48 hours in London... on a budget

Our wonderful capital can often be considered an expensive place for a city break, but it doesn’t have to be. If you travel with East Midlands Trains you can get 2 for 1 on London attractions including restaurants, galleries and top sights. We have created the perfect budget friendly itinerary for a fun filled 48 hours in the big smoke.

Day 1:

9.30: Relax and enjoy your journey

Arrive directly into central London by train so you’re already in the heart of the city. You can get cheap tickets by booking early or travelling off-peak (after 9.30am).

11.30 – 3pm: Get your bearings

One of the best ways to get your bearings in London is to travel on an infamous London bus. (Make sure to make the most of the London Hopper fare which allows you to make a journey using pay as you go (contactless or Oyster) and for the following hour, you can make unlimited bus journeys for free!

Another brilliant way to travel through the boroughs is to cycle and if you are looking to see a more scenic side to the city, bike is best. You can hire the infamous ’Boris Bikes’ from 750 docking stations around London.

Located a short stroll from Paddington station is Regents Canal, which guides you past beautiful parks, independent cafes and shops whilst taking in some of London’s most impressive sights.


3 – 5pm: Take in the views

After all that cycling it’s time for a rest and to take in some beautiful London views. London’s skyline is one of the most impressive in the world.

Sky Garden

This three-story garden in the sky provides amazing views of the city and up and down the Thames. It is also free to enter (although be sure to pre-book). Lush and lovely, the Sky Garden acts as a tropical havenin the center of the city. Why not stop and have a drink at the Sky Pod bar whilst taking in the views.


5:30 – 7pm: Dine in style

After all that exploring you will certainly be ready for some delicious grub! London has plenty of brilliant pre-theatre deals which mean you can eat at some of the city’s best restaurants our favourite is…

The Ivy Market Grill

Little sister to the iconic Ivy restaurant, this classy brasserie located in Covent Garden serves up signature classics to culture vultures. And at £16.50 for two courses you can get a little slice of the infamous Ivy without the infamous prices! (4.30 – 7pm)


8pm: Make yourself at home

To keep your break a budget one you should consider renting an Airbnb as your home away from home. There are options for everyone, whether you want to stay amongst the bright lights of the West End or thethriving Hipster hotspot that is East London, there is a place for you!

Here are a few of our favourites:

With high ceilings, exposed beams and a location which is a stone’s throw from Hackney and Shoreditch this is the perfect place to crash after a long day exploring the city.

Our favourite 1

And for those feeling a little more adventurous this one-bedroom yurt in North London means you can be atone with nature just a five-minute stroll from a tube station.

Our favourite 2

Day 2:

10 – 12pm: Get your steps in

After a refreshing nights sleep, you will be ready for another day of sight-seeing. A good way to explore the city on a budget is to take part in one of the many free walking tours available. There are several free tours to choose from and more information can be found online.


1 – 3pm: Be inspired

Many of the city’s main museums and art galleries have free admission including The Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and The Tate Modern you could spend 48 hours exploring these alone. Why not visit the Spitafields Arts Market, there’s something for every taste and every pocket at with a wide choice of original artworks from paintings to photography sold by a changing mix of up of artists. Plus you can get 2 for 1 entry with your East Midlands trains ticket.




3 – 5pm: Relax and refuel

After a few hours of culture, refuel at one of London’s vast and varied markets which are great for foodies and grabbing every type of cuisine you could ask for.


A stone’s throw from King’s Cross station, KERB market sees traders serve their wares to commuters and tourists alike. Once you have decided between the many stalls, grab yourself a spot amongst the fountains at Granary Square to enjoy your foodie feast.


Borough Market

It is best to visit bustling Borough Market on an empty stomach, so you have room to sample the bread, cured meats, cheeses, olives and pastries on offer. This is the perfect place to pick up some treats, then head down to bankside for a riverside picnic.


With all that sight-seeing under your belt it is time to head for home. Find your reserved spot on the train, grab yourself a cuppa and relax as East Midlands Trains takes you home-sweet-home in comfort.

Book here!