Since ending up marooned in London for longer than I planned, I spend a lot of time finding cheap (or ideally free) stuff to do. There is cheap stuff out there. You just have to be strong-minded enough to resist the hard sell techniques that accompany any supposedly free activity.
This weekend I took a free tour at Tate Modern. They run these most weekends and you just have to turn up. This one was called ‘understanding modern art’ but there are others.
Whilst you’re there the permanent exhibitions at the Tate are free (their ‘suggested donation’ is still £4, but remember it is a ‘suggestion’ and I have no problem ignoring it, because art should be free for ordinary people to enjoy).
I did a similar tour the weekend before at National Portrait Gallery. Again it is free and you just show up, although sometimes the groups are quite big.
Most of the galleries and museums in London are free for the permanent exhibitions, although don’t go there on school holidays unless you want to join a long, depressed-looking queue of grandparents in waterproof ponchos trying to enthuse their disinterested grandkids.
I remember my father taking me to stuff like that when I was a kid, although we normally went to the science museum or the nautical museum, which I suppose were places that interested him. He wanted a kid to do ‘boy stuff’ with whilst I wanted a pink bedroom and ballet classes, so it was never going to work. I never did get my ballet classes and he never got anyone to share his love of ships either.