Ah, London. Which of course in German means "A Whales Vagina." Jokes aside, London has become one of my favorite cities to visit in Europe. London offers a lavish way of experiencing Europe, which unfortunately comes attached with a large price tag. I will be the first to admit that I often times throw budget out the window and spend money like I'm Dan Bilzerian on a yacht in the British Virgin Islands. However, I have visited this city with very few dollars to spend and have a wonderful experience without breaking the bank. Today, I'm here to break down a few fiscally responsible things to do in foggy London town. How many Anchorman references can I put in this post? Bark twice if you're in Milwaukee.
Wander through Hyde Park/Kensington Garden
You will not be forking over 40 pounds to walk through a damn park. Both Hyde Park and Kensington Garden are a scenic way to start your trip to London and see a vast amount of the city. Hyde Park can be accessed from the Marble Arch station of the tube pretty easily, as well as several different tube stops. And while I'm at it, do not take a black cab. Guarantee you will spend your life savings on those things alone. Although nice, the tube is fiscally responsible and honestly not that hard to navigate. Have you taken Bart in San Francisco? The tube is easier then that. Along with solving a rubix cube. But i'm getting ahead of myself here. Both the gardens and Hyde Park are a great place to explore, see some beautiful scenery or even have a picnic. There is even a kid friendly carousel to ride if you're into that shit.
Snap a Photo in Front of 'Big Ben'
This is probably the most touristy thing you can do besides taking a double decker bus tour which I may or may not also include on this list. Do you look like a tacky tourist? Yes. Should you still do it? Abso-fucking-lutely. Big Ben is stunning and seeing it that close in person is an incredible experience. So, with that being said, why not kill two birds with one stone and venture to London Street at Westminster and take that red telephone booth picture as well? All you need is your two feet and a camera for this free activity.
Take a Stroll Down Abbey Road
"Kathryn you are a super tourist" I KNOW THAT AND I DO NOT CARE. Abbey Road was something I hadn't seen up until recently. Take the iconic walk that famously depicts the Beatles album cover at historic Abbey Road. Fight people off and get a photo like like this, it is fun to be assertive. The location is somewhat challenging to get to, however the tube stop at St. John's Wood on the Paddington line should be sufficient enough to get you there.
Visit the Shard
A place where photos do not truly do it justice. The Shard is a skyscraper that overlooks a good chunk of the city, but the mostly iconic Tower Bridge. The best part about the Shard? The most you will be paying for is a drink. Do not go to the observation tower where they will charge you a ridiculous fee, but to the 31st floor to Aqua Bar. We purchased a bottle of wine for probably 20 pounds and that was us splurging. If you're lucky enough to snag a table on the city's edge (we waited about 5 minutes for a table to open up) the view is impeccable and unique. You also get tipsy, a favorite activity of mine personally.
Walk Along Lambeth Pier
I confess, every time I have walked along the Lambeth Pier I have immense jet lag and pictures just do not work for me. Yet, this is a spectacular place to walk around day or night. Hugging the River Thames, it is a great place to spot Westminster and Big Ben, as well as take a leisurely stroll. If you are feeling especially saucy that day and are looking to splurge, you can also take a cruise along the River Thames, or to get there, simply purchase a Big Bus Tour and make a pit stop close by, as there is a stop on the tour right here.
Enjoy Afternoon Tea
Fiscally responsible? Perhaps not. Worth every second of the experience? Yes. The Afternoon tea pictured above was at The Ritz London, which is probably the most expensive out of the tea experiences (about 80 pounds). HOWEVER there a few that round out to about 35 pounds, including a more traditional experience at The Wellesley or an offbeat, Mad Men-esq version at The London Edition. Honestly what is there not to love about dressing up and pretending you are rich for the day? Plus it comes with tiny sandwiches.
Cruise Around London via Double Decker Bus
So not everything in life is free, so do yourself a favor and spend a little bit to take a bus tour. Sit on the top floor, enjoy what London has to offer and pretend like you are Joey & Chandler in friends for the day. Yes, we took a photo reenacting that moment. London Bus Tour offers discounted tickets for purchasing online (around 22 pounds). Go ahead, play "There She Goes" and hop and off the bus at any point in the day.