Cheap days out in London
Our selection of six belt-tightening itineraries to help you have fun on a budget
Follow our itinerary and you can get the full London tourist exprience in a day for less than £40 per person!
Who says politics is only for the rich? The Houses of Parliament (1) offer free entry to watch parliamentary debates, but get there early: queues can take up to two hours at peak times. And if you contact your MP in advance (ideally six months before), you’re entitled to tickets for a free tour of the Big Ben clocktower or around the two Houses themselves.
Stop for a cuppa
Thirsty work, all that democracy, so wander up Whitehall towards The Savoy (2) for a refined cuppa. Yes, it’s just had a £10 million refurb but you don’t need to be the kind of person whose undies cost more than a two-bed semi in Liverpool to wet your whistle there.
A cup of tea in the Thames Foyer only costs £5.50, and it’s not just any cuppa: we’re talking bespoke Wedgewood china cups, silver teapots and a pianist tinkling the ivories in the background.
Grab something to eat
Take the RV1 bus from Aldwych to London Bridge, and head to Borough Market (3) for the quintessential foodie tourist experience. Those on a really tight budget can fill up on free samples. But you won’t need to spend much more than a fiver on a fantastic lunch at stalls offering exciting goodies like raclette, souvlakia, oysters and emu burgers.
Glance out over the Thames
Walk along Tooley St to Tower Bridge (4). With entry costing £7, it’s a tenner cheaper than the nearby Tower of London, and offers a small exhibition, plus stunning Thames views. Plus, if you check the website in advance, you can find out if and when the bridge is opening that day.
Take a cultural pit stop
Step west along South Bank, past Boris’s favourite velodrome – City Hall (5) – until you reach Tate Modern (6). The freebie permanent collection should keep you occupied for a couple of hours. Walk across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral (7). Visiting for worship purposes is free, and Evensong performances by the Cathedral Choir at 5pm daily (6pm Sun) offer a celestial soundtrack as you cast your eyes upwards and appreciate the beauty of Christopher Wren’s handiwork.
Walk over to Moo! (8) on Cobb Street for some budget Argentinian fare, with its hefty lomitos (Argentinian sandwiches) coming in around the £5 mark, and tapas around £2.50 each.
A murderous end to the day
Head over to Tower Hill tube for a London Walks Jack the Ripper tour (9). It takes in all the key locations of the maniac’s murders, and ends in The Ten Bells pub (10) on Commercial Street. After all that money-saving, you should have enough cash left for at least one drink…