Escaping from London

I missed it by two minutes. How annoying is that? I ran all the way from Victoria tube to Victoria coach station and saw a load of coaches, including mine, pull out just before I got there. This was after I decided not to take the bus from Whitechapel to Victoria, instead ‘playing it safe’ with the tube. The Circle, Hammersmith and City and most of the District lines were down (for those not versed in London speak that means almost all of them), meaning it took almost an hour and a half to make what should have been a fairly quick journey. I decided to see things in a positive light. This was an opportunity for an adventure. I would not pay National Express an extra tenner to get on the next coach and I would most certainly not get a train. I would take the opportunity to investigate something I’ve been pondering for some time: Is it possible to hitch-hike out of London?

If you are the kind of person who often finds yourself missing coaches from London to Brighton then you may want to take notes…

The plan was simple: buses are only 90p a journey with an Oyster card and there’s a cap after £3. I would take London buses as far south as possible and then hitch from wherever I ended up. I was armed with four large maps which put together show the entire London bus network, including an enlarged central area (you can get these free from the travel office at Victoria). After 30 minutes of studying them I found my route. The number 2 (which I managed to get on for free!), the 468 and the 405 together managed to get me all the way down to Redhill. I got off the last one early and stuck out my thumb. Success! After only around 10 minutes a lovely couple in a rickety jeep stopped and picked me up. They took me all the way back to Brighton and the whole journey only cost me £1.80. 🙂

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