A common misconception about London is that it’s impossible to enjoy it on a budget. As a student who’s been living in London for a year, and always on the lookout for a bargain, I can confirm that this is not the case. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the city on the cheap, and sometimes even for free.
Firstly, take advantage of the free museums. From the National History Museum, to the V&A and the British Museum, there are an abundance of free museums all around the city. Take your time wandering around them and marvel at the history and culture that they hold. It’s the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon, while making the most of the rich history the city has to offer.
This goes for the free galleries all across the city, too. There’s the National Gallery, the Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery, to name a few. While equally beautiful, all offer something different; from classic renaissance at the National to the weird and wonderful modern art at the Tate. There is something for everyone to enjoy, no matter what kind of art you’re into.
Another aspect of London that people often forget is its wonderful parks and natural spaces. When the weather’s fine, (take advantage of this because it isn’t often fine), why not take a walk around Victoria Park? Or venture further west and visit Hyde Park, or perhaps go north and admire the view from the top of Primrose Hill. While living in a city can be fun, it’s also fun and sometimes necessary to take a break and visit some greenery, and make the most of the (somewhat) fresh air.
If you’re interested in doing the more typical tourist activities that you’d expect to cost more than a month’s rent, there are definitely ways around it. For instance, there’s the London Pass, which allows you to visit places such as the Tower of London, Madame Tussauds and the London Zoo at discounted prices. It also includes a hop on hop off bus tour, and boat tour down the Thames. This is a great option for those new to London, (hey freshers!) or those who fancy being a tourist in their own city.
In terms of discounts, it’s also very easy to buy discounted theatre tickets, if you fancy a night at the West End. (And lets be fair – who doesn’t?) From the National Theatre Entry Pass, to same-day seating, there are a million ways to avoid the infamous high prices of theatre tickets. (More on cheap theatre tickets here.)
Living in London can be expensive, especially for students. But you don’t have to search far to find a student discount or a free day out. London is overflowing with things to do, which brings me to my last point. If you’re bored in London, you’re not doing it right.