North London Food & Culture

Top 10: things to do under £10

It's nearly the end of January - but not quite payday. Here are some neighbourhood ideas on the cheap

1. The 24 Bus Route

Queen's Crescent It’s too easy to live in London and not actually have visited the main tourist attractions. If you want to avoid the crowds and see most of London’s main landmarks for the price of a bus fare, hop on the 24. It’ll pick you up on Malden Road and head past Queen’s Crescent’s arch straight down to Camden Lock, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. The sights rival the open topped tour buses but for the price of a return fare. It really is Kentish Town’s personal tourist bus. £2.80 return on your Oyster card.

2. Stingray

PizzaI have been known to go to my lovely local Italian three times in one week, lured in by the inexpensive grub. In fact, I haven’t found a pizza that rivals theirs this side of Italy. From the classics to the more experimental house special with salmon and avocado, they’ve got it covered. £5.95 for the beer and a pizza deal.

3. Whitestone Pond Observatory

Hampstead Observatory TelescopeEveryone loves stargazing. From couples to kids, there’s something so enchanting about a starry night sky. Head to The Observatory at Whitestone Pond and have a peak through the 6” telescope. Dating back from 1909, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons and the Moon’s mountains have all been spotted. Open on Friday and Saturday night from September–April. Sundays from 11am-1pm to see the sun. Free


4. Zumba at Expressions

ExpressionsInevitably, everyone is still trying to stick to some ill-advised diet for another week or two. Sod that and work off the festive fat with an hour of Zumba at Expressions. Dance to J-lo and Gangnam Style with fellow fat-burners spanning from teens to seniors. There’s no room for embarrassment here. The dance teacher’s figure is all the thinspiration you will ever need. £8. Monday 8-9pm Wednesday 7-8pm

5. Sing-a-long Sundays at The Grafton

GraftonYou can’t beat January blues better than with a good old sing-song around a piano. And on Sunday evenings at The Grafton, everyone crowds around to belt out popular songs: expect Robbie’s Angel’s and Bohemian Rhapsody. But no pressure, just join in when you know the words. Yes, that’s right, a pub that actually encourages merry singing. Wet your whistle with a Bloody Mary and if you time it right, you might be there when they dish out the left over roast spuds and yorkies.

6. Art Walk

Beardsmore Gallery How often do you actually take the NW5 art trail? Start at Flaxon Ptootch, then walk down Angler’s Lane to the Beardsmore for some fine art, before turning right up Grafton Road to world-famous photographer Rankin’s Annroy gallery. End up at the Zabludowicz Collection, where, if you time it right tomorrow, there are lots of talks and free events. All Free (although we advise a coffee and cake stop at The Fields Beneath, around £5).

7. The Everyman Cinema

Everyman Belsize ParkOk, so this one just hops over the border into NW3, but isn’t the finest way to spend a wintry Sunday afternoon watching a good old classic movie on the sofa? Well, the Everyman Belsize Park, always a joy to visit with its stylish interior (it’s currently boasting a Les Mis theme) has read our minds and offers a monthly deal where a tenner will buy you a seat on one of their comfy sofas in front of a classic Hitchcock, for example. £10 Last Sunday of every month.

8. Happy Hour at Shebeen

Shebeen For those wanting to party this month, head to Kentish Town’s renowned speakeasy (it’s just been awarded Grazia’s ‘Best North London Cocktail Bar’, and featured in easyJet’s in-flight magazine too). It’s cosy and candle lit but if Christmas hasn’t done your bank balance any favours, get there early and enjoy two for one from 5.30 – 7.30pm. £7ish for 2 cocktails during Happy Hour.

9. Talacre Football Pitches

Talacre Kickoff the New Year with a game of footie with the lads – or ladies if you felt inspired by Team GB Women’s Olympic success. Talacre Sports Centre has a 5-a side indoor pitch and a 7-a side outdoor pitch, perhaps best saved for when it gets slightly warmer. Both can be hired for £87, which when split by both teams is a few pounds each, with enough change to go for a post match pint. £6.20 when 14 people split a 7-a side pitch. Book 1 week in advance. 9am-10pm 7 days a week

10. Kite Hill

parliament hill view This weekend you could take the kids – or just yourself for that matter – and kite up to Parliament Hill. If the little bugger gets caught in a tree, settle down on a bench and play I Spy with London’s landmarks. Afterwards, shelter in Houspresso, the tiny coffee shop by Gospel Oak station. Free/£2.50 with a drink from Houspresso

Sarah Fox has lived in Kentish Town all her life, and – after summer jobs at the Lido, and waitressing at the Bull & Last – is now settled quite nicely thank you in Gospel Oak.

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