So you’re in London and you’re broke AF – don’t worry, I can help. Although London has a reputation for being expensive, it also has a wealth of things you can do for free. Whilst you’ve probably heard about the big ones like The Natural History Museum (although visiting dinosaurs is not to be underestimated), there are also some hidden gems of London you may not know exist. So put your poor, empty wallet away, you can have fun without it. Below are 15 awesome things to do around London if you’re broke AF!
1. If you’re there on a Sunday, head to Brick Lane Market.
Brick Lane Market is one of the most famous in London, and whilst it might sound like something you need money for, it’s really not. If you’re about all things vintage, just looking around the market is fun. On Sunday, the streets are lined with cool, quirky clothes and shoes, cute coloured bicycles, stalls full of old film cameras, typewriters, and almost definitely something you’ve never seen before.
2. If you’re not there on a Sunday, head to Brick Lane anyway.
Did I mention that Brick Lane is awesome even without the market? Out of all the places in London, Brick Lane is the most famous for its street art. Although you can pay to get a tour around the art, it’s definitely not needed, and can actually be more fun to wonder around and discover the pieces for yourself. This way is also completely free! Brick Lane also gets bonus points for being home to some of London’s most famous culinary treats, including the Rainbow Bagel, and Cereal Killer, the cafe that sells only Cereal.
3. If you’re feeling sophisticated, go for a strut around the Tate Modern.
Permanent home to works by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko, you’re guaranteed to see some really famous pieces. However, visiting this gallery is something you won’t get bored of, as the Tate Modern also has areas that change frequently.
4. Feed exotic birds in Hyde Park.
Yep, this is a genuine thing that you can do at Hyde Park, and you don’t have to be a bird whisperer to do it. Just head down with some nuts, seeds, and patience, hold out your hand and wait. It’s something you won’t forget.
5. Head down to Camden Market for your alternative fix.
Where would this list be without Camden Market? Many a time I have visited this totally free London spot without spending a penny. The alternative clothing stores, record shops and hippy vibes are enough. Top tip: head to Cyberdog.
6. For the nature lovers, take a trip to Richmond Park.
Two words: Wild deer. And if this isn’t enough of an incentive for you, this park is also picturesque and perfect for cycling trips.
7. Visit the Olympic Sculpture in Stratford’s Olympic Park.
Anish Kapoor’s ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’ is not a sight to be missed. Not only is it iconic due to its association with the Olympics, but it’s massive – a true spectacle.
8. Get fancy at Covent Garden.
By get fancy I mean feel fancy – no money need be involved. Covent Garden often has cute little photo ops like the one below, as well as being home to some of the best buskers in London. Whilst I’d say it would be a little on the mean side to watch a whole busker’s show and not give a penny, as long as you give what you can, these shows can be a cheap way of seeing London talent.
9. Get the best view of London by climbing up to Greenwich Observatory.
Walk up through Greenwich Park to reach the high point of the Observatory. Stop there for the fab view, sweet photos, and maybe a coffee if you’re feeling like splashing out.
10. If you’re bored of the Tate Modern, give the Saatchi Gallery a go.
If you love art but want a change from big galleries like the Tate and the Tate Modern, the Saatchi Gallery will give you something new. It’s a little smaller than the bigger galleries but the art is just as good and is always changing. Check out their site to see what’s on now.
11. If you want classic London, take a walk along Southbank.
If you want the London which appears on the postcards, then take an evening stroll down Southbank. The orange sunset hues behind the London Eye, Big Ben and London Bridge make you feel like you’re in either a movie or a photograph.
12. Visit the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.
Dinos aside, the architecture alone is enough for the Natural History Museum to make this list. The high ceilings, intricate engraved walls and open staircases make it feel like Hogwarts.
13. Check out the living statue buskers.
These guys are all around, but keep an eye out in particular if you’re around Southbank, Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square. If you’ve got a few pence to spare then pop it in their hat and they’ll probably move for you! Failing this, you can get a good photo for Instagram.
14. Go for a picnic in Clissold Park.
If you want the deer without the trek out to Richmond Park, then Clissold is the perfect Summer destination for you. In my opinion it’s also one of the best places for spotting London’s cutest pooches!
15. Explore, explore, explore.
Some of the best places and sights you’ll find in London, you will just stumble upon. Sometimes it’s best to just grab a bag, some snacks and a camera and head out in some good walking shoes. You never know what you’ll find.
Can you think of any more things to do around London that are easy on your wallet? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image source: weheartit.com
Harriet is a 22 year old English graduate from the University of Southampton. When she's not writing, she's crafting, weight lifting, or continuing her search to find the world's best vegan brownie recipe. Like most other 22-year-olds, her other interests include dogs and Instagram.