London is renowned for being a city bursting with activity and opportunities. Equally, it is also notorious for being rather pricey. If, like me, you have the summer holiday stretching long ahead and the UK’s capital at your fingertips, here are a few suggestions for fun days out without breaking the bank.
1. Visit some incredible museums If you’ve ever been to an Imperial open day you may have heard the phrase ‘you have some of the best museums right on your doorstep’ used as a selling point. It’s true- stacked along Exhibition Road besides Imperial’s South Kensington campus are several world-famous museums. I remember being in awe of this fact when I too visited Imperial as a prospective student. However, rather shamefully, I had never paid these museums a visit during my first two years at university. I largely put this down to my complacency at knowing these museums were ‘right on my doorstep’ and I could go whenever I pleased- something which the COVID-19 pandemic well and truly wiped away. Therefore, this summer I promised to right this wrong and, true to my word, I did. I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and Science Museum all in one day. They certainly lived up to their reputation and I truly lost track of time as I ambled through their exhibits. All three of these museums are absolutely free to visit (you can book a free ticket online) and are guaranteed to contain something to fascinate anyone.
2. Stroll through the infamous markets Over the past few weeks I have ticked Borough, Portobello Road and Old Spitalfields markets off my list of must see-markets. Each of them has a unique atmosphere and boast a different selection of treasures. Whilst markets can be expensive to shop at, you don’t need to spend any money to have a great time. I personally like nothing better than simply admiring the beautiful handmade clothes and jewellery or chatting to a stall owner about the history behind their business. However, I do have one piece of advice for keeping your bank balance intact. Make sure you visit with a full stomach. The air at these markets is laced with the aroma of fantastic food so a big meal beforehand may at least go some way in curbing your temptation!
3. Explore the Royal parks One of my favourite simple pleasures in life is reading a good book whilst lazing on freshly mowed grass under the sun. What better place to do it than in one of London’s beautiful parks. These parks are also much more than simply green space. Kyoto garden in Holland Park is a traditional Japanese garden and is a designated area for contemplation and tranquillity. You can get lost in the fragrance of Hyde park’s Rose Garden. Or admire the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. Even just being surrounded by nature is a welcome change to London’s typical built environment and is a sure shot way to boost my mood.
This list is by no means exhaustive (and I’d be delighted to hear any more ideas) but I hope these suggestions go at least some way in showing that a day out in London need not cost a pretty penny!