A Cheap Date With London – How to Enjoy Yourself in London for Free

Tired of London, tired of life, yadda-yadda, but most people forget the second half of Samuel Johnson’s popular aphorism: ‘for there is within London, all that life can afford.’ While, no doubt referring to the extraordinary diversity found in London, he also hit upon another significant aspect of the Great City. It’s expensive.

There are however, numerous ways of enjoying your stay on limited funds, and this will be a short primer on how to maximise your budget, while still seeing the significant parts on offer.

Firstly – where will you stay? Well, not only could you write a book on this, there are hundreds which currently exist testifying to the fact. However, some of the cheapest rooms are located around Heathrow airport, so a quick scan of ‘Laterooms.com’ will return the day rates from all over town. You can quickly see that Heathrow specialises in discount rooms, Bloomsbury: between the City and West End, has some bargains, and Hackney on the fringes of the City, is convenient and cheaper too. In addition, you should also factor travel costs into your room rate. Use a Tube Travelcard in 1,3 or 7 day flavours. They rise in price dependent on how far from the centre you are, so consider that with regard to staying near Heathrow. The surrounding area is zone 4,5 and 6, compared to Bloomsbury and Shoreditch which are zone 1 and 2. Travelcards offer unlimited travel, and in weekly form there are no rush-hour restrictions. So that’s your room and travel fixed, which are bare minimums: there’s no way around these costs unless you plan to spend your visit walking, and sleeping under bridges (not recommended).

Cheap Sightseeing Tour
First tip is a sightseeing tour of the city, which retail at about £25-30 per person through the official channels. Or you can opt for the no-commentary, ordinary bus version. Go after 10am, to avoid being compressed by chubby commuters and you’ll find plenty of space available. London double-decker busThe two best options are: the RV1 bus which you can catch outside Tower Gateway Tube station: which passes Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, The Tate Modern, The National Theatre, Waterloo, Strand, Aldwych and terminates in Covent Garden. Not over-long or taxing and you see plenty along the way.
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The London Olympics in 2012 – A Quick Guide to the Main Venues

New Venues
The Olympic Park is the main area of development in London. Located in the north-east of London in an area that was previously underused: The Lea Valley, it will be host to the new-build venues. It contains the following ‘Big Five ‘ structures:

  • The Olympic Stadium – where the main athletic events will be held.
  • The Aquatics Centre – where the swimming events will take place
  • The Olympic Village – where competitors will be staying during the event
  • The Velodrome – where the cycling events are scheduled
  • The IBC/MPC – a media centre to house the international TV crews, journalists and photographers.

All ‘Big Five’ venues are currently ‘on track’, though there is wide acknowledgement amongst development engineers that 2010 will be the ‘toughest’ year for development contractors, as the build cycle is now at its busiest phase.
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Five Places in London Which Tourists Miss – But Really Should See

Most people when visiting somewhere (myself included), would prefer to see a mixture of sights – Big Ben, Tower Bridge, certainly, but would also love to experience some of the local flavour too. This article covers five places that are authentically London, but not obvious destinations to visitors. You can cover them in a day and they’re presented in sequence to form a basic itinerary. Let’s begin.

The Temple Church and Inns of Court – for history

Start By catching the Tube to ‘Temple’ on the district line. Head North up Arundel Street and turn right onto the Strand. Here you’ll pass the church ‘St. Clement Danes’ (from the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons – say the bells of St. Clement’s”) and the Royal Courts of Justice – a Gothic wonder and home to the British Civil Courts.

Phone boxes behind The Royal Courts of Justice

The Royal Courts of Justice - (rear).

If you fancy a look round – walk in – it’s open to the public and so are the courtrooms. Continuing along the Strand into Fleet Street, there is a large gatehouse on the Southside (it looks like a building) with a large black central gate, with two smaller doors each side – one of which will be ajar. Walk through into Middle Temple Lane and enter ‘Middle Temple’ on the left – one of the four ‘Inns of Court’. They were established as training precincts for Barristers in the 15th century. Although private, they are open to the public and are some of the most idyllic and tranquil spots to be found in any major city in the world. The Temple Church is maintained in perpetuity by Inner and Middle Temple, and was established by the Knights Templar in the 11th century. It features extensively in the Dan Brown book ‘The Da Vinci Code’, and as such, attracts a number of avid fans. Take some time to stroll around the gardens, which are tasteful and award-winning. Cross over the Strand, up Chancery Lane and

The Temple Church in the City of London - Built by the Knights Templar in the 12th Century

The Temple Church in the City of London - Built by the Knights Templar in the 12th Century

into Lincoln’s Inn Fields – the largest green space in the City and very quiet (there are no ‘through’ routes, so traffic is non-existent). On the North side you will find.

The Sir John Soane Museum – for eccentricity

The building housing the Sir John Soane Museum was the home of the infamous architect and is filled from floor to ceiling with interesting architectural artifacts, books and works of art. Entry is on a limited basis (some have to be let out, before you’re let in), but go during the day and you’re likely to walk straight in. There’s nowhere else like it. Candlelit tours on select evenings, are held once a month – but the queues tend to stretch around the block. Leaving Lincoln’s Inn Fields to the North, leads into Holborn. Time to stop off for a drink (pubs also serve coffee during the day) at.

The Cittie of Yorke – for a pint

The Cittie of York pub was originally a coffee house in the 17th century, built on the site of earlier public houses which existed in the same location. The bar at the rear has an enormous vaulted ceiling, huge wooden vats and booths where early financial transactions were conducted. Stock exchanges grew directly from their coffee house origins, in both London and Amsterdam, so it’s not hard to imagine some of the be-wigged negotiators who may have sat in these booths. Take the Tube from Chancery Lane (Central Line – Red) Westbound to Bond Street. Head North up Duke Street to Manchester Square, where Hertford House is located, home of.

The Wallace Collection – for art

A private collection bequeathed to the nation, it includes exceptional furniture, decorative fabrics, ceramics and paintings. There really is no other gallery like The Wallace Collection. Continue reading

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