I lived in London for nearly 4 years, so you are getting an official ‘Mockney’ tour guide for free! Fantastic. First thing I believe London is a great destination for backpackers. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be (I would budget extra though), it has excellent transportation, free museums, endless sights and markets…the list goes on. Especially with the British Pound fluctuating now like it has never done before. It’s a great time to make an excuse to one of the worlds powerhouses.
When you land into the city from your flight, London has 5 airports so I hope you picked the right one. With Heathrow and London City airports being the most central and expensive. Depending is on how far your accommodation is from the airport, you might want to get a bus, take the underground, or take an airport express train.
Unfortunately because trains are privatised, it means they are crazy expensive and the underground (‘Tube’) fare is around £2.80 GBP for a single fare. You can purchase a prepaid Oyster Card for the underground, or just tap a wireless bank card. Need I say skip the Black Cabs? For a hostel you are looking at around £10-£30 GBP/night.
A night in a bar or club will set you back. With bars in Zone 1 usually no less than £5 GBP. If you venture into Zone 3 or further out you can find bars that serve pints (568ml) of beer for around £2.50 GBP. Or you can just find any J.D. Wetherspoon and pay less than £10 GBP for a meal and beer (I used to practically live in these).
If you’re feeling more adventurous, get food from one of London’s famous markets; Brick Lane and London Borough being my two favourite.
Make sure to hit up all the free walking tours and free museums. London is soaked in culture and history and I am still learning so much about this capital city today. Even though I would not find it as liveable as place like Vancouver.
If you can, save your journey until the Winter season. Yes I know its cold but England is always cold. Head for Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland festival. It is my favourite time of the year and my favourite event in London all year round. WIth live bands, German Christmas themed markets and everyone in high spirits (I know, even the Cockney’s get happy from time to time!).
Ultimate Tourist Review: ★★★★☆ Recommended Days: 5
Tower Bridge – Buckingham Palace – The Shard – Big Ben and Houses of Parliament – Hyde Park – St. Pauls Cathedral – Camden Town
Generally just go to Soho/Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square for the most lively pubs and clubs