The Big Smoke might at first glance seem like one of the most expensive cities on the planet, but if you're heading to London on a budget you'll be glad to know that not everything has to be bad for your wallet. London on a shoestring can be fun.
Take in a museum
London is home to some of the most amazing museums in the world, and luckily most of them are free. The Natural History Museum is a great place to start. It's not just about the dinosaurs in this stunning Gothic Revival building, although you can amuse yourself for hours taking photo of fake attacks. Don't miss the pickled bits and bobs in the Darwin Centre or the wildlife garden.
If you're keen on all things British, don't miss the aptly named British Museum. Free to all visitors, London's top attraction also offers free 20 and 50-minute eyeOpener tours, which are the perfect way to make sure you get your money’s worth. Well, the money you haven't spent. Aztec mosaic masks here you come.
And if art is more your thing, the Tate Modern is a great choice after a casual, budget-friendly walk along the Thames. Special exhibits cost £8-10 in this Thames waterfront museum, but the permanent collection is free and you could spend hours taking in over 60,000 works including Warhol, Pollock and Matisse). For the best river views, don't miss a drink in the upstairs café.
Do a bit of market shopping
Everyone loves a good market, and one of the city’s most famous is of course Covent Garden Market. It won’t cost you a penny to head to the buzzing square and snap a few photos with the street performers. Covent Garden Market is a perfect place for soaking up the atmosphere of London, as it has been since 1845.
Likewise, Borough Market has been a happening place since the 13th century and is now one of the largest food markets in London. Here you'll find a huge variety of foods from all over the world, and for a free lunch why not dip into all those samples and tasters? Borough Market is open Thursday to Saturday, though Saturday is the best time to go.
Lounge in a park
It costs absolutely nothing to take a few homemade sandwiches for a picnic in one of London's eight Royal Parks. Picnicking in Hyde Park promises an oasis of green and a chance to watch the world go by at a slightly quieter place, so lie back on a blanket and don't spend a penny.
To get a little closer to royalty, try and catch the Queen on her way to Buckingham Palace as you soak up the sun in Green Park, a peaceful refuge that’s popular for picnics, ice-creams and sunbathing.
Take in a free festival
From the Diamond Jubilee Street Party at Spitalfields to the citywide London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there will be plenty of free celebrations in London over the upcoming months. The West End Live festival in Trafalgar Square in June showcases the incredible entertainment on offer for theatre and musical fans in London’s West End.The BT River of Music Festival sees the River Thames play host to a line of stages and free music from all over the world.