Live like the queen on a pauper’s budget

London is notorious for being an expensive site to study away, but if there’s one thing New Yorkers and NYU students can appreciate, it’s finding a decent bargain. Saving money is especially important, since those pounds could be used European travel. Here are a few inexpensive activities for NYU London students.

Visit Museums

Many of the most popular museums offer totally free admission. Visiting sites like the world-famous British Museum is one of the most culturally enriching a ways to spend the morning before a 2 p.m. class. It is a two-minute walk from the Academic Center and admission is free, so students don’t have to attempt seeing it all at once. The National Gallery, Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum are also must-sees and free for general admission.

Grab a lunch from a Hare Krishna group

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From Monday through Saturday, a Hare Krishna group serves a free vegetarian lunch outside the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies as part of the Food For All program. Just wait on line and consider bringing Tupperware, because the portions are massive and the plates are flimsy. They serve the food just five-minutes from campus, making it a practical and economical lunch option.

Spend time at Student Central and UCLU

NYU students studying away in London are given a Student Center membership and can pay £5 to become a visiting member of the University College London Union. These memberships present opportunities to meet international and local students by joining organizations and visiting the Student Central and UCLU bars — which often offer drinks at significantly lower prices than those at local pubs.

Take an Alternative tour of London

Alternative London offers walking and biking tours of the East End, introducing visitors to vibrant street art and graffiti. The original walking tour brings you past delicious Brick Lane curry restaurants — where you can bargain for discounts and free drinks — and novel thrift stores, both of which are worth checking out after the tour. At the end of the walk, you simply pay what you think the tour was worth.

Watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at

Buckingham Palace

The ceremony occurs every day in the summer and every other day in the winter beginning at 11:30 a.m. While it might be an annoyingly crowded tourist attraction, it is still fun, free and quintessentially British.

Get a Waitrose card

Waitrose is a favorite spot for students to pick up groceries and prepared foods. When you sign up for their membership card, you receive a free coffee, tea, latte or cappuccino even if you don’t purchase anything else.

Sign up for cultural

programming events

Students are allotted 100 credits for day trips, walking tours, theater performances, sporting events and more. Sign up for these promptly and at the proper time. The tour guides — often NYU staff — are very knowledgeable, and you’ll quickly discover that it’s in every student’s best interest to go on any tour with Tony Skitt, the senior programme manager for student life and a true Renaissance man. With cultural programming events, the only part of the trip you’ll pay for is food or souvenirs.

Spend a weekend with HOST

Before you spend every weekend in a different mainland European city, consider HOST. HOST UK is an organization that sends students to spend a day or a weekend with a family in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The only expenses are travel — however much you indicate you are willing to spend on travel costs determines how far from London you’ll go — and a suggested gift for your host family. NYU covers the £60 application fee before a certain date.

Bargain shop for

flights and trains

With a little research and ingenuity, you won’t have to pay exorbitant prices for travel. Airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair offer discounted flights from the more obscure London airports — but beware of extra fees. The Eurostar train, which leaves from nearby train station St. Pancras International, is popular for travel to Brussels and Paris. Be sure to book as far as possible in advance for the best deals, especially when booking with Eurostar.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Awesome article, Julie! I’ll definitely look back at this when I’m there in the fall. Hope you’re having an amazing semester =D

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