They’re not exactly hidden, but how these escape the oh so common ‘top 10 free/cheap things to do when in London’ type blog posts is beyond me. Being a London lad, I would put these somewhere near the top of my list …
1. The Portobello Road Market:
Made famous by the children’s film ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ … well at least in my eyes, this is my favourite market in London by far. Like most places, it’s a destination best served with sunshine, so check the weather and set your alarm clock. The market takes place each Saturday, starting in the early hours. To get there just jump on the tube (underground) to Notting Hill Gate and follow the signposts. Filled to the brim with tempting food stalls, amazing materials and the usual mobile phone accessory stalls, the place is bursting with life, sound and colours. The shops down the road aren’t bad either. I love the place!
Notting Hill Gate is the closet tube station.
2. Little Venice:
It won’t keep you busy all day, but little Venice is a lovely little place to have a wander before sitting down to enjoy a drink. Boat trips also run for those of you who want to spend some time on the water. A quiet, relaxing oasis in the heart of London.
Warwick Avenue is the closet tube station.
3. Platform 9 ¾:
Located at Kings Cross Station, you’ll find platform 9 ¾ from the Harry Potter Series. You won’t spend all day there, but if you’re a fan its worth dropping by for a photo with the luggage trolley half sticking out of the wall under the iron platform sign.
Kings Cross station. Directions taken from Wikapedia. Go to platform 1 (one), turn right and exit the station. To your right you will see a dedicated area which houses the new trolley, with a specially built canopy where you can take photographs. Unfortunately, the trolley is not the original and the scenario no longer resembles the original location of the trolley within the station, having artificial walls and no views of the original drainpipes.
4. POW (pictures on walls) gallery and shop:
Unfortunately the shop is only open Mon – Fri, but if you get the chance its well worth a look. The art on show and available to buy is just amazing and probably out of most backpackers budgets … but its still nice to look. Selling work by famous artists such as Banksy, Insect, Invader (my favourites) and many many others, you won’t know which way to look when you enter.
Commercial street, E1 6LT
5. SRO Audiences:
How about being in the audience of a TV show? SRO audiences allows you to enter ballets whereby you can get free tickets to watch a live TV production. Yes you have to sit through retakes etc, but you can get to see some really great acts. For example, last week I got tickets to see Live at the Apollo, at the Hammersmith Apollo. This is a show known for some top quality commedians, we got to see Jack Whitehall, Sarah Millican and Russell Kane amonst others.
If comedy is not your thing, there’s heaps more – Loose women, family fortunes, the cube, countdown, dancing on ice … the list goes on.
Tickets are emailed, so you all you need is a valid email and somewhere to print them off. Tickets are usually oversubscribed however, so make sure you get to the venue early to avoid dissapointment, and check the transports links before you leave for the venue as always in London.
I’m sure there are many more ‘hidden’ jems out there, but so far these are my favourites. Suggestions of others are more than welcome …