Can we kick it? Yes we can!
There are many misconceptions about London:
It’s too expensive.
Everyone is rude
Every street in London looks like something out of the Made In Chelsea set.
As a Londoner, I can debunk the previous statements as totally and utterly wrong – we’re only miserable during rush hour (you always stand on the right!) But if you do get a chance to visit the capital, there are many things that this great city has to offer, especially on a budget. As your honorary albeit virtual big sis, I decided to take on a ridiculous challenge a few weeks back: Could I stick to a budget of no more than £10, and cram in as many cheap things to do in London, in just one day?
How did I do I hear you ask? Well have a read below to find out…
Travel: One Day Bus Pass: £4.50
It’s the 1st of June 2019 – the hottest day of the year so far. I’m not dressed the best – I’ve taken Parisian Chic far too literally with a basket bag in tow.
Tip 1: You always want to be practical when travelling. Say no to the cute purse and adorn a cool cotton tote or a rucksack. To stay within my budget, I’ve decided to take the bus. Whilst it may not be the quickest way to get around London, it’s by far the cheapest. Just put £4.50 onto an Oyster Card and tap your way around London in a day – quite literally.
Food: Portobello Market (Portobello Road, London)
My first stop if we exclude my lacklustre attempt to a Car Boot Sale in Kilburn (more on this later) is Portobello Market. As one of the most famous markets in the world, it’s by far not the cheapest. Here you can find everything from food, clothes to everything in between. After 20 minutes of mooching around, I managed to find a food gem. Right under the bridge (near Acklam Village Market), there’s an area dedicated to food – think curries, pizzas and pasties. I set my target to £2 and managed to find a lovely lady selling delicious Portugueses Custard Tarts for £1.70 – I managed to stay within budget and successfully raise my sugar levels. Win Win!
Shopping: East End Thrift (4 Assembly Passage, Stepney Green, London E1 4UT)
When it comes to fashion, London is brimming with the coolest shops and independent boutiques. But where do cash strapped Londoners go to get their latest fashion fix? Apart from & Other Stories, arguably East End Thrift is where it’s at. I travelled 2 and a bit hours by bus to this famous retro delight. East End Thrift are known for their epic £1 sales throughout the year. Think Denim Jackets, 90’s Adidas anything and jeans galore!
I didn’t end up making a purchase as I couldn’t find anything to my taste (or size), which is a shame. But if you want a wearable souvenir, be sure to hit up this joint.
Entertainment: Peckham Levels (F1-F6 Peckham Town Centre Carpark, 95A Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST)
I’m not too sure if I should be sharing this secret of a gem with you, but hey what the heck! Sharing is caring, right? Peckham Levels is a cool, converted car parking space which is now home to artists, independent fashion boutiques and innovative food restaurants. From time to time, they host ‘open days’ which allows the general public to have a little snoop around. Here you can admire the great talent London’s hippest creatives have to offer.
Having looked at the schedule via Instagram before hand, I carefully mapped out my plan of attack: A free portrait drawing class. Although I was 20 minutes late, the teacher showed me the somewhat mathematical process of creating a portrait drawing. Using pencils and charcoal, I was schooled through the art of drawing facial proportions alongside talented students from a variety of backgrounds and ages.
All in all, it was a great class for those like myself who shall we say are not ‘artistically’ inclined. I managed to keep the drawing and gained a new skill. My Mum is so impressed, she has decided to hang up the ‘piece of art’ at home…
In conclusion, I loved this challenge and truly believe you can stay on budget to as little as £10 when visiting London. If we don’t include a Starbucks coffee and few packets of crisps, I came waaayyyy within budget. I learnt many lessons on the way.
Firstly, eating out in London is definitely expensive and a more realistic price for dining out is £5 and above for a hearty meal.
Secondly, as London is so big and diverse it’s worth sticking to one area at a time and exploring much of that neighbourhood as possible, hence due to time, I wasn’t able to visit the Car Boot Sale mentioned above..
With any day of exploring, try mapping out activities and timeframes beforehand. For example, if you decide to visit the museums in South Kensington (like The Victoria & Albert Museum) stick to surrounding areas within West London: Portobello Road and Notting Hill.
I also learnt great entertainment in London doesn’t need to cost the earth, it’s worth checking TimeOut London for free event listings and reviews. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Be sure to try out the London On A Budget Challenge and let us know how you got on!