Been there. Done that.
Shaun and I don’t go to London for the main attractions any more. I mean, this was his third time and my second time visiting. You can only visit the London Eye so many times before it starts to get a bit old. Awesome? Yes. But with the money we were working with for our big Euro trip, it just wasn’t in the cards to spend a lot. It isn’t like we were spending our time in luxury London hotels.
After our breakneck race through Iceland and the Ring Road we were tired and frankly, a bit worn out.
And this time around I found my little London spark. That knowledge and intimacy with a city that goes beyond your main tourist attractions. We had a week to hang out with friends and live like locals. We experienced London on the cheap.
And it was the best time I could have asked for.
If you are looking for a good, authentic time in London, here are a few things we got to do with our friends Jungle James and Safari Kate. You may recognize them from our posts in Bocas del Toro, Panama or Xela, Guatemala. These are those travel friends that stay with you for life and I’m still trying to convince Kate to try and get me a job in London so we can stick around a bit longer next time. 😛
Here are a few things we did in our week in London that were budget friendly:
Walk around Canary Wharf. This business center is insane with the massive buildings. It is completely different than the rest of London and you can window shop at the awesome underground mall. Make sure to check out the awesome canal boats lined up around this area.
Try the local fare of a budget by raiding your local TESCO. Shaun went with the Scottish Eggs. We only finished one. You can say it was an “experience”. We also got heckled by our Londoner friends. Side note: Did you know the groceries in London can be cheaper than in the States? BLEW OUR MIND.
Get beers from your local East End pub. We chose the Old Duke of Cambridge because it was near where we are staying. For £3 you can’t beat the price. We also got a free little bowl of crackers and cheese!
Go to the Mile End Skatepark. This was a big one for Shaun. Not only was he impressed with what was available but it is entirely FREE. Keep in mind that they do have a youth club that takes over the park in the late afternoon.
Rent a bike and ride down the canal. The investment is £1 for the day but the first 30 minutes is free. Get your bike. Haul balls. Dock it. Recheck it out. Continue your day.
Get cheap noodles on Kingston Road. East London is chocked full with multiculturalism. Make sure to take advantage of the plethora of great noodle shops that are both authentic and delicious. My bowl of pho put us back a whopping £5.
See a free band in one of the hundreds of pubs around London. Ours was the pub in Victoria Park. No, I am lame and do not remember the name of the bar. Sue me. We were drinking in London.
Hang out in London Fields on a sunny Saturday and drink cheap beer. This is one of the trendiest most hopping places in town on the weekends. Scores of young and old people hang out on the grass and drink beer they got from the store. This was also where Shaun tried to explain cricket to another girl. SNOOOOOOOOOOOZE. 😀
Head to the market near London Fields and taste test the goods. There is this really rad artisan market full of yummy foods. We ended up with a £3 bratwurst after nearly having a heart attack with what to pic. Cheese, bread, quiches and more can be found in this area. Yum!
I would love the chance at living in London for a little while. There is just something that clicks with me there. Sure I would still miss the warm sun and legitimate tacos but I can’t help but be charmed like the millions before me. We have friends there. We have a life there. This is MY big city.
What city has made YOU feel at home?
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