When the weather in London is frightful and you’re on a budget.
As a person on a budget, I enjoy taking advantage of the many free outdoor sights and activities that London has to offer. But when winter holds the city in its icy grip, spending time outside can be the last thing I want to do. During my time there, I discovered several indoor attractions offering temperate entertainment at little or no cost that still allowed me to get to know the city.
The Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill is one of my favorite destinations on a chilly evening. Established in 1898, the Coronet has been a popular destination throughout the years; it even made an appearance in the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts film, Notting Hill. The Coronet’s elaborate outer façade, marble-floored lobby, and balcony seating give this independent cinema the historic atmosphere and personality that chain cinemas lack. Furthermore, my friends and I enjoy weekly screenings without digging too deeply into our wallets. On Mondays, the Coronet offers cheap movies to students and on Tuesdays, this fantastic deal is open to the general public.
London’s many free museums offer another way to while away the hours of a bitter winter’s day. Two of my favorites are the National Gallery and the British Museum. The National Gallery has an expansive collection with works spanning from the 13th to 20th centuries. With dozens of works by famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, and hundreds more that never fail to peak my interest, I spend hours walking through the rooms. I speak with the knowledgeable docents and collect postcards of my favorite pieces in the gift shop. For those interested in historical artifacts beyond paintings, the British Museum’s vast interior holds an insurmountable collection of relics from cultures throughout the world. While the size of its collection can be intimidating, the British Museum offers handy pamphlets listing its “must see” displays. In addition to these, I always make sure to spend time wandering through lesser-known exhibits and discovering the British Museum’s hidden gems.
Sometimes the weather is so dreary that I don’t even have the energy to hop on the tube to central London. For days like these, I rely on the neighborhood pubs sprinkled throughout my borough for food and entertainment at a minimal cost. Many of these offer live music or weekly quiz nights that spark friendly competitive spirit. Even when the weather drives me indoors, London contains a plethora of entertaining and thrifty ways to spend time even when you’re on a budget.
Article written by Katie McCray.