|Thanks Google pics couldn't have said it better myself.|
OMG it's been a long wet winter.
We are so ready for spring/summer. Need to thaw and dry out.
The sky is pretty much still grey on a daily basis, tho we've had a few sunshine moments which are grabbed with full enthusiasm by opening every window in the house, making sure every curtain is open/up OR we get out'n'about in the sunshine before the 2.30/3pm clouds roll in and the temperature can be felt dropping. The flowers are starting to bud and bloom which is a great sign that the seasons are changing.
It better start warming up soon. There's lots of great things we want to do over the long summer holidays, especially as the in-laws will with us for several weeks.
I'm a planner (did you guess that already from previous chats?), my MIL is not, FIL is kinda organised but tends to 'allow' MIL to have the final word.
Summer in the UK and Europe is busy! It's peak tourist season, schools are on holidays so it's the time when EVERYWHERE gets busy, places get booked out, or you're left sitting around discussing 'what'll we do' on a daily basis which does my head in.
There is no time to wait ............. you see a show or exhibition you want to go to BOOK IT or risk missing out. In fact, I am sadly missing out on a Monet exhibition because I foolishly left it way too late to book tickets and the final month, yep MONTH is booked out.
While there's oodles of free stuff to do in and around London and other places, a lot of stuff isn't free and before you know it, you've spent several hundred pounds at least on two or three outings. I'm not complaining for a minute, we had a wonderful time, but we went to a show over the Easter break (bought tickets with my ATG card), had lunch, bought train tickets, a few soft drinks during the day ........ £167 for the two of us for one days outing. Can't do that too often (at least, we can't. Some might) if you want to do other stuff as well.
However, there are ways to reduce the expense. Not sure how helpful this might be for tourists, but for people living in the UK (or to be more precise near to London) or spending a good few weeks, you might be able to take advantage of some things I've found whether you are visiting or having a staycation.
There are many ways to buy the same train ticket for example, but with different prices. The ticket sellers are incredibly well trained, so tell them what you want and they will advise you accordingly. The transport card I was going to buy, based on the information I've read apparently does not work out any cheaper than if we rock on up to the train station anytime after 9am and purchase them.
Here are the cards on offer from National Rail, just in case you want to check them out.
Now, if you are IN London, or in/out of London the Oyster card might be for you however, it only works within certain zones, and once out of the zones you need a ticket cos the Oyster card doesn't work which is why we haven't bothered with it. Again, it's best to ask the ticket sellers the most economical way to travel by train, depending on where you are starting from.
I don't catch buses, so no idea how they work, Sorry.
Oh, you'll need £1 and £2 coins if you are parking your car at the train station. Very few machines take cards (I know! I KNOW!) but most are linked into an online paying system which you have to register your car and payment car with before nominating where you are parked (identified by a number clearly displayed on the payment machine) and for how long ......... this is so good when you are running late back cos you can easily call and 'top up' the time left on the metre.
THEATRE and SHOWS
Most people are aware of places where you can purchase cheaper theatre tickets for performances usually that day ...... TKTS in London is popular; lastminute.com can be good too; a friend mentioned stub hub last week; there's Cheap Theatre Tickets too or simply google 'cheap theatre tickets London' or go to the theatre the morning of the performance you want to see and ask if there are any returns, or unsold seats. Keep in mind, performances do sell out very quickly. It's good to book seats online cos you can see the theatre seating plan before you click to buy.
A friend introduced me to the ATG Card! It's awesome, tho limited in terms of number of theatres that participate in the program it's still great value. We've only used ours once and definitely saved!
Another card which I haven't got as yet, but will is the National Art Pass. Keep in mind that for general admission to most galleries and museums it's FREE which is incredible. My membership to National Gallery and Tate Gallery are wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy using them and adding National Art Pass will allow me to pretty much go to any gallery in London. What a wonderful thought!
There's also National Trust and English Heritage which are both worthwhile buying. Membership affords you free or discounted entry into properties, free car parking, discounts at shops etc.
The London Pass is also a good thing to consider buying if you are visiting for between 1 and 3 days and want to be super busy, ticking off the obvious things-to-do-in-London-list.
Visit London recommends these 11-things to do in London, while Eurocheap has these ideas (most are the same)
When we went to Harry Potter World over Easter (highly recommended), it took us quite a while to work out the most economical way to purchase tickets for the two families. In the end, we phoned and asked! We were given great advice, and saved quite a bit which was shared across the two families. Just a tip - if you want to do this over summer, BOOK NOW!
It's actually very overwhelming when you start to look at what's happening in a city like London over summer; the inbox just keeps pinging with newsletters from different organisations while my Facebook feed is a constant flow of events and dates.
That's just London ....... there's lots to explore in and around Surrey (working on the chat for that); maybe a long weekend in Scotland; and who knows what else.
Summer is a very long break from school.
Summer with the in laws could make it that bit longer, so I'm trying to ensure we have a few really wonderful things booked in advance to look forward to.
The thought of 'what'll we do today' and then scrambling for tickets if needed makes me break out in a hot sweat.
What money saving membership cards or ideas have
you discovered in your city?
When you go on holidays, how do you ensure you do everything you want
without breaking the bank?
When staycationing, what sort of things do you do?