1. Enjoy a happy hour
If you’re looking for a chance to sample a cocktail or a glass of wine in one of London’s many cocktail or wine bars but don’t fancy paying full whack, seek out one of London’s many happy hour bars. Perfect for those on a budget who fancy a night out on the town. Dirty Martini, Monument, offers daily happy hours where you can grab a bottle of wine or a martini half price or try London Cocktail Bar or Slim Jim’s Liquor Store, Islington.
2. Sample some free comedy
London is full of comedy nights, showcasing the best comedians on the circuit. If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll find free comedy nights everywhere. Laugh the night away and don’t pay a single penny in the process. Try Angel Comedy at the Camden Head every day or enjoy weekly comedy at The Miller.
3. Listen to free music
There are plenty of free gigs and DJ sets happening in all corners of London all of the time. Head to areas like Camden and Brixton and you’ll find yourself happening upon free music all over the place. In Brixton, Hootananny offers regular free gigs and ska nights or visit Pop Brixton on Free Music Fridays. Try the Cuban Jam nights at The Forge in Camden. Entry is free before 8pm and with a free Salsa lesson to boot!
4. See a West End show half price
London’s West End is world-renowned for its theatre. If you want to enjoy a West End show but are looking to avoid paying full price, you can head to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square on the day of the performance and get cheap tickets for all major shows. For other good deals, book in advance online.
5. Go up the Sky Garden
London’s Sky Garden in Fenchurch Street is absolutely free to go to the top. Perfect for a romantic evening, enjoy spectacular views over the capital as the sun sets and pay absolutely nothing for the pleasure. Entry to the Sky Garden is limited so make sure you reserve online in advance.
6. Drink in a cheap bar
If you’re looking to spend the night in a bar, socialising and enjoying a drink, there are hundreds of options for places where you can sit in comfort and not worry about breaking the bank. Try Thirst, Soho, or grab a £3 pint or £5 cocktail at Ridley Road Market Bar in Dalston.
7. Dine for cheap
Not all restaurants in London involve spending a bundle. There are many cheap options for places to get a tasty dinner and leave with something left over. For affordable choices, try one of many Masala Zones or Spaghetti Houses across the capital.
8. Go to a museum late
Museum lates are a great way to sample a museum in a different way. Some of London’s most popular museums, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, put on monthly lates with after-hours access, special exhibitions and talks from experts.
9. Spend the evening in a pub theatre
Head to one of London’s many pub theatres, including the Etcetera Theatre, Camden, or the Finborough Theatre, Earls Court, and enjoy cheap theatre tickets to edgy plays and discount offers on drinks. Also, try the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, situated above the Prince Albert pub, the country’s only theatre dedicated to purely international work.
10. Grab some street food
Sitting down and eating is overrated! Head to one of London’s numerous street food havens and grab quick, delicious food for under five pounds before continuing your night. Areas ripe for street food include Brixton and Dalston. Read more about food trucks in London.
11. Stay the night in a cheap hotel
All over London there are hundreds of affordable hotels, where you can stay the night in comfort and know that you’re not breaking the bank. Try one of the city’s many Travelodges or Premier Inns and save on those all-important pennies. Or for those who love to meet people, how about the Generator Hostel? Find cheap accommodation in London
12. See some of the world’s best opera stars
Sample some serious culture at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and have the pleasure of watching some of the finest opera performers in the world at discount prices. Standing tickets start at just five pounds so don’t miss out.
13. Take a late night stroll with a walking tour
Experience the fright of your life with a late night Jack the Ripper tour (with amazing Ripper-Vision) for just £12.50 or a Haunted London Pub Tour for £14. Ripper tours showcase the area where one of the greatest unsolved crimes in history took place, beginning at Aldgate East Tube station every evening. Haunted Pub tours combine frightful stories with the drinking of beer, all for budget prices. What could possibly go wrong?
14. Check out some Shakespeare
Head to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Bankside and marvel at some of the world’s best theatre actors performing in some of the world’s best plays for incredibly cheap prices. Standing tickets can be bought for just five pounds. To learn more about the man, go on the Shakespeare Globe Exhibition Tour.
15. Eat well and pay what you can
A recent trend in London restaurants is Pay What You Like. Many London restaurants are now inviting diners to pay how much they feel their meal is worth, rather than imposing a price on them. Try Save the Date Café in Dalston for this brand new initiative. In the summer of 2015 and 2016, the Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows has offered a Michelin-starred 5-course dinner on the same principle, so keep an eye out!
16. Take an open top bus tour
For just £18, take a London by night open top bus tour and marvel at some of London’s best sites in the twilight. Tour includes the Coca-Cola London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace and lasts two hours. It is available in multiple languages.
17. Go on a night out for cheap
Going clubbing in London doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break the bank. There are some great clubs with regular drinks deals and cheap enough entry prices that even those on a budget can enjoy them. Try Leicester Square’s The Roxy for extended happy hour specials or party until late at the Big Chill House, Kings Cross on Thursdays and Fridays, with free entry. You can also bag yourself some wallet-friendly tickets for a huge variety of cheap gigs in London.