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London on a budget: must-do activities costing under £20

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Man standing in a museum in London
London can still offer affordable entertainment in 2022 | Photo: Eric M.V

 

Whether that’s exploring the city’s iconic art galleries and museums with the family, or romantic date nights with your partner at a comedy club or west end show, there is a whole host of things to do in London, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to do them – well, unless that you want to eat a £730 burger at Salt Bae’s restaurant in Knightsbridge.

If your budget is a lot more modest and you would rather explore activities for free to £20 and under – here is a shortlist featuring some of the best value activities London has to offer this January.

Lets start with some free ones:

View of the Tate Modern

Tate Modern | © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid

Tate Modern

Visitors of all ages can enjoy a taste of culture in the city by taking a walk through the Tate Modern on Bankside on the banks of the Thames. Discover the work of renowned artists such as Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, DalÍ, Pollock and Andy Warhol. The gallery’s restaurants also offer fabulous views across the city for a crisp winter Instagram shot.

 

National History Museum

The Natural History Museum | © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid

 

Natural History Museum

You can delve into the history of planet Earth in The Natural History Museum in South KensingtonWith galleries to explore and unique treasures from the museum’s collection of more than 80 million specimens spanning 4.5 billion years, The Natural History Museum also hosts late night events and activities, from yoga and silent discos to dinosaur-themed sleepovers, so you can relive your ‘Night at the Museum’ movie fantasies.

 

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard | Photo: Roberto Catarinicchia

Changing of the Guard

At any time of the year, London’s eye-catching skyline is a must-see, with a range of locations in which to enjoy fantastic From walks along Hyde Park and rural green parks like St James, where you can stroll through with a hot drink in the winter and watch the world go by. If you’re looking for some quintessentially British hot-spots, why not check out the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace? Be in awe of the visuals and music this centuries old ceremony offers four days a week at precisely 11am.

 

Somerset House

Somerset House courtyard | © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid

Somerset House

Home to an exciting program of art exhibitions and outdoor film screenings. Set around a handsome 18th-century courtyard, this buzzing arts center is the perfect place to wander and soak up the sights and sounds of the city.

 

A bit of cash to spare?

Here is what to do in London with £20 and under:

London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum

Step back in time at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden and explore transport icons and ground-breaking designs from across the decades. From the red London bus to the first ever Tube map design, you can see first-hand how the city has grown since 1800. Tickets cost £18.50 per adult and children go free.

 

Waiter preparing a cocktail in a bar

Photo: Louis Hansel

Ballie Ballerson

When it comes to affordable nights out in London, this Shoreditch hangout should be on your radar. From bottomless brunch filled with Pornstar Martinis and all-you-can-eat pizza, it’s a must have in your diary this year. There are also themed events running throughout the year, such as Bottomless Brunch, Ball Pit Bonanzas and Bottle Nights. Tickets start as little as £10 per adult.

 

A microphone on the stage of a standup comedy club

The Vauxhall Comedy Club | Photo: Matthias Wagner

The Vauxhall Comedy Club

Looking for a place in the city to have a laugh with friends? The Vauxhall Comedy Club has a range of events running throughout the year for as little as £15 per person. Various comedians take centre stage, spilling jokes and aiming to entertain you all night long.

 

Club Curling on Stable Street

Club Curling on Stable Street, Kings Cross

Club Curling on Stable Street

See whether you’ve got the ability to fly out with the British curling team at the next winter Olympics. Get a feel for the ice as up to four friends can compete against each other at Club Curling in King’s Cross. Head online to book an hour slot on the sheet of ice, costing £5 per person. Stick around to enjoy the array of eateries and bars around the area.

 

Emirates Air Line Cable car

Emirates Airline cable car

Emirates Air Line Cable Car

Glide above the Thames in the Emirates Air Line cable car and take in aerial views of London’s skyline as you travel from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. You can enjoy the beautiful views of the River Thames, London’s skyline and even The O2. Plus, the view at sunset over the river makes a magical date night activity where you can watch the city come alive after dark with extended night flights after 7pm. A single journey costs just £4 or take a return trip for £8.

 

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Lifestyle

Six-in-10 Motorists Travelling to Europe Don’t Know Emergency Numbers

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A man driving abroad in a motorway
Just 38% of those surveyed were aware they should call 112 in the event of an emergency in the European Union | Photo: Dan Gold

With British drivers set to take millions of car trips across the Channel this summer, a new RAC research has found six-in-10 (62%) don’t know the right number to call to get help in an emergency.

Just 38% of those surveyed by RAC Europe knew they should call 112 in the event of an emergency in the European Union. Among the others, a third (32%) worryingly have absolutely no idea which number to call if they found themselves in need of urgent help on the continent, while one-in-10 (12%) say they would dial 999 – the UK’s three-digit emergency services’ number. A similar proportion (11%) think the correct number to dial for help is 111 – the NHS non-emergency line.

Four per cent mistakenly believe the number to call is 101, which is the non-emergency line for UK police forces, and three per cent think they should dial 911, the emergency number in the United States and Canada.

What emergency number to call while travelling in Europe

Phone numberWhat it’s forWhere it works
112Emergency assistanceAll of the European Union plus many other European countries, including Switzerland, Turkey and the UK
999Emergency assistanceUnited Kingdom
911Emergency assistanceAll of North America
101Police non-emergency assistanceUnited Kingdom
111NHS non-emergency assistanceEngland, Scotland and Wales

“The 112 number is the pan-European equivalent of 999 and can be used pretty much anywhere throughout Europe for emergencies, including the UK. Every second counts in the event of a dangerous collision, so getting through to the emergency services first time round could quite literally be the difference between life and death,” warns Rod Dennis, RAC Europe spokesperson.

