London is often cited as one of the most expensive cities in the world. And that may be true compared to many places or if you live slap bang in the city. However, just as in other cities around the world if you’re a local, you’ll know there are plenty of things to see, do, eat, and drink – even if you’re on a budget. Some things are even completely free! Read the #Nestorguide for how to boss London on a budget!

Not only does London have some of the most beautiful parks in the UK, but there are a tonne of great markets to explore, museums filled with exhibits that would take days to see and even exciting activities like theatre shows and concerts that if you know how you can see for a knockdown price. 

Take a stroll through a park

London’s parks are famous the world over and are the perfect, free place for a walk or picnic at any time of year. Hyde Park is one of the biggest, and you could easily spend hours here exploring on or by bike, as well as taking a pedalo out on the Serpentine or heading over to the lesser visited pet cemetery. In the winter, you can go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and in summer, there are often fairs, festivals and open-air screenings which don’t cost the earth. 

Right next door is Kensington Palace and gardens which are beautifully manicured, and not far from High Street Kensington, you’ll also find Holland Park.

Holland Park has a fascinating selection of gardens including a rose garden which blooms in the summertime and a full Japanese garden with a waterfall. Even further afield in West London is Richmond Park, another huge park which has its own lake and is home to hundreds of deer, which makes it ideal for a winter walk or a bike ride. 

Grab a bite to eat – on a budget, of course, darling!

Visiting the capital doesn’t mean you have to splash out on Michelin-star restaurants. Kensington is often known as one of the most upmarket neighbourhoods in the city but some of the best places to eat are also the most affordable. 

For some of the most delicious Indian food you’ll ever try, Dishoom regularly has a queue down the street, or for a sweet treat just off Kensington High Street, try My Old Dutch pancake house, which serves an array of sweet and savoury pancakes all day.

Don’t forget that street food is extremely popular in London too, and if you head down Portobello Road, you’ll find endless stalls selling hot food from around the world. A quick tip if you’re keen to dine somewhere fancy – look at their lunchtime and weekday menus. Many more expensive restaurants offer two or three-course lunch deals, or lower-priced menus Monday – Thursday. 

Evening activities on a budget

If you thought you won’t be able to see great theatre shows or concerts during your visit to London because your budget won’t stretch, think again. London’s West End shows are at times alarmingly expensive, however, there are lots of great deals on offer on cheap seats, which you can find online or at the many ticket booths around Leicester Square. 

If you’re looking for a laugh, you can also head to the Top Secret Comedy Club near Covent Garden, which costs just £2 on most nights and features surprise appearances from some of the UK’s most famous comedians. If culture is more your style, Shakespeare’s Globe on the South Bank is not only one of the most historic buildings in London but tickets to plays here cost around £5!

Visit the museums

London does museums extremely well and the biggest and most famous of these are in West London, specifically South Kensington. It’s here that you’ll find the epic trio of the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A which can keep you occupied for hours. The Natural History Museum is filled with historic artefacts, fossils and animals with lots of exhibits to explore and regular ‘lates’ where you can visit the museum after dark. 

The Science Museum, on the other hand, is perfect for kids, with everything from a huge model volcano to an exhibit on the Big Bang, workshops, classes and events, it has everything needed for a rainy day in. 

For art lovers, the V&A is where to go, featuring sculptures, artefacts and artwork from across the globe and throughout the centuries, plus they have a beautiful café inside to grab a hot drink. As an add-on, the new Design Museum has just opened off High Street Kensington, where you can learn all about the history of the most famous products like the paperclip and the television.

The best part? All of these museums are completely free!

Browse a market

An easy and inexpensive way to fill a morning or afternoon is by browsing one of London’s many great markets. You’ll find markets for art, antiques, food and more. In the city, the most famous is the huge Spitalfields Market which has lots of clothes and jewellery stalls, hot food and sweet treats; and Borough Market which sells fresh produce and hot food from almost every country. 

A Nestor favourite however is Portobello Road Market. Located close to Notting Hill, Portobello Road is famous for the beautiful brightly coloured townhouses that line the street.

Portobello Road, Notting Hill London - pretty colourful house

The market is made up of vintage stalls, food stands, fresh produce, clothes, jewellery and arts and crafts and at least one or two of these will be open each morning – although Saturday is the best time to go to see everything. You can browse for free, pick up a cheap local souvenir or even a valuable antique at a low price, before grabbing lunch or enjoying a drink in one of the many local pubs and cafes along the road. 

Nestor’s prime location

All of our luxury properties at Nestor are located in beautiful West London locations. If you’re travelling to the city and want an affordable, local apartment, we have the perfect spot just for you, only a short walk to many of the above attractions in and around Kensington and Earl’s Court. 

To take advantage of our best rates, book directly on our site.

For us, affordability ties in closely with our sustainability efforts, as when you’re searching for less expensive things to do in London, walking, cycling and exploring outdoors, as well as supporting local markets and venues are always top of the list. All of our apartments have vegan and recyclable toiletries and we work with partners that share our ethics.  

Looking for more ideas for things to do while you’re in London? Check out our local guides which are tailored for your arrival, or drop us a message – we’d love to hear from you!