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Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

City Guide June 14, 2023
Nannybag - Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

So you're planning a trip to London and want to make the most of your budget. Fear not, because this guide is here to show you the city's hidden gems that won't break the bank. While the typical guides might steer you towards expensive tourist attractions, we'll take you through the off-the-beaten-path London. We hope you're ready for some budget-friendly delights.

From free exhibitions and parks to affordable street food markets and cafes, a world of affordable experiences awaits exploring. Embrace the spirit of adventure and uncover the secret side of London that won't strain your wallet. As it turns out, budget travel and London can actually rhyme. Get ready to create memories without sacrificing your budget, and consider this guide your London Pass!

Embrace the thrill of discovery, make the most of your budget, and let these hidden gems unlock the true essence of London, proving that memorable experiences can be found on any budget. And speaking of budgets, make sure to use Nannybag to store your luggage for a day in London.

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Leadenhall Market

This market dates back to the 14th century and served as inspiration for the Diagon Alley scenes in the Harry Potter series. Here you can discover an array of boutique shops, independent traders, and charming stalls offering an eclectic mix of goods. I can’t guarantee you will find a want, but I can guarantee a culinary haven. From traditional British fare to international cuisines, you'll find a myriad of dining options to satisfy any craving.

Location: City of London Closest metro stops: Bank, Monument, and Liverpool Street

Working Hours: Weekdays from 7:00 am until 11:00 pm

Price: £-££

 

Nannybag - Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

 

Portobello Road Market

Head to the beautiful Notting Hill (you may recognize this name from the infamous rom-com starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant), where you’ll find Portobello Road. This long street runs nearly the whole length of Notting Hill and is famous for its glamorous, colorful houses, lively atmosphere, and booming, busy market. You can also spot George Orwell’s home here. There are permanent stalls and shops lining the street, selling some really good quality antiques, brilliant art, jewelry, clothing… almost anything that you’d need!

From 8 am to 9 am, most stalls on Portobello Road are set up during the summer months, and they generally close between 5 pm and 6 pm and are closed on Sundays - but on certain Sundays in June and July, the market will be open.

On a summer’s day, it’s one of the most enjoyable places to be anywhere in London, and you’re sure to find some delicious food and one or two cool items to bring home with you.

Location: Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London Closest metro stop: Notting Hill Gate

Working Hours: 8 am-9 am and close between 5 pm-6 pm

 

Nannybag - Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

 

Isabella Plantation

Whether you're seeking a peaceful escape, a scenic spot for a leisurely walk, or a place to reconnect with nature, Isabella Plantation offers it all. It doubles as a haven where you can slow down, unwind, and embrace the surroundings. Best of all, admission to Isabella Plantation is free, welcoming everyone to explore and enjoy this garden.

Location: Richmond, London Closest metro stop: Richmond Underground

Working Hours: Dawn until dusk

Price: FREE!

 

LRB Bookshop and Cafe

Calling all the book lovers! Step into LRB Bookshop and Cafe, a haven for book lovers located in the heart of London. Discover the shelves that contain an extensive range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and academic titles.

The carefully curated collection caters to all ages. If you find the perfect book, head to the cozy cafe within the bookshop. The café atmosphere is perfect for unwinding and enjoying your new literary adventure.

Location: 14 Bury Place, London

Closest metro stop: Holborn

Working Hours: Mon to Sat 10 am – 6:30 pm, Sun 12 pm – 6 pm

Price: £

 

Nannybag - Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

 

Gogo Pocha

Gogo Pocha is another one of the hidden gems in London's vibrant streets. Inspired by Seoul's vibrant street food culture, Gogo Pocha brings the bold flavors of Korean cuisine. This cozy and stylish eatery is also welcoming and perfect for sharing a meal with friends or enjoying a casual date night. Their dishes and cocktails are to die for, so make sure to come in with an empty stomach.

Location: 30 Lower Marsh, London Closest metro stop: Lambeth North

Working Hours: Sunday. 12 pm - 9:30 pm, Monday - Friday. 12 pm - 3 pm and 5 pm - 11 pm, Saturday. 12 pm - 11 pm. Price: £

 

Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is an enchanting burial ground located in the pretty neighborhood of Highgate, North London. It's renowned for its Gothic architecture, overgrown ivy, and the final resting place of notable figures like Karl Marx and George Eliot.

Walking through the cemetery feels like stepping into a different era, with elaborate gravestones and winding pathways that create a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere. It’s overgrown with plants, with plenty of hidden spots to explore.

While it's considered one of the most haunted places in the whole country, it is also one of the most peaceful places. The neighborhood is also charming, with many pretty streets and historic buildings in this affluent area.

Location: Swain's Lane, London Closest metro stop: Archway Underground Station

Working Hours: Summer: Monday to Friday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Winter: Monday to Friday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Price: FREE!

