how to go to london on a budget

collage photos via getty images

and have an awesome time

You can’t blame other cities for being jealous of London. It’s unarguably one of the most culturally diverse and modern cities in the entire world because of its rich history mixed with international influences. The British capital is home to coveted landmarks like Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Prince Harry. People travel from all over to take a chance at seeing the royals, drink high tea, visit famous art galleries and shop on Oxford Street.

But London has much more to offer than it’s well-known tourist attractions. While those are great, you have to explore London’s eclectic side to get a true feel for the city. Filled with ethnic cuisine, incomparable street fashion and an amazing youth culture, it’s one of the most diverse and creative cities in the world. You just have to know where to look. 

We’ve planned out the perfect budget trip to London, just in time for a summer adventure. Full of sunshine, dancing, roof-top drinking, DJ parties, and street food, it’s the time of year when the city comes alive. Be sure to spend a day or two visiting all the famous landmarks and attractions, but then head East to the creative and trendy side of the city. Leave the map at home and go get yourself a little lost. 

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images


Being a tourist isn’t always a bad thing, especially in a city like London. Be sure to spend some time hitting up some of the well-known landmarks on the West side of town. Many of the national landmarks, art galleries, and museums offer free entry. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey are three not-to-miss spots. Take a walk down Oxford Street and Regent Street to see London’s shopping center, and then walk over to Trafalgar Square to check out the theater district. Next, head over to the National Gallery if you want to see paintings by Picasso and Monet. Harrods department store, Portobello Road Market, Parliament’s House of Lords, South Bank, the London Eye, and Notting Hill are also nice attractions to add to the list.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


After spending a few days visiting the tourist attractions, head to East London for more culture, art, and coolness than you can possibly imagine. It’s by far the hippest and trendiest area of the city, and it remains relatively hidden and unknown by most visitors. Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Hackney Wick, and Dalston are areas of East London that are filled with free art galleries, inexpensive food from across the globe, and hip retail shops. It’s the place you can find the best fashion, craft, businesses, and design. Most of the buildings in East London are renovated historic places and old warehouses, and the winding cobblestone streets make for an authentic European feel. There are also tons of free parks and outdoor squares for day drinking, eating, and lounging.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images


Brick Lane is famous for its cheap food, great bars, and eclectic Sunday market where people sell things like old vinyl records, polaroid cameras, and vintage clothing (along with lots of objects that could have been found in your grandmother’s attic!). The streets are filled with smells of cumin, cardamom, and turmeric, and there’s a large food market at the end of the road where you can purchase incredible Indian, Turkish, Vietnamese, or Thai food for about five dollars. It’s also the best area to browse some of London’s great street art. 

·      Truman Brewery – The evolutionary arts and media center at the end of Brick Lane is filled with creative businesses, independent shops, galleries, markets, bars, and restaurants.

·      Brick Lane Beigel  – This tiny bagel shop is one of the last traditional establishments from the 1800s. You can buy out-of-this-world bagel for about 2 dollars…and they’re open until 4am.

·      Rough Trade Records – Rough Trade is London’s best-kept secret. Be sure to check their live performance schedule. They offer free shows several times each week and often host major artists. Getting tickets can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort! Be sure to also hit up the record store and browse their massive vinyl collection. It’s a musical hot-spot.

·      Cheshire Street – Just around the corner from Brick Lane is Cheshire Street. Take a walk down Cheshire to see all of the retro shops and vintage clothing stores. 

photo via e5 bakehouse


·      Columbia Road Market: Hackney –  Every Sunday, Columbia Road is transformed into a sea of foliage and flowers. Small art galleries sit next to cupcake bakeries, vintage clothing stores, and cafes. With its overflowing buckets of flowers lining the streets, it’s the most visually appealing market in London. 

·      Broadway Market: Hackney – Hackney is also home to Broadway Market, a Saturday marketplace for food and handmade items. The market takes place on a stretch of road running from London Fields Park to Regent’s Canal. Spend a Saturday browsing the market offerings and buy something great to eat in one of the cheap street stalls. Be sure to take a walk down Regent’s Canal while you’re close by!

·      London Fields Park: Hackney –  While you’re in the area, walk over to London Fields Park. You can purchase a bottle of cheap wine or an English cider in one of the grocery shops on the corner, or you can head down the road to London Fields Brewery to grab a couple of take-away pints. Relax in the park for a while among all of the eclectic people who come to hangout on the huge lawn every weekend. 

·      Other places to see in the area: London Fields Brewery, Clemson & Sons Coffee, Look Mum No Hands, Netil Rooftop, Franco Manco, Artwords Bookshop, and E-5 Bakehouse.

Photo via Ministry of Sound


If the club scene is your thing, London has it all. Everything from European electro music, to rooftop raves and reggae bands can be found on the East side of town. If you’re hoping to shake your groove thing, you really can’t go wrong.

·      Cargo – This buzzing nightclub is one of East London’s most famous. DJ’s and bands play tracks in an old railway yard, and if you get tired of dancing, there’s a garden to sit in. It’s a place full of charm, charisma, and lots of all-night partying. 

