Cheap Things to do in London

London offers a wealth of discounts - it's knowing where to find them that's the problem. To help you get the most from your money, City Countdown have compiled a guide of the best bargains in the city. Peter Gray reports.

We know you don’t think the words “cheap” and “London” belong in the same sentence, but if you know where to look, you’ll be surprised at just how many amazing deals there are to be had.

Contrary to popular opinion, London can be a very reasonable place to shop, eat and explore. It’s finding the best deals that can prove difficult. Given the volume of shopping, eating and entertainment options in the capital, ensuring that you are getting the best value for your money can prove difficult.

Fortunately, that’s where City Countdown come in. We’ve scoured the city on your behalf (you’re welcome) and we’ve evaluated, scrutinized, compared and weighed up a tonne of different offers to compile our list of recommendations. So, without further ado, here’s City Countdown’s list of the Top 10 Cheap things to do in London. Enjoy.

1. Shakespeare’s Globe – £5 seats

Theatre tickets for £5? In London? At a world famous theatre? In London?!

We don’t actually know how they do it, but we applaud them all the same. The Globe offers 700 tickets at just £5 for every performance at the theatre. These tickets offer standing room only but nonetheless, its quite some deal.

To put it in perspective, – a Starbucks Latte can easily cost £4. So, for just one more pound, you could instead see some of the finest actors in the land performing the works of the Britain’s greatest playwright, in one of the most famous theatres in the world. Or you could finish your latte and read the Metro.

In our opinion, the £5 ticket makes Shakespeare’s Globe the bargain in the city.

More information about this deal can be found here.

2. London Walks

The Top 10 Bargains in London - London Walks

We know that there are lots of “free” tours out there. Most of them appear to be presented by spotty seventeen year olds on their first day in the city. The majority of them are not free, either. Look out for the phrases “a small donation” and “recommended amount” at the end of the tour.

However, with the London Walks tour company, you get exactly what you pay for. Fascinating tales from history. Priceless historical, geographic and topological insight and a great deal of humour and charm too.

The guides come from a variety of different fields and disciplines, and they are all experts in their respective areas. You can expect wit, jokes, funny voices, poems, songs and history aplenty. That you get all of this for £10 is in our mind the very definition of the word cheap.

More information about London Walks can be found here.

3. The Prince Charles Cinema

No list of the Top 10 Cheap Things to do in London would be complete without mentioning this central London institution.

London cinemas can be a tad expensive, right? Right? Well, wrong actually. Certainly not if you visit this little gem on the outskirts of Chinatown, anyway.

The Prince Charles Cinema is a bit of a West End legend. It has somehow managed to keep its prices dirt cheap as all around it other cinemas have raised theirs. How it does it is anyone’s guess.

How low, we hear you ask? Well, the cheapest standard price ticket is £8. This compares favourably to the price of a ticket at one of the cinemas around the corner in Leicester Square. Here, the cheapest ticket for a morning or afternoon show during the quiet mdlid week period is £13.15.

However, that’s not even the best bit. If you buy an annual membership card (just £10) that £8 ticket would cost you just £4. Exactly. We couldn’t believe it either.

More information about the Prince Charles Cinema can be found here.

4. The Sky Garden

The stunning view from the Sky Garden

We’re really not sure why this venue is free, but we are certainly glad it is. You will be too when you see it.

The Sky Garden is a totally breathtaking rooftop garden right slap bang in the middle of the City of London.

The garden sits on the 43rd floor of the very swanky Walkie Talkie skyscraper. The venue offers panoramic views over London and a stunningly green atrium. The floor-to-ceiling windows mean that you’ll feel like your floating on a cloud, while the open-air terrace will give you an opportunity to feel the wind in your hair.

More information about the Sky Garden can be found here.

5. Icon Outlet at the O2

This is not necessarily the cheapest shopping opportunity in London, but it is certainly one of the city’s best bargains. If you have a taste for the latest designer gear but don’t want to pay silly money for it – then this is the place to head.

Shops at the Icon Outlet offer up to 60% off high Street prices and with further discounts regularly available in individual stores, you can probably see why we we’re excited.

The centre opened late last year with 85 outlets. This summer will see the second phase of development with a second level expected to launch later in the summer.

More information about Icon Outlet at the o2 can be found here.

6. Free lunchtime classical concerts at St Martins in the Fields

St Martin in the Fields Church

Ok, we know, we know – the cheapest deal of all is a free one, so this offer won’t cost you a single penny.

It seems a bit unfair to single out any one particular venue, when so many London venues currently offer free live music, but when the venue is as beautiful and historic as St Martin in the Fields Church, we feel that we’d better make an exception.

The church is situated right in the heart of the city, in Charing Cross, a matter of feet away from Trafalgar’s Square.

The venue has been offering a programme of free classical concerts for many years and the concerts have proved enduringly popular. That stunning church hall with its incredible acoustics doesn’t hurt, off course.

More information about St Martin’s in the Field can be found here.

7. Off peak travel in London

It’s not for nothing that Time Out are calling Transport for London’s new off peak fares “The Wonderful World of Off Peak”. The discounts are extensive and significant, and they have opened up a whole world of opportunity’s for Londoners to discover parts of the city that they never knew existed. But don’t take our word for it. Go and check something out now.

More information about the Wonderful World of Off Peak can be found here.

8.The view (but not the View) from the Shard

The Top 10 Bargains in London - The Shard

OK, we’re going to have to be a bit sneaky with this one. The Shard is absolutely fantastic off course, and no trip to the capital should end without visiting it. However, a ticket for the View from The Shard will set you back £25 (ouch!) so what can you do? Well, there’s a simple (and legal) solution.  Take the lift up to the 32nd floor. There are a number of restaurants and bars there and each offers stunning panoramic views of London, for the price of a drink. Sorted (as they say in the TV show EastEnders.

More information about the Shard can be found here.

9. Angel Comedy Club

Quite possibly the best small comedy club in London and it’s completely free! In the last few months alone, the club has welcomed Simon Amstel, Eddie Izzard and James Acaster with more big names lined up for the rest of the year. The normal Roster is not half bad either with a consistent diet of top botch local comics and touring performers.

Angel do ask visitors to make a small donation as they leave the club. This goes towards the venue’s running costs. Honestly though, for the quality on offer, a few pounds feels like an absolute steal. You can give what you want too, which ensures that the price fits most budgets.

If we were cheap, we’d probably suggest that you exit immediately after your meanest friend, so that your donation would look all that much better when compared to theirs. We’re not cheap however, so just forget we mentioned it.

More information about Angel Comedy Club can be found here.

10. Bi Bim Bap Cafe

The where? For as long as we can remember, this has been one of the best kept secrets and cheapest eats in London. The food is amazing too and the portions are huge.

If you don’t know what bibimbap is then you’re in for a treat. It’s simple yet hearty Korean comfort food and be warned: once you’ve had it once you will crave it again and again.

More information about the Bi Bim Bap Cafe can be found here.

We know that London can be expensive but if you know where to dine, shop and unwind, then the city can be incredibly reasonable.

We hope that this list of the Top 10 cheap things to do in London will offer you some useful tips on how to make your money go further, but don’t worry, there’s plenty more where that came from. Enjoy London.


What: cheap London
When: whenever
Where: citywide
Website: No Record