Cheap city breaks that are rich in history, art and culture

City breaks don't have to drain your funds, even if you're headed to some of the world's best-known destinations. You might save even more when you stay in a holiday rental, as you can opt to stay in for a meal instead of eating out and choose a convenient location that'll let you cut transport costs.

Cheap city breaks in the UK

Looking for a budget-friendly British city to explore on your next holiday? You might want to work your way through the fantastic free museums in London, or hop from bridge to beautiful bridge in Newcastle.

Keep your travels costs low in London

While London is undeniably one of the greatest cities on earth, a London city break need not cost a lot of money. There are heaps of free attractions, from the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace to close encounters with the resident deer population at Richmond Park. From the handsome Tower Bridge, you can walk to St Dunstan-in-the-East, a garden set in the ruins of a church that was bombed during the Blitz. London also has a long list of museums sans admission fees; stay close to 3 of them – the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum – by booking a holiday rental near South Kensington.

Enjoy cheap weekend city breaks in Newcastle

Newcastle upon Tyne makes for a cheap UK city break in northeast England. Go on scenic strolls along the River Tyne and see if you can tick off the city's Seven Bridges from west to east: Redheugh Bridge, King Edward VII Bridge, Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, High Level Bridge, Swing Bridge, Tyne Bridge and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which is tilted at least once daily from May to September. Newcastle's free museums include The Discovery Museum, offering science and local history exhibitions, and the Great North Museum: Hancock, which houses archaeological displays. You can also visit The Angel of the North, Antony Gormley's celebrated steel sculpture in Gateshead, a quick drive from Newcastle city centre.

Economical escapes within Europe

If you look hard enough, you'll find affordable European destinations packed with atmospheric districts and impressive architectural landmarks. From photogenic Prague to laid-back Ljubljana, these are the best cheap city breaks beyond the border.

There's a lot to love about Ljubljana

Slovenia's capital keeps a relatively low profile, but you'd be surprised at the splendid attractions it has in store. Enjoy a relaxed day of sightseeing in the pedestrianised city centre, where you can see and cross the gorgeous bridges – such as Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge – over the Ljubljanica river. If you're up for a short but pretty steep hike, skip the ticketed funicular and walk to the hilltop Ljubljana Castle, whose courtyard and chapel are free to explore. Bring a book and a picnic lunch to peaceful Tivoli Park, a sprawling green space dotted with fountains, flower beds and outdoor gyms, or make your way to Metelkova for street art and alternative culture.

Prague is perfect for budget-conscious travellers

Prague isn't just one of Europe's most beautiful and beloved capital cities, it's also one of the cheapest places to visit. Start your sightseeing in the Old Town and watch the intricate Astronomical Clock chime on the hour, then admire the twin towers of the Gothic-style Tyn Church – you'll quickly see why Prague is called the 'City of a Hundred Spires'. Head over to Mala Strana via the historic Charles Bridge, stopping to see the baroque statues that line what was previously the only crossing over the River Vlatva. You can explore Prague Castle's grounds and gardens for free, or walk up to Petrin Hill for unparalleled views of this enthralling city.

Get value for your money on Vilnius city breaks

The capital city of Lithuania is a delight to explore, especially since prices of food, lodging and public transport are reasonable and you're not constantly worrying about your travel expenses piling up. The UNESCO-listed Old Town is big but easy to navigate on foot, and its key attractions include the neoclassical Vilnius Cathedral and the Vilnius castle complex. Breathe in the bohemian air as you explore the independent Uzupis district's galleries, pubs and artist's workshops, and give the unconventional Uzupis constitution a quick read when you come across the plaques displaying it in various languages. Museum admission in Vilnius is generally cheap as well; fascinating, if possibly unnerving, sites include the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, housed in the former KGB headquarters.