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11 of the best budget-friendly activities in London

11 of the best budget-friendly activities in London

During the week, we can all be guilty of letting our free time slip away from us. But there are so many fantastic cultural events and fun activities to be had around the city. So we’ve teamed up with TfL to find some of the best ways to enjoy London that won’t break the bank. With a daily cap, you can make unlimited journeys all day in Zones 1-2 and never pay more than £8.50*. Plus, TfL’s pay-as-you-go fares on buses, tubes, DLR and the £1.75 Hopper fare are frozen until March 2025**

Use the TfL Go app to plan your journey.

Relax in a peaceful oasis spread across 4.5 acres – home to a variety of adorable farm animals including sheep, goats, donkeys and pigs. On the farm, you’ll also find an allotment, used as a communal food growing site. Here, they harvest produce year-round, which is then supplied to several local restaurants, including their own on-site café.

Price: Free
Nearest DLR station: Lime House
Nearby bus lines: 339, 309

Having worked with the likes of Audrey Hepburn and John Huston, (not to mention a number of James Bond film sets!), Sergio Strizzi is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest set photographers. Until 9th ​​September, the Estorick Collection in Highbury & Islington is currently showing the first ever UK showcase of his work, giving you the chance to peek behind the scenes of some truly iconic films, in a remarkable 80-photo exhibition spanning Strizzi’s entire career.

Price: £7.50
Nearest metro station: Highbury and Islington
Nearby bus lines: 4, 19, 21, 30, 43

Harry Styles and Tilda Swinton are just two big British names who are big fans of the powerhouse designer Charles Jeffrey. His punk-inspired, gender-fluid LOVERBOY is considered a rule-rewriting work of art, and Somerset House is currently showing an exhibition co-curated by the designer himself. Visit before 1 September to explore sensory-driven, immersive spaces brought to life by his signature style, including archive artefacts and new commissions.

Price: Free (donations welcome)
Nearest metro station: temple
Nearby bus lines: 1, 59, 68, 76, 139, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, SL6

If you have family members who love to get close to nature, the Horniman Museum is the perfect place for you. From the British lake to the coral reefs of Fijan, its aquarium showcases aquatic environments from around the world (and the species that live in them!). Visit the aquarium daily from 10:30am to 5:30pm to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. The Horniman Museum Tropical House is also home to a charming butterfly house, where you can walk among beautiful free-flying creatures – entry is timed per ticket and we recommend booking in advance for this one.

Price: Aquarium (free) Butterfly House (£9)
Nearest metro station: Forest Hill
Nearby bus lines: 176, 185, 197, 356, 363, P4

5. Watch major sporting events on the big screen

There’s no better way to get into the spirit of a major sporting event than watching it outdoors, in the sunshine, on a big screen. And this summer, you can do just that at Canada Square Park and St James’s Market. Both venues offer outdoor viewings of Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Paralympics – seats are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis!

Canada Square Park
Nearest station (Tube, Elizabeth line and DLR): Canary Wharf
Nearby bus lines: 135, 277, D3, D7, D8

St. James’s Market
Nearest metro station: Piccadilly Circus
Nearby bus lines: 9, 14, 19, 23, 38, 139,159,12, 88, 94, 453

This summer, Southbank Centre’s public art is championing unsung stories and forgotten pioneers, in keeping with the theme: You Belong Here. Until September 1, you can enjoy free art from artists like Florence Blanchard, Serena Brown, Yinka Ilori and more. And if the weather’s nice, be sure to check out Jeppe Hein’s outdoor water installation Appearing Rooms, a kid-favorite that’s back for the summer.

Price: Free
Nearest metro station: Waterloo
Nearby bus lines: 1, 59, 68, 76, 139, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, N1, N68, N171, N343, SL6

If you’re looking for a fun night out with friends and a dose of nostalgia, Rowan’s Ten Pin Bowl is the perfect choice. This retro American-style bowling alley is something of an institution for North Londoners. Situated right in the heart of Finsbury Park, this two-storey entertainment palace even has its own in-house DJs to provide great music while you bowl.

Price: £8.70 weekdays
Nearest metro station: Finsbury Park
Nearby bus lines: 106, 236, 4, 19, 153, N19, 29, 210, S3, S7, 253, 254, 259, N29, N253, N279

London boasts an impressive array of beautiful green spaces. And during the summer months, there are few places we’d rather be than floating around in a rowing boat or pedalo, soaking up the beautiful surroundings of Regent’s Park. Available to rent throughout the summer until October, this is the ultimate relaxing activity for the whole family to enjoy. You can have up to four adults on a pedalo at any one time, and all children and young adults under 17 must be accompanied by an adult – but there’s also a separate children’s boating lake for youngsters aged 3 to 12.

Price: £9.90 (adult) and £4.50 (child) for half an hour
Nearest metro station: Regents Park
Nearby bus lines: 13, 18, 27, 30, 74,113, 205, 274, N113, 453

Bridging the gap between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks, the IFS Cable Car offers Londoners a breathtaking way to experience the city’s skyline. As you soar over the Thames, you’ll be able to spot landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and more. The Cable Car is wheelchair accessible, and you can even bring bikes (except e-bikes) on board to continue pedaling later!

Price: £6 one way and early return from £8.40***
Nearest stations: North Greenwich tube station / Royal Victoria DLR station
Nearby bus lines: 161, 180, 472, 108, 335, 422, 486, 129, 33,188, 132, 330 (Greenwich) 147, 474, N551 (Royal Docks)

The Arthouse Cinema in Stepney Green is a beloved local cinema that shows both blockbusters and independent films. It’s a place where both film buffs and casual moviegoers can find something to enjoy, and trust us when we say that the cozy sofas will elevate every viewing experience. And despite what you might think, seeing the latest releases doesn’t always have to cost an arm and a leg!

Price: £6.75 Monday to Thursday
Nearest metro station: Stepney Green
Nearby bus lines: 25, 205, N25, N205

At Brompton Cemetery, you can walk among the plots where over 200,000 people are laid to rest. From suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst to pioneering doctor John Snow, this scenic haven in the city centre is truly steeped in history. Decorated with Gothic monuments, the cemetery is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, bats and beetles – so keep your eyes peeled as you wander around.

Price: Free
Nearest station (metro and subway): West Brompton
Nearby bus lines: 14, 211, 328, 414, 74, 430, C3

*Always use the same card or device when tapping in and out. Excludes London Cable Car, River Bus, South East high speed services. Daily limit applies to journeys completed between 4.30am and 4.29am the following day.

**Excludes fares on the Elizabeth line beyond Zone 6 and some London Overground fares.

***£8.40 is the price of a ticket booked at least seven days in advance for a low season period, which are weekdays that are not school or bank holidays. See the TfL website for full terms and conditions.