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Queen Mary Summer School

London on a budget

Even as Londoners, it’s a challenge to take advantage of all London has to offer. Whilst people often say that London is an expensive city, there is so much that you can do for free (or next to nothing)!

There is no need to be daunted by the prospect of living in London as a student - as a capital city, it is more expensive than other places in the UK, but with this comes a wider variety of ways to save money. Before you arrive, you should take into account the amount of money you need for food, travel and making the most of your new hometown.

How to make your money go further


Being in a self-catered apartment means that you’ll be able to make use of the kitchen facilities and prepare your own food. There are a number of large supermarkets within walking distance of Queen Mary to buy groceries. Whilst they can also be convenient, be mindful that smaller ‘express’ stores often charge higher prices for exactly the same items.

If you don’t fancy cooking, you can usually grab a hot meal on campus at The Curve for a modest price.


The most cost-effective way of seeing the city is walking - you’ll be able to get anywhere you need to from our campus on foot! If you want to head into the city via transport, the cheapest option is to get the bus. For a flat-rate of £1.75 per journey, you can quickly travel across London and enjoy the top deck views.

Please note that Summer School students will not be able to benefit from the Student Oyster Card.


If you want to hit all the London tourist spots in one go, an expensive open-decked tourist bus tour might be tempting. Instead, you should take the no. 11 bus and enjoy a real (and cheaper!) Londoner’s tour of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The route takes you through Chelsea, past Buckingham Palace, Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Courts of Justice and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Click here to see a map of the route.

If you’re fascinated by London's eccentric and unique history, you can catch a glimpse of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace or the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.

A constant surprise to tourists is that most museums and galleries in the UK are completely free. This means you can pursue the works of Van Gogh at the National Gallery, take in the sight of a giant dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum, or analyse the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum – all free of charge! 

If the classic tourist landmarks aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty to do for free in London. You can…

It was a really interesting three weeks. I met loads of really nice people who I hope to stay in contact with!
— Rosie Fenwick from the UK, Practical Machine Learning
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