London has been my home city for more than 11 years. Finally, this summer has become my last living in this big smoke and there’s still so much I haven’t done! Without many pennies in my pocket, this is my bucket list to do before I leave at the end of September, (which may hopefully give you some ideas if you’re visiting the city too!)
London is an expensive place and as I’m saving for the next step in life (more on that to come another day!), my bucket list has gone back to what I do best – budget travel… but this time in my own city! Visiting London doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think. I’ve sought out some of the top things to do either for free or for very little cash, avoiding the busy tourist trail as much as possible. Here are my top 20 along with lots of handy links for anyone who’s thinking of visiting in the near future!
1. Eat Latin American Street food, Brixton
I’ve been delighted to discover the Latin influence in Brixton – especially with the food! Not only can I wander and listen to the sounds of Spanish tickling my ears, but I can also eat authentic versions of the foods I tried when I was travelling. Lots of stalls selling affordable almuerzos!
2. See pelicans in the park
There are pelicans living in St. James’ Park?! I paid them a visit on a sunny day along with a homemade picnic. If you’re visiting London, a day spent in the royal parks is a great wander.
3. Free theatre!
I never knew before now that it;s possible to see a show for free in London. The Scoop is a 1000 person sunken amphitheatre with open air shows that you can just turn up to and watch for free! There is a musical at the end of the summer I’m going to check out.
4. Free music
Talking of free live stuff – a little research has unveiled a wealth of free live music. The top on my list to seek out are:
- The Junction, in between Brixton and Camberwell (My local, so I’m a little biased, but this friendly bar does live jazz every day of the week!)
- Free Lunchtime concerts at St Martin in the Fields
- The Forge, Camden (Free Cuban Jam! And lots of other cheap live music too)
5. Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park
When I am abroad, I love checking out the nature within the cities and this is now a focus of my bucket list in London. There is a Japanese garden in Holland park. I’m going!
6. Free Lectures
London is brimming with knowledge and there are a number of places giving it away for free (or very little!). This list gives all the venues with free lectures, Gresham College and LSE are two of the biggest. The China Exchange looks like it gets a fascinating line up of people to talk for less than a tenner too, including top actors, business people and artists.
7. Rooftop Drinks
This has become a favourite thing of mine to seek out since I visited the rooftop bars of Saigon, Vietnam. Peckham, London has been highly recommended to me as a place with several rooftop options. It’s a new area for me me to explore too.
8. Outdoor Cinema
I loved the outdoor cinema in Perth, Australia, but I’ve never been in London. They aren’t free, but it doesn’t cost much to watch an old movie under the stars. Top of my list to try are Somerset House, and the Luna Cinema at Dulwich Park.
9. Wander the best London Markets
Exploring markets while travelling can be one of the best ways to quickly get to the heart of a place, side by side with local life and offering great opportunities to try the local food. I want to experience this in London too. Top of my list to visit are Borough Market, Alfie’s Antique Market, and I just can’t leave without seeing the colours of Colombia Road flower market.
11. Walking Tour of London
I was sceptical that I’d like walking tours originally, but the free one in Medellin, Colombia absolutely blew me away. Since, I have often used them at the start of a trip as a way to quickly find my bearings around a new city, while learning some key stuff about the history and local culture of a place. My London bucket list now includes the Street Art free walking tour and I’m tempted with a cheesy Jack the Ripper tour too!
12. Sky Garden
This is billed as London’s highest public garden and apparently has views all over the city. It’s free! You have to book in advance and it is popular so could be tricky to get in, but sounds like it is well worth that time spent online!
13. The Photographer’s Gallery
There is a sign on Oxford Street for the Photographer’s Gallery, which I’ve walked past many times. As I love photography, when I see the sign I always think I must go there sometime, but I’m still yet to go! It’s free entry before midday and a key entry on the bucket list.
14. Watch old movies
The BFI on the Southbank has an archive of over 2000 old movies available to watch for free in their Mediatheque. Archive film and home movies, documentaries, television to name a few.It sounds like an archive version of YouTube in the comfort of a booth! Instead of moping around on one of the inevitable rainy summer days in London, you will find me here.
15. Take photos of Deer in Richmond Park
Richmond park has about 630 deer living in the grounds. It’s a big place, so they can be tricky to find! But I’d love to try and take some pictures before I leave.
16. Walk with dinosaurs, Crystal Palace Park
I’m still a child at heart so I will love spending the day playing Jurassic Park in Crystal Palace!
17. Sunset on Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill has arguably the best view over London. It is a great place to take a bottle, sit and watch the city go to sleep as the sun says goodbye to another day here.
18. Tate Modern
So many times I have just walked past on a wander down the Southbank. We’re so lucky to have it, I want to make the most of having it on my doorstep. It’s free art!
19. Science Museum
At the request of my better half, I simply must visit this childhood favourite before I go. Free entry!
I read about this little bit of calm in the heart of the busy city when I first came here, but still haven’t visited. It contains memorials of those who have died performing heroic acts. Sounds like a great place to sit, reflect and maybe eat my lunch one day.
So, my last month is going to be a busy one!! However, I’m always open to more ideas…
Is there anything I’ve missed? What do you think I should be doing with my last summer as a Londoner?
This post is proud to be part of the Wanderful Wednesday Link-up!