London is one of the most influential and exciting cities on the planet, but enjoying it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Our list of ten things to do for under £10 lets you get more from the capital without putting too much of a dent in your wallet – and you’ll steer clear of tourist crowds too.
Visit a Hindu temple
Once the biggest Hindu temple outside India, the extraordinary BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple dominates the Neasden skyline. Time Out has called it one of London’s Seven Wonders – it’s a fascinating place to visit and offers free guided tours.
Swim in the Olympic pool
Has it really been three years since London 2012? Revisit the occasion by clocking up a few lengths at the London Aquatic Centre, where everyone from Michael Phelps to Ellie Simmonds performed to capacity crowds. An adult swim starts at just £3.50.
Find cheap live music
Away from the mega-venues, you’ll find some excellent options for quality live music without the painful ticket prices. Our top two picks? Ain’t Nothin’ But, a tiny Soho blues bar with free nightly acts, and St-Martins-in-the-Field, which has regular free lunchtime recitals.
Learn to bell-ring
London has more than 100 churches and buildings with bells hung for group-ringing. If you’d like to be part of the city-wide chorus that breaks out each Sunday – and it’s a good keep-fit workout too!
Go to a non-league football match
Struggling to get a ticket for Arsenal or Chelsea? Enjoy 90 minutes at a non-league club instead, and experience a more authentic local atmosphere in a city that loves its football. Try Enfield Town FC, Bromley FC or the 125-year-old Corinthian-Casuals FC.
Check out old originals
The British Library is home to one of London’s least-known cultural gems. The John Ritblat Gallery, open seven days a week and free to enter, holds everything from Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to a note penned by Henry VIII.
Eat Pie and Mash
London’s dining scene is hugely cosmopolitan, but there’s no more traditional meal than pie and mash, a tasty and affordable dish still served at a handful of atmospheric old outlets. The most famous, M. Manze, has three London restaurants.
Walk the Thames Path
St Paul’s, Big Ben, Tower Bridge – see it all on a walk along the Thames Path. Enjoy short stretches, or try the full 36 miles from the Thames Barrier to Hampton Court Palace.
Laugh it up
Angel Comedy has gratis stand-up comedy seven nights a week, within a reasonable walk of YHA St Pancras. Expect a mix of big names and new talent. Its motto? “Always Free, Always Funny”.
Wander Columbia Road flower market
Open on Sundays from 8 until 3, this weekly flower market transforms Columbia Road into a world of foliage and flowers. There’s a great atmosphere and plenty in the way of music, food and drink.
Three timeless London album covers, and where to go to recreate them
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
This familiar cover image was shot in Berwick Street, Soho, down which there are still some great independent record stores.
Beatles – Abbey Road
Follow the Fab Four by visiting St John’s Wood, where you’ll find the famous crossing just steps away from the Abbey Road recording studio itself.
The Clash – The Clash
Mimic Joe Strummer and friends by heading to the Proud Gallery in Camden (although note: the ramp on the iconic cover is now a set of steps!)