As many of you know, my best friend Sam has been living in London all by herself for the past year. She has had a wonderful old time by the sounds of things and certainly seemed to make the most of being in the city, even if she was by herself. As such, I asked her to share her tips for exploring London alone.
Living in London can be stressful and expensive, especially if you’re on your own, and it can be difficult to justify visiting places if you’re not going with other people.
But this shouldn’t be the case! There a lots of things to do on your own, and cheaply, and so here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
Museums are not only a great way to spend an afternoon, but they are also cheap. Most are free, with an optional donation, which means you can go in and out as much as you want without feeling your purse getting significantly lighter with each visit. It also means that if there is an certain exhibition that you want to see, you can afford to treat yourself without adding on admission prices.
I love the theatre, and try to go as much as possible. In London, there are an endless amount of shows to see including plays, musicals, opera, ballet and comedy, to name but a few. You can easily find what’s on by a simple Google, and if you book in advance, or even go last minute, there are usually some great deals. Often, if you go during the week you can find the best deals on tickets, and they can often upgrade you once you arrive as there are less people in the audience, and this can spice up an otherwise dull week at work. I’ve also found that tickets are cheapest when you book direct through the theatre, as you don’t have to pay any surplus charges. If you’re more spur of the moment, going to the theatre or through theatre vendors on the day is also a good way of getting a deal, as they often reduce ticket prices.
I didn’t appreciate how many parks were in London until I came down here, and now one of my favourite things to do is take a stroll round them when I have a free afternoon, especially now the weather has picked up! Each one has its own unique character and can also be a nice detour if you want to avoid the crowded streets of London on a weekend.
There are also other ways to take a detour than just the parks, and if you want to travel a bit more in style there are ways to do that too. For example, you can go by canal with The London Waterbus Company , which travels between Little Venice and Camden Lock Market. So if you don’t want to brave the Camden tube station, this is a refreshing change and isn’t overly expensive (just note, you can only use card on the boat – no cash). I took my Mum this way when she visited, and it showed her a bit more of London that just the underground. Also, it goes through London Zoo and stops off here giving you a discount on entry, so you can also avoid the queues for the Zoo if you would prefer to go this way.
There is always something going on in London, and you can research during the week to find out what cool events are happening over the weekend. For example, some highlights of mine have been catching the London Pride Parade, the London Marathon, Trooping of the Colour and West End LIVE, all of which were free and always have an amazing turnout and atmosphere.
There’s just a few ideas to get you started – have fun!