London for less: cut-price culture
No visit to London could be complete without a dip in its thriving cultural scene. Sure, the star-studded plays sell out months in advance, but you don’t necessarily have to shell out to get your culture fix here. From free stand-up comedy to tours of ancient Egyptian art, the city’s distinctive blend of high-brow and low-brow is accessible to everyone.
See the Bard’s plays as they were intended, or catch a glimpse of the next big thing in one of London’s plucky under-the radar-galleries. Here’s our guide for culture vultures on a budget.
London culture for less
God’s Own JunkyardShernhall Street, E17 9HQ
This neon wonderland is open to the public – and free to visit – Friday to Sunday. Prepare to be dazzled.
The National GalleryTrafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
Tick off Cézanne’s Bathers, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and more – it’s free to visit the permanent collections.
Shakespeare’s Globe21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT
For the most authentic (and cheapest) way to see a play here, stand in the yard as a ‘groundling’ (£5).
Tate ModernBankside, SE1 9TG
Art without the entry charge: see the latest Turbine Hall installation, then climb the newer Blavatnik Building for extraordinary views.
Top Secret Comedy Club170 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PD
This scruffy, underground Covent Garden club is famed for its free comedy nights, which star the odd big name.
V&ACromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Free to visit, the art and design collections are endlessly fascinating, running from delicate Qing dynasty teapots to edgy McQueen frocks.
The Photographers' Gallery16–18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW
See world class exhibitions without paying a penny – if you visit before noon.
Peckhamplex95A Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
Cinema tickets at the ’Plex are a mere £4.99 – almost unheard of in pricey London.
British MuseumGreat Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
This iconic museum is crammed with treasures, from the Rosetta Stone and Parthenon marbles to its mummified cats.
NOW GalleryPeninsula Square, SE10 0SQ
This bijou gallery in Greenwich always scores the coolest art and design talents. Previous free shows have included a live flower installation by Rebecca Louise Law.
Image credits: © Trustees of the British Museum; © Trustees of the British Museum; © God’s Own Junkyard; © The National Gallery; © Getty; © Tate Modern; © Top Secret Comedy Club; © V&A; © The Photographers' Gallery; © Peckhamplex; © Trustees of the British Museum; © NOW Gallery