So last week, I was at the BBC.
As you do!
And of course, I had to be in London in order to do the BBC Radio 4 recording.
The city of London hasn’t been having a good time of recent, what with two (2) terrorist attacks, a devastating fire in the Grenfell Tower building, and just a few nights ago, a fire outbreak in the market of Camden Lock!
What a disaster!
Thank goodness Londoners, like Mancunians, are the type of people to rally together, and keep each other close. They’re strong, and not easily over-whelmed.
Definitely no #reeling!
If you’re just joining, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past few weeks:
Now my time in London was awfully short – 24 hours to be exact!
I’m that girl!
I didn’t have a lot of time to do “stuff,” but if you plan well, you can really pretty much do a lot of things, and on a budget too. I’ve spoken about 6 easy ways to spend 48 hours in London, and how to save money before.
So here we go:
I love museums so whenever I’m in London, I try to go to as many as I can, in order to get a heads up on some art and culture.
Here are my favourites:
The Museum of London is my absolute favourite London museum, and tells the story of London and its people, from archaeological interest, and is also the largest urban history collection in the world!
It’s located between the Barbican centre, the old Roman London Wall and St. Paul’s Cathedral! It looks pretty drab on the outside, but once you venture inside, you’ll be excited!
A second site was opened in 2003, called the Museum of London Docklands. It’s housed in a Grade I listed warehouse at Canary Wharf, not far from the river Thames. I’m inclined to say that I liked it even more than the original site!
This museum was such a great new find that I had to go there, and was kindly sent a complimentary ticket.
Thanks so much!
The Charles Dickens Museum is a large Georgian terraced house, and the first family home of Charles Dickens! He wrote Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby right there, and achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers!
I really had a great time there and was able to explore how he and his family lived, his books, furniture, and even some of his clothes. In fact, by all accounts Mr. Charles Dickens was a bit of a dandy!
A delightful visit and well worth, the admission fee!
Cost: Adults – £9.00. Students – £7.00, Children from 6 – 16 – £4.00. Under 6 – Free of charge.
Founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, the National Gallery is home to more than 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by French Impressionists.
The National Gallery is located at Trafalgar Square which can be quite packed with tourists and busy Londoners out and about for a drink, or a bit of lunch. So if it all gets too much, just pop into the nearest pub!
When I lived in London, this was actually my favourite museum!
I remember getting scammed by a man who sold us magic jumping beans, and once we left Kensington & Chelsea, those beans never jumped again!
Anyhoo! The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator, as well as medical history treasures, and developments in contemporary science, medicine and technology.
But the best bit is the hands-on gallery where children can explore basic scientific principles, the oldest display of clocks and watches in the world, and the fact that the Science Museum is right next door to the Natural History Museum!
There are loads of things to see in London such as:
London has the first ever open-air cinema!
This amazing and unique addition to London’s buzzing outdoor cinema scene is a summer-long collaboration of London’s Time Out Magazine. However, this being England, make sure that you have a brolly handy!
Cost: £29.00. Over 18’s only!
Sutton House is a beautiful Tudor red-brick manor house which surprisingly, can be found in the middle of Hackney!
It’s the oldest house in East London and is owned by the National Trust.
It was built in 1535 and is now beautifully restored with authentic original decor, London’s oldest loo, and a mural under the roof, painted by a group of squatters in the 80’s!
Cost: Adults – £5.40. Children – £2.70. Family – £13.60
7. The Old Vic:
The Old Vic is an 1818 venue named after Queen Victoria.
The Old Vic is the crucible of many of the performing arts companies and theatres in London today and formed the core of the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier, becoming a highly successful touring company.
It received considerable media attention when Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director in 2003!
The Old Vic is one of London’s oldest theatres and is located near Waterloo Station.
Cost: £10.00 for the first five (5) previews of every production, except otherwise stated. Thereafter, £15.00+
If you don’t have the stamina to plod through the city and queue with the masses, not to worry. Get yourself a basket, pack a picnic hamper, grab a blanket and a deckchair, plop in some champagne, and head to an outdoor open-air screening of whatever you fancy.
Next stop Wimbledon!
Don’t forget the Pimm’s!
It’s true that London is known as one of the world’s most expensive cities, but amazingly, you can still eat well, and save quite a lot of money at the same time, by being diligent, keeping your eyes and ears open, and thereby saving yourself a pretty penny!
9. LOOK FOR SPECIAL OFFERS:
A few years ago, I was in London and found that for the month of January and February, twenty-two (22) fine dining / top London restaurants, offered specially priced menus from only £15.00, including an alcoholic drink!
That food event was sponsored by the London Evening Standard newspaper, which believes that everyone can afford to eat at the best places, for only a fraction of the cost.
Sponsored by the London Evening Standard Newspaper once again, June saw the launch of London Food Month, for the very first time featuring over 400 events and midnight feasts across the city of London!
I managed to fit a two-course meal plus a drink, at a London restaurant, on the riverside, for just ten (10) quid!
10. GET YOURSELF A SANDWICH:
In Britain, pretty much every shop, supermarket and pub, will sell you a large variety of wonderful sandwiches, spanning from an egg and cheese buttie to a BLT sandwich.
