So you've paid for that expensive flight to London, booked a hotel only to discover the obligatorily absurd surcharges, and forgotten that the pound trades unfavorably with the dollar. What can you do? There's actually plenty of memories you can make without spending a single extra dollar besides what it costs to get you there, if you're willing to stray from the beaten path.
In summer London is one big, novelty playground, as outdoor screens and live entertainment pop up in the most unlikely places. (2012 saw an east-end flyover and a mound of fridges co-opted into impromptu film theatres.) Most events charge and need pre-booking, but head to The Scoop beside City Hall for a summer-long programme of film screenings, dance, opera, music and even keep fit classes, all for free and alfresco beside the Thames.
Most guides would recommend Primrose Hill or Parliament Hill in north London for sumptuous views of the capital, but these are sometimes spoiled by the sheer number of visitors. Head south and you'll find bewitching outlooks from One Tree Hill at the quieter, eastern end of Greenwich Park.