Travelling to London often entails the notion of luxury, affluence, and sophistication. In short, there’s a distinct vibe about the city that screams royalty on every corner. However, if you look at it from a different perspective, you’ll see a side of London that’s ideal for the ever-growing number of backpackers. First on the agenda: understanding a few things that stand out within this rich metropolis.
London is home to some of the busiest runways in the world. In fact, Business Insider lists Heathrow Airport as one of the most active in terms of passenger traffic. To put it into context, in the course of 2015, the west London landing field saw a staggering 75 million travellers go in and out of the city.
Considering the abovementioned statistics, passenger congestion spills beyond the confines of Heathrow and into its parking areas. As a backpacker, you probably won’t have to deal with this unless you rent a car, as it may not be a bad idea knowing London is near equally beautiful regions such as Norfolk and Cambridge. Then again, making the most of the city’s exemplary public transportation system presents you a personal taste of its society.
There are a handful of commuting options from Heathrow. Parking4Less suggests the quickest way is via the Heathrow Express, which, for £22, takes you from the airport to central London in about 15 minutes. A less expensive alternative (£5.10 for a single ticket; £3.10 during off-peak hours) would be hopping on the Piccadilly Line of the Tube. Regardless, it’s worthwhile to get a one-week Oyster Card for about £32.10, as you can save up to 50 percent in transportation costs according to Visit London.
Upon settling down in London, enjoying and plunging into its dynamic atmosphere becomes straightforward – more importantly, you won’t have to break the bank. If truth be told, the city offers plenty of things to do for free. You can visit the Natural History Museum and Tate Modern, where you can learn about the vast British culture. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to take a step back and relax in picturesque green spaces such as Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.
In terms of food, London isn’t all about the Gordon Ramsays or the Brad McDonald. Without going over £5, you can have a classic English breakfast at Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. You can also head on over to Covent Garden’s Dishoom if Indian street food is your thing. For tasty Chinese meals, The Silk Road serves the best – and arguably the cheapest – steamed Taiwanese buns in the city. Furthermore, for just under £10, you can feast on savory dishes at popular food joints Bleeker Street Burger and The Rib Man.
Of course backpacking in London – or anywhere in the world – requires you to have the ability to wisely budget expenses. Having said this, it also wouldn’t hurt to read, absorb, and apply these things in order to get the best out of your journey towards exploring the other exciting facets of this world.
What’s your favourite/on your bucket list of things to do in London?
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