27 hours in London

St Pauls Cathedral

As I alluded to on Friday, I took Christine away on a trip which I planned at the last minute on Thursday night. We’d both booked Friday off work, but had nothing planned for Friday or Saturday, and couldn’t think of anything particularly interesting to do. So, whilst Christine was out on Thursday night, I set about planning something.

Though London has a reputation for being expensive, getting there at the last minute seemed to be cheaper than many other places. A backup plan had been to go to Birmingham, to visit Cadbury World, but getting there by train would have cost a fortune as all of the cheap seats had gone.

We managed to get tickets on Megabusplus, leaving from Halifax, for a reasonable price. Unlike the regular Megabus, you only travel by coach half-way, and then pick up a train for the rest of the journey. I’ll write more about this later this week; whilst it’s slower than a direct train, it’s faster than going the whole way by coach. Leaving Halifax just before 8am, we arrived at St Pancras at around 12:30pm.

Lunch was at Carluccio’s in St Pancras – we decided to have a big meal at lunchtime, as trying to find anywhere for an affordable evening meal on Valentines Day is likely to be an exercise in futility. And then we headed on to the Museum of London, to see the Cheapside Horde. We went to the MoL in September but the Cheapside Horde exhibition hadn’t opened yet, so this was our opportunity to see it.

Afterwards we headed over to Chinatown for some dim sum – despite the large lunch we were peckish – and had a mosey around the shops. Visiting just after Chinese New Year meant the area was covered in Chinese lanterns – one of which made its presence known by landing on my head in the strong winds. We also nipped into one of the theatre ticket agents at Leicester Square, to get some of the last cheap tickets for that evening’s showing of We Will Rock You.

Our hotel was in Croydon, south London, which took about an hour to get to after the show finished, and involved a tube and two trains. We would have stayed more centrally but were limited by what was available on our budget. Still, the hotel was fine, and breakfast was included.

After breakfast we caught up with friends at the café at Tate Modern, then headed back to St Pancras for lunch. Then it was a train, a coach and then a bus back home – and we were back home for 8pm.

Considering it was planned at the last minute, and on a shoestring budget, we managed to do a lot in two days. And, most importantly, we had a good time. Whilst I can’t see us doing this every year for Valentines Day, it was good to get away, even if just for one night.