You might think you need to take out a second mortgage if you want to spend a day in London’s fancy old Knightsbridge quarter – but if you’re super-savvy with your cash, turns out you can have a great day living it up like a local.

So if it’s a place you’ve either avoided because you thought it was only for people who drive supercars and drip with jewellery, then think again.

Not only can you pop into Harrods for lunch and still come out with change from a tenner (thanks to their £7 sandwiches from the Roast and Bake takeaway), but there are so many hidden hot spots to enjoy without breaking the bank. 

Here’s how I did it…

Walk it baby

The best way to explore Knightsbridge is to first take a detour away from the iconic Brompton Road and explore the side streets.

Of course, knowing where to start is always a good thing, which is why the Knightsbridge partnership has just launched an interactive map which gives a tour of neighbourhood and must see-highlights, from the beautiful Mandarin Oriental and Bulgari hotels, to tourist must-sees like Wellington Arch, Jane Austen’s blue plaque and the historical Brompton Oratory.

Another gem to discover off the beaten track is the The Map House, which offers a beautifully presented history and geography lesson on London and beyond, through their 10,000-odd maps. Visitors are more than welcome to browse rather than buy, too.

Meanwhile, if you need a quick coffee-stop but don’t want to pay a fortune for a flat white, the Co. London is a great side street shout, with a lattes coming in at £3.50.

It’s also worth considering that if there’s a group of you going and you want to do some touristing without the usual clichés, then hiring a Blue Badge Tourist Guide could be an option. Sophie Campbell really knows her stuff – from sharing stories of how yesterday’s hay stables became today’s must have loft apartments, to the spooky tale behind the Grenadier pub’s ceiling covered in bank notes. Get a group of 10 of you together and a half day – 4 hours walk – costs around £28 each. 

Clothes shopping in Harrods – but not as you know it

While it’s all great and lovely if you can afford the likes of Christian Louboutin and Alexander McQueen, but also hidden away on the fourth floor of London’s most glitzy deparment store is the most amazing budget-friendly pop up.

Called My Wardrobe HQ, there are rails of outfit to rent – from as little as £7, yes, really. And it’s not cut-price brands on offer either. You can rent a Victoria Beckham dress for as little as £10 a day, while there’s plenty to choose from with designers Needle & Thread, Ganni and Isabel Marant to Vampire’s Wife and Zimmerman. Meanwhile, if you head to their website you can even find a £10k Burberry coat on their loan list – although that comes in at £147 a day.

Away from Harrods, if you’re a bit of a budget fashion hound, try The Octavia Foundation’s flagship preloved store on the Brompton Road, which sometimes has high-quality donated goods, including designer and vintage pieces – so well worth a rummage.

Meanwhile, also worth a look is the Pandora Dress Agency. Established in 1947, it offers second hand designer clothes and while most are still eye-wateringly expensive, if you want to splurge/invest on some vintage goodies, they often have an amazing sale.  

Go green

If you’re heading Knightsbridge way it would be a crime not to explore at least some of the 350 acres of the historic Grade I-listed Hyde Park.

One of the eight Royal Parks and once Henry VIII’s private hunting grounds, it’s home to the most stunning landscape alongside a largescale bronze Pan Statue, the famous Speaker’s Corner – andcurrently Winter Wonderland. It also holds the brilliant Serpentine Lake (open Wednesday to Sunday between November and March), where you can hire a pedalo from £6.60 for an adult.

Fine dining on a budget

Sat at the Wellington Arch end of Knightsbridge is the glorious Lanesborough Hotel, famed for being a favourite of the stars from Madonna to Mariah Carey. It’s also the setting for the Lanesborough Grill restaurant. 

Here, if you go a la carte, a plate of (very delicious) Grilled aged English sirloin, bone marrow and oxtail can set you back £52 alone. However, opt for the two course festive set menu and it comes in for almost the same price at £55per person.

Their 2024 set menu comes in even cheaper, with two courses for £39 per person and three courses for £49.50 pp – which means you get all the fanciness and food to-die-for, but at a fraction of the price.

It’s also worth noting that no matter what your budget, the staff treat every customer like an A-lister, replacing napkins when used and topping up glasses without ever needing to be asked. (And the cheese trolley is seriously good!)

For an end of the day drink

Okay, so there’s three ways you can do this. If you want to spoil yourself after a long day of money saving, head to Harrod’s swanky Baccarat bar in the basement of the store. Here the cocktails are next level – but also a bit pricey. For example, the tequila-based Cool Blues really does hit the spot… and the wallet, at £26 a pop.

More mid-price cocktails can be found if you head to Harvey Nichol”s Fifth Floor Bar at the top of the shop, where another tequila based offering, the Tokyo Margariti, will set you back £15. (Although this place doesn’t quite have the exclusive feel of the Bacarrat, the bar has a fun, buzzy vibe and also runs a weekend cocktail masterclass which includes breakfast, lunch, and cocktails for £70 per person – and looked great fun).

However, if you’re still determined to stick to the budget, then The Paxtons Head in the heart of Knightsbridge, is just as good a place as any for a drink.

While this 1900s boozer has a great selection of wine, beer and soft drinks (as well as mirrors with a great story behind them), it doesn’t have such an eclectic mix of cocktails on offer. Although you can get a Mojito Spritzer for under a tenner, so still does the job!  

Spend a day eating, drinking and shopping in Knightsbridge for less than £70

Coffee to start the day – £3.50

2-course lunch £39 (plus beverages)

Pedalo on the Serpentine – £6.60

VB rental dress from Harrods – £10

Cocktail – £9

For more information about how to make the most of Knightsbridge click here.

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