Since I am spending so much money on living in London, I am going to try really hard to get around and see as much as the city has to offer me. At the same time, I a ruthlessly exploiting all the “Top 10 Things To Do in London for Under a £10/£5/Free” type articles I can find on Buzzfeed and Pinterest. I could say it was because of the money situation, but actually I really believe that you can either spend a lot of money on experience (let’s hit the Savoy, woho) or very little. The mid-ground is kind of a nothing; the extra money spent doesn’t necessarily equate to any more enjoyable a time, and can keep you stuck in easy, but bland mediocracy.
So to kick this whole thing off, this weekend I managed to squeeze in 3 super fun things, and spent £14 (excluding travel into the city centre) on a Big Day Out.
Rapsody/The Two Pigeons, Royal Opera House
This was a great tip from various articles regarding standing tickets at the Royal Opera House. Basically for £4, you have to stand up, and you get a slightly blocked view. Luckily, over 3 hours we had at least 45 minutes of interval as they changed ballets and then had an interval, so there was time to have a sit down and stretch my legs. I mainly just wanted to see inside the Opera House itself, but got the added bonus of two pretty amazing ballets. And it isn’t often you get to see a production involving two incredibly well trained pigeons in the finale.
Pie and Mash at Battersea Pie Station, Covent Garden
Picked this one up from Time Out Top 100 Cheap Eats, and it was a great shout. It is actually in the market, on the lower levels. Steak and stout pie plus gravy plus tea (which is possible the most British meal ever) was all in for £10, including £1 eat in charge. It was totally lush, and not as busy as I expected. In summer I reckon you could dodge the eat in fee, but it was far too cold for any outside eating craziness. The pie would have gone cold far too quickly.
Lumiere Festival, Various Locations
Eek, Light Festival! This was on all over the city centre, but in the end we only went to see a few areas – Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and St James and Regent Street. Some of the displays were a bit of a miss – mainly ‘Plastic Islands’ in Trafalgar, which was basically just a load of floating bottles in a fountain lit up. I mean I’m sure it was supposed to be a searing indictment of the damage caused by humanity in the name of mass consumerism on the natural environment blah blah, but frankly it was just a bit boring and uninspired. Much better was ‘Garden of Light’ in Leicester Square, which was like some kind of demented, illuminated Willy Wonka-style extravagance, and ‘Les Luminéoles’ and ‘Elephantastic’ on Regent Street. But the two best were easily the ‘The Light of the Spirit’, which lit up the facade above the Great West Doors Westminster Abbey, and ‘Les Voyageurs’ at St James’s Square. The Light of the Spirit picked out the detail of the architecture, as if painted in wonderful multi-colour. Les Voyageurs reminded me so much of Anthony Gormley’s works, with silent hovering human forms hanging in the trees and placed on the buildings. It was a little bit quieter than the other displays, so it had a very ethereal quality. Overall it was a beautiful winter evening out.