101 cheap things to do in London

Make your money go further in the capital with these 101 ideas for cheap things to do in London.
Written by Coralie Modschiedler 24 April 2024
Tower Bridge in London, with a cloudy blue sky in the background and green trees in the foreground
Find cheap things to do in London including top attractions, cheap eats and shops and markets in London. © visitlondon.com/Antoine Buchet

From cheap places to eat and drink to fun outdoor activities and wallet-friendly entertainment, plan a stay that won't break the bank with London's best cheap things to do.

Cheap eats in London

Thick, square shaped pizza being pulled apart with stringy cheese showing
New York-style pizza at Bad Boy Pizza Society. © Bad Boy Pizza Society/Joe Howard
  1. Find a deal on a freshly cooked meal from a stall at Borough Market, a paradise for foodies.
  2. Get a tasty lunch, such as a burrito or mac and cheese, from a street food truck.
  3. Sample affordable and authentic Chinese food in Chinatown.
  4. Enjoy a tasty dish that doesn't break the bank at one of London's affordable eating spots.
  5. Grab a hamburger at one of London's top 10 burger bars.

Cheap things to do in London for couples

A couple stand close together as they take a selfie on battersea power station with London as the backdrop.
Scale the Lift 109 to take a snap of the iconic view of London. Image courtesy of The Cast Agency.
  1. Soar high above the iconic Battersea Power Station and experience breathtaking 360-degree views at Lift 109.
  2. Try axe throwing, funfair games and ping pong at some of the best activity bars in London.
  3. Enjoy a variety of cuisines and grab a bite to eat at some of the best food markets in London.
  4. See the city twinkle at night on a London by Night Open Top Bus Tour.
  5. Relax and admire unique views of the city at one of the best rooftop bars in London.

Check out other fun and cheap date ideas in London.

Cheap London attractions

landscape photo of st paul's cathedral, with a cloudy blue sky in the background
St Paul's Cathedral in London. © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid
  1. Explore the beautiful architecture of St Paul's Cathedral and climb 528 steps to the Dome to enjoy panoramic views of London's iconic skyline.
  2. Marvel at Westminster Abbey, an active place of worship and Unesco World Heritage Site in London.
  3. See more than 500 global species including sharks, stingrays, seahorses and green sea turtles at SEA LIFE London.
  4. Visit The Postal Museum and take a ride on the Mail Rail through the stations and tunnels of the 100-year-old postal railway.
  5. Come face to face with more than 700 species at London Zoo and enjoy hours of fun exploring the famous zoo.

Find more famous landmarks and top London attractions to visit while you're in the capital.

Cheap things to do after dark

A corridor at the British Museums, with two sculptures gating it.
Wander the galleries of the British Museum. Credits: Jonathan Reid/visitlondon.com.
  1. Expand your mind by heading to a late-night opening of one of London’s top museums.
  2. Watch an innovative play at a pub theatre.
  3. Laugh the night away at a stand-up comedy show.
  4. Enjoy two-for-one cocktails during happy hour at one of London's top pubs or bars.
  5. Get your hands on tickets to a cheap gig in London
  6. Soak up gorgeous night-time views of London at Sky Garden.
  7. Snap photos of London landmarks, such as the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, lit up at night.
  8. Discover even more ways to have a cheap night out in London.

Cheap London fun for families

A child in the middle of a flower bed bends forward to smell a flower.
Horniman Museum and Gardens. Photo: Laura Mtungwazi. Image courtesy of the Horniman Museum.
  1. Be wowed by aquatic life from around the globe in the aquarium at the Horniman Museum.
  2. Meet goats, ponies, alpacas and other farmyard animals at Vauxhall City Farm and Mudchute Farm.
  3. Experience the wonders of science first-hand with interactive exhibits and fun activities at the Science Museum.
  4. Discover a treasure trove of prehistoric creatures and fascinating galleries to explore at the Natural History Museum.

Cheap things to do in London with friends

A man stands in one of the galleries at Frameless and observes the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights projected on two walls.
The Garden of Earthly Delights at Frameless, an immersive exhibition in London. Image courtesy of Frameless/Jordan Curtis Hughes.
  1. Experience famous and much-loved masterpieces come to life digitally at Frameless.
  2. Tuck into a cheap afternoon tea and enjoy sweet treats and savoury goodies.
  3. Stimulate your senses and have fun at one of London's many immersive experiences.
  4. Get a closer look at the city's interesting and unique sites with a guided London walking tour.
  5. Spend a night at the West End Comedy Club and watch funny up-and-coming artists take to the stage.

