I’m a big fan of London town. It’s somewhere I’ve called home for the past six years and for me, it ticks almost every box. So naturally I won’t have nobody talk shit about my baby.
I get that London isn’t exactly the most purse-friendly city in the world. I mean for starters it has the audacity to charge £8 for a grilled cheese sarnie and my jaw always hits the floor if I ever get change back from a £20 for three drinks or less.
But London doesn’t have to be all stick it on your credit card, dive into that overdraft and take out a bank loan just to enjoy yourself. There are loads of fun things to do that don’t cost a pretty penny.
So I thought I’d share my ideas for the funnest things to in Londres that won’t have you weeping into an empty purse.
You. Are. Welcome.
Drinks are on you then yeah?
What’s the saying?
The best things in life are free.
Well as an absolute sunrise / sunset obsessive, I can tell you: they sure are. And kicking off my list of cheap things to do in London is The Sky Garden which is totally an utterly, 100% percent, not even lying, cross my heart hope to die, FREE to visit.
*sound the alarm*
And it’s not even a little bit shit either.
As soon as I saw The Sky Garden’s airport-esque windows and far-reaching views of London town over on Instagram I knew I HAD to visit.
And visit I did, albeit two years after it’s official opening. So on the mutherfuckin’ pulse aren’t I?
The catalyst to my eventual visit was the return of my BFF, older sister and all round glittery partner in crime. She was finally back in London after a month living it up in Thailand and she & I needed to be reunited in serious style.
So I booked a day off work, got us a table for two at the Brekkie Club for errrr, breakfast (obviously) and then booked us in for a visit to The Sky Garden. (Oh yeah you can’t just show up at The Sky Garden, you need to book a time-slot over on the website).
I booked us in for a visit on Friday at 11.30am and actually, even though I was two years late, my timing could’t have been better – for one it wasn’t very busy (which is basically the biggest ruiner for everything fun and cheap in London) and for another the weather was damn near perfect.
Think a cold, crisp January morning with bright blue skies and a bucket load of (winter) sunshine. There was literally not a cloud in the freakin’ sky and that meant that the views up there on the 35th floor were all the more breathtaking.
Of course, a classic Harry error meant that I’d accidentally deleted the email with our booking confirmation on (and emptied out my email trash too so I couldn’t even recover it) but it didn’t matter as all we needed to get in was give our names and present our ID (do not forget your ID you won’t get in!!!)
Once we were through the airport style security we took the lift 155metres up and emerged in the impressive Sky Pod Bar.
And it was so beauuuuuutiful.
We spent a good 45minutes walking around the building taking pictures at every step. The 360 window effort means that you can see everything from Canary Wharf to Tower Bridge, The Shard, The London Eye, St Paul’s, The Wembley Arch (in the far distance, if you squint a bit) and the Gherkin and all for the pretty price of NOTHING.
Of course if you do have a few pennies to spare you could enjoy breakfast, lunch and / or dinner in either the Fenchurch Restaurant, The Darwin Brasserie or the Sky Pod Bar.
Expensive London 0
You can make a booking HERE.
Play Crazy Golf at Plonk
Alright, so like table tennis before it, mini-golf is the next wanky hipster thing to do in London BUT it’s also cheap and a lotta fun too.
Especially if you’re a bit shit at it…like me.
I mean there’s nothing more hilarious than wildly swinging your club through the air and watching your golf ball shoot off in totally the wrong direction, smashing off people’s heads and parts of the course before dropping into the fake pond on hole 16. Is there?
And if you agree then you need to pull on your golf socks and book in for a round of Crazy Golf at Plonk Golf.
And the guys at Plonk definitely put the KERRRAZY in Crazy Golf. Lol. What a nuttaa, I’m mad me! MENTAL. (don’t you hate people who say that?)
…With it’s reclaimed, higgildy piggildy courses and UV paint (yah the clubs and the course glow in the muddafuckin’ dark bitches!) there’s no hipster pretentiousness and just lots of silliness. And who doesn’t like to be silly eh?