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Gen Z Side Hustlers See 22% Income Boost, Study Finds

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A Gen Z male white webdesigner works from home at his computer.
37% of Gen Z are 'Tri-Hustlers,' juggling multiple side-hustles to maximize income. | Photo: Per Lööv

A new research has found that 45% of Gen Zs, people born between 1996 and 2010, now have a side hustle. The study, which was conducted by Visa, also reveals that over a third (37%) of these having more than one way to make extra income.

E-commerce (34%), social media influencers (25%) and passion-based projects (19%) are the top three types of side hustle businesses being run by Gen Zs, according to Visa.

Almost seven in ten (69%) of Gen Z side hustlers set up their business with the primary objective of earning extra income, with average earnings from a side hustle being £218.60 per month. However, the research also found that over a quarter (27%) began their venture to explore a passion and a similar number (26%) did so to develop their skills further.

Of those surveyed, a majority (61%) report that they increased their side hustle income by at least 10% of the last 12 months, with the average increase at 22% year-on-year growth. The survey also reveals that those who are more passionate about their side hustles report significantly higher income levels, whilst side hustles that have been running for more than two years, generate higher earnings.

Grace Kennington, aged 22, turned a pandemic past-time into a successful side hustle, enhancing her skills in design, marketing, and social media to sell artwork online. She comments, “I wear a million different side-hustle hats; I’ve become an expert at everything from packaging, stock management and design. It’s really made me a lot more adaptable! My biggest piece of advice to aspiring side-hustlers is to just get stuck in, even if you’ve had no training. Also reach out to people doing similar work to build your network.”

Gen Z’s friends play a key role in their side hustles; a third (33%) claim their friends inspired them to start it, with a further 39% saying their friends help to make their side hustle a success, while just over a fifth (21%) are inspired by celebrities or influencers.

Sustainability and legacy-building underpin Gen Z’s long-term outlook; over a third (35%) aspire to eventually quit their primary job to focus entirely on their side hustle, and a further two fifths (39%) hope that their side-hustle will continue on for generations in their family.

“Gen Z are already playing a transformative role in our economy, spurring on innovation and new ways of working. Through our research, we’ve uncovered some really positive signs that they will continue to change the way businesses and organisations operate in years to come,” says Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK&I at Visa.

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10 Thrift Stores in London to Shop on a Budget

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10 Thrift Stores in London to Shop on a Budget
Octavia was founded by Victorian philanthropist and social reformer Octavia Hill, who began her work with the poor of London in the 1860s

Thrifting in London offers a fantastic way to shop stylishly on a budget while supporting sustainable fashion. Here are 10 must-visit thrift stores in London, each providing a unique shopping experience.

TRAID

TRAID offers a wide range of second-hand clothing, with proceeds supporting global development projects. The store is well-organized, making it easy to find stylish, affordable items. TRAID’s commitment to sustainability and ethical fashion makes it a popular choice among conscious shoppers.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
To find your nearest Traid: http://traid.org.uk/shop-at-traid/

Beyond Retro

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Beyond Retro is a haven for vintage lovers, offering a vast collection of retro clothing and accessories. The store is known for its eclectic mix and affordable prices, making it a favorite among fashion enthusiasts and bargain hunters alike.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm; Sunday, 12pm to 6pm.
For more information: beyondretro.com

There are even Fara thrift shops dedicated to kids

FARA Charity Shop

Nearest Tube: Notting Hill Gate
with 40 shops and 30 years in charity retailing, FARA Charity Shops support children in Romania, offering a wide selection of clothing, books, and homewares. It’s a great place to find unique, budget-friendly items while supporting a good cause. If you go a bit outside London, there are even  Fara shops dedicated to kids.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: faracharity.org

Oxfam Boutique

Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington
Oxfam Boutique offers a curated selection of high-quality second-hand clothing and accessories. Proceeds support global poverty reduction efforts, making it a great place to shop with a purpose.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: oxfam.org.uk

Crisis

Nearest Tube: Stratford
Crisis supports homeless people in the UK, offering a range of second-hand clothing, books, and homewares. It’s a great place to find affordable, stylish items while supporting a good cause.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: crisis.org.uk

Cancer Research UK

Nearest Tube: Gloucester Road
Cancer Research UK shops offer a wide selection of second-hand clothing and accessories, with proceeds funding cancer research. The stores are well-stocked and reasonably priced, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious shoppers.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: cancerresearchuk.org

Sue Ryder

Nearest Tube: King’s Cross St. Pancras
Sue Ryder charity shops offer a range of second-hand clothing, books, and homewares. Proceeds support palliative, neurological, and bereavement support services, making your shopping trip meaningful.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: sueryder.org

Barnardo’s

Nearest Tube: Shepherd’s Bush
Barnardo’s charity shops offer a variety of second-hand clothing and accessories, with proceeds supporting vulnerable children and young people. The stores are well-stocked and affordably priced, making them a great option for thrifters.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: barnardos.org.uk

Octavia Foundation

Nearest Tube: South Kensington
Octavia Foundation charity shops offer high-quality second-hand clothing and homewares, supporting local community projects. The stores are known for their stylish selections and affordable prices. Octavia was founded by Octavia Hill, the Victorian philanthropist and social reformer, whose ideas formed the basis of the profession of housing management. Octavia began her work with the poor of London in the 1860s; she was a pioneer of social housing, a founder of the National Trust and the first clean air campaigner for London.


Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: octaviafoundation.org.uk

Shopping at these thrift stores in London not only helps you save money but also supports various charitable causes and promotes sustainable fashion.

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