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'Top Things To Do in London on a Budget'

One of the most inspiring and culturally diverse cities in the world, London really does have it all.  From Summer street-parties to world-renowned art exhibitions, London is the capital of culture and is the catalyst of all things fun.  London can be done on a budget if you know where to go, just read our top recommendations below for a locals' guide to London....

Soak Up The Atmosphere At Colombia Road Flower Market

Every Sunday, the quiet street of Colombia Road in The East End is transformed into a bustling, vibrant and fragrant parade of everything floral and fun.  Locals come together to get there hands on the finest bunch of freshly-cut flowers whilst sipping on a flat white coffee.  Colombia Road itself is a beautiful cobbled Victorian street scattered with Deli's, vintage shops, art galleries and coffee shops, and it's here that the East London geezers come to sell their fancy flowers and potted plants to anyone who wants a bargain!  The market starts at around 8am but for the best deals get there around 2pm, you may even be able to pick up an 8 foot banana tree for £3 like our friend did. Closest Tube is Shoreditch High Street.

www.columbiaroad.info

Craspedia (Billy Buttons) at Colombia Road

Craspedia (Billy Buttons) at Colombia Road

Be Baffled By Weird Contraptions At The Wellcome Collection

Want to see what a century old sex toy looks like, or a human body sliced right through the middle? The Wellcome Collection is an incredible place to discover the weird and wonderful artifacts collected by traveler Henry Wellcome on the theme of medicinal history from around the world.  His extensive collections include books, paintings, wacky objects and bodily samples and specimens.  The museum also has an amazing library up on the 2nd floor, a cafe, a gift shop and has regular temporary exhibitions which are equally intruding and well curated.  All of this is free and can be enjoyed every day of the week except Mondays. Closest tube stop is Euston.

www.wellcomecollection.org

The Wellcome collection on busy Euston road

The Wellcome collection on busy Euston road

 

Stroll Down The Bustling Brick Lane

The bustling street of Brick Lane feels more like a festival on a Sunday then a flea market and an eclectic mix of East Enders, Bangladeshi Curry Sellers, Tourists and Trendies get together to buy and sell Antiques, Vintage Clothing, Brick-a-brack, eat street food, have a few pints and soak up the vibe.  At the top of the street is a 24 hour bagel shop named 'Bagel Bake' which sells the most incredible salt beef bagel with mustard and pickles, alternatively for a vegetarian option go for the cream cheese bagel which is fulled to the brim.  The street food is also exceptional and great value for money, and can be found on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Elys Yard, The Old Truman Brewery and on Brick Lane itself.  Closest tube stop is Whitechapel or Shoreditch High Street.

www.visitbricklane.org

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Munch On A Burger At Stokey Bears

Enjoy lots of food for your buck at Stoke Newington's hottest burger joint.  With a grungy vibe and techno soundtrack, Stokey Bears is a great place to go with a group of friends and share some local craft beers, sides, and of course burgers. Our visits tend to happen on hungover Sundays when Mark becomes the 'Greedy' and Ali the 'Grizzly'.  Don't panic, these are just the names for the burgers! Each one a mouth watering combination of 100% grass fed Sussex beef pattie topped with double oak smoked bacon, cheese and burger beer bacon jam, all nicely nestled in a brioche bap.  For those who want a challenge, competition is fierce to get on the leader board for the quickest destruction of the Greedy burger; which is a double stacked meaty, cheesy overload... good luck!  The best of the sides are 'mac 'n' cheese balls', 'angry fries' and the 'raw & fresh slaw'.  We challenge you to walk away hungry!  Closest stop is Stoke Newington on the overground.

www.stokeybears.com

 