And even better news it’s less than a tenner for a game. Yup, for a mere £7.50 you can book in for a game of golf and channel your inner Tiger Woods (only a bit less cheating on your wife) at Plonk.
Less than a tenner? Get in there my son.
Pedalo in Victoria Park
I always thought getting a pedalo on a lake was a shit idea. Boring and just lots of hard work. Nah, not for me mate.
That was until I took a stroll through Victoria park with my sister one summer afternoon (we hang out a lot, I dunno if you’ve noticed?) and she twisted my arm and got me climbing aboard to go for a pedal.
And it sure was an experience.
There were swans to dodge, trees and bushes to deal with and getting a handle on the steering was erm, challenging to say the least.
It was hilarious. We laughed the whole time. We laughed as I attempted to hard-right the pedalo away from the angry looking Swan. We laughed as we went in circles for the first 10 minutes because the steering was so shit. We laughed as we crashed into an overhanging bush. We laughed when we nearly got drenched by the fountain. We laughed at the thought of a man going overboard.
OH HOW WE LAUGHED.
It was just so much fun and all for the bargain price of ten English pounds.
Plus Victoria Park is pretty, purrdy with the aforementioned fountain and an ornate Chinese Pagoda.
Of course there are other lakes in London you can pedalo your way around – The Serpentine being one – but I just think Victoria Park is a the best (east, east, east london!) as it’s also a little rough around the edges.
And after you’ve worked up an appetite swerving past the swans you can enjoy a delicious chicken mayonnaise & crispy bacon bagel from THE best bagel shop in London, Bagels on the Park. (seriously dey so guuud)
Gods Own Junkyard
All the way at the end of the Victoria line in the delightful postcode of E17 you’ll find the once dodgy and now delightful Walthamstow (ok so maybe still a lil bit dodge in some parts). An area made famous by 4 boys who sang the 2nd greatest Christmas no. 1 of all time – c’mon no-one can top Mariah!
And a short walk from Walthamstow station you can find the late Chris Bracey’s neon gallery of lights – God’s Own Junkyard.
I visited with friends towards the end of last year and our jaws dropped to floor in awe when we walked into the warehouse. Every nook & cranny is bursting with bulbs, it is quite the sight…there’s even a neon Jesus (oh haaaail Mary!) and the BIGGEST disco ball you ever did see…as you can imagine, I was like a moth to the flame.
And to top it all off once again this is totally free to visit. Winner.
Of course you’ll have to make sure you up your tube travel card to include zone three (oh the horror!!!) but it will be well worth the extra dough.
Really can’t be arsed to make the journey up to North East Landan? GOJY often do pop-up exhibitions at Lights of Soho, in errrr, you guessed it Soho!
‘House Shopping’ Around Hampstead Heath
There’s nuthin’ like a good old stroll is there?
And as well as a nice stroll, there’s also nothing like a game of ‘I want to live in that house’.
So why not combine the two and take a stroll around Hampstead Heath picking out which mahooosive house you’d live in if you were a gazillionaire.
Take the tube to East Finchley & start by walking up the one and only Bishop’s Avenue aka millionaires row. The houses here are RIDONC. And although it’s mildly depressing knowing it’s some rich Arab or Russian Oligarch that doesn’t even live in the gaff, who owns it rather than you (no YOU’ll never own a house!), it’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Then you can head on over to Kenwood House because, well it’s there, so why not? And then alllll the way down to Parliament Hill so you can admire London in all her manic, expensive beauty.
Of course house ‘window’ shopping is totally free and so is strolling – purse strings rejoice!
So maybe, when you’re done with all the walking and imaginary house buying, you can spare a bit of coin and treat yourself to one of the famous crepes from La Crêperie on Hampstead High Street because pancakes are never a bad idea.
And that, my little babaganoushes – are my ideas for cheap things to in London when you lol, accidentally spent all your moooolar on Pret sarnies and late night ASOS orders.
Do you have any ideas for how to keep costs down & still have all the funsies? Don’t be shy…share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!