Apparently January is the month when people are most down, and feeling the post-Christmas slump. Having a January birthday, though, I am lucky enough to drag out the festive spirit just a little longer – and then I’m on a downer in Feb! So, this month, I decided that I would cut the corners everywhere else too – meaning that by March, I’ll be over my mood – and maybe a little more healthy and with a few more pennies in my pocket!

But, just because we’re being cheap – it doesn’t mean we can’t get out, have some fun and explore the mighty city! So, I’ve been out and about to research what you can do in and around London on the cheap – here are my findings! Happy February!

  1. Wander Hyde Park – Grab a Boris Bike to explore a little wider, have a go on the boats or even just grab a hot chocolate and explore it on foot.
  2. The Wellcome Collection – Drop into the gallery up at Euston to explore the main gallery and the current exhibitions, ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple’ and ‘States of Mind’ for free!
  3. Tate Modern – Explore the gallery for free – but if you fancy one of the exhibitions, it will cost you a little more.
  4. Wander the Thames –  Start at Embankment, walk past the Southbank, along the river, past the Globe, the Tate, down the winding streets and cobbles, past Southwark Cathedral and on towards the Tower of London. It can take a good chunk of time and there’s some really quaint and interesting stuff to see (look out for the pirate ships at St Katherine Docks!)
  5. RIBA – Drop into the Architects’ HQ for RIBA’s latest exhibition, about making ‘Creation from Catastrophe’ – find out more in my earlier blog.
  6. Get to the cinema – There’s some great films out this month. I recommend Spotlight, Trumbo and Zoolander 2! Check out the local, community cinemas nearby for cheap ‘£4’ ticket nights or use your 2 for 1 vouchers from Compare the Market two nights a week. Going to the cinema doesn’t have to be expensive!
  7. Chinese New Year – Celebrate the start of the ‘Year of the Monkey’ with a plethora of events around the city, including the parade in Chinatown on the 14th Feb!
  8. The Shard – You don’t have to pay a fortune and plan in advance to go up the Shard. Just turn up (don’t wear trainers though!) and you can go up to the bar, halfway up, for amazing views over the city and a beer!
  9. Take a walking tour – Some are free, some charge a little, but they all involve you getting out and about, discovering a new place, meeting new people and learning something interesting. Check out some here.
  10. Visit Alice in Wonderland – At the British Library free exhibition! Any book buffs, this is nothing like any library you’ve been to before and is definitely worth exploring…
  11. Great Spitalfields Pancake Race – Join in with the fun festivities, and grab yourself a sugary snack at the Old Truman Brewery.
  12. Sky Garden – Delicious cocktails, no crowds, an amazing view and live music in the evening – make sure you book to get into the Sky Garden but don’t worry about emptying your purse… it’s free! I recommend going at sunset for the best view!
  13. Magical Lantern Festival – If you’re not quite over how epic Lumiere was (see my highlights here), this is your next treat! From 3 Feb – 6 March you can get in the mood for Chinese New Year at the lantern festival!
  14. Portobello Market – Get the tube to Notting Hill and wander up through the market for a jolly, ‘proper London’ experience! Look out for the plaque at the bookshop they used in the film ‘Notting Hill’ and grab some lunch from one of the many street food stalls.
  15. V&A – You may have to pay for the exhibitions but the main space is free entry!
  16. Wallace Collection – Set in a gorgeous London townhouse, visit the galleries and take a trip into London’s past.
  17. People watch in Covent Garden – Grab a coffee, laugh at the street performers and people watch in the iconic Covent Garden.
  18. Wander around Harrods – Take a wander around the most well-known store in London, from the food store, to the toy shop, to the Egyptian style lifts! I’m disappointed the pet shop doesn’t exist anymore, but you can’t have it all!
  19. Greenwich Park  – Take a wander up the park to the top to take in an amazing view over the city…
  20. Go on the Emirates Skyline – You can use your Oyster Card for the trip, which gives a fun, ski-lift-esque trip over the Thames…
  21. Try a fish finger wrap at Leon – It’s the simple things but it tastes like heaven!
  22. Find a local pub quiz – Fill your evenings with more than Netflix (no judgement, that’s a good night too!) by getting your pals together and joining the local pub quiz. Expand your knowledge, catch up with pals and maybe win a bar tab – and all for the cost of one G&T!
