Kings Cross on a budget

Students: we'll keep you fed, entertained, and looking good without it costing a fortune

Everyone knows London is expensive, but there are plenty of freebies and deals to be found at King’s Cross for students and anyone else on a budget.

Cheap eats

Here’s a round-up of dishes that come in at £10 or under. First up – Happy Face pizzeria. You can happily get stuck into most of their pies for less than £10, but the standout is the Marinara, which will leave you fed and happy for just £5 (yep, a fiver!).

Happy Face opening, King's Cross

Weekday lunchtime’s, it’s hard to beat KERB streetfood market, where 8+ street food vans set up in Granary Square (12-2pm Wed-Fri). The food stalls are ever-changing but expect the likes of savoury stuffed waffles at Utter Waffle, grilled cheese at Meltsmiths, vegan fried chick’un at Marli’s Kitchen or delicious double tacos at Dos Mas.

Canopy market, West Handyside Canopy, King's Cross

There’s no KERB on the weekend, but you can catch Canopy Market instead – it’s packed with plenty of interesting food stalls. Pick up fresh churros, Korean barbecue, artisan cheeses, cured meat, and sweet treats without breaking the bank.

If you like maximum style for minimal spend, why not breakfast on eggs benedict in the glamorous Granary Square Brasserie for just £8.50. Or, how about starting the day with the now-famous bacon breakfast naan at Dishoom which will set you back a mere £6.50.

Granary Square Brasserie breakfast, Granary Square, King's Cross

At Maple+King’s in Pancras Square you can dine on any of their healthy and tasty salads for less than £10. Also on Pancras Square, several of the noodle dishes at Korean restaurant Kimchee come in at under £10. We like the Jajang Myeon. On York Road, all the burgers at Burger + Beer are under that golden ten-pound limit. And even better, it’s 2 for 1 on the last Tuesday of the month. Likewise pretty much everything on the menu at the newly opened Sons + Daughters at Coal Drops Yard is under £10. The sandwiches here are a real treat.

Sons + Daughters

Finally, it’s hard to beat the flatbreads at The Lighterman on Granary Square. Basically a fairly substantial fancy pizza. You can choose from three flavours, all £9.50 each.

Free beats, cheap night out

Party on a dime at SUPERMAX, the secret bar tucked beneath Happy Face Pizzeria. It’s open Wednesdays to Saturdays until 1am and from 5.30pm-7pm, you can enjoy what Time Out London calls, “the capital’s coolest happy hour” with vermouth-led cocktails for £6 and delicious free chichetti. Friday nights at SUPERMAX are all about the party. With DJs, an epic sound system and disco balls spinning, it’s the perfect place to start your weekend.

SUPERMAX, King's Cross

Spiritland is the original mecca for music in King’s Cross. The bar-slash-gig venue has music every night of the week, most of it free. Spanning jazz, funk, electronica and pop, you’ll find breezy French-inspired pop from Iko Chérie, stretched-out mellow soul from dj Leopold, and a listening party for Resolution 88’s latest soulful release.  There’s plenty on the menu here for under £10 as well. Check out what’s in store at Spiritland in the coming months here.

Exercise for free

MW5 Run Club is a free running club that meets every Monday at 12.15 and Wednesday at 6pm. Led by seasoned personal trainer Martin Whitelock, the 5km route takes you through urban landscapes, parks and waterways, and is suitable for even the most novice of runners. Register for your free spot here.

Nike Club runners on the canal tow path, past Gasholders at King's Cross

Fitness brand Sweaty Betty offer free fitness classes at their store on King’s Boulevard. From yoga to Pilates, and boxing to HIIT, search by shop online to find a workout that suits your style, then register to book your place. As their strapline says, “good things come to those who sweat”.

Keep fit and drink beer…that’s what they call balance, right? Beer + Burger store on York way hosts the Beer + Burger Running Club, or BBRC for those in the know. This fitness social meets on the first Saturday of the month. You’ll run 10k and then cool down with a beer afterwards … on the house. Get in touch with BBRC King’s Cross to join in.

Beer + Burger Running Club, King's Cross

Don’t underestimate the sweat you work up from a particularly tense game of ping pong. There are four tables in The Crossing – the public area of the Granary Building, and anyone is welcome to rock up and get their game on. It’s totally free and no booking is required. Bats and balls are stored in the tables and replacements are available at the Visitor Centre.

Students can also take advantage of reduced membership at St Pancras Leisure Centre. The large, well-equipped gym has 130 stations, plus there’s a swimming pool, sauna and steam room, and over 50 group fitness classes a week. Head to the Better gym website for pricing and payment options.

Sweaty Betty

If cycling is your thing, then why not take advantage of the free bike MOTs run by Dr Bike. Just bring your bike to Battle Bridge Place on the first Wednesday of every month 12.30-6.30 pm for a free check-up. The team will check and tune your bike, carry out minor repairs and diagnose more complex problems.

Even MORE free stuff, you say..?

The events programme at King’s Cross runs all year, and much of what’s on is completely free. Highlights include the Everyman Summer Love Film Festival where you can enjoy an alfresco film by the banks of the canal and Cubitt Sessions – the free open-air music festival that runs during July and August with a daily schedule of concerts and performances. Check out the full listing of events and happenings here.

Pride Street Party, Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross - Jack Irving Installation

Also, don’t miss the special programme at Coal Drops Yard. There are street parties, concerts, exhibitions and interactive installations. On Lower Stable Street, Honest Jons runs DJ evenings, and there’s First Fridays at Kiosk N1C. The ‘Meet the Maker’ series at Wolf & Badger brings you up close and personal with some of the store’s favourite brands. This month, there is jewellery try-on and layering workshop with Grace Chou, a spotlight evening on Zoe Corsellis’s 70s and 80s-inspired fashion with wine tasting, and special launch nights for some new exciting brands, all free to attend. Plus, there are often discounts and freebies on the night. For dedicated followers of fashion, these events are definitely worth checking out.

There’s an app for that

To get first dibs on any freebies, discounts and offers, make sure you download the Kings Cross App.

There are deals here for everyone, and students can take advantage of extra discounts across a pretty impressive range of shops, restaurants, salons and galleries. Simply download from App Store or Google Play, register, find the discounts you’re interested in and show the QR code for your money off.

Keep an eye on the app and on the online events guide, as they are regularly updated with a whole host of all the free (or nearly free) events, concerts and happenings at Kings Cross.

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