Discover more fun activities for adults in London.

Historic homes in London

long red open hallway with lavish gold decor, framed pictures on the wall and a traditional light feature
Apsley House at Hyde Park Corner. Image courtesy of Apsley House.
  1. Soak up the historical atmosphere at Sutton House, the Tudor home of Thomas Cromwell's protege Ralph Sadler.
  2. Explore the home of Benjamin Franklin, scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor and Founding Father of the United States, at Benjamin Franklin House.
  3. Visit the Hampstead home of Sigmund Freud, now preserved as the Freud Museum.
  4. Take the £1 ferry across the Thames to visit Marble Hill House and Ham House.
  5. Look inside Chiswick House and wander the sprawling grounds.
  6. Find out about the Duke of Wellington’s glittering London life at Apsley House.  

Great London pubs, bars and cafes

The exterior of The Churchill Arms, which is covered in hanging baskets, shrubs and flowers, with a pub sign showing Winston Churchill's face.
The Churchill Arms pub. Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash.
  1. Sip a pint in front of a crackling fire at one of London’s cosy pubs.
  2. Enjoy a drink and classic British fare at one of London's most charming historic pubs.
  3. Quaff a glass of wine at one of the candlelit tables inside cave-like Gordon’s Wine Bar.
  4. Unwind over a purr-fect cup of tea among the resident cats at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium.
  5. Get your caffeine fix at one of London’s top 10 independent coffee shops.

Wallet-friendly shops and markets in London

A selection of pink, yellow, orange and purple flowers on display at Columbia Road Flower Market in London.
Columbia Road Flower Market. © John Dancy / Unsplash.
  1. Buy a pretty bunch of flowers at Columbia Road Flower Market.
  2. Give £1 to a street performer in Covent Garden.
  3. Discover culinary delights at Maltby Street Market.
  4. Find bargains galore at one of London’s top markets
  5. Buy a book at one of London’s top bookshops, including the famous Foyles and the Edwardian bookshop Daunt Books.
  6. Look out for cheap deals, especially during the January sales.
  7. Channel the retro vibe at one of London’s vintage clothing stores.

London culture for less

People walking around the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, on a sunny day.
Ready to explore the city sky? Image courtesy of Royal Observatory.
  1. Be dazzled by the moon, constellations and planets at a live planetarium show at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
  2. Walk around at your own pace or take a tour of Highgate Cemetery, where famous names like Karl Marx and Douglas Adams are buried.
  3. Feel the history of Banqueting House, the only surviving part of the royal Palace of Whitehall.
  4. See a show or have a drink at Wilton's Music Hall, the world's oldest and last surviving grand music hall.
  5. See an arthouse, cult or classic film at the Prince Charles Cinema, just off Leicester Square.
  6. Visit many of London's major museums for free.

Best cheap and free museums in London

The exterior of the Charles Dickens Museum with gated railings, two large windows showing the rooms lit up inside and a green front door
The Charles Dickens Museum. Image courtesy of The Charles Dickens Museum.
  1. Learn about one of the UK’s most famous authors at the Charles Dickens Museum.
  2. Discover the story of Samuel Johnson and his dictionary at Dr Johnson’s House.
  3. See paintings, prints and relics belonging to poet John Keats at Grade I-listed building Keats House.
  4. Visit the London Canal Museum to learn the colourful story of the capital’s canals, boats and ice trade.
  5. Delve into history and walk through a still-life drama at Dennis Severs' House
  6. See the first tunnel under a river at the Brunel Museum.
  7. Head to the Cinema Museum to check out its awe-inspiring collection of posters and memorabilia.
  8. Step inside a once-forgotten operating room filled with historic surgical tools and medicine from the past at the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret.   
  9. Check out the machines and engineering history at the Kirkaldy Testing Museum.
  10. Handle torture devices at the Clink Prison Museum.
  11. Take a nostalgic journey through toys, board games, fashion and magazines at the Museum of Brands.
  12. Walk through old buses and Tube carriages at the London Transport Museum.

