Cheap things to do in London this weekend from West End theatre ticket deals and tours to free museums

London is notorious for its lavish lifestyle, with Knightsbridge hangouts, Chelsea afternoon teas and Selfridges shopping sprees – but if you’re after a memorable day out in the capital, you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Whether you’re heading to the city with the kids, catching up with friends and family, or just looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of cheap eats, free attractions and discounted tickets to take advantage of – when you look in the right places.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve rounded up some brilliant days out that won’t break the bank, whether you’re looking to do some sightseeing or try a quirky new experience.

If you’re not London-based, we’ve also found the best-value London hotels and train ticket deals to help you plan your stay in 2018.

For more inspiration, see our UK days out guide and our tips on how to save on an afternoon tea day out.

What’s in our guide:

  • Cheap tickets for major attractions
  • The best cheap eats and foodie experiences
  • The coolest things to see and do in the city

CHEAP TICKETS FOR MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

1. Invest in a London Big Ticket

If you’re planning to check out the capital’s biggest sights, then you could stand to save up to £63 with this exciting offer!

The London Big Ticket means that people can visit two attractions for £36 per adult, and five for £55! There are a number of options, and you can visit the attractions at a time that suits you, with a 90-day period to cash in the ticket.

Simply combine booking two or more of these unmissable attractions and you could save up to £53.50; Coca-Cola London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, The London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London, DreamWorks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure! London, London Eye River Cruise and Big Bus tours.

Click here to buy yours and for more information .

2. Go to London Dungeon and Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussards is always a laugh

Book your tickets to the London Dungeon online in advance (14 or more days before visit), and save up to 40% on the entry fee . Advanced web tickets guarantee you entry, plus you’ll save a few quid.

Online tickets for the London Dungeons start from £24.50 for adults and £20.65 for children aged 4-15 years-old. Kids under four go free.

Get up close and pose for a photo with over 300 incredibly life-like celebrity waxworks, from the Duchess of Cambridge to One Direction.

3. Save 15% off a ride on the London Eye

Skyline - London eye, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
The famous London skyline

One of the capital’s iconic attractions, the London Eye boasts spectacular views of the city unlike any other.

Look out for landmarks including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as well as the many impressive buildings and monuments along the River Thames.

If you book your tickets online ahead of the day you visit, you can get a 15% discount whether you’re after a standard entry ticket or a flexi one.

4. Save 10% off London Zoo entry

Squirrel monkeys play along ropes in the walk-in enclosure at London Zoo July 14, 2006
Kids (and adults!) love the zoo

Book your tickets to London Zoo on the official website here , and you can save up to 10% on the admission fee.

Adult tickets are £27.04 online without a donation and child tickets are £20 each.

5. Go to a free museum

A visitor to the Pop Art Portraits exhibition at National Portrait Gallery looks at Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) 1967
London’s array of free museums make hours of fun

The capital is renowned for its impressive array of museums – and when tourists voted for their top 10 UK museums , London took 6 of the top spots.

Those looking to get their cultural fix this season can take advantage of free entry to some of London’s best-loved museums, from the iconic V&A to the Natural History Museum.

If you’re playing tourist and want to visit some galleries in the capital, here are 10 of the best free museums .

6. Visit The Shard from £26

See the city from the most prominent point in the skyline

Situated at the top of Western Europe’s tallest building, The View from The Shard is a premium visitor attraction with spectacular panoramic views of the city stretching up to 40 miles.

If you want to visit Europe’s tallest building, tickets cost £21.50 per person on the day, or £15.95 if you book them online in advance from the official website here.

Or get a family ticket (two adults, two children) for £79.95 when booked in advance.

7. Get West End theatre tickets from £15

Get cheap tickets to a London show

If you’re planning a trip to London and want to treat the kids to a musical on a budget, there’s plenty of deals on at an array of reputable retailers. Here’s the top places to find cheap London theatre deals:

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London Trips

CHEAP EATS AND FOODIE EXPERIENCES

1. Find cheap eats in Carnaby Street

Shopping
Head to Carnaby for good food at a good price

London may be known for its extortionate food and drink prices, but there are ways to eat for less in the capital.

Carnaby Street is a popular hot spot for tourists and Londoners alike – from vintage cafes that won’t break to the bank, to street markets, they’ve got it covered. Get a gourmet kebab at Le Bab or head to Flat Iron for a £10 steak (although you can’t book, so try catch a time when its not so busy). Mother Mash also serves you up a hearty meal for less than £10 a head.

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More for foodies

SIGHTSEEING ON A BUDGET

1. Hop on a London City bus tour for £14.25

Westminister bridge
It’s cheaper than you think to travel in style around the city all day.

