You don’t have to fly abroad to feel like a tourist for the day. From food freebies to cultural experiences, boat rides to cheap swims – head to a new bit of the city and explore what's on offer there. Here are four adventures in the city to suit any budget
4 London days out to suit any budget
Feel like a tourist without leaving the city by going on a 'stay trip'
Noon: London Bridge
Now it’s time to meander across London Bridge, like a proper tourist, and drink in the views of the Thames as you go, including that of Tower Bridge in the distance.
If you’ve got a head for heights, walk now to London’s sixth-tallest building and impressive public space, Sky Garden, atop the Walkie-Talkie. Marvel at the spectacular city views through stunning windows, and stroll around amid the lush vegetation. Make sure to book in advance.
Take a 20-minute stroll north-eastwards, stopping off to Instagram the impossibly-pretty houses on Wilkes Street and Princelet Street in Spitalfields, an area which embodies the spirit of the historic East End. Then head towards the famous Old Spitalfields market for some people-watching and window-shopping.
Top off the evening with a trip to the brilliant and bustling Urban Food Fest in Shoreditch High Street. Every Sat until October, there’s an outdoor party with free giant Jenga, ping-pong and live music (as well as 15 food trucks). Head there on August 25 when Levi Roots will be dishing out free samples of his Reggae Reggae sauce.
Colourful Camden also has its tranquil areas. Take a peaceful stroll through the town via the canal and follow the walker’s paths. A perfect way to have an idyllic afternoon.
After a brisk walk up to Hampstead Heath (you can do it in less than 25 minutes, we promise), it’s time to get your kit off at Hampstead Heath Ponds. For just £2, you can cool off outdoors in one of three pools (ladies, mens or mixed). And cool off you will, because even in summer the water can be fairly nippy.
Barbecue season is well underway, so what better way to get in the mood for a meat-feast, than the The Hampstead Butcher. This traditional British butcher hosts regular weekend tastings in its shops from noon-4pm. Get stuck into a mouth-watering selection of cheeses, artisan wines, patés, cakes and charcuterie.
Round off the day with a walk to Belsize Park, where the Zabludowicz Collection’s London project space has been running contemporary art exhibitions since 2007. With work from up-and-coming solo artists, you’re sure to find something that will entertain, mystify or surprise you.
Noon: True Flavours
A trip to Brixton wouldn’t be complete without Caribbean food, and there’s nowhere more authentic than True Flavours, on Acre Lane. Get a jerk chicken meal with rice, peas and a side of plantain. You’ll leave feeling content.
Cinema tickets aren’t mega-cheap at the Ritzy Cinema on Coldharbour Lane, but they make up for the prices with free shows and live music in the café. Head to the second floor to grab a coffee, and drink it on the terrace, from which you can watch the whole of buzzing Brixton roll by below.
Once you’re done snapping your sandy-selfie, catch an off-peak tube from Waterloo to Tottenham Court Road, and head to Absurd Bird in Soho. The Southern-style eatery offers a weekend bottomless brunch that’s dangerously tasty. Choose two courses including chicken and waffles or veggie and vegan options, plus free-flowing booze.
Take a ten-minute stroll to the world-famous Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road where you can immerse yourself in all that it has to offer. With talks from authors, live jazz music, workshops and exhibitions, you can easily while away a pleasant afternoon here, or grab a coffee and cake from the café upstairs.
Your evening finishes on Soho Street with a visit to the Iskcon (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Radha Krishna Temple. The Hindu spiritual oasis was once visited by the Beatles. Anyone is welcome at their sacred ceremonies (arati) or philosophical talks.
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