Fun, and cheap, ways to celebrate your birthday with friends
By Katie Wells
Everyone wants to be able to celebrate birthdays with friends but doing so in London can quickly get expensive and complicated. Keep it simple and cheap by getting creative and designing your own, unique party! We’re giving you five fun birthday ideas to get you involved in the city for less money.
#1 | Scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt is a creative and adventurous birthday idea, forcing you and your friends to take to the city streets. This is likely the cheapest option on this list because all you need is a camera and the energy to run about. The best scavenger hunts depend on random searches as well as local staples but are most fun when personalised for your friends. For example, your list could include taking a picture at Abbey Road, with tourists, or with a pint of Guinness. Finish the night off at a local bakery for a tasty birthday dessert! Print out some of the night’s funniest pictures to send along with your thank you notes and give your friends a good laugh.
#2 | Roller disco
Take it back to the ‘70s for this one. Have your friends dress in their favourite disco-inspired outfits and spend the night in a local skating rink. London has many cheap options, like Skating Haven which has a £10 disco night for adults. If your local skating rink doesn’t have a themed night, create your own playlist filled with the hits of the disco decade. If you go late enough, the DJ might play your suggestions and crank the disco lights. Finish the night off at your favourite pizza place to make an active and one-of-a-kind birthday you and your friends won’t soon forget!
#3 | Game night
If dancing isn’t your speed, keep it casual for a laid-back night in! Have your friends wear their favourite pyjamas and bring a yummy dish or drink to share. You’ll supply the fun with a variety of old-school board games. Early in the night, draft teams and maintain a running score to keep the excitement going. There are also some fun DIY games built on common household items that could get the party going. This game-oriented option is super cheap but flexible bonding alternative to expensive nights out that still allows you to ring in the birthday festivities in comfort.
#4 | Open-mic
Gather up some musically-inclined friends or local artists for a relaxed, but fun, night of music. This gives you an opportunity to steer the event toward your own musical tastes for a cheap price. Most pubs will host an event free of charge due to the business it’s likely to bring in, and you can organise the whole thing online for free. All you’d need is a microphone, a guitar or keyboard and a speaker, all of which most bands could bring along themselves. If your friends are musicians, consider asking them to play in lieu of a gift, and try to schedule the event later at night so you’ll likely only have to pay for a drink or two while enjoying your own private concert.
#5 | Picnic
If you’d prefer a daytime party, what better way to celebrate than enjoying the city’s natural beauty? Organise a potluck lunch with your friends, bring a tablecloth and enjoy the day in one of London’s fabulous parks! If everyone brings something to contribute to the meal, you’ll likely have a delicious, diverse, and extremely cheap gathering. Plus, if you have a competitive streak, you can bring along some yard games to drum up some friendly rivalry with your friends. If you’re celebrating in the winter, cater your menu and supplies to the elements. A thick, waterproof blanket to sit on, and thermoses of hot chocolate are important to have on hand. Enjoy snow-related activities like sledding and snowball fights to warm up before sitting to eat.
#6 | Wine tasting
Or, if you’d prefer to keep it indoors and classy, try hosting a wine tasting party in your flat. Have your guests bring their own wine bottles to share over some light appetizers. Keep in mind that there are a lot of healthy, but cheap foods that you can make ahead of time to limit hosting stress on your birthday. Pass around samples of each wine with a tasting cheat sheet to help your guests nail down their favourite. Everyone should leave a sommelier, if not a little tipsy!
You don’t have to spend loads every year for your birthday. As long as you have some good friends and a sense of adventure, there is so much to do in London to celebrate!