5 Cheap Evenings Out in London

A guest post By Christina Appleworth

It’s hard to get away from the fact that London is an expensive city. A night out in the West End can set you back a considerable sum of money, while transport and eating out is similarly expensive. However, London does have multiple options for cheaper nights out. The city’s size means that it can be great for finding bargains and discounted tickets on popular attraction. By knowing where to look, and by being prepared to be a bit creative on a night out, it is possible to enjoy the city without breaking the bank. Some ideas for a cheap evening out in London consequently include:

1 – Attending a Free Talk

If going out for drinks and something to eat, it is possible to take in a free talk or lecture in one of the city’s many universities and museums. Particularly recommended is the London School of Economics’ regular series of lectures. It is recommended to book in advance though, as tickets can go quickly. The Royal Society also put on regular lectures, while smaller centers like Gresham College offer talks. Recommended for an early evening outing.

2 – Going to a Free Museum

It is also worth considering a night out at one of London’s free museums, with most offering late night openings. These include the Hunterian and the John Soane’s museums in Holborn, as well as the Victoria and Albert Museum’s regular series of events in South Kensington, and the smaller Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Many larger arts centres also offer free performances, and include nights at the Barbican Centre and the Royal Festival Hall.

3 – Cycle Paths and Walking

As the weather gets warmer, the prospect of cycling and walking London’s many parks and canals has become increasingly attractive. Kew Gardens and Richmond are highly recommended, as is a stroll around Regents Park and Hyde Park, both of which feature regular open air performances. Moreover, a walk around Hampstead Heath is an ideal way to get away from things for a few hours.

4 – Budget Restaurants and Drink

Although most places in London remain expensive if you want to eat and drink on a night out, there are some cheaper options. In terms of the West End, Gaby’s Deli in Charing Cross Road has become an institution for those seeking out cheaper and tasty food. The same mix of economy and taste can also be found at Mooli’s in Soho. Those on a night out should also think about visiting London’s many cheap, but excellent chains, which include Wagamama’s and Pizza Express. For drinking, the All Bar One chain in the West End, the cocktail bar Cubana in Waterloo, and the Red Lion in Hoxton are particularly recommended.

5 – Last Minute Tickets

With a bit of planning, it is possible to get discounted seats at theatres in the West End, as well as many of London’s galleries, cinemas, and music venues. Most websites will offer last minute deals and discounted packages, while other companies will provide mailing lists that circulate late tickets for shows.

Win a Thomas Cook Olympic Games Break For London 2012


Olympic Aquatic Centre

The excitement is starting to build up as we slowly count down the days until London 2012 the Olympic Games. Its going to be an exciting time with so many events happening around the city. It is a time for us to be proud of the city that we live in and show people visiting why London is one of the greatest cities in the world. Ok, I know what some of you are thinking, tube chaos and lots of crowds… and a ticketing system that left half of us with tickets. Well never fear because did you know you still have the chance to go if you buy a Thomas Cook Games Break? This will give you guaranteed Olympic tickets or Paralympic tickets with accommodation in and around London. Lanky Girl was recently invited by Thomas Cook to the Aquatic Centre at the Olympic Park to one of the test events, the FINA World Diving championships. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the aquatic centre was nothing short of stunning and the diving event really got me excited! I was also asked to make a short film with Thomas Cook with 7 other London bloggers about where I would recommend people should visit when coming to London for the Olympics. You can watch the video above.

Now, Competition time! Lanky Girl has been given one Thomas Cook Games break to giveaway!

This will include:

 1 night hotel stay at Ibis Heathrow in London for two people sharing a Double Standard room including breakfast. With Check in on 3 August 2012 and check out on 4 August 2012.

 The prize also includes 2 Olympic Volleyball, Women’s Preliminaries tickets at Earls Court London, for 3 August 2012 at 8.00pm

To win: all you have to do is Like The London Perspective Facebook Page and Complete this sentence with a place that you recommend people should visit.

If you are coming to London for the Olympics you need to visit …….

Answers can be left by leaving a comment on this blog or by tweeting @arigato23 and include the hashtag #tcookcomp

The competition will end midnight 15th of May, 2012 and the winner will be picked at random and will be notified be notified by email.

This competition is open to UK readers only.

Good luck everyone!

Competition Terms and Conditions

1) a) The prize is a 1 night hotel stay at Ibis Heathrow in London for two people sharing a Double Standard room including breakfast. With Check in on 3 August 2012 and check out on 4 August 2012.

b)  The prize also includes 2 Olympic Volleyball, Women’s Preliminaries tickets at Earls Court London, for 3 August 2012 at 20.00pm.

c) The competition prize includes a Transport for London Games Travelcard valid for travel to and from Olympic events stated within the competition prize. Please see more details here http://www.london2012.com/visiting/getting-to-the-games/plan-your-travel/travel-tickets.php

2) Prize does not include transport to/from London. The Prize-winner and companion will be responsible for all costs of transportation and all expenses other than those specifically stated above as being included in the prize.

3) The prize must be taken as offered it is non transferable or refundable.

4) There is no cash or other alternative products or services available from Thomas Cook as an exchange.

5) This competition prize is subject to Thomas Cook London 2012 terms and conditions and legal notices, stated on the Thomas Cook London 2012 website.