Hop aboard one of London’s famous fleet of red double decker buses, visiting iconic locations including Westminster Bridge, Trafalgar Square and the West End loop.

There are 30 different locations to get on and off from, meaning you can hit all the hot spots in one fell swoop, travelling in true British style.

Buy them in advance online and you’ll save £3 on adult tickets £29.00, and £1.50 on kids tickets making them £13.50. They’re valid for 24 hours, so if you’re clever you can technically use them for two days.

2. Take a cruise along the Thames

Take a friend or loved one aboard a Red Rover City Cruise hop-on hop-off boat and enjoy the sights of London together, from the world-famous River Thames.

Make your way through the heart of the city and discover the history around every bend. Your cruise will capture all of London’s best-loved landmarks as it passes by the grand St Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye plus many other historic and famous sites.

You’ll get to enjoy unlimited travel all day, hopping on and off as you please. With open air decks and panoramic windows allowing unlimited photographic opportunities, you are sure to have a great day out in the capital.

Tickets cost £18.50 for two when booked through Virgin Experience Days – half price compared to on the door.

Read More

Cheap rail and coach travel tips

COOL THINGS TO SEE AND DO

1. See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the cursed child in London
See Harry Potter in the flesh at the London show

It’s the theatre show of the decade, and hundreds of fans are still eagerly awaiting their chance to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the London’s Palace Theatre.

The play, written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, is set 19 years after the seventh and final book in the series by JK Rowling and has been hailed a triumph by fans who have been lucky enough to see it .

The play presented in two Parts, which are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

You can purchase tickets on the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child webpage, or on ATG theatre’s page , as both are official ticketing partners.

2. Hire a boat in Finsbury Park for £4

Surrounded by scenic trees, Finsbury Park is a great place to take a picnic for a leisurely day out, with a boating lake well-known for its beautiful duck-speckled waters.

Groupon and Wowcher often feature deals for the boat hire, with prices around 50% off, starting at £4.

If you turn up on the day, half an hour on the boat will set you back £8, and up to four people can clamber aboard.

3. Take the Jack the Ripper tour for £5

Police discovering one of Jack the Ripper's victims
Bring the famous crime back to life

Wander along the same East London cobbled streets that Jack the Ripper roamed back in 1888, as your tour guide regales you with the spooky tales about London’s most notorious serial killer.

The 90 minute long tour costs just £5 on Groupon (or £10 if you buy it on the door) and will take you through all the locations where the bodies were discovered, while seeing images of the murder victims and theories about one of the biggest crime mysteries of all time.

4. Take a trip to the London Bridge Experience

London Bridge Tours are a top attraction

Visitors who like their history with a few thrills and spills can pay a visit to The London Bridge Experience and Tombs this half term.

Heading into the vaults of the original London Bridge, curious types will be able to see the changes from the Roman era and Vikings, through to Victorian times, finishing up at present day, by way of battles, executions, trade, The Great Fire of London and the infamous Jack the Ripper killings.

The 2,000-year-old experience features recreations of the ancient wooden, stone and medieval versions of the world-famous bridge, complete with live characters in full costume to guide visitors on their way.

The cheapest tickets we could find to the London Bridge Experience and Tombs is £14 for adults and £11 for children on picnic tickets – 52% cheaper than on the door.

If you’re planning on doing a jam-packed tour of London, you can pick up a London Pass , which means you pay for all of your trips all in one go as part of a multi-buy package. You can also get travel included in it too.

5. Kidzania family experience package from £48.50


There’s nothing quite like KidZania, a 75,000² ft child-sized city complete with real paved streets, cars and buildings that lets them act like a grown-up for the day.

Kids can role-play working in a police station, hospital, aviation academy, theatre and university, earning KidZos along the way (the little world currency). And while the kids play the adults can shop away, with the package entitling you discounts across lots of Westfield retailers.

If you book via Buyagift, entry for one adult and one child will cost you £34 – that’s 30% cheaper than direct from the KidZania site.

You can add an extra child here for an additional £22.

6. Check out London’s famous nightlife


New York may be the city that never sleeps, but London is definitely giving it a good run for its money.

The city is jam-packed with exciting eateries, bars and restaurants offering everything from traditional British classics to international cuisine – and it’s also home to some seriously brilliant dessert places too .

However, it’s the cocktail scene where the city really comes into its own.

For example, come rain or shine the rooftop bars in London always offer incredible views of the skyline, or head inside to one of the capital’s brilliant gin bars where you’ll find decadent cocktails and mouthwatering G&Ts.

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