They say the best things in life are free if you know where to look. While we can’t promise that a weekend in London won’t cost a thing, we can point you in the direction of some budget-friendly ways to experience the best the city has to offer. Read on to find out how to dig into London’s food scene (and swing by all of its top sites) in just 48 hours for under £200 (that’s around €217 or $242)…

Eat for under £60

When it comes to fine dining (and food trucks), London’s a dream. Assuming your accommodation has breakfast covered, here’s where and how to spend your money on lunch and dinner.

Culinary options differ depending on where you’re staying. The best spots for local fare depend on the cultures of the borough you’re calling home for the weekend. Chat with your host or the hotel staff to figure out where to get the best bite, or take a peek online.

Swing by Camden Market or Borough Market for some seriously good street food.

1. Head to the markets

If you’d rather set out straight away, head to some of the city’s fresh food markets for seasonal produce and meals whipped up curbside. Eating here guarantees your meal will be carefully prepared, made with fresh ingredients, and consistently tasty. At Camden Market, you’ll find specialty street food between £7-15 from all over the world.

Another crowd favorite is Borough Market, London’s oldest market for artisanal food and a cheap (£7-15) place for lunch or dinner. Many of the sellers have won Slow Food Awards and are committed to environmentally friendly practices. You’ll leave after lunch here with your conscience just as satisfied as your belly.  

Sit down to a delicious meal at a set price.

2. Enjoy a prix fixe plate

If you’d rather sit down and enjoy your meal, consider taking advantage of prix-fixe meals. Restaurants will often offer a fancy three-course meal and a drink for a reasonable price. Brag about eating lobster for lunch at Quilon or try what’s on the menu (which changes every day) at Ellory. Both are Michelin-starred restaurants and offer two courses for under £30. 

Experience London for under £120

We’re down £60, which leaves around £120 to spend on sightseeing and experiences. Don’t you worry — there’s plenty to see and do on that budget. From art galleries and cultural outings to walks around the city’s famous parks, we’ve got you covered. 

A stroll around Hyde Park is perfect for people-watching and soaking up the city’s best green space.

1. Walk it out

Get some fresh air like a true Londoner at Hyde Park. The largest and most famous of the city’s royal parks, the former hunting ground was first used (well, confiscated — from monks, no less) in 1536. Swing by the Speaker’s Corner to see where spontaneous protests, performances, and music shows that have made Hyde Park famous over the years tend to take place. After that, stop by Serpentine Lake to paddle-boat, swim, and see (but please don’t feed) the swans.

Leave the Muggle struggle behind on a Harry Potter tour through the city.

2. Learn facts (and relive fiction)

Next up: take a magical trip around Harry Potter’s London (with an equally magical price of just £20). See the city from the perspective of J.K. Rowling’s wizards and witches on a 2.5-hour tour. Or, head to the Tower of London to learn about London’s real-life dark and tangled history for £24.

Looking for pomp and circumstance? Stop by Buckingham Palace for the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony.

3. Head to the palace

Swing by Buckingham Palace just before 11 AM and pause for the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony. This royal occasion is the perfect preface to some window shopping at Oxford Street, Europe’s largest shopping district. Pro tip: look, don’t touch. The price tags attached to the wares on display can be astronomical. 

Nothing says a night out in London like catching one of the city’s classic musicals in the West End.

4. Get cultured

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the cultural side of London. Catching a musical is a classic night out option for when you’re in the city’s West End, and there’s sure to be a good one for about £60. There are also a number of free galleries and museums in the city — like the health-focused Wellcome Museum or the Saatchi Gallery. Or, you can peruse the extensive collection of paintings by legendary European artists like Botticelli, Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci at The National Gallery

Head to Westminster Abbey to admire the Gothic architecture and see where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said “I do.”

5. Visit Westminster Abbey

Head to Westminster Abbey (it’s open to the public most days and admission costs £20). Marvel at the Gothic architecture, make sure to catch a glimpse of the graffiti-covered coronation chair, and pause to read the inscriptions at Poet’s Corner.

And that’s a wrap! We’ve shown you where to snack on tasty market fare, experience Harry’s London, and see the city’s top sites — all for under £200. So what’re you waiting for? It’s time to pack those bags and head to London!

Plan your trip to London

Comments

comments