Living on a budget is the natural flow of a student’s day to day. In a city like London that budget life needs a whole load of imagination, or just a good friend like The Stay Club to tell you the ins and outs of student living in the British capital. Contrary to popular belief, there is an abundance of free things you can do around the city and the kind that will give you a taste of arts, culture and exploration! Follow our list below to elevate your budget friendly weekends:
1. The National Portrait Gallery
An experience to be savoured, The National Portrait Gallery is the first portrait gallery in the world, dating back to 1856. It is one of the phenomenal buildings that surround Trafalgar Square, and hosts a vast selection that will enthral even the most distant from the arts. The vastness of the gallery’s collection creates a mesmerising effect and serves to create photographic memories that you will cherish. The best part of it all? There is absolutely no entry fee!
2. The Sky Garden
Widely considered a stunning bar, The Sky Garden is even more than that. You will find it at the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie, hiding a bit of an urban jungle amongst the different bars. Created to offer a harmonious space, the combination of impressive foliage and stunning views of the city will cost you absolutely nothing to roam through!
3. Leadenhall Market
Harry Potter fans will rejoice at the news that you can visit one of the filming sites for free! Tucked away in the otherwise contemporary City of London area, this covered Victorian Market is jaw dropping even when it doesn’t serve as the backdrop for Diagon Alley scenes. Added plus? A visit there won’t cost you a penny!
4. The Chocolate Museum
London sure loves its museums, and it was a matter of time before one dedicated to chocolate lovers opened its doors. The free entry museum has been sitting in the lovely area of Brixton since 2013 and will walk you through the history of chocolate from bean to bar. Heading to The Chocolate Museum is advised on a sunny weekend, so you can soak up a bit of Brixton’s street art too!
5. Cecil Court
Cecil Court speaks to the hearts of devout bookworms, as it forms an intriguing array of secondhand bookshops were you’re sure to find any little bit and bob you were after, including first-editions, old stamps and impressive maps. Shamelessly making another reference to our favourite magician, the area is thought to have inspired Diagon Alley’s hustle and bustle, with its storefronts that have remained unscathed for over a century. Circle around Bookseller’s Row (a fitting nickname for the road) and lose yourself in the abundance of literature, at absolutely no cost!
6. Barbican Conservatory
The sheer beauty of the green heaven that is Barbican’s conservatory is not well known amongst tourists, yet a frequent activity for Londoners. One of the reasons why is probably the fact that it’s open every second Sunday for a few hours, making it a rare sight too… Barbican, the brutalist construction that sits in the heart of London is a well-known architectural sight that serves as a world-class arts and learning centre. If you climb up to Level 3, over 1,500 species of tropical plants and trees will unravel before you for a mesmerising experience that is absolutely free of entry.
7. Columbia Road Flower Market
Although it doesn’t have the reputation of its Brick Lane or Portobello Road counterparts, Columbia Road Flower Market has a devoted following that flocks every Sunday morning (and by morning we definitely do mean early on) to soak up the breezy vibe of the market! The abundance of flower stalls that gather up is phenomenal, and the crowds that scour for the ideal plant to be added to their collection move in between the stalls with grace, creating a sublime Sunday outing.
8. St. Martin’s in the Fields Concerts
The beauty of student life is that you’re not bound to the 9 to 5 working hours. This means that you have the opportunity to get to the free lunchtime concerts held at the famous Anglican church, close to Trafalgar Square. Music lovers will be swept away by the abundance of world-class musicians that they have the chance to see without a charge, spanning choral music, piano solos and so much more! What, did you think you couldn’t find a free concert in London?