If you’re looking for cheap things to do in London while studying for your degree, we have quite a few suggestions that would fit all kinds of tastes: from the adrenaline-seeking to the cultural geeks and the nature lovers. All on a student budget.
In 2023, London was ranked the best student city by QS World Rankings with a perfect score of 100, calculated based on these six indicators: university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity, affordability, and students' voice.
You already know why London is a great study choice, but how about entertainment? Are there any fun things to do in London for students? With 193 museums, 3 000 parks which together with other green spaces like public gardens make up for a total of 40% public green spaces, 344 km of cycling lanes, and 3 544 pubs, I dare say there are plenty of things students can do to entertain themselves in the UK’s capital city.
What to do in London on a student budget
Cycle in London
London is big, and students often struggle with their budget, so why not see the city on a bike while also enjoying a great way to exercise? Here you can check all the cycleways in London and start planning your exploration of the city on two wheels.
You can rent a bike for £1.65 or get a membership for £20 a month or £120 a year and ride up to 60 minutes every day.
Visit Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge
In the northeast of London, you can find the ancient Epping Forest, which is part of the Epping Forest District, a lovely place with old towns, traditional marketplaces, walking and cycling lanes, as well as Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge built in 1543.
See the deer living in the middle of London
You may not expect to find deer in the middle of London. But that’s precisely what you’ll discover if you explore Richmond Park, as well as a beautiful woodland garden, ponds and cottages.
Discover the first dinosaur statues from Victorian times
If you visit Crystal Palace you get the chance to see dinosaur statues dating from the time of Queen Victoria, an interesting mix of scary and amusing as back then dinosaur anatomy wasn’t what it is today. You also get the chance to use a 1,100 square metre skatepark and the biggest maze in the country.
Play a Questo game
A Questo game might be the perfect activity for having fun in London on a budget. This is an outdoor game in which you follow clues, play the main character in a fictional story, solve a mission and enjoy a thematic tour of the city simultaneously. The games are affordable, and you’ll have the chance to learn a lot of fun facts about the city.
Get lost in the plant realm at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you can see more than 50 000 plants here. You can visit the Japanese Gardens, the Arboretum, the Mediterranean Garden and King William's Temple, the Temperate House which is the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, or the 320 metres long walk among flower beds and beautiful grasses. You can also see carnivorous plants, climb a Pagoda and enjoy the views over London, visit the Alpine House where only high altitude plants grow, the Palm House filled with tropical plants, or the Kew’s Kitchen Garden where you can see edible plants used in Kew’s restaurants.
Students can visit the garden for discounted prices of a maximum £10.00 during peak times (1 February to 31 October).
Cultural things for rainy days in London
If the weather is nice, you might be tempted to spend all your days in a beer garden enjoying the sunshine, but who are you kidding? This is London we’re talking about. And there will be plenty of rainy days as well. And when that happens, where can you visit in London and stay dry while doing it? You should consider experiencing a bit of the rich rich cultural environment London has to offer.
Visit a museum
Student life in London can be quite expensive, so you may imagine that visiting world-famous cultural locations is not really for the students’ pockets. That’s not true. There are 193 museums in London, and 71 of them have free entry.
- See some of the most valuable cultural artefacts in the world
The British Museum spans 2 million years of human history and is full of treasures from Ancient Egypt, Persia, and India to the Americas, 16th-century Venice or 20th-century artwork. If you love culture, history, and art, this museum is an absolute must see. And yes, entrance is free.
- Learn all about our natural world
Natural History Museum is perfect for you if you love wildlife, nature, space, dinosaurs, and animals. You’ll get to see specimens collected by Darwin himself and one of the largest algae collections in the world. The entrance is free here as well.
- Experience British Art through the ages
Tate Britain Museum is for art lovers. Tate Britain opened in 1897 and today houses an extensive collection of British Art. The museum is named after its founder, Sir Henry Tate who used his fortune made as a sugar merchant to support educational and health services in the country. Tate Britain has free entry.
>> Apart from these three very famous museums, you can see here a list of 222455 193 museums of London.
Swap the cinema with the theatre
It’s hard to say London and not think about Shakespeare and his famous plays. Given the history of British theatre, it would be a shame to study as an international student and not go at least once to see a theatre play. The theatre district in London, known as the West End and representing this art form in its highest form, has over 40 different theatres. These are some of the best-known and appreciated:
The oldest theatre in London, first opened in 1663. Tickets start at £20.
One of the most reputed theatres today. You can buy tickets for £25 if you’re aged 16 to 25.
Built at 200 m from the original Globe Theatre partially owned by Shakespeare and the place where his plays were first performed.
Adventurous things to do in spring in London
Your student years are generally that period in your life when you’re most eager to have adventures and get your adrenaline going. So, let’s see, are there any fun things to do in London that can spark that adventure spirit?
Yes, there are. And here are a few ideas that go hand in hand with a day spent in nature:
- See London from a speed boat
Do you think you could appreciate Big Ben while speeding at 35 miles / 56 kilometres per hour? If you want to give it a try, Thames Rocket Ultimate London Adventure offers a 50-minute ride for £45.
- Roll down a hill in a spherical capsule
Maybe it sounds funny, but that’s precisely what you can do at Go Zorbing London The ride takes two people, so you need an equally adventurous friend, and you can pick the Harness Zorbing Ride, in which you are both securely strapped to the inside walls of the capsule, or the Aqua Zorbing Ride where the ball is filled with water, except for a pocket in the middle where you sit or better said where you slip. It costs £70 for 2 people or £90 for 3.
- Have a treetop adventure
If you try Go Ape Battersea, you can have a fun adventure in the Battersea forest in the middle of London. You get to cross from one tree to another while stepping on ropes or wooden planks suspended way above the ground and slipping away on zip wires. The good news is they offer a 10% discount for students.
>> For some extra inspiration, you can also check Eventbrite and VisitEngland to get up-to-date information on events happening throughout the year in London.
Ok, now stop reading and start planning your days of fun in London!