Living on a budget in a city can be pretty demoralising. It’s like existing in a world you can’t access. For me, it hits home when I can’t spontaneously pay for something I want to do or have, tend to my own ‘soft’ needs (hair cuts, things like that), or travel too far without detailed pre-planning. But one great thing about London is the amount of free stuff you can do. Any adventure is automatically made cheaper by investing in a bicycle, which I understand is an expense not everyone can take on (I got mine a few years ago). Of all the cities I’ve spent time in, this is the one I feel most at ease with on a tight budget.
Looking for free events is easy – Skint London on Twitter and Londonist’s things to do each weekend are my two go to’s. This Saturday I explored our neighbouring area of Peckham, specifically for . I’ve been to Peckham quite a bit, but this time we really walked around and explored it a bit more…
Crafty Fox Market is in the Bussey Building, which is a bit humid but really fun and well packed. The stalls are a great blend of crafts, art, knick-knacks, even a little bespoke coffee roaster. Outside, Mike was selling hand carved wooden spoons. I really loved the little cement plant pots made by DR Designs, and we bought a bag of coffee from Sham City Roasters. The whole experience is so much fun. There are tons of stalls and workshops, making it a fun environment for kids as well. But don’t worry, there’s no tots running underfoot. A bar area with sausage rolls and plenty of cakes and coffees offers a bit of respite, if you can find a seat.
You could spend a couple of hours wandering through, especially if you care to take part in any of the workshops. They had a marbling one and an acrylic jewellery one while we were there. The people who run the stalls are so much fun to chat with, and the whole vibe is very unpretentious. It’s a welcome feeling amongst the vintage/craft fair scene.
Behind the building is a the Copeland Industrial Park with tons of awesome stuff, including a huge bicycle shop. It has this amazing cafe called 9s, where we stopped for a lemonade and a piece of carrot cake (that is one of the best I’ve had. Seriously. No raisins.) There’s a long alley leading to it with open studio spaces – you can peek in to some incredible painting and pottery. There’s even an underground vinyl/comic/taco/music space that we had to have a look around…
After our wander we cycled back, but stopped on the way at a beautiful farmers market at St Mark’s church near Oval station. For £5 I had the biggest galette I’ve ever seen and it was delicious. (Thank you Ty Janick!) We picked up some stuff for dinner, sat on the grass for an hour or so, and people watched. That might be my favourite free thing to do in London.
All in all, the day didn’t cost me that much money. Not including the grocery shopping at the farmer’s market, I spent about £10 – the lemonade, cake, and galette weren’t necessities, but they were delicious and kept me sated throughout the day. By finding something free to do that was still exciting and engaging, as well as just enjoying being out in the sun, I feel like I made the most of my Saturday.
Crafty Fox Market moves around London, so you may not have to travel that far – this is a great reason to recommend it in particular. Their next fair is at the Geffrye Museum in Haggerston!
There’s so many markets, museums, and walks around the city that even on a budget, London is a wonderful place to live. I really enjoyed myself – I didn’t feel the squeeze of not having enough money, and by the time I got home was happily exhausted. I’m sure a lot of cities have a vibrant low-cost scene, but I know London’s is my favourite.
featured image via crafty fox gallery