London has been in the news a great deal lately.
Our capital has been battered this year with what has felt like an endless stream of protests, attacks and terrible accidents.
When each incident arose, I would find myself gravitating to the closest smart device so that I could compulsively check that all my friends and family there were safe – they always were. Still, with this slew of events, it’s made London feel like a destination that might not be worth the risk, especially when you consider how much it costs to stay there.
Before I went on my travels with work, out to the far flung countries of Asia and Africa, I made my money in London. Back in the 90s, if you had a decent enough job, you could make a good living there and still have enough cash to enjoy the city with – something that’s become increasingly difficult over the last few years. Put simply – the cost of just existing in a place like London has significantly increased over the last two decades. Everything from rental prices to pints, to the price of a bacon sarnie has sky-rocketed, which has resulted in it becoming something of a rich person’s city.
With this in mind, and with a whole bunch of friends that I’d not visited in ages hollering at me to make a trip to the city, I decided to challenge myself to enjoy a weekend in the Capital for less than £100…including travel.
Now, I understand that the parameters of this challenge are somewhat loosely defined.
£100 is all well and good, but ‘enjoyment’ is something that’s very much up to interpretation. The most expensive part of the weekend could thankfully be booked well ahead of schedule. I’d not taken a coach for a very long time. The last long journey that I had used one of these for was an 11-hour trek through the hills of Vietnam; certainly a very scenic route but not the most comfortable. That journey cost me the equivalent of £3 back in 2005. I booked my Megabus from the nearby city of Liverpool, a return ticket to London that set me back £25 – not too shabby for 2017.
My Mum was kind enough to drop me off at in Liverpool, before the coach arrived on the Friday morning at an eye-watering 6am. Once I hustled myself onto the bus, all thoughts of comfort soon dissipated as I slipped into unconsciousness. 6 hours flew by, by the time I woke up, I was in London and it was lunch time.
So many of the big costs of taking a holiday in the capital can be negated if you have friends living there. Accommodation, food and drinks can all be covered at a much smaller price if you stay with friends in the city. Luckily, I had a string of mates that I’d not seen in a while, so there were plenty of couch options at my disposal. After dropping my gear at their flat Clapham and wolfing down a couple of sandwiches, it was off into the city for an evening of culture, drinks and food.
Some of London’s most iconic attractions are completely free to enter, something that many people are always surprised by.
Although you’ll have to pay a pretty penny to gain entry into some of London’s more sensational attractions (The Tower of London, Madam Tussaud’s etc.), some of the more interesting (and often quieter) attractions are completely free. As it had been so long since I’d visited the capital, a day spent enjoying the National Portrait Gallery and the National History Museum was more than enough for me and it didn’t cost me a single penny.