I write plenty about my current city of abode, Mexico DF, so it’s time I scribbled a few words about my true home, the place where the heart is – London! There is no greater city on earth in my opinion, and for all it’s reputation as the world’s most expensive city, it can be done cheap! Real cheap – and here’s how for a 7 day trip….
VFirst off, you will need to get about. London’s Underground, the world’s first subterranean metro system, is one of the city’s icons. It is a bit old, but a lot has been done to bring it up to scratch, and it is a cool metro system to ride on. It isn’t terribly cheap though, but luckily much of the best of London is within walking distance, but nonetheless I would say you are going to have to shed out £4.90 a day on an off peak Travelcard. It does mean you can travel as much as you want in Zones 1 and 2 on both the tube and on the buses for the whole day though, which isn’t too bad! And you can of course set aside a couple of days for walking tours and save yourself a bit.
Accomodation in London normally kills most budgets, but there are an excellent range of cheap but cheerful hostels to stay in. As little as £12 a night will get you a dorm bed at Picadilly Backpackers which is right in the centre of London. Six nights of fun with other travellers for just £72!
Now food. Well you can eat out every night and spend as much as you want, but if your budget is really tight why not go to Sainsburys supermarket and cook your own meals at the hostel? Throw in a couple of traditional pub lunches and a Fish n Chips, with maybe, just maybe, one luxurious treat in a restaurant in Soho and I reckon you can keep yourself fed for a week for £50. Less if you really, really try. I would personally recommend a £70 budget – £10 a day would do you fine. So that’s the accomodation, travel and food taken care of, and you could have spent as little as £150!
So now for the serious business of sight seeing. London has a bit of everything – history, art, culture, modern wonders, museums….everything! Let’s start with museums, because this is where London really kicks the arse of every other city in the world. Not only are they the best, but they are FREE!!! The British Museum is a vast collection of exhibitions (stolen/purchased/looted – delete as applicable) from around the world, a testament to the range and power of the British Empire. With 6.5 million exhibits, this one place could easily take up half a dozen 7 day trips all by itself. Another giant in the museum world is the Natural History Museum, and other free museums include the Victoria and Albert, Imperial War Museum and the National Maritime Museum which includes the Greenwich Observatory where you can jump between East and West in just a single step.
Like Art? Some of the best art galleries in the world are here, and guess what? All free… The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain and Modern are waiting for you. And of course London’s West End is home to the best theatres in the world.
There are some places that do charge for entry of course, but of these St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey are absolute must sees. The London Eye might well be worth breaking your budget for too. And if sports takes your fancy, this city is home to Wimbledon, Wembley and a host of other world famous venues.
London is one of the greenest cities in the world, and with 5 major parks right in the centre of London, you are never far from a nice peaceful walk in lush green surroundings, usually with a palace or two in view.
Talking of Palaces, London is full of them. And along with Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Westminster Palace and Big Ben, there is Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Soho and the River Thames to take any one of a billion possible walks (all free!), past living history, modern London, statues of our many heroes and everything else that you have heard of, as well as a million things you haven’t.
I’d need to write a very long book to tell you all about it, but I can’t be bothered and besides it’s already been done. I’ve lost count of how much it’ll cost, but lets say you could probably do it for £200 if you were really, really tight! Come and enjoy!