A Broke Student's Guide To Exploring London


Amira Rahmat •  Mar 17, 2016

Wondering when you can strike London off your bucket list? Ever wanted to visit the iconic landmarks that you've always seen on the TV but don’t want to dry your bank? Fret not, here’s a student’s guide to having an affordable trip you’ll never forget!

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Where To Eat

There are so many quaint cafés, alfresco dining and restaurants that London has to offer. If you prefer something less costly so that you can spend more on activities and entrance fees to attractions, here are some halal eateries that you can consider. But of course, the charming little cafés should not be missed as well!

1. Noodle Oodle


Credit: Noodle Oodle Facebook

This restaurant serves London’s one and only halal roast duck and other Chinese dishes. A must-try dish is the roast duck la mian - think freshly made hand-pulled noodles! Do take note that only the branch at Queensway is halal, but not the one at Oxford Street.

Address: 106 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 3RR

Directions: Closest tube station - Bayswater station

Price: £

2. Poppies Fish and Chips


Credit: Poppies Fish And Chips

[Check out: 5 best Muslim-friendly fish and chips in London]

Your trip to London will not be complete with Britain’s comfort food of Fish and Chips! Worth a visit with unique batter coating, and non-greasy fish and chips. Do try the fish cakes as well. Take note that alcohol is served in the establishment.

#HHWT tip: If you would like to try Fish and Chips at other establishments, try to get them from a (halal) British-owned eatery, rather than non British-owned establishments to get the authentic taste of Fish and Chips :)

Address: 6-8 Hanbury Street

Directions: Closest tube station - Liverpool Street station

Price: ££

3. Makan Café


Credit: Makan Cafe Facebook

Makan café is owned by a Malaysian couple located at Portobello Road Market. Friendly staff, cosy ambience and value for money food items. Do make a trip here if you are craving for Malay cuisine and drinks like good ol’ Teh Tarik. Also, visit the bustling Portobello Market while you’re here!

Address: 270 Portobello Rd, London W10 5TY, United Kingdom

Directions: Closest tube station - Ladbroke Grove station

Price: £

4. Fast food outlets: Subway, KFC, Nandos

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If you prefer quick meals, some Subway, KFC and Nandos outlets are halal-certified. When in doubt, just double check with the staff :)


Closest Subway outlet: 66 Queensway near Bayswater station

Closest KFC outlet: 71 Totenham Court Road near Goodge Street station

Closest Nandos outlet: 63 Westbourne Grove, Paddington

Price: £

Tip: Head to Bayswater station and walk towards Queensway station where you will be spoilt for choice of halal eateries! There are also halal butchers and Asian supermarkets if you want to cook at your hostel or AirBnb apartment. ;)

Where To Visit

Once your stomach is full and satisfied, you are ready to visit the amazing attractions that London has to offer. For the must-see and tourist spots, you can check out our guide for your first visit to London. For other things to do which will be easy on the wallet, consider these as well!

1. Musicals


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The first one that tops my list is definitely a musical. Musical ticket prices can be very steep, but not if you know where to get them. Get your tickets from Leicester Square, where you can buy the musical tickets at discounted prices from a number of ticket booths. Depending on the show, you will be able to get one as low as £15, which is a steal! Some popular musicals that you can choose are Wicked, Mamma Mia, Les Misérables, The Lion King and the list goes on.

Price: £-££

2. Clink Prison Museum


Credit: Access To London

If you are up for some chills, this museum is the place to visit. Dating back as long as 1144, it is one of the oldest prison in England. If that is not creepy enough for you, the museum was actually built upon the original site of the Clink Prison. Spooky! Good news for students, you can get a discount for the entrance fees – just show your matriculation card. There is also a photobooth just before you exit the museum, don’t forget to take a picture!

Address: 1 Clink Street

Directions: Closest tube station is London Bridge

Price: £

3. Free performance and gigs at Southbank


Credit: Jim Linwood

If you have some time to spare, or just want some time relaxing while listening to jazz or classical live music, Southbank Centre London is the place for you. There are always events where you don’t have to spend a single penny to enjoy a performance or some live music!

Address: Belvedere Road

Directions: Closest tube station - Waterloo station

4. Street markets


Credit: Henry Lawford

The street markets of London should also be in your itinerary, there are so many vintage finds and unique food items to see. Check out our list of 5 street markets that should not be missed!

Side Trips Out Of London

If you are staying in London for a while, there are some inexpensive side trips out of London that you can consider putting in your must-visit list. It is usually less crowded and the pace is more relaxed, and at times things are cheaper too!

1. Brighton


Credit: Budget Britain Guide

One of the popular day-trip destination from London, and easily my favourite spot to visit. Hop on the train for just an hour and you will reach this seaside resort town with quirky shopping centres. There are even roller coasters and carnival games on Brighton Pier, which is always filled with laughter and the smell of cotton candy. Not to worry, halal eateries can be found easily nearby the train station.

2. Oxford


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Famous for its picturesque gardens and magnificent architectures, Oxford is also where the filming of Harry Potter took place. Only 60 miles/100km from London, you can jump on a train or bus to this stunning place. Student rates are applicable as well if you are taking the bus, remember to show your matriculation card when buying the tickets. I’d recommend taking the bus- you get to enjoy breathtaking views from the bus window and get to save money too!

3. City of Bath


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Bath is known for its natural hot springs and 18th century Georgian architecture. Set in the rolling countryside of England, the famous writer Jane Austen once lived here! Catch a train from London's Paddington station and you will be on your way to this UNESCO world heritage site in an hour and a half.

4. Paris

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Yes, it’s possible to reach Paris from London in just over two hours by train. But of course, you wouldn’t want to stay in the city of love for only a day right?

Now what other reasons can convince you to book that flight ticket to London? ;) Well, maybe the charming British accent as well.

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To get cheap Malay dishes, there is also an eatery called the “Malaysian Hall Canteen” located below the Malaysian Embassy. You can get all the authentic Malay dishes to satisfy your cravings if you’re missing spicy food, and at half the price of restaurant food – Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Kuah Pedas, Satay if you are in luck, and much more. You can also make new friends easily there. Musollah facilities are also available over there to do your prayers.

Address: 30-34 Queensborough Terrace

Directions: Nearest tube station - Bayswater station

Price: £

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Find Amira online at: amirapunya | Instagram: @amirapunya