If you find yourself in or headed to London the way I was a few years ago — with a heart full of adventure and a wallet full of empty slots — then this post is for you.
1. Indulge in a football game at a corner pub with some nice fish & chips
A quintessential local to-do that over-delivers by hitting 3 birds with one stone. My go-to British pub was The Court, conveniently located steps away from my flat. During “happy hour,” you could grab the classic fish and chips and a pint for under 7 GBP. There is always a game playing on the screens and locals whose ardor for their team is infectious. It’s a steal even without the current exchange rate (thanks, Brexit). If you’re at a loss for whom to root for, may I recommend my favorite football team — Arsenal. They’ve seen better days (currently sitting at #6 in the Premier League) but a true fan sticks through the thick and thin, right?
2. Window shop along Oxford Street whilst in awe of London’s glamour and class
For me, some of the stores along Oxford Street were so out of my price range that it didn’t even hurt to window shop. I opened my eyes to the range of “British” merchandise, traces of architectural history, and the marvelous retail tycoon that is Selfridges. During the holidays, streets are adorned with lights strung above that make a lovely sight. If you’re in for a little more exploring, keep walking until you hit Regents Street and round out your trip with the cute shops along Carnaby Street.
3. Make an evening museum visit and get cultured without the crowd
Some of the world’s best art and artifacts can be found in London’s FREE museums. As someone who loves the traditional media, the National Gallery was my favorite pastime. You can easily spend hours if not day here and visiting at night means you won’t be waiting behind a crowd to see your favorite Monet or Picasso. And after the museum closes, step out to Trafalgar Square and people-watch from atop the steps. Other favorite museums of mine that either open fairly late or put on monthly after-hour visits are the Science Museum, the British Museum, and the Natural History Museum.
4. Walk across Tower Bridge – or any bridge across the Thames, stop, and take in all the beauty of this magical city
First, be aware of the many shell games along the sidewalk, where crowds will gather around to bet and guess “which cup is the ball under” as the operator quickly shuffles around. It seems easy and you may be tempted to try BUT, they are usually rigged as the operator will use sleight of hand to move or hide the ball during play and replace it as required. With that said, the Thames has a quiet charm at night and its beauty is best appreciated without daytime’s bustling traffic. Get the most scenic view with Tower Bridge in sight by walking across London Bridge, walk along the Thames toward Tower Bridge, then cross the it back to the North side.
Living or visiting a city like London, there are are times when you should treat yourself. However, for those other nights, rest assured that the best experiences can come without a hefty price tag!