3 WAYS YOU CAN EAT FOR FREE IN LONDON
So you already know that it is possible to eat on a budget in London, and this is cool right. But what if we tell you, that it is possible to eat for FREE in London? How crazy is that? Well, it is totally possible, and it is even quite easy (and tasty)!
We are going to share with you the 3 best-kept secrets for eating for free in London. Play around with the tips and you’ll be able to eat at any time of the day without spending a single penny! Ready…Set…Go!
1. STREET FOOD MARKETS
London is a great place for street food. It is by far the best option if you want to eat well but you are a bit broke, and even completely broke. Even if you don’t have any money at all, you can eat quite well and for FREE. How to do it…? We call it: “The Art of Sampling”! Indeed, in some food markets in London you can sample — a lot. You will be able to taste delicious meals from around the world, try some cheese and some lovely wine, enjoy a selection of gorgeous meat and charcuterie and much more! And all that for FREE! So please take a look below to the best 4 food markets in London well known for their sampling culture!
Borough Market: This is by far the most famous of the lot, and the best option for sampling, It’s the busiest too as well as London’s oldest, dating back to the 13th century. The market is home of more than 100 stalls and stands. Ranging from stalls selling local merchandise such as fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, cheese, breads and oils to great cooked street food you can eat straight away! You can enjoy many samplers and tasting for FREE, as many stalls will let you taste cheese, bread, and even some fine patisserie. So if you have 20–30 minutes to spend, come to Borough Market, but come hungry and you’ll leave full! Usual free samplers: cheese, sausages, patisseries, bread and truffle oil (have you tasted it before?). Nearest Tube Station: London Bridge.
Old Spitalfields Market: It’s literally a 5 min walk from Liverpool St station, which is a big plus. There has been a market on the site for over 350 years, and you can feel it right away by looking to the ceiling, the arches and even by things sold here which bring you 200 years back in time (for example: the hat stall of Colin Rosie, you’ll recognize him as he’s always with his top hat and smart three-piece suit, ready to be photographed and always smiling. You can read his amazing story here: http://spitalfieldslife.com/2014/01/24/colin-rosie-hat-seller/ !) Currently being at the center of a revival area, just 2 minute walk from the famous Brick Lane Street, the market presents a great selection of food stalls in all shapes and sizes, from Turkish food to African Cuisine, Malaysian food and Ethiopian food, through kiosks of the very famous Poppies Fish & Chips, the delicious Pilpel falafel and Bleecker Burger. In addition the market has many stalls with old records, leather garments, antique, clothes, and handmade postcards — all of this within a fascinating architectural site, and under cover. A great advantage of this market is that there are benches available for those who are eating, however sometimes there is no room. Great atmosphere — very busy and fun. Usual free samplers: brownies, naan breads, falafels, Turkish delights (lokum), Mexican tacos and Indian food! Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool St station.
Sampling Naan bread, Old Spitalfields Market
Greenwich Market: Accessible by both the river Thames and the road, this market is somehow similar to Camden market (highly recommended as well) but in a more authentic way and with great local vibe. It offers art, antiques, jewellery, books, furniture and food such as cheese, breads, fruits, vegetables and a lot of pastries! With a big variety of ethnic food stalls (Ethiopian, Indian, Cuban, Japanese, Turkish food and more), fresh juice stalls and much more. Usual free samplers: cider, cheese, meat, Ethiopian food, Turkish food and more! Nearest Tube Station: Cutty Sark.
Leather Lane Market: Located in Leather Lane which is off Hatton Gardens, at a very close distance from Farringdon tube station. The variety on offer here and the deliciousness of the meals is huge, and vary a lot from one day to the other, depending on the weather, and the period of year! The best time to visit the market is around lunch time. Many stalls will offer you a sampler, all you need to do is to come close to the stall, it usually works quite well and you can get decent portions for FREE. Usual free samplers: falafels, Asian food and more! Nearest Tube Station: Chancery Lane/Farringdon.
2. HARE KRISHNA FREE FOOD STALL
The Hare Krishna people have been giving away free food for the last fifteen years in London. It’s part of the Food For Life project, run by the Hare Krishna movement and originally initiated by the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Back in the 70s, after Bhaktivedanta saw poor children fighting with dogs over scraps of food. Shocked and saddened by what he saw, he decided that no one within a 10-mile radius of a Hare Krishna temple should go hungry. Since then, Food for Life has become the largest vegetarian food distribution program in the world serving free meals in over 60 cities every day, among them the city of London.
The Hare Krishna pals are located in different locations in town, and they serve pure vegeterian Indian food made in the kitchen of Govinda restaurant, linked to the Radha Krishna Temple. From 12:00 pm until approximately 14:00h or even 15:00h (depending on the location and on when the food is over) on a weekday, you will find the Hare Krishna pals distributing free Indian lunch (for the list of places, see below).
The most famous location serving free Indian lunch (extremely popular among London students) is at the Russel square, just by the entrance of SOAS. The stall serves mainly students but also backpackers, homeless and a wide range of different people, from all ages and different backgrounds.
The healthy lunch consists normally an Indian curry with rice, some bread, and sometimes a croissant for desert. While the Hare Krishna pals might try to promote a vegetarian diet, they will not preach or talk religion at all. On average in the location by the entrance of SOAS, more than 500 students (!) from all around Bloomsbury are served everyday — you can’t miss it as there will be a long queue of students! (avoid 12:00h to 13:00)
List of places where the Hare Krishna distribute free lunches daily (Monday — Saturday) (more info at: http://www.iskcon-london.org/activities/food-for-life.html):
- Kentish Town, Caversham Road, beside Barclays Bank, 12:00h to 12:55h (Take me there using Google Maps)
- Camden Town, Inverness Street, beside veg market, 13:00h to 13:50h (Take me there using Google Maps)
- Kings Cross, York Way, beside Train Station 14:00h to 14:30h (Take me there using Google Maps)
- By the entrance of SOAS, 12:15h — 14:30h (Take me there using Google Maps)
- By LSE’s campus, between St. Clement’s and the Old Building, 12:00h to 14:00h (Take me there using Google Maps)
- Radha-Krishna Temple, 10 Soho Street, W1D 3DL, 13:00h to 14:00h (Take me there using Google Maps)
3. BECOMING A MYSTERY DINNER
If food samplers and daily Indian food are not enough for you, we have a third solution: becoming a mystery dinner. In a nutshell you will get paid to eat in a restaurant! On the plus side: you will be seated, this will be a full proper meal and you may be paid a fee! On the flip side: this is an actual work….you will have to write a report at the end:-( Sometimes the company will even tell you which dish to order:-( ! But if you are tempted, those 2 companies are always looking for tasters in London: the Mystery Dining Company and Market Force.
And yeah — If you know any other way to eat for free — we’d love to hear about it in the comment box below. Enjoy and bon appetit !