A couple of weeks ago I was set a challenge by Travelex to see what I could get up to and enjoy in the capital with $150 Australian dollars. I certainly know how easy it is to spend English pounds here in London, and having lived in Australia for a year I also know how easy it is to spend the Aussie dollar. Although it’s easy to spend, it’s also easy to find free things to do. So I was more than ready for this challenge!
One of my favourite things about London is it’s culture and social calendar. Whether it’s a new band playing at a local venue, a pop up cafe of some sort, a gallery opening, or a film preview – there is always something going on and it’s forever exciting! It’s important to keep that buzz alive here, and not get bogged down in the rat race of the daily commute.
The first thing we did was find the nearest cash point to draw out half our currency, as I knew I wanted to hit up a market of some kind and would need cash. The clever thing about Travelex’s Multi Currency Passport is that you can create an account online and change the currency over to GBP, or whichever currency you need. This means that when you then draw cash out, you won’t incur any charges. Very clever!
We caught the Northern Line down to London Bridge and headed to Borough Market
. I’ve been here numerous times before and love it every time. It’s definitely a highlight of mine in London and I would recommend a visit. Saturday’s can be very busy, but if you’re happy to queue and are prepared for the crowds, I actually love the buzzing atmosphere it creates.
There are countless food options here – whether it’s a hot meal you’re after, a healthy salad, or perhaps you want to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables to take home. You name it, they have it!
If you’re more of a sweet toothed person, a number of market stalls also sell homemade cakes, pastries, chocolate and fudge. The huge piles of cakes, carefully stacked up on top of each other are enough to make anyone’s mouth water. However for me, it’s all about the Ethiopian cuisine. Yes you heard right… Ethiopian!
I had never tried Ethiopian anything before visiting Borough Market. Now the food might not look the most appetizing, or Instagram worthy, but the smell alone will draw you in! The queue for this particular stall is normally the longest, and there’s a reason for this. After traveling Asia we picked up this fact – if in doubt, always join the longest queue!
I still can’t quite explain what the food is but it tastes so good. It’s kind of a mixture of lentils, chickpeas, sweet potato and veg, in a curry type sauce, layered on top of rice and homemade bread. The bread soaks up the juices from the curry and oh em gee does it taste amazing!!
Also at Borough Market is an array of homemade alcohol, including some of the nicest prosecco I’ve ever tasted. Plus during winter, pretty much every stall is serving up mulled wine – my fave! In the surrounding streets you can also find plenty of cafes, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. This time we stopped in at Monmouth Coffee to buy a bag of their beans. Here we were treated to a little taster of a number of different coffee, before making our selection. The staff were so friendly, and although they had a queue a mile long (literally outside and around the corner), they were all too happy to help us with our purchase.
From Borough Market you can enjoy a lovely walk along the Thames towards Southbank. You can also stop off at the Tate Modern if you have time and enjoy this free museum. Another massive selling point for London is that so many galleries and museums are free!
When we finally reached Southbank we headed towards Waterloo station where we had heard about a pop up crazy golf, held in the tunnels underneath the station. The latest venture from Rooftop Film Club, Birdies crazy golf had encompassed The Vaults with a 9 hole golf course, burger and ice-cream stand, and a funky underground bar. I believe it’s now closed but they will be relocating to a new spot soon. This little adventure really sums up London in it’s entirety.Every weekend you will find something different to attend. It’s impossible to do it all, but it’s fun to pick out a few things each month. It’s all about exploring!