Wednesday, 27 January 2016

How to spend as little money as possible while visiting London!

Hey guys!
I want this blog to be a kind of travel diary, with some tips for you, as well as a place where I can share my thoughts and daily activities.  

At first some facts about me: 
I'm from Berlin (Germany) but right now I'm doing my Master degree in Belfast (UK), I'm 22 years old and I love travelling (by now only around Europe). I don't want now to mumble to much about who I am, what I love etc, because hopefully you will soon find out!

So, no more introduction here, let's start with my first post! 
I just came back from a trip to London with a friend. I've been to London many times (-some may say I'm obsessed), but as my friend hasn't been to London for many many years, we've done all the tourist stuff, and I thought it would be good to share. As we're poor student, we tried to do as much as possible in our 4-5 days in London by saving as much money as possible. So I hope this will be helpful for you if you want to visit London some time! 

Some overall tips

  • Try to find a cheap hotel as close to the city centre as possible! They may be not as comfortable, but hey, you won't spend that much time in the hotel and you save some time (and money) to enjoy the city! 
  • Remember to always book a transport from the airport that you arrive, as it is always cheaper online! For example from London Stansted I'll recommend Terravision coaches, I believe they are the cheapest ones, and from Gatwick EasyBus. Haven't landed in Luton or the other airports for a long time, so I can't tell you what is the cheapest there. 
  • When it comes to public transport, I would recommend the Day Travelcard (£12.10), as a one way ticket already costs £5 something, so it always makes more sense to go for the Daily one. If you have the opportunity to get an Oyster Card from someone, I believe it can be a bit cheaper.
  • London has many things to offer, but a lot of it is expensive. We tried to decide on one thing that we want to do the most, and than we've only done things that are for free. So we were interested in the Tower of London (around £20), Madame Tussauds (around £25) and the Sherlock Holmes Museum (£15). Of course this depends on you guys, as there are also other things that cost, like the London Eye, London Dungeon and so on, but I've done the London Eye already, and as I'm afraid of heights, let's say it wasn't great, and yeah you can't do it all you know?
  •  If you have the time you have to check out which musicals or plays are on, as there is always something amazing in London to see! Some years ago I've seen the Grease Musical, and later the Lion King and it is worth the money! I'm already planning on going to London to see two plays. There are always some tickets that are cheaper, so check it out! Plays start with around £15, and musicals £20. This time we didn't have time for it unfortunately.
I think this is it for my overall tips, so now I'll describe our trip!

(I'll ignore the afternoon we arrived and checked out the hotel area) 
We've decided to go to the Tower of London, as we believed was the smartest choice for us.
White Tower at Tower of London
We've had good luck, because just as we arrived, there was a tour going on, so we just joined it, but I'm not going to bother you with the history stuff and so on ;) 
So I would recommend the Tower if you're interested in medieval history, but if you're not, you know you have many other options!

After visiting the Tower we went to the Museum of London. It is a 20 minutes walk from the Tower and it is for free, so we thought why not? On our way we ate something, and were also able to see the St.Paul's Cathedral.

The Museum of London has been great! It is a great Museum, that has some interactive things to do and you can discover the history of London from the prehistoric beginnings until.. now! It also includes fashion, culture and so on, so I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a little bit of spare time. It took us about 2 hours to go through and we had a lot of fun. However there was also a special exhibition about Crime, that was quite expensive so we skipped it.  

After that we had some time to go shopping and stuff, so let's move on to the next day.

Day 2
We booked a visit to the Sky Garden, that is for free. It is a great thing to do, as you can see London's skyline while enjoying some coffee and snacks. 
After it, we went to the King's Cross/St.Pancras station, to have some fun photos at Platform 9 3/4 - for every Harry Potter fan, a must see!

As my friend is a big Sherlock Holmes fan, we went to 221B Baker Street, and also on Baker Street we've found some nice shops to walk around. Then it was time to go to Camden. I love Camden, and I can't imagine going to London without going to Camden. After some walking around through the Market and the Camden Lock Market, we went for a beer. I always go to the Proud Camden outdoor bar (now it's called Polar Bear or something like it, they change the name constantly), as there is some nice life music and the atmosphere is just great. We also went to some other pubs, cause Camden is great. Yes I said it again. 

Day 3
We started of by going to the Buckingham Palace, you have to check out on their website, as it changes from month to month, but every second day at 11 there is a changing of the guards, and as my friend has not seen it yet, I had to go again. It is a cool thing to see, but I have to admit, for January it has been a little bit cold to stand around. 

After that we went to the Oxford Street for some shopping, and than to Leicester Square to eat something nice. Than we've decided to go to the British Museum (also for free!). But I have to admit, this museum was quite tiring. It is just soooo big. And you have to really love archaeology. However the Egyptian stuff was quite cool. 

We've been quite tired, but still needed to see the Westminster Abbey, the Parliament (Big Ben) and London eye. 
Bear in mind.. it's and old one!

There is one tip I can give you when it comes to photos. For the best photos with the Big Ben, go on the middle of the bridge, I think it is called Westminster Bridge and it is also good for selfies! With the London Eye I would say the best pictures are when you go to place in front of it and walk for a while, so you can have the whole thing in your photo. This time it has been already dark (fucking winter), so the photos weren't as good, this is why you have to see my awful bangs one year ago... 

Day 4 (last day)
As it was a Saturday, the best thing anyone can do is go to the Portobello Road Market! It is a lot of fun, there is some amazing food ,and the Notting Hill area is just beautiful! (unfortunately I've been so hung up on the food that I forgot to take pictures) 

After some walking around there we've decided to go back to Camden, cause.. you know :) On Saturdays there is also some great Street Food and also we had some more time to walk through all the crazy shops there. In the end we even had some chocolate bananas, from which I think we have diabetes. But they were delicious! 

Unfortunately it was time to get to the airport and our trip was over. 

I hope this post wasn't too long and too boring, but as I said before, I want to have a kind of travel diary, also for myself. I also hope that you found some tips if you're planning on visiting London, and if you want more about London let me know.. I have many more stories and places that are worth a visit! Also if you would like to have more photos in my future posts let me know! This post was just so long already.. 

Ok, I'm going to stop right now!