Sunday 17 February 2008

London Lite: Bus not bust

I am going through a self- imposed thrifty stage for various reasons, but there is much to enjoy in London that is fun and free- or virtually free. So I thought I would share one of my favourite frugal ways of de- stressing in London... taking a ride on the bus.

This pleasure is sweetest when you are at the front of the top deck, preferably on a route master but this is only possible on certain routes these days. The double decker bus is the only real choice for a leisurely, pleasure seeking bus ride because the views from the top deck cannot be captured from anywhere else in the city. The height is just right to appreciate the architecture and to be able to see what's going on at street level and above.

Depending on the number bus you take you can pass through various London neighbourhoods or villages and enjoy watching totally different kinds of people, hearing widely varied sounds (outside the bus and inside on people's headphones), seeing all kinds of architecture and also lovely parks, trees and the river . You might see a fantastic shop you didn't know was there- or spy somewhere you'd always heard about but could never locate. Any bus that goes past Hyde Park or over Waterloo Bridge is particularly recommended- the park and the view of the river from bus height are just perfect.

If you are actually setting out to take a leisure ride, or you've hard a long day and fancy making the journey a bit more glamourous, I recommend treating yourself to a favourite bite. My preferred options are rose and violet creams from Charbonnel and Walker or the gorgeous Hope and Glory or rose flavoured macaroons from Laduree. But these are both very lux- I'm sure a Cadbury's double decker would also be apt and delicious.

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