·      Passing Clouds – If you’re down with Afro-jazz and reggae, Passing Clouds is the place to go. You’re destined to see some great '90s fashion and lots of fellow club-goers doing moves like the running man.

·      Fabric – DJ’s play tons of electronic and house music that is sure to bring out all of the dance moves. If you’re looking for a crazy night of dancing until the sun comes up, this is the place.

·      Dalston Superstore – At Dalston Superstore, you’ll hear a DJ spinning vintage tracks all night and you will see hipsters dressed like they were on the Fresh Prince of Bell Aire. They serve lots of local beers, imported ciders, and promiscuously named cocktails. It’s sure to be a good night. 

·      Ministry of Sound – This is the place where all the best known DJs come to mix. The 5-room dance floor offers a perfect clubbing experience for a high-energy crowd looking to celebrate youthfulness (and the '90s!). 

photo via The Red Lion


Whether you want to drink coffee or beer, London has so much to offer. It’s historically known for tea, but a thriving coffee culture has become a huge part of the city in recent years. Check out some of London’s best cafes to kick start your mornings, and experience London’s famous pub culture in the afternoons. In the summer, lots of rooftop and garden bars open up, so it’s a perfect time to pub-hop. Start early for happy hour and 2-for-1 drink deals!


·      Shoreditch Grind

·      Workshop Coffee

·      Prufrock Coffee

·      Clemson & Sons


·      Queen of Hoxton

·      Red Lion

·      Netil Rooftop

·      Strongroom

·      Zigfrid von Underbelly

·      Café 1001

·      Dalston Roof Park

·      Hackney Attic

·      Hackney Downs Studios

Photo via Generator Hostel


Hotels in London are a hot commodity, so it can sometimes be difficult to find a low-budget room. If you have a little extra cash to work with, you can book a great room at the Hoxton Hotel in East London that can be shared with up to four people (about $30 a night per person). The best option for London housing is AirBNB. Try to get a room on the East side of town, and you’ll be in walking distance from many of the best attractions of the city. There are also lots of great hostels in the city, and if you’re traveling with a group, you can even share a private room for a very affordable rate. If you’re really adventurous (and are not traveling alone!) you can try the popular Couch Surfing site.

·      AirBNB – AirBNB is a great option when traveling to London. If you do your research, you can find an awesome room for a very budget price. And the best part is you often get free breakfast and a tour guide!

·      Generator Hostel – The Generator Hostel is one of the best in London. If you choose a shared room, you can stay for around $15 a night. It’s a perfect option for backpacking and budget traveling. It’s always clean, nicely decorated and has free wifi.

·      Couch Surfing – In recent years, the idea of “couch surfing” has become popular among the budget travel crowd. Couchsurfing International is a website platform that offers hospitality exchanges between people visiting new countries. The best part is that it’s FREE. It’s also a great way to meet new people and experience the city in a unique way. It’s recommended for traveling in groups!

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images


There are so many things you can do before leaving that will make your trip easier. Download apps like City Mapper and WhatsApp before heading across the pond. You can also use the popular flight websites Skyscanner and Hipmunk to find the best deals for international flights.

·      Flight – Hipmunk & Skyscanner often have the best flight options. Once you have that transatlantic flight booked, the rest can be managed cheaply. If you have extra time and money, book a weekend trip to somewhere like Italy or Spain. You can find insanely cheap deals on budget airlines like Ryan Air or EasyJet. A $20 flight to Barcelona? Yes, please.

·      Public Transport – London is known for its incredible public transport system. It’s the most well-connected city in terms of its underground and bus routes, so save yourself some money and take public transport. From the airport, you’ll want to purchase what’s called an Oyster Card. You can buy a weekly pass for about $45 that will give you unlimited access to any of London’s bus and tube routes. With your new Oyster, you’ll be able to easily get anywhere in the city!

·      City Mapper – City Mapper is an amazing app for mapping out public transport and walking routes. It will tell you where to catch the bus, what time the next train leaves and how many minutes it will take to walk from one place to the next. It even tells you how many calories you’ll burn along the way, so bring on those extra pints! 

·      WhatsApp – WhatsApp offers free global texting when you’re connected to wifi. You can text anyone in any country, as long as you have a working internet connection.

·      Phone Service – Most people don’t realize how easy it is to use your phone while abroad. If you have an unlocked iPhone (any phone that’s a 5 and up) you can take it to a UK phone shop like TMobile or Orange Network and purchase a UK SIM card. It will cost you about $20 for up to a month of unlimited internet access … and you’ll get a cool British phone number to call your own as a souvenir. 

*Some fun terms to get acquainted with: dodgy, blimey, blinkered, bollocks, cheers, bonkers, brill, cheeky, crikey, dishy, fancy, fortnight, gutted, gaff, quid, mate, fiver, rubbish, slag, snog, wonky, zed.