Dance Till 4am At Phonox Nightclub

The people behind Shoreditch's most popular dance hotspot 'XOYO' and Dalston's 'The Nest' opened another club in September 2015 called 'Phonox' in Brixton.  The clubs' ethos is to present world class DJ's to happy clubbers every Friday and Saturday night, and sometimes even on Sunday days.  Expect to hear Techno, Underground House, Disco and Bass all the way.  Resident DJs include Jasper James and DJ Haai, and other featured djs have been Julio Bashmore, Gilles Peterson, Horse Meat Disco, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Mr Saturday Night. The space feels intimate with a giant central disco ball, platforms around the edge to dance on and some impressive laser light displays, and early bird tickets are as little as £5 each. Incredibly if you get there before 9pm on a Friday and 10pm on a Saturday then entry is free.  What a great way to start the weekend! Closest tube stop is Brixton.

www.phonox.co.uk

Phonox in Brixton

Phonox in Brixton

 

Feast on a Turkish in Dalston

The smell that dominates Kingsland High Road in Dalston is the beautiful smell of the Turkish charcoal grills that line the busy street, some of which have been open for as long as 25 years and are family run businesses.  Favourites include 'Mangal 1' on Arcola Street which has received acclaim from chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver, and 'Stone Cafe' which is a novelty themed Turkish restaurant with fake stone walls and moody lighting.  There is also unpretentious 'Umut 2000' on Dalston Crossway which has the most incredible onion cooked in pomegranate starter and either the 'Sarma Tavuk Beyti' kebab (spicy minced chicken breast seasonsoned with garlic, green pepper and parsley, rolled up in bread and finished with butter sauce) or the equally delicious 'Iskender' kebab (charcoal grilled minced lamb prepared with bread, tomatoes and yoghurt sauce finished with butter sauce on top).  Some of the restaurants are bring your own booze which is an added bonus.  If a full dinner out is breaking the bank, then head to a Turkish kebab shop and order a 'Jahmajoun' (Turkish Pizza) which costs about £1.50 and you can add salad and chips for a small up charge. Closest station is Dalston Kingsland.

Umut 2000 on Trip Advisor

Mangal on Arcola street

Mangal on Arcola street

 

Marvel At Brutalism At The Barbican

The Barbican Centre is one of the most unique Art spaces you will find in London and is the largest performing arts centre in Europe.  If you are into live Classical or Contemporary music, film screenings, theatre, or art exhibitions, then look no further then visiting here.  The building itself is an impressive maze of brutalist concrete structures, with spacious indoor hangout areas and an outdoor courtyard complete with fountains.  There are several coffee shops and cafes, a gift shop that sells cool design-led products and a conservatory garden that boasts over 2000 species of plant.  This is definitely the place to come for a relaxed afternoon of reading, or somewhere interesting to eat a packed lunch.  The curve gallery on the ground floor usually has a free exhibition so why not head down and soak up the atmosphere. Closest tube stops are Barbican and Moorgate.

www.barbican.org.uk

Outdoor courtyards at the Barbican

Outdoor courtyards at the Barbican

 

Stroll The Regents Canal

The tranquil and atmospheric waterway of the Regents Canal passes just North of central London and is a haven from the noisy and bustling streets that surround it.  The Canal connects the sceneic Little Venice in West London to the urban Docklands of East. It meanders through some of Londons cultural highlights; including the eclectic Town of Camden, the sleekly developed Granary Square in Kings Cross, the famous London Zoo and green-spaced Regents Park.  Share the waterway with like-minded walkers, cyclists and boaters and enjoy pit stops for coffee, cake and a browse at floating bookshops on barges.  Closest tube stops are Angel, Kings Cross, Camden, London Fields to name a few.

www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

Enjoy the tranquility of the Regents Canal

Enjoy the tranquility of the Regents Canal

 

