Londoners In London: How To See The Sights On A Budget

It’s almost the end of the summer holidays. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling exhausted- physically, emotionally, financially- and in need of a little break. We have had a lovely summer, full of fun and adventures but I dread to think how much it has cost- holidays, weekend breaks, activities, holiday camps, food- blimey, the food, the incessant “I’m hungry” every five minutes! Finally, mum gets a little time off!

Armed with Google maps and a copy of Time Out, my friend and I set off to be tourists in our hometown. ‘Out of office’ from dawn until dusk, we decided to do as much as we could in one day whilst spending as little money as possible. We had two must-see destinations in mind; I wanted to see a theatrical piece about Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London and my friend wanted to see the Frida Khalo exhibition at the V&A- what a pair of culture vultures! The challenge? What else could we do to make the most of this precious day?

1. We met at Tower Hill station (District/Circle line) at 9:30 and had breakfast in this Costa which has a balcony overlooking the Tower of London. This was a real find and a bit of a hidden gem. Using the points accrued on my loyalty card, my breakfast was free.

2. After breakfast, our day started properly at the Tower of London. History, monarchy, art, culture…the Tower is fascinating and engaging. There is so much to see and experience- listen to the Yeoman Warders regaling crowds with tales of the Tower, experience the Crown Jewels, brush up on British history, shudder at the implements of torture, avoid the squawking ravens… I have Historic Royal Palaces membership so we got in for free. No spend so far!

3. We left the tower, took a stroll (and some cheesy photos) along the Thames, passing HMS Belfast and views of the Shard on our travels. We crossed London Bridge and wandered through Borough Market, snaffling the samples on offer and buying a cheap lunch. Street food- style boxes of deliciousness at £6 a pop. Bargain!

4. We ate our lunch alongside the Golden Hinde.The brightly coloured replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship is a stunning sight and kids love pretending to be a pirate on the high seas! We then had a cheeky beverage at The Anchor and enjoyed the sunshine and the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The low-spend goal was starting to slip at this point.

5. Onward, our walk took us past the Clink Prison Museum– on the list for another day – and some wonderful street art.

6. Feeling rather pleased with our progress by this point- and re-energised after lunch- we wandered along the Southbank, taking in Shakespeare’s Globe and stopping for the loo and a quick look at a couple of exhibitions at Tate Modern.

7. Back over the river we went via the Millennium Bridge and had a look around the vastly impressive St. Paul’s Cathedral. We didn’t go in as, at almost £20 each, we didn’t want to see it that much on this occasion, but we did get some great pics outside!

8. The trusty Oyster card was deployed next as we took the tube from Blackfriars station to Sloane Square. We needed to head north if we were to end up at the V&A, so walked from Sloane Square to Knightsbridge to pick up a date in Harrods – the fruit variety – as my friend (who lived in Dubai) loves Bateel dates.

Kerry on a date😉

9. Next, a short walk from Harrods to the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. We were a bit fed up with frugality by this point (and pretty knackered) so we treated ourselves to a light supper and a glass of champagne in the Members Room! No spend/low spend was well and truly out the window by this point.

10. Our penultimate activity on this epic sightseeing marathon was the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A. An impressive combination of life, colour, flamboyance mixed with tragedy and sadness- it was very moving and we loved it! We also loved the fact that we got in for free as my friend is a V&A member.

11. By the end of the day we were shattered. Creaky knees threatening to give up, the Fitbit proudly displaying the (almost) twenty thousand steps we had pounded on those London pavements. We were chuffed with our Big Day Out, vowed to do it again (Highgate Cemetery is the next location of choice) and treated ourselves to a glass of Pinot at Casa Brindisa before getting the tube home, exhausted but exhilarated, run-down but refreshed.

How lucky we are to live in London! 😀

Enjoy! Amy x

P.S. Thanks to Kerry- my lovely friend and Big Day Out companion for some of the pics!😘 All images used are our own.

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