We all know that London has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world but behold, there’s no need to smash open the piggy bank just yet. Contrary to popular belief you can actually have fun in the capital without having to set up a savings account for yourself. London is bursting with things to do and if you look close enough you can find some gems that won’t hurt the bank balance, even in that miserable stretch right before pay day. So dig out that crinkled, old tenner that’s been lying in your purse and be prepared to enjoy some economical delights.
1. Share a pizza at Homeslice
With three great locations, including Fitzrovia, Shoreditch and the colourful cubby of Neal’s yard in Covent Garden, Homeslice Pizza have found the perfect combination of good vibes and delicious food. You can either grab a substantially sized slice for £4 or split a £20 20-inch pizza (yes, that’s right 20 INCH!). They’re made for sharing with your best friend/partner/flatmate/parent or whoever shares your love for a hearty Italian feast.
2. Watch a film at the PeckhamPlex Cinema
Fancy watching the latest blockbuster without the hefty price tag? Well, buried south of the river is the PeckhamPlex, where you can watch any film, on any day, at any time for £4.99. Grab a bag of popcorn, get comfy in one of the six screens at the venue and be transported to a world of your choosing. If you still want more, you can get a 3D ticket for a pound more and truly spend your afternoon getting the 360 cinematic experience.
3. Take a bike ride through Hyde Park
…or anywhere else you fancy. The Santander bikes, also known as ‘Boris bikes’, are scattered throughout London and you can access the cycles for 24 hours for just £2. Having the docks right by some of London’s most beautiful and well- known sites mean you have the chance to get up close and personal to some best-loved locations. This is not just for the summer either. In fact, a winter’s ride along the Serpentine can warm even the chilliest of legs.
4. Grab lunch at a food market
London is home to an abundance of food markets which bring together delicious tastes from all around the globe. Whether it’s Borough Market that has been a staple in the city’s food culture for hundreds of years, or a pop up bazar which showcases some of the best new dishes, there will never be an unsatisfied stomach when walking through one of these.
5. Become a groundling at the Globe
There’s no to be, or not to be about it. Having the chance to witness, and at times partake, in some of the finest Shakespearean productions is a real joy and for £5 you’ll be thrust right into the action by becoming a groundling at The Globe. Laugh your way through one of the bard’s comedies or tear up in a tragedy-either way it’ll be something you won’t forget in a hurry.
6. Take a stroll along the Southbank
When walking down this wonderful stretch by the river you never know what you will encounter. From watching a busker serenade the crowd to getting scared by the living statues or even watching a magic show, you can never predict what you’ll stumble upon along the way. Not only will you be entertained, but you’ll be getting the best views of some of London’s landmarks including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral. If all that isn’t enough, and you’re looking for a bit of shelter from the rain, tucked under the canvas of Waterloo Bridge is the Southbank Centre’s book market, where you can pick up a second-hand or antique book to get stuck into.
7. Enjoy a good laught at Top Secret Comedy Club
This is one of London’s best kept secrets. A lot of the shows are free and the low prices at the bar are enough to have you giggling and heckling away all night. Tucked away on Drury Lane in Covent Garden, the club attracts some of the best stand-ups in London. It won’t be a secret for long once you start telling all your friends about it!
8. Grab a bite at Dirty Burger
Chances are you’ll never be further than a buns throw away from a Dirty Burger– there’s five locations in London. A tenner can stretch to buy a meal that will ensure you leave well and truly full. Most of their restaurants are set in funky tin-can like burrows and the locations include Shoreditch and Kentish Town. Prepare for it to get a bit messy too.
9. View London from above on Emrites Air Line
Everybody wants to see the greatest views over the city, but that can often work out to be pricey if you think of places like The Shard or the London Eye. Enter Emrites Air Line. You can get tickets from £3.40 and if you want a night time experience they slow down the journey so you can truly appreciate your surroundings.
10. Go bowling at All Stars Lane
If you feel like getting all nostalgic take a trip down to All Star Lanes, as well as memory lane, and be reminded why you used to love this activity so much. It’s plush lanes offer a throwback to the 50’s and come a long way from the sticky carpets of the bowling alleys of youth. Off peak prices start from £6.95 and with four great locations it certainly has the potential to bowl you over.