London can be a tough call for students. Estimates of how much money you will need to study and live here may vary considerably, as the lifestyles and circumstances of individual students differ. According to LSE, for a single student studying for a full year, an estimated average would be in the region of £387 per week or £20,124 for the year. You should consider this only as a guide; some students may find they can live within this allowance, some may be able to live with less yet others may find it insufficient to meet their expectations.
To give you a little breather we’ve compiled a list of things to do in London on a budget – some of them for free.
1. Explore London by bus
New in town? Explore the city by bus. And no, you don’t have to hop on one of the expensive tourist buses to see the city for £30 per go. Try some of London’s best bus routes. They’re cheap alternatives and allow you to just as much…
- Most famous areas: Routes 11 and 15
- Elegant London: Route 74
- Along the river: Route RV1
- First route in London: Route 205
- Old, cobbled streets: Route 100
Costs: £ 1.50 per ride
2. Sky Garden – London’s best views
The Sky Garden (also known as the Walkie Talkie) has a distinctive, top-heavy shape. This caused a few problems at the beginning – its concave glass reflected the sun’s rays and melted a few cars below. A shield has now been put into place, but some people still call it a ‘fryscraper.’
Spreading across three floors, the garden offers uninterrupted views of the London. There is a landscaped garden as well as a bar and restaurant. Obviously, it costs to drink and dine at the venue but the garden itself is free to the public, as part of an agreement made before planning permission from the building was granted.
3. Free education
London is home to hundreds of museums. 300 – to be precise.
Here are some of our favourites:
According to Timeout, ‘it’s one of the world’s most magnificent museums’. The V&A hosts an enormous collection of art and design pieces from all over the world. Make sure you don’t miss its world class exhibitions. Previous displays include Pink Floyd and David Bowie.
The British Museum
Despite its name, The British Museum is actually dedicated to global, human history, not just British. It has a total of 8 million objects.
Fun fact: This was the first museum to be open to the public in the World.
The Natural History Museum
Here you’ll realise how small us humans really are. You’ll get a real sense of this when you stand under ‘Hope,’ the 25-metre-long Blue Whale skeleton who waits for you in the entrance.
Costs: Free ( you may have to pay for special exhibitions)
3. Cheap Eats in London
Gone are the days when ‘street food’ meant dodgy hamburger or hot dogs. London is now a great place for street food. Most markets in London have food stalls. They are most likely the best choice for a reasonably priced, satisfying lunch.
Food from around the world
London really is one of the best cities to try food from around the world. Vietnamese, Korean, Malaysian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants are affordable. A two-course meal can cost around £10 per person if you avoid alcohol.
Healthy Fast Food on Sale
Itsu’s 50% off reductions half an hour before closing time has been popular among Londoner’s. The sushi chain sells all the stock they have left in store for half price every day before closing.
Other chains (Abokado and Pod) also offer deals half/hour before closing.
Costs: £10 or less for a 2 course meal
5. Shakespeare & Co
The theatre is one of the most exciting, yet one of the more expensive things to do in London. But there are ways around paying regular prices.
Where better to see a play than at a theatre created by Shakespeare himself? If you’re happy to stand, you can buy Yard tickets to The Globe Theatre for just £5.
The Royal National Theatre
It’s possible to find cheap tickets for most performances, but you have to quick
Friday Rush: You can buy £20 tickets to most shows from 1pm on Fridays. It’s called the Friday rush, a subtle hint to remind you that you have to be quick.
Travelex tickets: Check out the list of discounted tickets, thanks to The National Theatre’s collaboration with Travelex.
Standing tickets: You can sometimes buy standing tickets for just £5. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure the play doesn’t last too long.
6. Never stop learning
Each week the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) welcomes a number of the world’s brightest minds to give talks on a number of interesting subjects, and attendance to most of their arranged talks are completely free. Notable speakers over the past couple of years have been Prime Minister David Cameron or Angelina Jolie-Pitt.
7. Laugh for free
There are a number of great comedy clubs in the UK and many of the best ones are right in London.
If your budget for London doesn’t stretch far enough to enter some of the late night comedy shows then be sure to take a look at Angel Comedy who run a free comedy night every day of the week.