A Cheap Weekend in London

London is an incredibly popular tourist destination. The city has a wealth of interesting things to do and is famous for its shows, theatre performances and entertainment. Unfortunately for us, it’s also notoriously expensive and a weekend break in the capital can seriously make a dent in your budget. However, you can do London on the cheap, so follow this itinerary below to ensure you experience the city at its best without breaking the bank.


Before heading to London town, you need to sort your accommodation. The challenge is finding somewhere reasonable which is also centrally located. If you’re really struggling, check out couchsurfing.com, otherwise there are some great hostels to be found in the greater London area with good access to the underground – try hostelbookers.com for some examples.

So you’ve got your accommodation sorted and need to keep the costs down in your daily activities. Let’s imagine you have a budget of $100 per day. With some careful engineering you’ll be able to live comfortably over the next few days and not miss out on the atmosphere.


Today’s a day to get your bearings, and luckily many of the attractions that will help you to do this are free. It’s a good idea to take a hit out of your daily budget here and get yourself a travel card for the underground. Costing just under $30, the card will give you unlimited access to the bus and underground system, so you’ll not need to worry about this added expense.


With your remaining $70 in your pocket, head off to see the sights. Firstly, take the tube to St Paul’s Cathedral and marvel at its beauty, before heading over the Millennium Bridge on your way to the Tate Modern. There, you can spend an hour taking in the permanent and rotating exhibitions. When you’re done, cross back over and stroll along the Victoria Embankment – you’ll get the same views here as you would on one of the expensive tour boats, and you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities. On your way past Embankment station, you’ll be able to purchases a sandwich and drink in one of the local delis, before heading to picnic in St James Park. If you’re there by 11.30am you’ll be able to view the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (also free) and eat your sandwich and enjoy the best views of Buckingham Palace in London.


After lunch, stroll on over to Westminster where you can see the houses of parliament and of course Big Ben, as well as the Abbey (entrance to which is free). Take some photos and head onto the tube for the short journey over to Piccadilly Circus. Here, you’ll see the famous intersection before taking the short stroll down to Leicester Square where you’ll be able to take a break in one of the cafes in the area. Here you can also see people queuing to buy tickets for local shows in the entertainment district. It’s possible to get a decent show ticket for about $40 online but its best to take advantage of the super cheap entertainment on offer – in the summer months there’ll be cheap shows in the area, and you can buy a ticket for the Proms in the Park for $10.


That will only leave you $44 for the rest of the day, but don’t panic. Head to Trafalgar square to sit for a while and watch the world go by as the evening draws in, before getting your dinner. A quick search on toptable.com (putting in Leicester Square area) gives a range of restaurants in the area offering 50% off deals and plenty for under $40, including drinks.

After dinner, it’s off to the proms in the park before jumping on the tube and heading home for a well earned rest.

Cost Breakdown



This morning, head to a vibrant Sunday market to soak up the atmosphere – Try famous Camden Market for a selection of everything you could imagine. Firstly, get yourself a hearty English breakfast for about $10 in one of the many cafes – the Gossip Stop Café does a mean one. Then, take $30 and get shopping for souvenirs before grabbing some delicious food at one of the many market stalls in the afternoon– the kebabs are good here, and there’s also a wide choice of ethnic and local food. Budget $10 for this and you’ll do fine. Afterwards, head on the tube to Covent Garden which has its own stalls and great free entertainment coupled with a bustling atmosphere.


You’ll maybe want to plan your evening at this stage, so head over to Christopher’s Grill in Wellington Street for a coffee and some free WiFi. There, you’ll be able to check out the best free activities for this evening – there’s always something on including free comedy shows, music gigs or art exhibitions. Try bbc.co.uk/comedy/tickets for some free comedy tickets, or freelondonevents.co.uk.


For the evening, you’ve got plenty of cash left. For as much food as you can eat, why not head to China Town near Piccadilly Circus to one of the buffet restaurants for about $20? There’s so much choice in mid-range restaurants in London that you will definitely find something to suit your taste, it’s just making the decision that’s the hard part! Finally, it’s off to your free event, stopping in a local pub for a drink or a coffee shop for something warming on the way, before heading to your hotel and reflecting on how much of London you’ve seen on a budget.

Cost Breakdown


Submitted on: August 5 2011 DMCA.com Protection Status
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