  23. Take on Hampstead Heath – It’s a steep walk up, but the views are rewarding – Central London in front of you and Highgate to the left, it’s breathtaking.
  24. The LSE Literary Festival – If you love a good book like me, get your geek on with other hardback lovers at the Literary Festival.
  25. St Patrick’s Day parties – They’re all over the city so get out your leprechaun hat and prepare for a big hangover!
  26. Free comedy – Search for Edinburgh Fringe warm-ups in pubs around the city and you could grab yourself your night of comedy for the price of a coke!
  27. Go and see Chandler do theatre – Because it’s only just opened, you can see Matthew Perry in ‘The End of Longing‘ for £19.50 – most definitely worth it!
  28. Animals and pottery – Visit Stepney City Farm to meet some adorable small animals or take part in a pottery class – it’s nice to do something a bit different!
  29. Feed the ducks – In Kensington Gardens.
  30. Mudchute Farm – Feed carrots to the animals at this large farm with Canary Wharf as a backdrop! Take your own carrots as otherwise you’ll end up walking half an hour to find a supermarket (like us!)
  31. Watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace – You have to do the tourist stuff at least once and this is a right of passage for visitors or residents of London!
  32. Tower of London – If you’re an East London resident, you can go into the Tower of London for £1! Visit the ‘Idea Store’ to get your library card to visit for the reduced price.
  33. The Orbit – Again, if you live in the vicinity, you can go up The Orbit at a reduced rate. Either way, it offers a great view from a different angle, of London.
  34. Visit the Kyoto Japanese Gardens – At Holland Park. For something a little different, try this beautiful garden.
  35. Columbia Road Flower Market – Fancy a different kind of market? Grab yourself some flowers and other gifts – or just spectate – at this colourful market on Sundays.
  36. God’s Own Junkyard – Visit the gallery and bar in Walthamstow for an eccentric setting to have a cocktail or two.
  37. Open Mic nights – There’s many around the city but head to The Queen’s Head in Angel for a good one on Sunday afternoons.
  38. St Pauls Cathedral – Take a guided tour and explore the beautiful and legendary building in The City! Afterwards, head over to Madisons, a rooftop bar, for a swift one and to see the Cathedral from a slightly different angle.
  39. The Maritime Museum – If you’re in Greenwich, visit the fantastic museum and look out for Nelson’s coat – with the bullet hole where he was shot in the shoulder!
  40. Richmond Park – Spot the deer and wander around the beautiful town…
  41. The Saatchi Gallery – Explore the gallery for free, then wander the King’s Road (and try to spot the cast of Made in Chelsea!)
  42. Follow in the Kray’s footsteps – Visit the Bling Beggar pub at Whitechapel. They even have a pub cat who is delightful!
  43. Whitechapel Art Gallery – Drop into the gallery for a variety of exhibitions – and a good cafe!
  44. Bagel on Brick Lane – The oldest tip in the book to London visitors but you have to do it! I’ve not tasted any bagel quite like it (!)
  45. Wander the Regents Canal – Whether you’re walking, jogging or on bike, the route takes you from the pretty marina at Limehouse up to Angel – with some great pubs and cafes on the way for a refreshment if you need one!
  46. Get free audience tickets to a show filming – Visit Applause Store or the like to sign up for audience tickets to some of the biggest shows. It means you get to play spot-yourself on the TV and it’s a live, entertaining evening out!
  47. Bus it – Get a normal bus along a tourist bus route and learn your way around the city without paying the tourist prices!
  48. Get down to Camden – Fill your Instagram with pics of Camden Market and its quirky stalls before catching some free comedy or grabbing a coffee or, if the weather’s ok, wandering down the canal.
  49. Free trip to the zoo – If you wander through Regent’s Park, many of the barriers into London Zoo are low enough for you to see some of our favourite exotic animals. Check out the llamas, penguins, camels and giraffes and more, all from the park side!
  50. Visit Victoria Park – There’s a huge playground (fun for kids and big kids!), a boating lake, lots of pubs and coffee shops and nearby Broadway Market if you fancy getting amongst the hussle and bustle to get your lunch.

Enjoy exploring London on the cheap this Feb! Let me know what you’re up to or what I’ve missed over at @keepitnorthern 🙂

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