This past weekend my friend and I had booked train tickets and a hostel in Cardiff, Wales, but we had a huge wind storm and all the trains were cancelled. We called the hostel saying we had to cancel and applied for refunds for our train tickets. (Tip 1: Even if it’s past the cancellation deadline, call your accommodations. They’ll appreciate knowing that you’re not coming in, and you might not get charged or could apply for a refund).
Instead of doing nothing on Friday, we went to the Transport Museum in Covent Garden. (Tip 2: Don’t decide to just do nothing because your plans were cancelled. You’re in London! Plus it’s better for your mental health to not sit inside wishing your plans might have worked).
Once we left, the wind had really picked up so we hurried back to the tube. Everyone else in London had the same idea and was also on the tube. Plus a lot of the lines had already been terminated. (Tip 3: Download the Citymapper app. It is the best way to figure out how to get anywhere in London on public transport and keeps you updated on delays and closures).
We crammed into a tube car only for the line to be terminated a couple stops later due to the weather. Everyone had to get off and find other ways to wherever they were going. We rushed out of the Tube station to find cell service. (Tip 4: DON’T RUSH! Physically don’t rush because you can get hurt or disoriented. But also take a moment to regroup with yourself mentally. Making spur of the moment decisions can be stressful, but having a calm mind will help you decide what to do next).
We found a bus headed back to our apartment and hopped on. The buses may take longer but they are incredibly resilient and cheaper than calling a cab or Uber. It is also really cool to see London above the tube lines. (Tip 5: Take the buses and see the city). We saw where Alfred Hitchcock once lived, we passed Harrods, which is a huge, bougie shopping mall, and I used the time to text with my mom and a friend back home. We finally got home safe and stayed in for the evening.
Saturday we got brunch and decided to explore Greenwich (which I highly recommend). (Tip 6: Brunch is a great way to go out. You can connect with other students and friends and bounce off ideas for activities to do the rest of the day).
On Sunday we visited Vauxhall City Farm (highly recommended if you want to see and pet animals that aren’t pigeons). We thought the farm was bigger, so we had a lot of the day left when we were done petting the cute animals. I remembered we had passed Harrods on our hour long bus ride home on Friday and suggested that. So we spent the rest of the day walking around Harrods. (Tip 7: Write down cool places you see or hear about so you don’t have to rely on google when you have time to do something else).
This isn’t a cautious tale to not go out during weather events, but you can make the best out of cancelled plans or plans that don’t work out. Just remember to communicate, be open to making spur of the moment decisions while keeping your safety in mind, and explore things in the city that you wouldn’t dedicate a planned day to do otherwise.