I thought I might highlight a few cost effective attractions from our recent flying visit to London. Below you’ll find 3 worthwhile things that we can personally vouch for!
Sandemans Royal London Free Walking Tour
London is a big place and sometimes the attractions are hard to find, so if you’re only in town for a flying visit I highly reccomend joing a Sandemans New London Free Walking Tour. This tour meets outside of the Covent Gardens Apple Store at 10am, 11am & 2pm daily and covers a whole host of local attractions including: a number of notable Harry Potter related streets, Trafalgar Square (Make sure you ask how Trafalgar Square & Admiral Nelson relate to the phrases ‘Stiff Drink’ & ‘Tapping the Admiral’ while you’re there – hilarious stuff!), Whitehall, Downing Street, Westminster Abby, The House of Lords & Buckingham Palace.We had a great tourguide yeh yeau
If it looks overcast or rain is predicted I would however reccomend purchasing the $2 umbrella from covent gardens as once you’re wet it all gets very cold very quickly, especially if you are not used to England’s cooler climate.
At each place Yeh Yeau took us to he included a very memorable and funny story they helped to bring the history and sights to life, he did an exceptional job at retelling each story with enthusiasm, even despite the rain. At the end of each tour it is suggested that a tip be made to your tour guide (who does so as a volunteer) although your aren’t made to feel guilty if you don’t have any $$ to contribute. Anyone who is interested after the tour has concluded is then invited to join the tour guide and the group to a local pub for some local grub, which has some reasonable meals costing 13Pound ($26NZD) for two meals.
Changing of the Guard (Buckingham Palace/St. James Palace)
First things first, you need to know that this is a weather permitting event, the first day we went it was cancelled, so if the weather is looking a tad on the damp side, don’t waste your time, make alternative plans & watch it on YouTube.
Secondly, a lot of people follow the crowd to their own detriment: for example a huge number of people congregate outside the gates but actually a lot of action is held elsewhere.
We reccomend waiting outside St James Palace (Marlborough Road) which is just a 600m walk up The Mall away from Buckingham Palace and to the left. try to get here at least 5 mins before 11 when all the tour groups (who are in the know about this location) arrive, stand as close to the curb as you can but don’t step on the road – otherwise police will shout at you. Here you can see one of the two marching bands come out, in a very ordererd and proper way, they will play a practice song (which is allowed to be anything so you could be surprised – but when they walk The Mall the song must be military). After the song, they will begin their march down Marlborough Road and then walk down the Mall on the left hand side, once you’ve seen a little bit of marching its a good idea to quick pace it yourself ahead to cross the road before the crossings become closed.
At this point its time to head down towards Buckingham Palace but don’t get too caught up in mob of people by the front gates. As strange as it sounds, the railings at the end of The Mall that line the half round about (Victoria Memorial) in front of buckingham palace provide a great view of the various marching bands and Lifesaver Horsemen as they come past. It also keeps you safe as many professional pickpockets work the crowds of this daily event looking for high value items on unsuspecting tourists.
The direction the bands and horses will take around the half round about are hard to pick as the route get changed daily, i suspect for security reasons but the position I suggest above works pretty well regardless. The actual changing of the guard formalities involve two sets of soldiers staring at each other for a little bit, then they take turns playing some songs (also surprising) they usually the two bands march out. When the bands start playing, its not a bad idea to move into palace side of the Victoria Memorial to get a better view and a view of the bands marching out again at the end; once again remembering to watch your belongings. The whole event goes for about an hour.
This permanent market is a hidden gem of London, tucked away below some railway lines on High Street, Borough, Southwark (exactly halfway between the London Bridge & Borough Underground Stations). It’s a cheap hipster’s dream filled with tasty and affordable artisan foods; from cheeses, breads, roasted nuts, proper turkish delight, olives, spit roasts, fruits, vegetables and much much more! I can’t reccomend this place enough! You’ll find cost effective honest tasty food here, plus it’ll give you an opportunity to briefly shake off your touristy-ness as you briefly get to live life like a local. you won’t regret it, its quality.
I think thats all for now,
Make sure you post a comment if you feel there is something cool to add into flying visit!