Isn’t it lovely to be able to travel more and experience some normality once again? Now that we can travel more freely, we’re giving you some ideas of things to do in London if you’re on a tight budget during your London staycation.
Wholesome and kind on your wallet…
Columbia Road Flower Market
Every Sunday, Columbia Road blooms with bright and beautiful flowers in their weekly flower market. From banana trees to bouquets and bedding plants, this long-established street market is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.
Although the flowers are reasonably priced, you are welcome to just have a leisurely stroll through the market without making a purchase.
You can find the Columbia Road Flower Market in Bethnal Green in East London. It’s near to Brick Lane and Spitalfields , just a five minute walk from Hoxton and Shoreditch High Street railway stations, or a 17 minute walk from Old Street tube station.
A real hidden gem, the Barbican Conservatory is one of London’s most cultural venues. Despite being home to an amazing variety of theatre shows, concerts and films, it also manages to host London’s second largest conservatory.
Exploring the hidden beauty of a tropical oasis is free, however you will need to book tickets a week in advance of your visit.
Although it’s slightly out of the centre of London, Richmond Park is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a wholesome outdoor stroll. With its wide open spaces and grasslands, the park is a top UK site for ancient trees and is home to a range of rare species.
If you’re lucky you might also spot some deer roaming freely around the royal park too.
Kensington Gardens is another one of London’s eight Royal Parks and used to be part of Hyde Park.
Expect to see a mix of old and new park pastimes, green space with contemporary art and architecture, alongside history and heritage. The perfect place to have a meander, then find a spot for a picnic or refreshments whilst people watching and taking in the fresh air.
Views of London for free
There are lots of places in London that boast excellent views of the city, but you don’t always need to pay for the privilege to get a good look at the beautiful skyline that London has to offer.
Despite not being as high as some of the other viewpoints in London, the 8th floor public viewing gallery at Oxo Tower still showcases the dramatic skyline perfectly.
Situated on the South Bank, just grab the lift in the Oxo Tower to the 8th floor and head to the viewing platform. This is also the same floor as the bar and restaurant, so you could always grab a drink whilst admiring the views.
Visit London’s highest public garden at the Sky Garden, which is located within the heart of the City of London. Situated at the top of the ‘Walkie Talkie’, the Sky Garden is free to visit, although you’ll need to book your free tickets in advance.
35 floors up, you are treated to stunning 360° views of the city. With a bar and restaurant, you can also enjoy refreshments whilst you’re up there, although you can probably get more for your money if you wait to have food and drink when you’re back on the ground.
Explore on foot
Sometimes, the best way to see a city is to explore on foot. Although public transport is great, you can often miss out on some of the most hidden yet beautiful sights. There are lots of walking tours available that are free, so choose an area you’d like to see more of and get shown around by a local guide.
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Greenwich is a lovely area of London with cobbled streets which make you feel like you’re in a quaint town rather than the big city. The foot tunnels allow you to access Greenwich from Island Gardens on the other side of the river, by walking via the tunnels under the Themes. The tunnel was opened in 1902 but has recently been refurbished. You can find the entrance near to the Cutty Shark and it’s a public highway which is free to use.
Markets of London
London is famous for its market traders and cockney slang. You’re spoilt for choice with the markets available to visit, including Spitalfields, Borough Market, Greenwich Market and more. These markets are of course free to visit, but we can’t guarantee that you won’t want to spend a few pounds on the unusual treasures that await you.
Expand your mind with these free entry venues
The Tate Modern
London has a huge amount of free art museums, but one of the most popular is The Tate Modern in Bankside. For good reason, people flock to The Tate Modern and take advantage of the free entry to see an array of modern and contemporary art on display from around the world.
You can easily pass a few hours here and it’s a great option for if the weather has taken a turn for the worse whilst you’re on your London staycation. Most of the gallery is free, however keen art enthusiasts may like to explore some of the exhibitions on show which you will need to buy tickets for.
Natural History Museum
In South Kensington, feast your eyes on some amazing artefacts in the Natural History Museum. With free entry you can find answers to your big nature questions, from wildlife and human evolution, to Space and large mammals. There’s plenty to see and you can spend hours exploring this fascinating museum.
The British Museum
Make the most of your London staycation by visiting the world’s first free national public museum. You’re spoilt for choice with many exciting collections including Egypt, Animals, Death and Memory.
Like many other museums, entry is free, however some exhibitions are only available to explore if you buy tickets.
The Science Museum
Discover the stories of extraordinary human achievement and technological advances that have helped humanity overcome challenges throughout history. If science is your thing, or you just like to learn about the ways of the world, then this is a museum for you.
Located in South Kensington, it’s a good option to visit around the same time as the Natural History Museum, as they’re not too far away from each other. Again, this museum is free to visit, however you need to book a day and time slot before arriving.
Museum of London
Delve into 450,000 years of London’s history at the Museum of London in Barbican. Discover more about the Great Fire of London, the Windrush Generation, VE Day and much more during your visit.
House of MinaLima
One for the Harry Potter fans out there, MinaLima boasts a thriving design studio following the involvement of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima in creating the graphic world of the Harry Potter films. Expect to see exciting commissions for the International Wizarding World franchise, Fantastic Beasts film series as well as other films and global brands. You can find the House of MinaLima in Soho. There’s no need to book, although during busy times you may experience some wait times to enter into the world of magic.
London Staycation Tips
Research deals for top attractions
There are lots of popular tourist attractions which could be added to this article, however we would suggest searching for deals before your London Staycation for the more popular attractions.
Many of the popular hotspots like the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Tower of London and more provide discounts if you book in advance and plan to visit more than one of these attractions during your visit. It’s much better to plan ahead for these kinds of attractions so that you have a better chance of saving money.
Be savvy with travel choices
London is a big city, so planning your travel can really help if you’re visiting on a budget. It sounds obvious, but try to visit things which are near to each other on the same day to save going backwards and forwards with your travel. It also saves time and means you’ll see more of the city.
There are also lots of options to get around which are budget friendly. For example, London’s bike hire scheme is a great option to get you from A to B if you’re not travelling too far from one destination to another. If you plan on using tubes to travel further afield, the oyster card scheme means you’ll pay less than using cash and purchasing tickets for each tube journey, which is kinder on your pocket.
Accommodation is often one of the biggest expenses when planning a staycation. That’s why at Clink we are proud to offer an affordable option and provide a space to meet like-minded people and get lots of insider information whilst you travel. We are proud to be different in what we offer, how we operate, think and make our guests feel.
With a lot less restrictions in place, the renowned hustle and bustle of the big city is finally returning. You probably didn’t need any encouragement to take a trip to London, but it’s a great staycation option with lots of choice and budget-friendly options.