Cheap days out in London

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Our selection of six belt-tightening itineraries to help you have fun on a budget



Taking out your intended paramour in London need not bleed you dry. Try our romantic itinerary which is easy on the pocket yet filled with activities to make them swoon

Thrifty tipples

First things first, head to the off-licence and purchase a three-litre bottle of strong cider (White Lightning offers a favourable booze-per-penny ratio, but other inadvisible Frankendrinks are available).

Get green together

If you’re the ‘thinking ahead, be prepared’ type who puts the cutlery away after washing up, you’ll have had the foresight to sign up with Street Tree, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the greening of London. You can spend the morning planting saplings and looking like you care about that sort of thing.

Line your stomachs

Greenwich Market Greenwich Market - © Ed Marshall

If that’s a bit too active for you, head instead to picturesque Greenwich Market (1), where you can enjoy samples of locally sourced foods in lieu of a paid-for breakfast to line your stomach for what lies ahead.

Take in the scenery

Next, head to Regent’s Park (2), where it borders the edge of London Zoo, by the famous ‘Withnail bench’. Now would be a good time to open the cider. You might normally feel self-conscious about this, but you will find that sitting on a park bench drinking white cider renders you invisible to employed Londoners. You may now enjoy the company of wolves, entirely free of charge, although you might not see much of them unless you’re a wounded elk.

Get your culture fix

South Bank: the capital's cultural heartland South Bank: the capital's cultural heartland

Once you’ve been sufficiently awed by the majesty of nature, it’s back to the West End. With luck, you’ll be able to catch a free lunchtime concert at the South Bank (3), then it’s on to the National Gallery (4), specifically Titian’s ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’. Going to see one painting gives the impression you visit galleries more often than you really do. And the glow of the White Lightning means you’ll feel an affinity with the Greek deity of partying-on-down and his fratricidal bride.

Take a candlelit tour

The Breakfast Room The Breakfast Room

Next, make tracks for the Sir John Soane’s Museum (5) in Lincoln’s Inn Fields where, assuming you’ve booked your date for the first Tuesday of the month (as usual), you’ll be able to take a candlelit tour of its treasures. Just hope that visiting a Georgian architectural museum by candlelight suggests ‘homely romanticism’ rather than ‘watches “Time Team” naked’.

Grab dinner and a movie

By now, you’re probably starving. And this is where all the scrimping really comes into its own. The Charlotte St Hotel (6) runs a popular Sunday Night Film Club, which bundles a three-course dinner with a classic movie for £35. Wine is extra, so don’t forget to sneak in any leftover cider you may have. If that kind of class doesn’t get you to at least second base, there is clearly something very wrong with your hygiene.

Users say

10 comments
Leia
Leia

What on EARTH is this rubbish?

Damon
Damon

Time Out goes to the dogs. Either that or it proves London cannot be cheap.

ccah
ccah

Neither funny or..... ahhh, forget it, silly timewaster

clive howard
clive howard

The last thing on earth I would do with a date

Jon Collins
Jon Collins

Idiots. Thats my weekend sorted. Thanks time out!

Bal Clark
Bal Clark

Did somebody saayyyyy, discount?

Emily Reilly
Emily Reilly

I actually can't believe this is a timeout article - It is mean and mocking and genuinely insensative to the current economic climate. Utterly unimaginative and not even consistent - how many people do you know that would start they day on a bench drinking cider and end the day paying £35 for dinner?

World's smallest violin
World's smallest violin

I'm assuming the writer's sarcastic pessimism stems from never having been on a date. It which case, perhaps should have ended it with 'throw self from millennium bridge'. Poor show Timeout.

Joe
Joe

Is this a joke? I am amazed how poor it is. Sounds like it has been written by a rich person taking the piss out of anyone who would consider a 'budget' romantic day out.

Nic
Nic

This made me feel really sad not romantic at all. Nasty suggestions re. cider and park bench and not very helpful at all.