Every year, QS comes out with a ranking of the best cities in the world for students, and for 2024, London ranks in the #1 spot. —Lowkey, it’s no wonder!— Its diverse and culturally rich scene makes it perfect for students to enjoy everything from world-renowned museums and nightlife to delicious multicultural food.
But let’s be honest, although London is ranked #1 for various reasons, being cheap isn’t one of them. —Don’t worry, that’s why we are here!— So, whether you’re a freshman or a senior in London this year, don’t let money ruin the fun with these 9 budget-friendly activities for students. We even added a bonus if you are willing to splurge!
1. Grab a coffee at Magazine café
Starting your day with a steaming cup of coffee is a student ritual, and Magazine Café is the perfect place for it. Located in Serpentine North Gallery, this charming café, designed by none other than Zaha Hadid, not only offers the best coffee but also an Instagram-worthy atmosphere. An ideal spot to study, relax, or catch up with friends without burning a hole in your pocket.
2. Karaoke Nights
Are you a shower singer with aspirations of hitting the big stage? Karaoke nights are a fantastic way to unleash your inner pop star without breaking the bank. London boasts numerous venues but at The Star by Liverpool Street, you can belt out your favourite tunes for cheap.
3. Cheer the night away at Belushi’s
For a night of pure fun, head over to Belushi’s. Known for its lively atmosphere, this student-friendly bar offers the best happy hour with 2×1 cocktails, gins, Coronas, and pizza, as well as, £24 prosecco. And if you can’t make it to the happy hour, they also have £5 cocktails every day. But if that weren’t enough, you can sign up for their student deals, where you can access special prices like £2.50 Sol bottles, £3.50 house lager, cider or single house spirits, £6 classic cocktails and 25% off food across all their locations. —Now that’s what we call a student deal!
4. Candlelight concerts
London’s music scene is legendary but concert tickets can be pricey. However, you don’t have to miss out on the musical magic entirely. Keep an eye out for Candlelight concerts happening across the city. These events offer an enchanting atmosphere and showcase talented musicians in an affordable setting. It’s a chance to experience the beauty of classical music while staying within your student budget.
5. Deep Fried Folded Pizza at A’ Do’ Re’ Fritto
A’Do’Re’ Fritto is a hidden gem in London’s culinary landscape, and it’s a haven for students seeking budget-friendly eats. Their deep-fried folded pizza, known as “panzerotto,” is a mouthwatering delight that won’t leave your wallet feeling light. The combination of crispy crust and delicious fillings will satisfy your taste buds without denting your finances.
6. Visit Serpentine gallery for free
Check out Serpentine Gallery for two exceptional exhibitions that are absolutely out-of-this-world. The first, “Third World: The Bottom Dimension,” at Serpentine North, is a video game-like collaborative project exploring the Black Brazilian experience and the enduring impacts of colonialism. The second, “Web(s) of Life” at The Royal Parks Serpentine South Gallery, is a living, multi-species exhibition centred on the interconnectedness of life forms, technologies, and energy systems amidst the climate emergency, inspired by spider web architecture. The best part of these thought-provoking immersive experiences is that entry is free.
7. Cycle through the city
If you are new in London, cycling the streets can be a tad chaotic, so heading to the parks is a great alternative. The city has various bicycle stations where you can pay for as little as £2 over a 24-hour period. The best thing about it is that London parks offer a wide range of scenery to bike through, so no bike path will ever be boring.
8. Board game night at Library Pot
Library Pot, a charming board game café tucked away in the city, is a haven for students looking for a laid-back and affordable night out. With an extensive collection of board games and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to challenge your friends to a game of Scrabble or settle in for a game of Settlers of Catan, all while sipping on reasonably priced drinks.
9. Catch some views at Bishopsgate 8’s Lookout
For a breathtaking view of London without the sky-high prices, make your way to Bishopsgate 8’s Lookout. This hidden gem provides panoramic vistas of the city’s skyline. Whether it’s a romantic evening or a solo escape, this spot is perfect for enjoying the beauty of London without spending a fortune.
10. Have a bake off with your friends at The Big Bakes
Hidden beneath a railway arch near Haggerston Station, The Big Bake is a Bake-off enthusiast’s haven. Gather your friends, don aprons, and take on a 90-minute themed recipe challenge, from Swiss rolls to cakes or biscuits. Compete against the clock and each other for a chance to win prizes, and even if you don’t triumph, you all leave with delicious baked treats crafted during the session. Tickets start at £44.50, but it’s so worth it!