 

Nannybag - Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

 

Wallace Collection

Head to Manchester Square in the glamorous West End area of Marylebone (only around a five-minute walk from Oxford Street), and you’ll find Hertford House, which houses the Wallace Collection.

This is an incredible museum housing beautiful French 18th-century paintings and weapons and armor from around the world, some dating back to the fifteenth century. There are so many different types of things to see and examine, yet the museum isn’t enormous and won’t take you hours to get through. Best of all, the entrance is completely free!

If you do want to treat yourself, though, you can get an afternoon tea, that typical English tradition, at the Wallace Restaurant, which is relatively cheap at only £19.50.

Location: Hertford House, Manchester Square, London

Closest metro stop: Oxford Circus

Working Hours: 10 am-5 pm every day of the week

Price: FREE!

In the mood for more hidden gems? Take a look at our travel guides and learn more about Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums and Attractions.

 

Nannybag - Exploring London's Hidden Gems: Budget-Friendly Experiences

 

St. Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan in the East is a unique and historic church located in East London. It has a fascinating story that dates back to the 12th century. The original structure was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

It was later rebuilt by Christopher Wren, the same architect who designed the incredible St. Paul’s Cathedral, only a few minutes walk away. However, during the Blitz in World War II, the church was once again heavily damaged. Rather than restoring it, the decision was made to preserve the ruins and transform the space into a public garden.

Today, you can wander through the atmospheric remnants of the church, with its ivy-covered walls, archways, and tranquil greenery. This hidden gem in the heart of the city is filled with history. It's also a quiet green escape from the city center.

Location: St. Dunstan's Hill, London

Closest metro stop: Monument Underground Station

Working Hours: The area is accessible to the public during daylight hours

Price: FREE!

 

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is a picturesque green space and neighborhood located in North London, just off Regent’s Park (the Regent’s Canal separates it from the rest of the park). It's famous for its stunning panoramic views of the city skyline that you can see from the top of the grassy hill.

Many locals flock to this spot to watch the sunset or picnic on the grassy slopes, but it is somewhat unknown to the many tourists visiting London every year. The hill is surrounded by charming streets filled with boutique shops, trendy cafes, and lively pubs. Why not enjoy a meal or a couple of drinks after Primrose Hill?

Location: Primrose Hill, London- North London, near the Regent's Park

Closest metro stop: Chalk Farm Underground Station

Working Hours: Early morning until dusk

Price: FREE!

 

Bang Bang Oriental

Bang Bang Oriental is London's premier food hall. Nestled in the vibrant heart of Colindale, this culinary mecca brings together the diverse flavors of Asia under one roof, promising a memorable dining experience for foodies and picky eaters alike.

From steaming bowls of noodle soup to sizzling stir-fries, from delicate sushi rolls to fragrant curries, the food hall offers represents culinary traditions of various Asian cuisines. Beyond the food, the hall provides a vibrant and communal space, perfect for sharing meals. Bang bang oriental is the perfect casual hangout place and date spot as well, making it one of the best-hidden gems in London. You'll save money and still have a great time.

Location: 399 Edgware Road, Colindale, London Closest metro stop: Colindale Underground Station 

Working Hours: 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM daily

Price: £-££

 

Temple Church

Temple Church is a remarkable and truly historic gem nestled in the heart of London but perhaps doesn’t receive the attention or acclaim that it should. Founded in the 12th century by the Knights Templar, this building showcases a captivating blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles.

The church's round nave, known as the Round Church, is a rare and exquisite example of medieval design. It is adorned with intricate stone carvings, elegant stained glass windows, and a striking central octagonal column. The church's history is equally captivating, with ties to the Knights Templar and their mysterious legends.

The area that it’s in, known as Temple, is an especially grand area of central London between Fleet Street and the River, and while much of it is closed off to the public as it’s private land for high-ranking lawyers, owned by the Inns of Court for barristers in

Britain. Still, you can visit the church, which charges £5 or £3 concessions for entry, and even attend a service there in the mornings, evenings, or weekends.

Location: City of London, at Temple, London

Closest metro stop: Temple Underground Station

Working Hours: Open Monday to Friday. Check online for the exact hours

Price: Free

 

When visiting London, make sure to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city by exploring its diverse neighborhoods. This can be by strolling down Kensington Lane to discover charming cafes and hidden gems loved by locals. Why not stop by the Tate and discover its many artistic treasures, showcasing both renowned and emerging artists. For a taste of London's rich theatre culture, Covent Garden and Westminster are your go-to destinations. Buckingham Palace and Victoria Station are easily accessible from these areas, making it convenient to explore further. To experience the true essence of the city, venture off the beaten path in Greenwich, Camden, and beyond. Traveling on a budget, should never be an obstacle, especially with the right tips for an affordable London adventure. And if you're wondering where to eat, drink, stay, and play in London this summer, this guide has you covered. Enjoy your London adventure!

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