London is a fantastic city but it is also one of the most expensive! Tourists often pay too much money to see the sights when all they really want to see is the authentic London.
Tips from a resident Londoner can really help you make a huge saving.
Superhighway to Heaven
Getting the train or tube can be very stressful and very expensive! Kill two birds with one stone and get fit while travelling around the city taking in the sights as you go. Having recently undergone a major facelift, the London cycle network (now called the cycle superhighway!) has been repainted bright blue and made wider, which means safer, faster and more direct routes around the city.
You can register for the new cycle hire scheme where the first 30 minutes of every hire period is totally free… which is a pretty good reason to pedal fast!
Compared with the rest of England, Londoners are lucky in that it is still fairly easy to shop well and shop cheap in your local area. The large supermarket chains are best avoided as they inflate their prices, and the staff will chuck your food down the conveyor without so much of a smile..
Try the local fruit and vegetable stalls or street markets for better service and really low prices. I’m fortunate that in South East London, I have an outstanding fishmonger and local butcher who only sell free range organic meat at half the price of the supermarket. I’m normally in and out within 10 minutes and always come out with a smile on my face as well as a massive bag of meat!
Only in London can you visit some of the finest collections of Egyptian artefacts, come face to face with one of the largest and most terrifying T. rex skeletons in the world and notice that Monet chose a pretty dirty pond to paint his famous “water-lillies”… for free! In fact most of the world class museums and galleries in London are free and well worth a look.
Start with the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert museum (conveniently located next door to each other); not only do they showcase some fascinating exhibits, but they are both housed in beautiful buildings.
EZ Phone Home
When ET asked to phone home he probably didn’t realise how expensive it is to place international calls… Avoid using your regular mobile phone service if you want to catch up with friends and family. Even sending a text can send your bill sky high.. Get a calling card that will enable you to make cheap international calls. Good services do not require any registration, pre-payment, accounts or credit cards just dial the special number using a landline (or your mobile phone) followed by the international number of your loved one.
Cruise down the river
If you thought London’s amazing transport system was limited to buses, tubes and trains, then think again! Seeing the sights by water offers a whole different perspective on London and is certainly an experience worth trying. The problem is most of the tourist trips are quite expensive, but never fear, a cheap alternative is the River Bus Service… Most of them accept Oyster cards or cash ticket payments and you can travel right over to Woolwich in the east and Hampton Court Palace in the west..
On the way you can visit some excellent attractions, including Westminster (Houses of parliament), Greenwich (Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum). You could also jump of at London Bridge pier for a scenic walk along the Southbank.