Loving London on a shoestring – yes, it is possible!

editorial image


No, we are not super-rich. No, we are not the Kelso Kardashians. Despite the joshing about Shoogly Towers and Gamford the faithful retainer, we are not rolling in money, just comfortably off, but comfortable more in the sense of an old pair of well-made, reasonably expensive slippers, rather than a flashy, brand new pair from Poundland which make your feet smell if you wear them for more than a couple of hours.

Several factors made Holiday Number 2 possible. Firstly, it was London and we happen to know a few folk living there.

And these folk in particular, whose home we stayed in, happened to have gone on holiday after extensive (and very expensive) renovations, leaving behind a much-extended and luxurious home with a newly-renovated garden recently landscaped at great expense. Hence the need for friends (ie. us) going down to stay there.

What a chore. What a drag. Free accommodation in a brand new hoose. In Lahn-dahn. Where a family room in a tatty B&B costs eleventy million squillion pounds a night. Ya beauty.

Another factor in making this a sublimely affordable trip was the Entwistle Clan ‘Friends and Family Railcard’. This magic wee bit of plastic enabled four of us to travel down (and, very importantly, also back again) on the train for less than a hundred quid.

Once the budget bar had been set, everything had to be bargainous. We borrowed our hosts’ visitor Oyster cards, to save on the daily Travelcard costs. We ate out like Lords a couple of nights and the rest of the time we ate in, and picnicked in the glorious Londonshire sun in a convenient park/open space every lunchtime.

Sitting one day in the glorious grounds of the former Royal Naval College at Greenwich, now the Maritime Museum, with the Thames breeze a welcome break in the 78-degree heat, watching the commuter clippers and pleasure boats weave their way up and down the mighty river, a supermarket sarnie never tasted better.

Free stuff. That was the final enabling factor. No £25 entrance fees to dungeons or collections of waxworks for us, just attractions with free entry.

And as we commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War, what could be more fitting than starting, straight off the train, with a visit to the (free) Imperial War Museum.

And the most memorable of all of London’s amazing sights for us this trip? Stumbling across the start of the sea of ceramic poppies being planted in the moat of the Tower of London as part of the commemoration. So sad, but truly spectacular.