Northern Girl on… Walking Tours

It’s no secret that the London Underground is a quickest and most convenient way to get around the city but it also means that it is far too easy to spend most of our time looking at tunnels under ground and missing everything that there is to see above it.

This weekend Transport for London teamed up with Walk London for their first weekend of free walking tours throughout the City in 2017. Me and Tom were fortunate enough to get ourselves booked on 2 of the 40 walks they were running this weekend.

The first one saw us all gather outside Bank station to follow a walk based on the Central tube line, starting at Bank and ending at Chancery Lane. The tour guide Mark was excellent at providing us with interesting information throughout the walk, stopping at various points of interest (including the story behind the golden pineapples at St Paul’s!) and it was great for me to see a part of central London I had never even been to before, I also found out why the Ministry of Justice’s logo is what it is and came away with some excellent quiz trivia. At the end of the walk Mark even signed a copy of his book “Walk the Lines” which we picked up for a tenner (bargain!)

Our signed copy of “Walk the Lines” following our Central Line Walk


After a quick coffee break near Chancery Lane, we hopped on the tube (it was raining by now) and made our way to Westminster for our second TfL walk of the day. We started just outside Westminster station and took in New Scotland Yard, the remains of Whitehall Palace and the beautiful Somerset house with trivia that took us through Harry Potter, Paddington Bear and The Savoy Hotel before finishing at one of our already favourite wine bars in the city (it’s also rumoured to be the inspiration for The Leaky Cauldron.)

Want to get involved?

TfL and Walk London organise these weekends of free walks 3 times a year with the next one scheduled for the 20th and 21st May and the one after that will be some time in September.

Can’t wait that long?

There are various other walking tours which offer different tours to suit different interests. http://freelondonwalkingtours.com/ have seven different tours from Royal London to Jack the Ripper and Soho and the West End and they are just one of many tour operators throughout the City.

Not one for mixing with a group/want to find your own way around?

The TfL website has loads of maps to cover almost everything there is to see in London, just click on the walking section of TfL website. They also provide a “walking tube map” an alternative to the conventional map which gives you the walking distances between stations, you’d be surprised just how short some of the distances are (Leicester Square and Covent Garden, I’m looking at you!) Or if you want a bit more direction but still explore on your own there are loads of walking books available on Amazon or able to pick up in stores such as Oliver Bonas.

We can’t wait to get out with our new book and explore just what else there is to find above the tube!

Introductions

It’s certainly no secret that the North/South divide is a “thing”, the location map for Waitrose will show you that, so when I proudly skipped around my hometown of Wakefield in October smugly revealing I was moving to “The City” I wasn’t surprised to be met with the “oh I could never move to such a large city.”

What I was surprised by was just how many people seemed shocked that a young couple (I moved for my boyfriend’s work) could afford to live in London. If I had a pound for every time someone said “you’ll never have any money for anything fun” we’d be living like royalty.

What these people seem to be forgetting to factor in is that when you’re brought up in the North you’re taught a little thing or two about being frugal and growing up with a mother who worked in a bank I had picked up a thing or two about money along the way. I certainly wasn’t worried about our move.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’d arrived in this wonderful city and going about our business enjoying what LDN has to offer. The usual post weekend chats in the office were filled with all the things we had been up to. 

What I hadn’t been prepared for was the shock of my colleagues when they’d found out what we’d done on so little money. Or when it came to buying new work clothes; just how little I was spending. It seemed this Northern girl hadn’t realised just how wide the North/South divide was when it came to budgeting instincts.

With every new cost saving, came more surprise to such extremes that my boss was convinced if I put all my tips in a book, it would be a certain bestseller! 

That is what sparked this blog, I will be using this space to share my best tips and tricks to making the most of your money when in London. I will be guiding you through eating out, weekend (and weekday) drinking, some of my favourite free weekend activities and many many more because whilst it’s nice hibernating and being a hermit to save money; she really is a beautiful, beautiful place to explore…

(captured during a Saturday sunset in Greenwich)