Cheap days out in London

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.