People Watch In Camden Town

Home of the late Amy Winehouse and legendary Bob Dylan, Camden is the Mecca for counter-culture and is home to the alternative kids that want to live in London but who want to stick their fingers up to the rules. Camden is the ultimate hub of self-expression and creativity, and punks put Camden on the scene in 1976 when the banned Sex Pistols song 'God Save the Queen' blasted down the streets.  Wonder through the lanes to soak up the bustling market stalls and eat some street food by the lock.  Enjoy live music in one of Camdens world famous venues, the Roundhouse, or some jazz in one of the many cafes.  Expect to see raging punks, goths, ravers, some grungy kids and a few diamond geezers doing dodgy deals.  Closest tube stop is Camden Town.

www.camdenmarket.com

 

Get Arty At The Tate  

The Tate Modern is incredibly the most visited art gallery in the World and displays Modern and Contemporary Art in the most impressive setting imaginable.  The building once stood as a Bankside Power Station next to the Thames and after closing in 1981 was reopened 20 years later as an Internationally recognised art space.  An ambitious project, it maintains a lot of the buildings original character and notable spaces included the jaw-dropping turbine hall and the recently renovated oil tanks.  Featured artists have included Mark Rothko, Damian Hirst, Henry Matisse, Piet Mondrian and Andy Warhol.  In 2016, a new extention was added to the site which resembles a twisting pyramid structure.  All of the permanent collections are free to see, and paid shows change every few months.  If nothing else it's worth soaking up the atmosphere in one of London's coolest spaces.  Closest Tube stops are Blackfriars and London Bridge.

www.tate.org.uk

Olafur Olafsson at the Tate Modern

Olafur Olafsson at the Tate Modern

 

Eat From A World-Famous Pizzeria

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is one of Italys favourite and oldest pizzerias, establishing itself in Naples in 1870, and is now arguably the best place to eat pizza in the world.  In early 2017, L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele came to London and opened up its first U.K. branch on Church Street in Stoke Newington, and from then on the queues have been out the door.  What makes this pizza so wonderful is it's simplicity, only two types of pizza are on offer: the margareta, with tomato, mozzarella and basil, and the marinara, with tomato, oregano and garlic.  Each dough is hand-spun into an irregular shape, however it comes, topped and then put into a 500 degree wood-fired oven for one minute only.  The result is a beautifully spotted pizza which is soft and steamy to eat, with the pure simplicity of the ingredients at the forefront of every mouthful.  Closest tube stop is Stoke Newington.

Read our review here

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele on Trip Advisor

The rustic 'margareta' pizza at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele

The rustic 'margareta' pizza at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele

 

Explore The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park In Stratford

The London Olympic Park is a huge success story and has been transformed since the 2012 Olympics into a well-used hub offering multiple leisure facilities, a football stadium, landscaped parks and gardens, among many more.  You can play tennis, swim or cycle in one of the iconic Olympic buildings, or climb to the top of Anish Kapoors' Orbit viewing tower, and then slide down the Carson Holler slide at exhilarating speeds.  Renting a Borris Bike is free for the first 30 minutes so why not have a quick cycle round and explore what the park has to offer.  This is a great place to come for a picnic, or just to watch the world go by.  The park itself is free to enter but you will have to pay for indoor sporting activities. Closest tube stop is Stratford. 

www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk

The Copper Box, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Copper Box, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

 

Get Fun And Fruity At The Notting Hill Carnival

On two very special days of the year, people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities dance together down the streets of West London to celebrate the Notting Hill Carnival. It is the biggest annual celebration of Caribbean culture in the U.K. and has been a tradition since the 1960s.  Around 2 million people traipse through the Victorian-housed streets of Notting Hill to find the biggest sound systems, watch the costumed dancers on floats, and to munch on the best finger-lickin' Caribbean cuisine they can find.  Food favourites include beef patties, rice and pea, jerk chicken, curried goat and char-grilled corn on the cob.  If you're lucky you might see a police officer getting twirked-on, or a peep-show from a top window. Here, anything goes!  Closest tube stop is Westbourne Grove or Notting Hill Gate.

www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com

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Top Things To Do In London On A Budget, by Studio Mali
 

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