So I lived in London for about a year. It was an experience to say the least, not only was it filled with all the perils you would expect from moving to the big city at 18 years old, it was also damn expensive!
In the short time we lived there we explored living in two different locations. Both North, one off Piccadilly and one off the Victoria line. And yes, when you move to London locations are determined by the tube map, not the actual name of the place. Anyway, needless to say both were pretty pricey for the minimal amount of room, and both saw many frustrating problems. But then no one ever said moving to London would be easy. As a matter of fact most people will tell you that in any sought after city you can look forward to a shoebox flat for the price of a five bed back home. This is all just part of the reality (and charm) of it – sorry folks!
Regardless there’s plenty of freebie activities that you can amuse yourself with, because contrary to what the films tell you, you will at times be strapped for cash and won’t be able to impersonate the SATC girls sipping cosmos.
So first and foremost, the Tate Modern is free, quirky and awesome. In fact you don’t even have to love art really, because there’s always something weird and whacky for everyone. In fact, one of the times we went there was a massive black box which claimed to replicate complete darkness. (Yes, it’s art…apparently). Suffice to say it didn’t and sitting in a dark room at home would have done the trick, but the laugh was enough entertainment when you have minimal dollar to play with.
One of my second favourite London past times had to be Oxford Street window shopping. Who says you need to go to Oxford Street and shop?! With the amount your new flat costs you’ll learn to admire Selfridges from afar, rather than splurge in it. So put those Kurt Geiger shoes down and just back away. If you do happen to have some spare cash though, Oxford St is home to an ah-mazing Topshop – three floors of pure wonderfulness! And at Christmas the street is a mixture of magical and mayhem – a little tip, visit before December if you don’t want to be pushed around by everyone.
Who comes to London and doesn’t have a bit of red phone box fun either? I mean it’s not my cup of tea (compliment the English pun), but if you fancy standing in a red box that smells like wee then shut me up! Oh and of course it’s free, really a no brainer. Just to illustrate, this is the fun I’m talking about:
This is just a warning to all of you visiting Trafalgar Square – the Square itself is cool, but the National Portrait Gallery is not. I’m telling you this to save you from an absolute snoozefest.
But what is good is the Imperial War Museum. I’m not exactly a history nut but anything that is more interactive than just staring at pictures on a wall is good for me! It gives you the chance to do things like walk through a ‘trench experience’, the smell is truly awful but the experience is pretty cool. Sadly it’s closed until July 2014 whilst they add new WW1 galleries, but if you’re in London then make sure to be there for the reopening!
The Natural History Museum and the British Museum are also really good to visit…the NHM will definitely bring out the kid in you, and they always have different ‘what’s on’ events to keep it fresh. In fact that’s similar to most museums and attractions in London, so they never get boring.
If you really don’t fancy museums and art galleries, and you find yourself in London on a particularly sunny day then there is plenty of parks to keep you occupied. Also, Camden Town is uber quirky with the coolest vintage shops around, as well as some of the best street cuisine.
I could go on and on about London because despite the complaining there were some amazing parts to living there, but unfortunately the hustle, bustle and expense became a little too much after a year. But if you have any questions just ask and I’ll be happy to try and help!
Maybe we’ll talk London again some time.