I’ve toyed with the idea of living in London a couple of times in my life.
It’s so expensive. But all the good stuff is there.
It’s overcrowded. But it’s exciting.
I’d have to live in a rip-off, teeny-tiny flat. But that could be fun.
After a little bit of too-and-frow in my head, I soon and always come to the conclusion that moving to London isn’t for me. There’s not enough fresh air or trees or greenery. I can imagine it now, I’d have to have that many plants to make up for it my flat would be like a jungle. Plus, I just couldn’t justify spending that much money.
Visiting, however, on a well-managed budget. Now you’re talking.
In today’s post, I talk about how to get the most out of this amazing city on a budget, focusing on the King’s Cross area. But my theories can be applied to pretty much any area! Hope you like it!
1. stay somewhere comfortable, central and cheap.
The number one rule here is to not spend an arm and a leg on accommodation. As you know I spent a lot of time backpacking earlier this year, so really got used to budget accommodation. I fell in love with hostel life (though it does have it’s ups and downs) as I was so shocked at how comfortable they can be, for such little money. They’re almost always in the most central areas, too.
Clink Hostels are a very well-established, clean, comfortable, cool and fun group of hostels in London and Amsterdam.
In London, a bed in a dorm room costs as little as £17 per night, which is amazing value for the area. Their original London spot is 5 mins walk from King’s Cross station and is a converted prison. You can pay a little extra and stay in the old cells, if you really want to, too!
2. get those cheap eats in.
As you know I am all about the scran and trust me, we ate some reet good cheap scran in our two-day visit round King’s Cross. I’m sounding very Northern here, aren’t? I was hanging out with a Yorkshire lass (another Sophie) and a Stokey (Charl) so that could explain it!
First stop was Pizza Union for epic pizza. Thin, crispy, full of lush toppings, served with great beer and on the table in 6 minutes flat.
On night two we ate at Honest Burger, and as it was dark in the dorm room when we ate it we didn’t get to take any (decent) photos, but boy oh boy it was good. Just LOOK at their Instagram shots! Drool!
We even decided to stop to snack on ice cream at Ruby Violet’s which was absolutely lush, too. I’m eating their masala chai flavour, which was divine, and reminded me of my days in India! Charl had the elderflower and prosecco sorbet and oh, my days it was the fittest sorbet I’ve ever tasted.
3. jump on a free walking tour to learn about the area.
Whilst travelling Europe and parts of Asia, I’ve been on loads of free walking tours and they are amazing.
On this trip, we booked a guided tour for a small fee and the lovely Isabelle from Golden Tours took us around. I cannot recommend her enough! She knew everything there is to know about the history and current goings on in the area.
We learnt all about how King’s Cross was the main port in London, and how the Midland Grand Hotel (which opened in 1873) was the very first of it’s kind in the country. It had a fireplace in every room, but no bathroom! It had to close down in 1935, by which time it was deemed outdated and too costly to maintain!
We explored so many areas with her, including the lush Granary Square.
4. seek out cheap and CHEERFUL activities.
We also discovered some cheap and cheerful hangouts in the area. First of all, we got crafty at Drink, Shop and Do.
We stopped there for lunch and had a go at designing (and sporting) our own tattoo transfers! I’m crap at drawing, but I gave it a go and was actually quite impressed with the outcome… 😂😂
Other cheap hangouts we discovered were The Big Chill which is a quirky bar with a big, outside terrace (with heaters) right opposite Pizza Union. They have a fab, proper retro photo booth and serve a lovely coffee too if you don’t fancy a beer!
Simmons Bar is also an ace little hangout, a short walk from the main road so definitely off the beaten track. The interior is all shabby-chic, they have the (seemingly mandatory) King’s Cross neon lights on the go and a retro SEGA Megadrive downstairs which is free to use! If you buy a drink!
5. do something unique to the area.
Ask yourself, what can I do here that I can’t do anywhere else? And there’s bound to be loads of options that aren’t gonna break the bank!
We discovered that King’s Cross is the birthplace of the renowned English writer, Charles Dickens, and his house is now a museum.
The museum is great to explore, you get to go into his wine cellar and explore the servants quarters, too. Recommended if you want to geek up and learn something on your trip, too!
I hope you’ve found my five tips useful! They can be adapted to any area and as long as you watch your budget whilst you’re gallivanting around you’ll be fine! Do you have any tips for having an action-packed weekend away on a budget?