6) These conditions of use and entry are subject to the London 2012 ticketing terms and conditions set out in the following link http://www.tickets.london2012.com/purchaseterms.html

7) The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) offer no guarantee in relation to the London 2012 ticket prize, and cannot be held liable for any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from a winner’s and guest’s use of the London 2012 ticket prize.

8) The prize on offer can not be re-sold

9) Thomas Cook will not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged prizes after these have been delivered to the competition winner.

10) The competition is not open to employees or agencies of Thomas Cook Group, their group companies or family members or anyone else connected to the competition.

Entry implies acceptance of these rules.

Promoter: Thomas Cook London 2012 Partnership, Thomas Cook UK & Ireland, 2nd Floor Sterling House,

6-10 Georges Road, Wimbledon SW19 4DP.

Upcoming Event – Cityzenkane Exhibition, Rich Mix 3rd – 15th May 2012


If you’ve ever been down Brick Lane you may have noticed interesting alien like sculptures spinkled around on the walls. These creatures are the work of street artist  Cityzenkane. Lanky Girl was recently lucky enough to get an exclusive invite to his studio in East london and interview him about his work. Keep your eyes peeled for the video interview that I will be posting on the blog in coming week. Meet the man behind the mask….

He is also hosting his first public show of his work at Rich Mix from 3-15th  May 2012. See details of his exhibit here: http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/cityzenkane-exhibition/

Cityzenkane Richmix May Third Final Flyer A5

A Review of Hello Fresh

Apologies for the lack of posts recently.. I’ve been suffering with a bout of tonsilitis which has left me slightly lethargic. Anyway enough of feeling sorry for myself. I recently had the opportunity to try a lovely new bespoke addition to the London food scene called Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is a service for time-sensitive Londoners and those of us who would rather avoid the thought of going to the supermarket after a long hard days work. Each week you can choose to be sent a box which will contain all the ingredients and instructions to make 3 or 5 healthy recipes selected by the Hello Fresh team. Now, I have to admit I was a little worried at first because most of the things I cook I’ve learnt from watching my mother or friends and I am usually rubbish at following recipes. However, as you will see most of the recipes are fool-proof and didn’t take much cooking ability to rustle up something tasty.

So on a Tuesday evening at around 8pm I sprinted excitedly to the door to receive my package from Hello Fresh.

My hello Fresh Parcel full of goodies

Inside the box was 3 recipe cards, fresh meat, vegetables, herbs, all individually packaged and ready to cook. Also a lovely little after dinner treat some chocolates from Hotel Chocolat yum yum!

Ready and waiting to cook were 3 recipes: Warm Sweet Potato Salad and Pan fried Tilapia, Chicken fajitas and homemade guacamole and baby asparagus salad with chicken, pea shoots and smoked paprika.

Day 1 – Warm Sweet Potato Salad and Pan fried Tilapia

Being of African descent I ate a lot of tilapia cooked by my mum growing up but this was the first time I had eaten it in a salad so i thought this was an interesting combination to start with.

On the back of each of the cards was a step by step guide to preparing the dish (with pictures) and an ingredients list which only involved reaching into the box to achieve. Easy peasy!

Step 1 – My ingredients: 2 sweet potatoes, Tilapia fillets, lambs lettuce, soft cheese, sunflower seeds and 1 Lemon.

Then I cut, and steamed my sweet potato in a colander over a pan of water until they were soft enough to eat.

After this to make the dressing I segmented a lemon to get the juice, took two teaspoons of the juice  and then mixed it with 50g of the philadelphia , two teaspoons of olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper mixed it all together until it was smooth. I then mixed it gently with the sweet potatoes.

Step 2 – the fish

pan fried Tilapia

To cook the fish I seasoned it with salt and pepper and added it to the to the pan skin down for 3 mins. (Note to self invest in some decent non stick pans). Then I transferred it from stove to the grill on the top shelf and let it cook for another 3 mins.

Then I transferred it back to the stove added a teaspoon of butter to the dish and drizzled lemon juice over it to serve.

To serve I mixed the salad leaves with sweet potato, topped it with the fish and sprinkle over some sunflower leaves.

Warm Sweet Potato Salad and Pan fried Tilapia

The whole dish was really quick and simple to prepare. It also tasted delicious!  I am definitely going to make this dish again in the future.

Day 2 – Chicken Fajitas and Homemade Guacamole

My ingredients ready to cook.

Here I've added chicken, and onion, red peppers, spices a bit of chili.

A delicious and healthy fajita with homemade guacamole.

I’ve made fajitas before using the Ol del Paso ready pack, so I was surprised to see how quick and easy it was to prepare from scratch. Not being a fan of avocado I only ate one with guacamole in it, but it works perfectly without it.

Day 3 –  Baby asparagus Salad with chicken, pea shoots and smoked paprika.

I left this recipe till last as I had tried cooking asparagus before and it hadn’t come out too well. Now I know why asparagus should be steamed not boiled! The chicken salad for me was the easiest out of all the recipes, tasted delicious and it took less than 30 mins to whip up, perfect for when your feeling tired after a long day at work. Since my sister has an allergy to cheese I made her an alternative without it which I think tasted just as nice.

To conclude I really enjoyed the Hello Fresh experience. The meals were easy to make and I liked the idea of pushing myself to make something new, and I now have three recipes that I will definitely try in the future. I think this will end up becoming a popular service for shop shy Londoner’s.

If you would like to find out more information about Hello Fresh please visit http://www.hellofresh.co.uk/