More than just work in London
London is a city that is alive with people of all nationalities with a multitude of things to do to keep busy at weekends, after work and during bank holidays. There is no reason to get bored in London and lots of things can be done for free or for a minimal cost. London can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be.
If you decide to intern in London, you will have your residence taken care of in the package so without that cost other things become affordable.
Tip number one would be to eat in the residences, making use of the communal kitchens and/or cafeterias where food is often subsidised. There are supermarkets galore in London so it isn't difficult to buy good, healthy, cheapish food and actually eat well. It can be expensive to eat out in London so you need to be a bit careful if you choose to do so.
Saying that, there are bargains to be had even if you decide to treat yourself once in a while. Why not head to Chinatown for an all you can eat lunch or dinner? Some of the best Chinese food can be found here and the all you can eat buffets are great value for money if you've worked up an appetite.
Another great option is to head to Camden Town and seek out one of the many food stands in the market itself. Food from all over the world can be found here and if the weather is fine this is a super way of spending a couple of hours, people watching while sampling some of the best authentic cuisine from every corner of the globe.
Finally, on the subject of food and eating out (and one of London's best kept secrets if you like Indian food) is the area of London called Southall. Look it up, work out how to get there and enjoy!! Southall is THE place to go for authentic Indian cuisine and is well worth the effort. You won't see lots of tourists here as very few know about it but once there you will be blown away by the choice of restaurants, the flavours, spices and authenticity. Look for restaurants full of the local Indian population and you won't go wrong.
Moving away from food, another of the hot topics in London is how to get around the city. Without doubt, if you choose to use the London Underground you need to get yourself an Oyster card. These can be used on the underground or the buses within London. In fact, London buses are now cashless and you will not be allowed to board a bus without an Oyster card. On the underground, you can still buy tickets for journeys but it is way more expensive. Oyster cards can be bought at newsagents and at underground stations and operate on a "top-up" basis. Get one as soon as you arrive. You do not need a photo or anything else. Just ask for one, stating the amount you want to put on it and away you go.
A great way of moving around London is by bike. An ever-increasingly bike-friendly city, most areas of London can be got to by bike fairly easily. An investment in a second-hand bike on arrival might not be a bad idea for those with biking experience or for those simply looking to reduce expenditure on public transport.
Even if you don't want to use a bike as your main means of transport, renting a Santander bike at weekends is a fantastic way to see more of the city and to explore the lesser known areas of London. Santander bikes are located all over the city and it is a case of renting one direct from the bike-stand with the added benefit of being able to leave the bike at any Santander bike stand when you are finished. So no need to return the bike to the point of rental. When you are done, find a stand and return the bike. Obviously the usual advice must be given here. Wear a helmet, be careful and don't take unnecessary risks on the roads. London is a huge city with a huge volume of traffic but there is no reason not to enjoy cycling here.
There are also some fantastic bike routes to enjoy through the city, for example why not follow the river on a beautiful day and take in all the sights of London as you pedal your way from west to east. Or follow the canal system through Kings Cross and the gasworks up to Camden Town and beyond. It really is to be recommended not just to serious cyclists but to anyone who can ride a bike. Enjoy it.
In another entry, we'll look at other things to do in London that don't need to cost a lot of money.
London is a city to enjoy - make the most of it.
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