Living in London is the ultimate dream for some, with great history, a fantastic mix of cultures, awesome universities and a wide variety of jobs, it is unsurprising that more and more people are flocking to the capital every year. However with rent costing around 72% of most peoples wages, finding the spare cash to go out and enjoy those precious days off a week can be very difficult. However, as I have found through my 4 years living in the city, there are plenty of things you can do on the cheap and even for free. Here are 10 things to do if you are broke AF in London.
1. Spend your time wondering through one of the many museums.
London is home to countless different museums to suit every different taste, so you can defiantly find something in line with your interests. You can pay a visit to the most famous of the museums in London; The Museum of Natural History, The Science Museum (both in South Kensington) and the British Museum (near to holborn station) or try something a little more out there. For those with a stronger stomach you can find the Crime Museum in Scotland Yard, or maybe The Chocolate Museum in Brixton for those with a sweeter taste. Many an afternoon can be spent wondering the halls of these fascinating exhibits.
2. Walk through and relax In one of London’s famous parks.
One of the beautiful things about London, is that despite a huge and dense population it has still managed to retain some of its natural beauty in the form of parks. I love to wonder through the scenery, and maybe catch a tan or a few great pictures. If you’re a big fan of nature the head to Richmond Park, home to a population of over 600 deer and many different specie of wild flowers. If you love to look over the city skyline and catch some really great views, head to Greenwich Park which offers panoramic views over to Canary Wharf and the Royal Navy College. For something a bit different, visit the Victorian Dinosaur collection in Crystal Palace park. Lazy Sunday picnics have never been so fun.
3. Have a touristy day sight seeing.
I have often found that no matter how long I’ve lived in London, every now and again I still feel the need to grab a camera, and some friends, and head out sight seeing. There are a couple of options for how to go about this, you can either grab a list of sight you’d like to see (The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, visiting Big Ben to hear the bell toll etc.) or you can join in on a walking tour. The fun thing about a walking tour is that they are relatively cheap, averaging between £10 – £15, and they can offer you a different point of view on the city you thought you knew so much about. The Walks offer a great variety including ‘Undiscovered London’ and ‘Jack the Ripper haunts’, including many more. This is an amazing way to fall back in love with the city.
4. Spend a day celebrating at street Festival or Carnival.
So this one is a little more date dependant, as the events only happen once a year, but they are worth the wait. London is full of different cultures, and the great thing about this is the different celebrations each bring with them. Between the 27th-29th of August (2018) Notting Hill explodes into a sea of colours, music, dance and amazing street food with the famous Notting Hill Carnival. People from all over London join in the celebration, with a street procession and all night partying. Another great event to get involved in is London Pride held between the 24th of June and the 9th of July with the main event taking place on the 8th of July. With a whole list of events taking place to celebrate Pride, which can be found here, this is a great way to celebrate the LGBT+ community. Rolling on round to the winter of 2018, more specifically February the 16th, Chinese New Year is one of the biggest free carnivals to take place in London during the winter. With amazing street performances, food, art and heritage this is definitely not one to miss.
5. Laugh the night away with free and cheap comedy gigs.
I love to laugh, and I am sure there isn’t many people out there who can say this isn’t true for them, so finding great comedy gigs to go to on a budget is very important. Well known and up and coming comedy acts often like to try out their new material before taking it on tour, this in turn means that they commonly offer free gigs to work out any kinks. Unfortunately yes this does mean having to occasionally sit through some very cringe-worthy moments (I remember once having to sit through a guy awkwardly stumble through a set about some encounters back in his school days with the other boys), but for the most the acts are hilarious. There are some great places out there, for instance The Top Secret Comedy Club who offer both free and heavily discounted nights, with a list of their up and coming shows here.
6. Step into your own staring role and spot your favourite movie locations
A slight twist on the traditional sightseeing, but a fun thing to do in the city none the less. Locations all over London have been used as settings for many of your favourite movies, so when stuck on something to do, why not track them down? A great starting point is The Royal Navy College in Greenwich which boast’s to be one of the top film locations in Europe playing host to such movies as Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes and Thor: The Dark Worlds. Or maybe you fancy stepping inside some real movie magic and visiting Kings Cross station and trying to find the famous Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. Bring a camera and recreate your favourite movie moments with this fun day out.
7. Spend an hour learning something you didn’t know.
England is home to some of the best universities in the world and London, being that Capital, houses great institutes of learning. If you’re in the city and stuck on something to do, why not grab a free (or at least cheap) lecture from the top experts in their fields. There are a huge amount of topics to suit everyone’s tastes, and maybe you may even find something to be passionate about that you had never even considered before. You can find a list of venues and topics here, with upcoming events for those who are on a tight budget.
8. Find your inner theatre lover with cheap theatre tickets.
I am a major lover of theatre, and being broke in London it is important for me to be able to find shows that don’t break the banks. There are plenty of websites out there that offer hugely discounted theatre tickets to see West End shows, so seeing the Lion King on stage is no longer something that has to put you out of pocket. I would always recommend shopping around to find the best deal, and checking seats before committing to get the best experience possible, but this can be an amazing way to see your favourite shows. If you fancy something a bit more classic, the globe offer yard (standing) tickets from just £5 putting you up close and personal with the on stage action. If you don’t want to travel check around with your local amateur dramatic groups, many put on some great shows with talented cast members and tickets tend to cost less than £10 a pop.
9. Work up a sweat with low budget exercise.
Buying a gym membership can be a huge financial commitment, so finding ways to exercise on the cheap can be very difficult, but not impossible. Communities such as Sweatshop Running Community offer free running groups to help you get your fitness journey started, with group locations all across London this is a great way to spend your free time and meet some great people. If exercise classes are more your thing, Sweaty Betty clothing stores offer a variety of different free classes in many of their stores. See whats on and book your spot here. Or if you fancy a dip in the pool, consider trying out an open air swimming pool. Charlton Lido costs only £6 for an adult sessions, and as it is heated this is something you can do year round.
10. Be a savvy shopper and find some great bargains.
I love to shop, if there is something I am going to do when I’m bored it is shopping. Being broke and living in London it is important to not spend money on clothing that was put aside for bills (oops), so what I love to do it look around charity shops in high end areas (think Kensington and Chelsea), and find myself some designer brands at very low prices, I am talking Gucci loafers for £39, and Burberry jackets for £60. This isn’t the cheapest thing to do on this list, but if you love to shop finding ways to do it for low prices is very important.
So there you have it, 10 things to do if you are broke AF in London. What do you do in London when you’re on a budget? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image source: pinterest.com
After graduating university in 2015, I've developed a love for fashion and healthy lifestyles. London is my home, but I love to travel at any opportunity possible... destination anywhere.