. Did you know that you can also enjoy pretty much the same view for free? Just go to the top floor of the free Tate Museum on the South Bank. There’s a small cafe at this floor and around it are some viewpoints to watch the skyline.
Tip: the Tate is also open in the evening on Fridays and Saturdays. So these evenings you can also admire the skyline in the dark!
# 6 Skygarden
Skygarden is another place with a free view. But Skygarden is more than a beautiful viewpoint over the city. This enormous building has a public city garden on the top floor over the full length and width. So you should also come here for your daily dose of green, a bite to eat in the restaurant or a drink on the indoor terrace. Reserve your free tickets online in advance, as it can get very busy.
# 7 Sightseeing the famous monuments
The biggest highlight of the city are of course the monuments and the architecture. To enjoy them you only need some decent walking shoes and a map. Or a free bicycle of course, so that you can really see all the corners of London!