See London theatre for less

The Shakespeare's Globe building from a low angle.
Explore the behind the scenes of Shakespeare's Globe. Image courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Guided Tours.
  1. Buy a groundling ticket for £5 to see an authentic Shakespearean play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
  2. Find standing tickets for productions at the Royal Opera House.
  3. Purchase standing tickets for the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall.
  4. Visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square for cheap last-minute tickets for West End shows.

Cheap London activities

Colourful doors looking out on the still water of the pool at Tooting Bec Lido in London.
Calm waters at Tooting Bec Lido in south London. Image courtesy of Tooting Bec Lido.
  1. Enjoy a refreshing swim in one of London’s gorgeous lidos.
  2. Climb 311 steps to reach the top of The Monument for sweeping views of London.
  3. Take a pedalo or rowing boat on Hyde Park’s famous Serpentine Lake from April to October.
  4. Hire a Santander Cycles bike to explore London on two wheels.

Parks in London

The Lido Cafe on the Serpentine at Hyde Park in summer
Explore Hyde Park. Image courtesy of Phil Russell and The Royal Parks.
  1. Hire a deckchair in the summer at some of London's best parks, including Green Park, Hyde Park and St James’s Park.
  2. Swim in the historic men's, ladies' and mixed ponds on Hampstead Heath.
  3. Stroll through scenic Richmond Park, home to free-roaming deer, ancient trees and blooming flowers.
  4. Find inner peace in the tranquil Kyoto Garden in Holland Park.

Art galleries and museums

Exhibition room with Sara Shamma's artwork of vibrant painting on wall.
Sara Shamma: Bold Spirits, 2023, courtesy of the artist, Dulwich Picture Gallery
  1. Discover the history of clothing and the latest trends at the Fashion and Textile Museum.  
  2. See works by Rembrandt and Gainsborough at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
  3. Explore a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, furniture and porcelain at the Wallace Collection.
  4. Find contemporary art by famous creators at the Tate Modern.

Cheap travel in London

Two purple cable cars are flying over the river in London going in both directions.
IFS Cloud cable cars flying over London. Image courtesy of TfL.
  1. Take an Uber by Thames Clippers boat from the London Eye to Greenwich.
  2. Glide above the Thames in the IFS Cloud Cable Car.
  3. Enjoy a cheap sightseeing tour of London by taking the 74 bus between Putney and Baker Street via South Kensington, Harrods, Hyde Park and Selfridges.
  4. Take a canal boat ride from Little Venice to Camden.
  5. See some of London's most iconic sights on a walk along the South Bank.

London cheap summer fun

Festival-goers dancing at Cross The Tracks music festival in Brockwell Park, London
Get into the groove at the Cross the Tracks music festival. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Feast on liquid nitrogen ice cream at Chin Chin Labs in Camden.
  2. Grab a drink on a sunny day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden.
  3. Take in some fresh air and fresh flavours at one of London's best alfresco restaurants.
  4. Listen to tunes under blue skies at a free music festival in London.
  5. Soak up the views while sipping a pint at one of London's riverside pubs.

Best cheap winter activities in London

A aerial view of Somerset House ice rink at night with people ice skating and the city skyline behind
Go ice skating at London's Somerset House in winter. © Somerset House Press Office/Luke Dyson.
  1. Get your skates on and take to the ice at one of London's best festive ice rinks.
  2. Experience Christmas in London and enjoy everything that the city has to offer during the festive period.
  3. Sip a mulled wine at a London Christmas market.
  4. Tuck into a bratwurst at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland.
  5. Take an enchanting journey into a glittering wonderland with Christmas at Kew
  6. Experience the festive magic and get merry at the many carols and concerts in London this Christmas.
  7. Follow a winter light trail and see beautiful illuminations at the best light festivals in London.

How can I have a cheap day out in London? 

Pick your favourite things to do from the list above to explore London for cheap. Plus, make sure to check out this handy guide on how to save money in London.

What are the top cheap things to do near me?

Wherever you're staying in London, there are cheap activities near you to be found. Find out where to stay based on your preferences, so that you can access the top cheap things to do near you easily.

Cheap things to do in London for couples?

From cheap activities to free attractions, there are plenty of ways to experience budget London as a couple. Check out the top free things to do in London for more inspiration.