For the purpose of this blog post I am going to assume you are alone in London for a few days. As this is a position I find myself in often it occurred to me that lots of other expat wives may also find themselves in cities alone while their husband heads off to the office / meetings. If you are taking advantage of this type of situation then what a great city to be in to do it !!
I lived in London for just over 14 years so I have the advantage of being familiar with the tube, busses and the oyster card. Despite having many friends who live here I still feel a little like a tourist when I visit, mostly because I now have free time to do the touristy things !!
When you arrive in London the first thing to do is to get yourself an Oyster Card. Pre-load it with money and you can use it on all the busses and tubes - simply tap it on the card reader and off you go !! You can’t use cash on the busses in London and queuing for the ticket machines in the tube would test the patience of a saint. The octopus card is definitely the way to go!
There are several apps you can download on your iPhone with the tube map or you can go old skool and pick up a paper version at any station.
If it's your first visit to London you might want to tick all the boxes on the sightseeing list. An open top bus tour is the easiest way to get a good overview and you can hop on and off at all the sights that interest you. Most peoples first visit to London doesn't normally allow for visiting too many sights in any kind of detail, but if you have been here before then you might want to fine tune your trip and look into some of the amazing - and free - exhibitions that the London museums and galleries have to offer.
I personally love the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum just a hop skip and a jump away from each other. You can tie a visit to these with the 'must visit' on many tourists list - Harrods. Why not visit the food hall (or the one in Harvey Nichols next door) and pick up goodies for an impromptu picnic in Hyde Park.
Another favourite of mine is The British Museum. Not only is it an architectural treasure but it also contains treasure - literally. The Treasures of Tutunkamun and the new 3D mummy exhibition alongside the huge amount of other exhibits contained in this spectacular building should keep most visitors amused for hours.
The area around the museum is pretty miserable in terms of places to eat and drink but don't despair - Russell Square tube station is close by and the London Underground will have you on the South Bank or in Covent Garden before you know it.
A little planning in advance will not only ensure you get to see the sights you want to it may also get you some nice advance discounts on tickets and will certainly get you better seats at any shows you want to see. Speaking of which - why not pop along to an afternoon matinee of a west end show? Especially ideal if you and the husband have differing tastes. Worth bearing in mind is that The Royal Opera House in Covent garden sells tickets to dress rehearsals for 'friends' of the Opera House. If you are an opera lover then the friends membership could prove to be a worthwhile investment. I bought a membership for the V&A and have more than got my money's worth in just two visits.
The last thing I suggest is signing up for the Time Out mailing list several months in advance of your trip. There are often visiting exhibitions that may require advance booking or have timed entrance especially at the weekends. also you can keep an eye on any concerts and shows that are coming up.
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