I usually get myself a lovely prawn and cocktail sandwich, which simply, never fails!
11. EAT HUMBLE PIE:
I never go to Britain, without having at least one helping of pie.
12. UNICORN FOOD:
A freakshake is a milkshake topped with cream, cake, sauce, and sprinkled over with bubblegum, marshmallow, and a handful of sweets!
Need I say more, but if you insist. A few words!
13. Go to the pub and get yourself a pint of ale, bitter, lager, stout, or cider!
Trend at the moment – The Churchill Arms in Kensington:
The Churchill Arms was built way back in 1750, making it one of the oldest pubs in London!
Opt for up-market cocktails at the London Cocktail Club.
Club membership is free and there’s a choice of eight (8) bars all over London! Over 18’s only.
What more do you want?
Cost: £9.00 – £12.00
15. GIN & TONIC:
A gin & tonic is a highball cocktail made with gin and tonic water poured over ice. It’s usually garnished with a slice or wedge of lime or cucumber, and commonly referred to as a G and T.
G & T has been around as far back as the 16th century, and we’ve never looked back since then!
A favourite of The Queen Mother.
16. AFTERNOON TEA:
Tea isn’t just a drink.
It’s a way of life.
The world is a better place when you order your cup of tea accompanied by delicate savouries, such as thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, crumpets, sponge cakes, and a glass of refreshing champagne!
The most outstanding servings are to be found at historical hotels such as Afternoon Tea at The Ritz and Claridge’s. But of course, a more budget-conscious way is to go to a typical cream and tea shop such as Bea’s of Bloomsbury and the Urban Tea Rooms.
Cost: £3.50 – £50.00
London is a 24 hour city, and if you know where to look, there’s always something to do. Read on!
London isn’t Miami and you’ll be lucky if you get even the slightest tan, but when the sun does come out, you’ll need to use your elbows in order to jostle Londoners out of the way!
Beaches can be found all over London. Most are free like the Urban London Beach and The Beach at Brent Cross (free with the App), but some like Neverland London or Brixton Beach, have an admission charge.
South West Four (SW4), is a popular UK music festival that takes place on Clapham Common! Over 18’s only!
An alternative music festival would be OnBlackheath.
OnBlackheath is a music, arts and food festival for the discerning music and food lover, with bizarre yet wonderful fringe entertainment, and a safe and nourishing children’s area! It’s held in Blackheath! Families are welcome.
There are loads of clubs to try out and discover. Get yourself Time Out London, to find out what’s going on in town. Failing that, why not try a former residential block turned into a two-floor club and bar in the heart of trendy Dalston. The name? Birthdays!
Over 18’s only.
Cost: £5.00 – £10.00
20. CONCERTS & GIGS:
London is a trendy, hip, city. There’s just loads of live music, concerts and gigs to discover, and if you’ve only got 24 hours, then you’d best check right here!
I know that London is expensive, but my expert recommendation is to actually stay in the centre of the city.
Yes, the centre!
There’s a logic to my madness ‘cos transport around London is iffy and unreliable. You’re better off staying in Central London, where you can either take the bus, or walk!
It’s very practical as the mainline train, the underground train stations, and bus stops, were right next to each other.
In fact, during my free time, I used the opportunity to walk right down to Covent Garden!
My hotel was that close!
I’ve been wanting to come here but on this visit, I didn’t have the adequate amount of time to really indulge, but if YOU do, take a stroll down, have some refreshment, or stay for the night!
DUKES LONDON is a majestic, historical, sophisticated, luxury hotel nestled in the heart of historic Mayfair, and only a 5 minute walk from Buckingham Palace!
The Goring Hotel was opened in 1910 and is the only remaining hotel in London that is still owned and run by the family that built it!
The Queen Mother was a regular at The Goring Hotel, and Kate Middleton was based at the hotel during her wedding to Prince William.
The Hoxton is the first trendy hipster destination hotel to open in East London!
This being London, the rooms are small but cleverly designed, with Wi-Fi, an hour of phone calls, fresh milk, tea, coffee, water AND a light breakfast bag provided, for free!
There are now two branches in London – Hoxton, Shoreditch and Hoxton, Holborn.
I’ll take it!
If you’re looking for a warm family atmosphere, opt for a B&B instead of a hotel.
I went to the Parkwood Hotel, now Parkwood at Marble Arch, back in 2010, when it was the UK Award Winner Bed and Breakfast for 2009 – 2010!
The Parkwood is a beautiful 200-year-old Regency townhouse. It’s just across the road from Hyde Park at Speaker’s Corner, and mere minutes from Marble Arch, Oxford Street & Harrods – ready for some serious shopping! Most of the West End theatres are also within walking distance and Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, etc, are just across the park!
That’s it for now.
See you next week!
This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the swift time that I had in London, are my very own!
On August 23rd, I’ll be at Gamescom!
I’ll be there. Will you?
Watch this space!
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Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
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A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!
What would you choose to do in 24 hours – Visit. See. Eat. Play or Sleep? How many things have you done? Let me know in the comments below!
See you in Berlin.