First Thursdays @ East London

One thing that is oft said beyond Zone 6 is that London is an expensive place to live.

Now let's get one thing straight here - London is anything you want it to be.

Fun, boring, hard work, a walk in the park, expensive, cheap, busy, calm, a touristy experience, a niche place to hang out, the options in the capital run wide and far. Don't get me wrong, it's mostly at a relentless pace which not everyone loves, but the point is you can find the London you want to live in if you put your mind to it, it's all a question of how and where. You can even find leafy streets and a cycle ride to work if you wish.

And as to those who think its big bucks, rents aside (and with a bit of patience and know-how, these to can be bartered) London can easily be done on a budget. Yeah, the blockbuster exhibitions and gimmicky tourist traps (Madame Tussaud's, I'm talking to you) are mega and advertised ubiquitously, but what Londoners really get up to is another story. One regular happening they don't advertise on the Tube is first Thursdays of the month, galleries of East London throw open their doors and offer free beverages for them's that want to peruse the wares. Art and a tipple? Can't wish for a better mid-week wander. Here are some snaps from one such evening.

Of course, this is one of the many things to do and see FO' FREE in the bustling hub of culture. And if you can side-step the big price tags everyone thinks are part and parcel of life here, what other cliches can you escape? You want what you get, you get what you want, people.

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