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Things to do & places to visit on a budget in London

London is truly one of the most spectacular cities on the planet and the biggest draw for tourists in the United Kingdom. However, it certainly is not cheap as a matter-of-fact it is one of the most expensive cities to spend a holiday in.  Just having a pint of beer in a pub will be around a fiver and a standard meal costs about 20 quid. And not to mention the costs at some of the tourist attractions!

Although the one bright spot is that there is affordable accommodation available in certain areas like the hotels near Hyde Park. And in terms of location it is ideally located in the centre of the city making it convenient to travel to most of the top attractions in the city.


The Grand Royale London Hyde Park hotel is one such place to stay in sheer luxury without having to burn a hole in your wallet.  And thankfully as well there are a number of free as well as budget friendly attractions to visit on a trip to London.

To begin with some of the best sights to explore in the city are completely free. You will not have to spend a penny to stroll around Westminster and Big Ben, and same is the case with any of the royal parks and open public spaces like Hyde Park or St James’ Park.

Art galleries and museums
London is a hub of arts and culture with its vibrant museum and art galleries mostly being free to enter (with the exception of any specific exhibitions, where you might needs to pay extra to visit). The best museums to visit for free include the Science Museum, The British Museum, The Natural History of Museum and the Tate Modern to name just a few.

Explore the city’s famous canals
Not many visitors are aware that London is home to an extensive canal system, with its most famous stretching from the west in Paddington to Hackney which lies in the east. And along the way it passes some of the snazziest parts of town plus and even the London Zoo, where visitors can catch a peek of the bird enclosures from the edge of the canal.  A great way to explore the route along the canal is to rent a ‘Boris Bike‘and taking a cycling trip along the entire route. En-route you could stop at some of the pubs to enjoy a glass or two of beer or another great option is to hire a small boat and row along the canals.

There are also a number of events held in the areas around the canals, which include ‘Canalway Cavalcade‘and the controversial albeit enjoyable ‘Canalival’. To know more about these events which are generally held in May or June check Twitter for the latest updates.

Enjoy some live gigs
There always is a live performance or two on in the city. Two great places to enjoy live music in London are…

The Bedford:  One of the best local pubs in Balham the Bedford is surprisingly large. And at the back there is a large open area for comedy and live gigs, with ballrooms above to take lessons in swing-dancing (at a fee). From Mondays to Thursdays visitors are entertained with an eclectic genre of live music for free. If you have a thing for country and blues drop in on a Wednesday though. And the place also hosts comedy nights from time to time which are either free or low priced.

The World’s End: To visit another one of those classic English pubs with a great live music scene hop along to The World’s End at Finsbury Park. It has hosted some top names in the music industry including Ed Sheeran – among a host of other solo artists and bands. To see the latest upcoming local talent drop in on a Sunday night. They also serve a variety of nibbles to patrons at no cost!

The Salesforce/Heron Tower
While the Shard is on everyone’s bucket list on a trip to London for its fabulous views it is indeed very pricey! It does of course offer a spectacular view of the London skyline. This is due to it being the tallest structure in Western Europe. On a clear sunny day visitors can see almost 40 miles away. And of course being close to the River Thames it offers unparalleled views.  The only drawback for those on a budget is the price of admission.

Alternately there is the Salesforce Tower (previously known as The Heron Tower) that lies in the centre of the financial district. The Salesforce Tower is an impressive 40 stories high (although less than the Shard’s 69) but it offers equally terrific views all round and specially the ‘Gherkin’. Getting to the top is free of cost and if you do intend to sip on a few cocktails they start at £13 per serving. Alternately there is beer and wine also though admittedly the cocktails are just too good! Another benefit of getting aboard the Heron Tower is its lift that is transparent and offers stunning views while it is ascending to the top. The perfect time to visit the place is at sunset!

The Ferris wheel at Winter Wonderland
While the London Eye is another popular attraction to catch amazing aerial views of the city skyline, it is an easy way to relieve yourself of a hefty sum of money on admission fees!  Along with the admission fee there also is the cost for a guide, who informs visitors of what they are catching sight of aboard the glass capsules.

And if you want to experience the same aboard a giant Ferris wheel, why not opt for something cheaper with the same experience at Winter Wonderland. The only drawback is that you will need to be in London during the festive season either in December or January. There is no entry fee to Winter Wonderland with a ride on the Ferris wheel an affordable 6 quid. That entitles you to your own pod (no sharing) and you get a comfortable ride and captivating view of the surroundings!

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