Photo by Rachel Dennis


"What do girls even do together?" This question, or some iteration of it, is frequently posed to me once someone finds out I'm bisexual or hears me mention my girlfriend, or if I make any reference to being interested in girls. I would be annoyed by it, but I have empathy because I know how hard this kind of information can be to find. In fact, the details of how two people with vaginas have sex isn't very widespread information. And, I know that I didn't really have all that much information about girl-on-girl sex before, well, actually having it myself. It's precisely this kind of situation that queer sex educator Stevie Boebi is trying to fix.

Boebi has gained a big following for her informational YouTube videos about how to use a strap-on, how to scissor, how to fist someone, how to choose a vibrator for yourself; any question you could have, she will get you an answer. She doesn't shy away from topics that people wouldn't be quick to ask someone about IRL, either, like BDSM. And she covers the kind of things that are definitely not what we're taught in sex education classes—likely not even in the most progressive curriculums. A study from GLSEN notes that only 4 percent of teens reported learning anything positive about queer sex in their sex ed classes, and points out that in some states, it's actually prohibited to mention queerness at all.

Particularly when it comes to sex with two vaginas, the lack of available public education leads to a general lack of understanding of how we have sex, which then leads to a lack of understanding in the queer community, too. "I just think that lesbian sex is so oversexualized, and we're the least educated," said Boebi when I asked her recently why it's so important for her to spread knowledge about queer sex in particular.

Boebi said that she started out on YouTube making videos about technology, but after she came out as a lesbian, her audience flipped from mostly male to mostly female, though she would prefer a less rudimentary gender breakdown ("the algorithm only deals in binaries, sorry," she quipped).

Ultimately, her sexuality led her to change her content entirely, because she wanted to educate people who couldn't find answers to their questions anywhere else—even on the internet.

"I started getting a lot of what I called 'stupid questions' from very confused teenage girls saying, like, 'How do I do it? Can I get AIDs from fingering someone?'" Boebi told me. They were questions that probably should have had easily Google-able answers, but, when Boebi looked for lesbian sex education content to send to fans who were asking her, she came up empty-handed. "I couldn't find anything. I think I found, like, two articles on Autostraddle, and that was it," she said. "And then I was like, Well, shit! If no one else is going to do it, then I guess I will."

Boebi's audience is mainly comprised of 13- to 24-year-olds, so she keeps in mind that she's helping people who may not be experienced, or even out yet. She uses her own experiences to inform her work sometimes, but also researches extensively and talks to people she knows who "have fancy Ph.Ds in sexology and shit," who can answer her questions or point her to resources she should be referencing.

Boebi's charm is in her relatability; even if she's talking about things we've been conditioned to feel shame around, she does it in such an open and honest way that all that shame disappears—as it should. She does this by perfectly meshing professional talk with jokes and sarcasm, and even uses characters based on star signs. She knows the importance of taking on taboo topics, because there are so many people who won't otherwise find answers to their questions. "I don't actually struggle in my everyday life asking people if they've ever been anally fisted before," Boebi joked with me. "I'll take that burden."

And keeping her tone light and humorous is of the utmost importance to her. "When people are laughing, they're comfortable, and I want people to feel comfortable," Boebi said. "And I want people to know that I'm comfortable talking about sex, and they can be, too." It helps also, Boebi told me, that her audience is separated by a screen, and she's not "in a room with a 12-year-old talking about my labia."

Beyond instructional sex videos, Boebi also deals with other rarely discussed facets of sexuality and physicality. Boebi is polyamorous, and talks openly about it, confronting the stereotypes and the misinformation about the identity head-on. And, she was also recently diagnosed with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome after going years without a diagnosis, and she aims to start working more with disabled queer sex educators to make her work more inclusive of people with disabilities. Though she pointed out to me that her work was already encompassing of disabilities, she "hasn't been a part of the disability activist community for very long," and so she has a lot to learn.

And, though Boebi's happy that she has the platform she does, she wants a more inclusive array of sex educators to join the scene. "My voice is my voice, and it's unique to me, but I think there should be way more," she noted. "Especially people [with intersectional identities]. That would make me so happy if we could diversify sex educators."

And, though Boebi says there's no "ideal way" to educate people about sex, she's definitely on a better track than the public education system, and she makes clear that there's nothing shameful about sexuality—in fact, it's just a part of being human, and a really fun one, at that.

Photo by Nicholas Hunt / Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

This photo makes me so happy

It can't be understated how big of a phenomenon the Spice Girls were during the late '90s. Their impact was felt from the bustling streets of London to the dry desert land of Scottsdale, Arizona. The latter place is where a young Emily Jean Stone was so immersed in fandom that she asked her second-grade teacher to call her Emma, after Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Emily is the Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone. What's even better, she's still a huge Spice Girls fan.

Stone went to the Spice Girls reunion tour at the Wembley Stadium in London and finally met the woman who inspired the name the actress is now known by. Bunton shared a photo of the two of them outside of the venue on her Instagram. She captioned the photo: "When Emma met Emma."And even added the hashtag #2become1. I can't figure out if I want to cry from sentimentality or serious envy.

As for Stone, she once cried when Mel "Scary Spice" B. sent her a video message so I can only imagine what this moment felt like for her. Let this be a reminder that even Oscar winners can be stans.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)

Asset 7

This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.