Not content to have some time to relax at home after getting back from a 2-week vacation, Minh and I were off to London just the next weekend after getting back from Vietnam. But it was only for one night.. we left early on Saturday morning and came back again on Sunday night. Minh and I figured out some tips on how to do London on the cheap.
First, National Express runs a bus service from Nottingham to London which means (1) I don’t have to drive and (2) I can sleep during the drive. We’ve been able to book roundtrip bus tickets for two for less than 30GBP, which is cheaper than the gas it would take to drive down there, plus we don’t need to pay for parking in London.
Next, easyHotel has dirt cheap hotel rooms around London. Sure the hotels rooms are TINY and super basic, but that’s really all we need anyway. The room was literally just big enough for a double bed and a small bathroom.
We really had no set plans for the weekend except to check out the Top Drawer trade show. So for the rest of the time, we just ate good food that we can’t get in Nottingham and shopped around (mostly window shopping). We also caught a glimpse of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, but because we arrived only 10 minutes before, it was really crowded and we couldn’t get a good view.
Most of the food we had while we were down in London was of the American variety… hamburger, hotdog, fries and a shake from the Shake Shack – paella from Hola Paella – mussels and waffles from Leon de Bruxelles – ribs and burnt ends from Bodean’s BBQ – breakfast pastries at Ottolenghi in SOHO – steak burrito from Chipotle.
And here’s a glimpse at some of the shops we stopped in while we were down there… Hamley’s, Fortnum and Mason, Anthropologie, Liberty of London, lululemon, Uniqlo, small shops around Covent Garden, Whole Foods. I did pick up a couple sale items at Anthropologie (couldn’t resist) and a shirt from Uniqlo, but overall didn’t spend too much money shopping.
Top Drawer was pretty cool.. we were able to see a lot of the new home, gift and design goods for 2014. It was nice to see the trade side of things, and gave us some good ideas for when we come home (in terms of things to buy, make, and maybe sell maybe). And it was completely free to attend!
We have another trip down to London planned in February for the London Bike / Tri / Adventure&Travel / Dive Show, and will probably do more touristy things (maybe a hop-on/hop-off bus?) during that weekend. Looking forward to heading down that way more often in the last year that we’re here.