Sunday, 31 July 2011

Day 29: Expensive, but Fabulous


Well, I always knew this would be the big one.  So I am not going to go on and on either trying to justify the expense, or wringing my hands about it.  It cost what it cost.  We saved what we could.  And it has been a great day.  :-)

9.30am: Tube Day Ticket = £6.60.  There is no avoiding this one.

Palace of Westminter from the London Eye
10.30am.  The London Eye!  This big wheel cost £18.60 each, though if you are more organised than we were, you can book online in advance and save 10%.  Then again, if you are feeling flush you can pay another £10 for a 'fast track' ticket that lets you jump the queues.  This is a piece of nonsense.  We were there early enough so that the queues weren't unreasonable, and as I have said before, the Frugalist must expect a little less convenience.  The views were fabulous.  I bought a fridge magnet - my one souvenir! - for £3.

12 noon:  we took a boat trip down the Thames to Greenwich!  This cost us £13 for a return, and lasted for an hour long both ways.  Compared to the £25 it would have cost us each for a historic bus tour, this seemed like good value, and was so lovely and relaxing after spending all yesterday on our feet.  The 'unofficial' commentary  from the operators was good value for money as well.

1pm: arrived in Greenwich.  A great choice of a destination. We landed at the stunningly beautiful University of Greenwich, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and now a World Heritage Site.  It surely has the best location of any university in the country.  It also allows plenty of free peeks inside.  What's more, Greenwich village is charming, with lots of cheap food available (we went to Marks and Spencers, where lunch cost me £2.80); there is a huge parkland which one can wander to one's heart's content; there is the Queen's House and the National Maritime Museum, both free entry; and there is the Royal Observatory on the top of the hill, with its free Astronomy Centre, which would keep older children entertained for a while.  We didn't see half of it, and it kept us going for 3 hours.  Fabulous

5pm: arrived back at Westminster Pier.  Wandered a little outside the Houses of Parliament, ate dinner (£5.80).

7.30pm: even more fabulousness.  Friend Claire and I cheered and sang along to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert £33 each.  Home afterwards, still singing a little.

And so to bed.  Goodnight, all.  I hope you agree it was a day well spent.

Total Expenditure: £82.80


Hazey Jane said...

Sounds like an excellent day out and a very good use of time. Glad you discovered Greenwich as it's a really great place to visit.

Without wanting to put a dampner on your savings - you could have shaved off another £8 or so. You can travel to Greenwich on the Thames Clipper commuter boats for about £5 for a single . There's no helpful commentary - it's just for transport, but the views are the same. You could then return to Westminster via the Jubilee Line from Greenwich (assuming no closures for engineering works).

Also, if you're not fussed about what show you want to see, the tkts booth in Leicester Sq is worth checking out:

Are you using an Oyster Card? Sometimes a day's journeys can work out cheaper with the pay as you go capping, particularly if you stick to the buses. Bus journeys can be planned here:

But otherwise a very good effort :)

Adeodatus said...

It sounds like you're having a fantastic holiday - I love London, and haven't been for too long. I must get back there soon. I hope you're not thinking too much about the frugality - holidays don't count! - but maybe just enough to give you a sense of frugal achievement at the end of each day.


Fran said...

Excellent approach, Adeodatus! It has indeed been about striking a balance. I think I have done quite well over all: the 'not frittering' has been a good methodology, and has allowed the sense of achievement you mention.

Hazey-Jane - wow! That is all excellent advice, but to a non-Londoner, it seems very complex. I didn't manage to work out the Oyster Card thing, or the buses. Thanks for the link, though - I will keep a note of that for future reference.

But we did indeed make use of the Leicester Square ticket booths. It was a Friday night, so perhaps that's why things weren't particularly cheap - we did ask about a couple of shows, and this was by far the cheaper option.

Hazey Jane said...

Glad you found the tkts booth. Some are more official than others ;-)

I think the main point is: make use of local knowledge. We all know the short cuts and pound savers where we live but it's harder to figure it out when away. So if you can ask a local when you're planning a trip they might be able to help.