London: The first post

Camden markets, one of my favourite parts of London

I haven’t been to a huge number of places but of all the places I have been to, London is my favourite city. The history of the city pulls me there and the vibe of the city keeps me coming back. I have friends and acquaintances in the city as well so I’m always happy to catch up with them.

I’ve been to London eleven times so far. Though that sounds like a lot, it’s probably only been a total of about 40 days in all. Some visits have been only a day or two, most for about an average of 3 days and a couple of times my visits have lasted a week.  I have a lot of memories of London and have gathered a lot of tips from my own experiences over the years. You should expect to see London related posts from me periodically!

I’ll try to focus on doing London on a budget in most of my London posts. At least, the kind of budget I generally keep. I have done London with a very limited budget but these days I’m a bit more comfortable. That’s not to say I don’t watch my pennies. I certainly don’t splash out on high cost hotels or fancy restaurants. I keep an eye out for deals, buy things like tickets online when I can find discounts, and usually take the less expensive route for food and entertainment as a rule.

The thing is, you see the prices of things in pounds and the same number seems to be the same as what you’d pay here in Canada but obviously, it costs you more in  your own money. i.e. in a pub, a burger and fries on the menu might cost you, say, £8.95 and in a pub in Canada, may also be around $8.95 but when you convert the price, you’re paying nearly $15.00 Canadian. You just can’t think about that. You have to think of the prices you see on the stickers and menus as the same as if you were home. You’d never buy or eat anything otherwise.

Food? Lots of ways to eat cheap. Transportation? Take the bus, it’s cheaper than the  underground though it takes longer. Or walk. Most of the big museums and galleries are free so you can splurge on one of the pricey things to do like the Tower of London or the London Eye.

Shopping? Avoid places like Oxford Street and Covent Garden and hit the markets or neighbourhoods like Notting Hill that are a bit out of the way. Those cheesy London souvenirs are cheaper if you look up Queensway off Bayswater Road. Same items, half the price. There are half price theatre tickets available from TKTS in Leicester Square.

In general, London can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. You can window shop and browse in stores without spending money. You can walk and explore and people watch. You can buy groceries and have picnics or eat at the “all you can eat” Chinese and Indian buffet places. You can visit free museums and galleries.

I love London and I hope I can bring my memories, experiences and ideas of how to survive London to you all.


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