Budget-friendly things to do this summer in London

Don't let your funds set you back from enjoying the sun. Make the most of London this summer with some of our top budget-friendly things to do in the city...

We understand the frustration of wanting to get out in the hot weather without breaking the bank. After an uncertain year, this might be our first taste of a somewhat enjoyable and normal summer. Whether you’re a foodie, looking to entertain the family, or wanting something new and fun to do, we have some ideas to keep you and your funds happy.

It can’t be denied that London is full of bright and beautiful outdoor spots. From royal gardens and parks to canals and lakes, there are plenty of exciting places to explore throughout the city… and the best part is that they’re usually free to visit.

Crystal Palace Park

Head down to Crystal Palace Park this summer and look out for South London’s very own dinosaurs. Why not grab an ice cream in the cafe, or take a picnic with you. The park offers all sorts of fun, examples include a maze and playpark, as well as multiple lakes and ponds. You can also see the remains of the famous Crystal Palace which burnt down in 1936. Only a short walk from Crystal Palace Station and Penge West Station. Multiple bus routes including numbers 227, 450 & 410. Free parking is available. (Free entry)

St James’s Park

This is the place to go if you fancy being a tourist for the day but want to avoid Central London in the heat. Located in Westminster, this park is surrounded by notable London Landmarks. Some of these include Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, the Birdcage Walk, and The Mall. Easily accessible from St. James’s Park, Charing Cross Station, Westminster, Green Park, and Victoria Tube stations. Alternatively, take the following busses and sightsee on the way: 12, 159 & 88. (Free entry)

Vauxhall City Farm

Just a short walk from Vauxhall Underground station, you will find Vauxhall City Farm, home to over 100 farm animals. This is also your chance to meet a group of famous alpacas, who featured in 2015’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ There’s no need to make a booking to visit the farm. It is within walking distance from Vauxhall tube, train, and bus stations. (Free entry) Learn more >>

Mayfield Lavender Farm

These lavender fields are located on the Surrey Downs and are only a short distance from Croydon and Purley. Take your camera with you and snap up the beauty and fragrance of the lavender while it blooms this summer. Take the 166 bus from West Croydon or Purley train station. (£4 entry, free for under 16s) Learn more >>

Elephant Park

Visit London’s newest park this summer. Elephant Park, located in Elephant and Castle, is the largest new green space that London has seen in 70 years. This 2-acre plot has cafes, play areas, and winding paths. A new addition to the park is Elephant Springs – water springs, fountains, streams, and natural rock formations. Perfect for everyone to cool down and enjoy during these hotter months. The park is a 7-minute walk from Elephant and Castle Station. (Free entry)

There are plenty of opportunities to experience new and different cultures this summer without having to fly abroad. London is a diverse and thriving city, there are chances to try new things almost everywhere you go. One of the easiest ways to get a taste for other cultures is to try out new cuisines, available in the various markets and hot spots dotted across the capital.

Little Korea (New Malden)

New Malden is home to a large community of Koreans and has been named ‘London’s Little Korea’ by the BBC. The small suburb is home to over 30 Korean restaurants and 100 Korean shops and businesses. This is the perfect place to get a taste of Korea without having to leave South London. The easiest route to New Malden is to jump on a train from Clapham Junction or Vauxhall to New Malden. The high street is a 2-minute walk from the station.

Greenwich Market & Park

It is impossible to go to Greenwich without spending the whole day there. The quaint town offers all sorts of interesting and quirky spots to take in and enjoy. Greenwich market, known for its arts and crafts, is home to over 40 tasty food stalls. Some of these stalls including Desi street food, rum cakes, oysters and so much more. Whilst you’re there, take a stroll around Greenwich Park and enjoy views of the Thames from the lookout point. You could also visit the famous Cutty Sark, and hop on an Uber boat for a ride down the river. Greenwich market is accessible by bus, DLR, underground, or riverboat.

Spitalfields Market

If you love food and live sports then Spitalfields Market is the place to be this summer. The market is a trading spot for many street food trucks and restaurants. They offer tasty treats and hearty meals 7 days a week. This summer the market is also home to The Spitalfields Market Maxi Screen. This is a big screen showing all the best live sports events. The market is a 5-minute walk from Liverpool Street Station and is accessible by multiple busses coming from London Bridge or East London. (Free entry) Click here for dates of the sports screenings >>

Black Owned Hackney Market

Bohemia Place Market is host to this summer’s Black Owned Market. This is a day event dedicated to celebrating black-owned eats, traders, and businesses. Food stalls offer vegan and vegetarian food, and dishes from different cultures and backgrounds. This is a fun and tasty day out. The number 38 bus towards Lower Clapton will drop you a 3-minute walk away from the market. (Free entry) Learn more >>

It is safe to say that there is never a boring day in London, as the city has all sorts of art, culture, and history to discover. Enjoying the arts does not have to be expensive and luckily London has many free and cheap options this summer.

London’s Street Art

Banksy’s hidden identity has made his work all the more mysterious and intriguing. Although many of his artworks have been removed there are still a few dotted across the city. Why not spend a day bus hopping or ‘Boris Biking’, and stop along the way to see his remaining artwork. Locations include London Bridge, Shoreditch, Camden, and many other central London hot spots.

Theatre Peckham

Theatre Peckham is opening its doors this summer and has some great events and performances showcasing the best of the local community. Say goodbye to virtual events, and see what Theatre Peckham has to offer. A 15-minute walk from Peckham Rye station and Denmark Hill station. Alternatively, you can travel by bus including the numbers 12, 36, 171, 345 & 436. Learn more >>

The Scoop

Part of the London Bridge City Summer By The River Festival is The Scoop, located on the southern bank of the Thames. This sunken amphitheater will be host to live events such as sports screenings, music performances, theatre, and films. Taking place from June – September this year. Located between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, The Scoop is easily accessible by bus or a short walk from London Bridge station. (Free entry) Learn more >>

Rotherhithe Festival

The COVID 19 pandemic saw a stop to festivals and live music events, but this year they are making a comeback. Rotherhithe Festival will take place on the 7th of August and is dedicated to showing appreciation for all NHS staff across the country. See live music performances, go on the fair rides and soak up the sun. This is the perfect day out for the whole family. The entrance to the festival will be on Moodkee Street. Canada Water DLR is the closest station, alternatively, the P12 bus drops you 1 minute away. (Free entry) Learn more >>

Please take a look at individual websites for booking information, more details, and key dates.

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