Top 5 budget-friendly things to do in London this weekend

We all know London is a very expensive city, especially on a student budget. But fear not! There is plenty do without having to break the bank. Here are my top 5 things to do on a budget this weekend.

1. Food Markets

Everyone loves eating out on a weekend, but sometimes sitting down for a full course meal can be too expensive. Luckily, London has a world-class street food scene with great value meals to be had. My personal favourites would be Southbank Market and Borough Market, both within walking distance from Westminster Bridge.

Southbank market

Hidden away behind Royal Festival Hall and the crows along the riverbank lies Southbank market – my favourite in London. Whether you are in search of authentic Pad Thai, a succulent organic burger, or even just some craft beers – this food market has it all. Most importantly, a meal and side would usually cost you under £10.

Borough market

London’s most famous and oldest food market deserves a place on this list. Unlike Southbank market, it offers a plethora of fresh ingredients such as meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. There are countless stalls selling bread, cheeses, charcuterie, oils, spices, and every other food item you can think of. Borough Market in itself is more of an experience wherein you can get lost amongst all the amazing food. Again, this won’t put a strain on your wallet – you can have a meal and a dessert for under £10.

Paella from Borough Market  Paella from Borough Market

2. Museums

We’re students after all. There is no better way of immersing yourself into what London has to offer than by checking out one of the many free museums located in the city. My personal recommendations are:

The British Museum

One of the world’s oldest museums and home of the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, and ancient Egyptian mummies.

Museum of London

Want to learn more about the city you’re living in? This is the place to go, offering an insight into city from prehistoric times till today. Make sure to check out what special exhibitions are on on the website.

Natural History Museum

Home to over 80 million specimens from life and earth, including dinosaurs and the Darwin Centre – containing specimens kept by the great man himself.

3. Explore Brick Lane…

Whether you are looking for a cosy cafe, an unlimited selection of vintage clothing markets, exclusive sample sales, or even street food – Brick Lane has it all.

Brick Lane is probably known for its giant selection of curry restaurants – but the landscape is changing. There is a growing amount of healthy food cafes, artisan bakeries, and chocolatiers. On Sundays, there are endless amounts of street food stalls where you can grab a cheap but tasty meal. For dessert, make sure to check out Cereal Killer Cafe – and just before you go home, grab a dozen bagels for less than £3 from the most famous bakery in London, Beigel Bake.

Aside from the food, there is a fantastic and growing fashion scene. From independent designers to sample sales by the biggest brands (I’ve shopped at the Allsaints, Alexander McQueen, Reiss, and Bjorn Borg sales among others), this is London’s top place for a fashion bargain. If you’re feeling inspired, check out one of the many vintage clothing stores and markets in the area – great for a designer bargain.

Chocolatier  Chocolatier Buskers along the streets of Brick Lane  Buskers along the streets of Brick Lane Cereal Killer Cafe  Cereal Killer Cafe Hot chocolate from Cereal Killer Cafe Hot chocolate from Cereal Killer Cafe

4. …And then check out Columbia Road Flower Market

Just a few moments from Brick Lane, lies the most famous flower market in London. It is on a narrow, bustling street with countless vendors selling every type of plant and flower you can think of – at reasonable prices.  It is only open on Sundays, so make sure to get there before 10:30am to avoid all of the crowds.

Once you have picked up your fresh flowers or just finished roaming around, make sure to have a coffee at one of the many cafes on the street.

5. Roam the streets of Notting Hill

Notting Hill is home to the most colourful houses in London, and is mostly known by the famous British movie by the same name. What I enjoy most about Notting Hill is walking down all the streets to discover beautiful houses and small independent cafes to sit and have a coffee.

Within the Notting Hill lies Portobello road, which is most famous for its antique market stalls, second hand shops, and small boutiques. Be sure to go here on a Saturday – as there will be endless stalls of food vendors, and the antique arcade will be open.