We’ve all moaned about the prices, but the main reason London is so damn expensive is precisely because it’s a such an attractive, dynamic place that millions of us are still desperate to call home.
And actually, it really isn’t essential to have mountains of cash to burn through in order to enjoy it.
Don’t believe us? Here’s the secret to making London living genuinely affordable and as much fun as you always knew it could and should be: you just need to share…
Share an urban walk
Surely among the top joys of living in London is being able to take a decent stroll, safe in the knowledge you’ll encounter all manner of fascinating diversions along the way. How about exploring some of the lesser known foodie markets such as Maltby Street in Bermondsey or the Slow Food Market at the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn for starters, with plenty of tasting to be done. Alternatively you could always seek out the city’s best street art locations, or indeed look for some of it’s more illicit yet equally bold grafitti too. Or perhaps head slighlty further afield, and discover the delights of the city’s unheralded and slightly less hectic secrets, such as this day trip to Wanstead. You’ll certainly never be bored.
Share a home
If you and a friend have ever sat despondently draining a strong coffee/bottle of vino and complaining about being stuck in the rental market, why not consider jumping on the property ladder together? As this video from LQPricedIn reveals, not only does this idea make home ownership instantly realistic (yes, right here in London!), but the monthly costs of living often prove to be less than renting on the open market, so the scheme leaves you some cash for getting out and enjoying the city as well.
Share a spot on the sand
London’s wildly popular urban beaches are about to make a welcome return for the summer, bringing a world of sunbathing, sandcastles and seaside-inspired streetfoods onto our doorsteps. The biggest one is Beach East in Stratford, here’s what our reporter Miranda made of the whole caboodle (pictured above) last time around. Expect it to be even bigger, better and sandier for 2016. This year sees a new Miami-themed beach in Brixton, plus the return of the epic Camden Beach at the Roundhouse plus two more in north London too.
Share some plates
The best dishes at the capital’s most exciting restaurants are often the ones designed to be eaten with friends. So what have we enjoyed sharing recently? Try the small plates at Peckham’s John the Unicorn – the tender, confit-style pan-roasted Guinea fowl with braised puy lentils, crispy kale and a smooth finish of mustard (£7, photo above) is our favourite, and is actually big enough for a person to have as an affordable main, too. Or grab a plate of charcuterie and cheese at Sourced Market in St Pancras station, and people-watch perched on a stool in this unlikley oasis of calm inside the international terminus.
Share some stories
One hugely rewarding and cost-free way to enjoy time in London is to volunteer for a good cause. Check out this amazing video series from charity South London Cares, who enable social connections for older people, where you’ll meet characters like Fred (pictured). He’s lived within a square mile of Elephant and Castle for all of his 92 years, and shares tales from back when it buzzed with trams, barrow boys and brand new picture houses in the 1920s.
Share home-made cocktails
One of the things everyone loves about the chaotic high streets of London’s famously diverse neighbourhoods is the mind-boggling array of fruit and veg, imported from all over the world. We recommend getting stuck in and whipping up some simple-but-impressive cocktails, for a night of entertaining at home with a totally tropical twist. Check out these DIY cocktail recipe ideas featuring Ugandan passion fruit and root ginger (smaller, and more fiery that the usual roots), ingredients sourced in Tottenham, although any of the capital’s thriving multicultural thoroughfares is sure to offer something equally tasty, and unexpected.