London is an expensive city, as we all know. This means that if you live here there’s often times when cash is a bit tight, if you’re visiting it seems like your British pounds don’t go as far as you’d like. The last weekend before pay day is the most frequent time that I feel the pinch, I’ll never cease to be amazed by how quickly notes fly out of your bank account. This weekend was one of those weekends there was no way I was going to sit indoors, so I set myself a £10 budget to cover a day in the city.
In case you also find yourself in this situation I thought I’d share how I got on. If you’ve got any ideas of how to spend a day in London on a budget, please share below!
First things first, I like to enjoy a good lie in. The city isn’t going anywhere and I often need to catch up on a few lost hours from the week. Then I have a leisurely breakfast (like a true Brit I’m a big fan of tea and crumpets!). I am a bit of an iPad addict so I usually get on to doing a little research about what’s happening in the city as the same time. Londonist always has a handy weekend guide but I couldn’t find anything that took my fancy this week so I decided to find a museum I hadn’t been to using the their Museums and Galleries page.
Spotted – Museum of London. I’ve never been and it had a few interesting exhibitions on. It’s also in the City, an area I love but don’t visit at leisure very often.
I made my way to Bank, although Barbican is closer to the Museum I thought it would be a great opportunity to enjoy the splendour of St Paul’s Cathedral.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I like a good coffee at the weekend, so I got my London’s Best Coffee app out and discovered Bea’s of Bloomsbury serve Square Mile. A cappuccino ordered and £2.50 spent.
(It was a challenge resisting those cupcakes!!)
As I’ve lived here for a few years I have a fairly good sense of direction, or I at least feel confident about wandering around and occassionally looking at Google Maps to make sure I’m on track. The great thing about aimless wandering is pleasant unexpected surprises like Christchurch Greyfriars Rose Garden.
And the lovely Postman’s Park.
A peaceful and pretty city park to stumble upon. It’s also home to the Watt’s memorial, an interesting yet tragic memorial commemorating heroic men and women who have given their lives attempting to save others.
After wandering for far longer than anticipated I found myself at the Museum of London. It has quite a thorough history of London to explore, so it would be particularly good to get lost in on a rainy day. I was keen to get back outside so I explored a few bits and the Michael Caine exhibition currently on display.
I decided it was the perfect day for a stroll by the river. I obviously hadn’t done it for a while as I was so glad to discover the part of the Thames Path near the Tate had finally reopened.
This meant I didn’t have such a long detour to meet my housemate for a spot of lunch on South Bank.
Street food is usually a good shout when you’ve not got much to spend. You can usually find the Real Food Festival at Southbank, but not realising that their usual home is South Bank Centre Square instead of the riverside (when I discovered it over the bank holiday), we completely missed out and opted for the Wahaca Street food van.
£6 for a Chicken Burrito. Not too bad when you get to then enjoy it with a riverside view!
We decided to head home, aiming for London Bridge so we could enjoy a little more of the sunshine and riverside action. There’s a great atmosphere down there on a sunny day, lots of happy people and some talented buskers adding a little music to your afternoon. There are also the odd eccentric buskers…
One more shot of the city before we made our way to the station.
A great day out and well within my budget!
My top tips for a day out in London for less:
- Do some research before you leave. Choose a museum or gallery you haven’t been to and area that might be interesting to walk around.
- Find somewhere to pick up a nice hot drink.
- Be willing to walk a few miles to your next destination.
- Find your nearest Street Food trader to satisfy your hunger. Netil Market , Berwick Street Market and KERB are a few other places that I’ve heard have a few options.
Have you had a great day out in London on a small budget?