London is an expensive city. Although I knew this before traveling to the city, I didn’t fully realize just how pricey things were until I arrived. It is possible though to spend little money while in the expensive city. While many guides and articles will tell you about the free museums and galleries, there are many other things to see and do in London. Here is how I spent my week in London:
There are quite a few different markets in London that open every weekend. Some of them are considered to be the best markets in the world. While most people go to markets to spend money, I found the whole experience of walking around and just looking to be very exciting. Here are two of my favourite markets in London:
Camden Market (best time is every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 6pm)
Made up of four markets, it is by far my favourite place in London. Shop-aholics beware, Camden can be extremely overwhelming because well … it’s just that good! As soon as the weekend comes around, the market scene comes to life. Camden Lock Market, Camden Stables Market, Camden (Buck Street) Market and Inverness Street Market are all open and sell everything from new and old designer goods, antiques, jewellery, fabrics, furniture, cheap food and everything else in between. Make sure to wear a pair of comfortable shoes because it’s very easy to spend the day in Camden.
Portebello Market (best time is every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 7PM)
This is the world’s largest antique market, and it stretches two miles through the heart of Notting Hill (the trendy area of London made famous by the film). From unique clothing and second hand jewellery to boxing gloves and fur coats, you can find just about anything here. Hungry? Choose from a variety of international cuisine for a full meal costing no more than three pounds. Need a break? Sit down, relax and enjoy a free performance by one of the many talented street performers.
My favourite thing to do in London is to walk and see where you end up. Not only is it free, but it’s a great way to explore the city and discover things you might not have by using public transportation or a car. You also may end up somewhere you never intended to, which is when real adventures happen. Walking is also a great form of exercise and will keep you fit while your traveling. Having a map is not a bad idea while walking around the city. The best maps are the ones you can get from any of the bus tour companies found throughout the city. Just ask the tour leader for a map and they will more then likely give you one. Did I mention they are free?
Spend The Afternoon At The Park
There are many lovely parks found throughout London. My favourites are Kennsington Gardens and Hyde Park. Both parks are fairly big and have some interesting history to them. I love spending days in parks not only because it’s free but because it’s a great way to meet other people and also take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Londoners are very friendly and won’t hesitate to come up and talk to you about what you HAVE to see and do in England or about life in general. From walking tours, to various festivals, to football games, and picnics, there always seems to be something happening in the London parks. Even if you want some time alone, there are many areas to just relax under a tree and read a book.
Not only is this a great way to spend an afternoon in London, but it is one of my favorite things to do in any country I’m traveling through. People watching is a great way to really take in the culture of a country, learn about the people and is also good for a few laughs. I meet some of the most interesting people this way, such as, the man above in the picture. He had been searching for “treasure” everyday for five years with his metal detector. His biggest hope is to find two “ladies” under there?
Taking Funny Pictures
When you think of London, you think of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Well, at least that’s one of the things I was most excited about seeing when I decided to travel to London. It’s true that trying to make the guards crack a smile is near impossible. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has done it. However, trying to make them smile is probably one of the best afternoons I spent in London. Keep in mind, there should be a level of respect maintained. Having said that, it didn’t stop me from acting “somewhat” childish to say the least.
I travelled around London in September 2010 on only £115! Find out by checking out my London Budget Breakdown.