Hi friends, and thanks for stopping by to read about discovering London while housesitting.
Housesitting is a free work exchange between a home owner, who most likely also owns pets, and a sitter who stays in the residence taking care of the house and animals.
There are several websites that act as a matchmaking service between sitters and homeowners. This allows the two to contact each other on the site’s messaging platform and then make arrangements to meet in person or video chat to see if this will be a good fit.
Becoming a housesitter is an excellent way to discover new places, meet new people, have new experiences, and enjoy life.
I signed up with House Sitters UK. This site charges housesitters £29 for a one year membership and lets the sitter put up a profile and respond to ads placed by homeowners.
There is no cost to the homeowner to place an ad.
To me, it’s a good deal. If I get one sit, the membership fee more than pays for itself with the money I save in hotels or rent. Do you know how expensive one night in a London hotel is?
With the exchange rate the membership cost me about Canadian $50. Within a day of signing up, I found my first housesit. And several more followed. I’m also frequently contacted by homeowners initiating the first contact.
If you’re interested in signing up with Housesitters UK, please use my referral code A3K93Y.
You will get £5 off your membership cost and I will get £5 towards my next year of membership.
London is popular
With any housesitting website, some locations are going to be more desirable than others. Major cities will be right up there and there will be lots of competition from other housesitters applying for the same sit.
It’s good to send an application ASAP.
For my current London housesit, I was vacationing in Oregon, so the ad was up for a day or two before I came home, saw it, and sent in an application.
And when I say send in an application, it’s a messaging system. I sent the homeowners an introductory letter and that let them view my profile and photos.
The homeowner stayed in contact with me saying she loved my profile and I was shortlisted. Her husband would be home in a couple of days and they wanted to make a decision together.
OK, long story short, we all know I’m here in London!
The homeowners had over 70 applicants.
Discovering London between housesitting duties
London is a vibrant, exciting city, a mecca for history buffs, with many opportunities for sightseeing, discovering another culture, trying new food, and so much more.
There are so many things to do and see, but us housesitters can’t neglect our duties. Many housesits involve taking care of dogs, and they can’t be left alone for too long. They need potty breaks.
My aunt and uncle lived in London and I’ve visited here through the years. I wouldn’t say that I’ve come anywhere near close to seeing all the attractions London has to offer, but I’ve seen a lot. Or at least I’ve seen pretty much everything I want to see. The only thing I hadn’t done before was take a spin on the London Eye, so that was on my agenda.
I take my housesitting and pet sitting duties very seriously. I have been trusted with the care of a house and animals. That’s a big responsibility. I’m just not going to take off for hours and hours doing the tourist thing.
I checked with the homeowners how long the dog can be left alone for, and my own common sense would say 4 or 5 hours, maybe a little longer. So when timing my day, to walk to the Tube (subway station) and catch a train into the center of London, say Piccadilly or Buckingham Palace, that takes an hour. And then an hour back. That leaves me with 2 or 3 hours to check out the sights around London.
I head into the tourist trap areas of London every few days to take photos and people watch. And then I stick around the house for the next few days. The dog is not left alone for long periods several days in a row.
Walking around London
I’m a walker. I can spend hours walking around and discovering new places. Or rediscovering old ones! For me, the best plan is to take the Tube and get off at Piccadilly. It used to be a Circus but now it’s a square. The traffic used to go around Piccadilly Circus in a roundabout. I could sit on the steps and watch the whole world pass me by in 15 minutes.
I’m not sure when, but by the late 1980s the Piccadilly traffic flow had changed and is no longer a roundabout.
From Piccadilly, I can walk to Leicester Square, and then Trafalgar Square. I can walk to Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Thames River Walk which is home to many tourist attractions.
London is flat, a good walkable city, and I can see many tourist attractions for free during a two hour walk.
Here are some of the things I see while walking around London.
Canada Gate entrance to Buckingham Palace.
Guarding Buckingham Palace.
Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square.
Mary Poppins in Leicester Square.
M&Ms shop in London. Travel tip: don’t waste your money buying outrageously overpriced candies here.
Inside the M&Ms shop.
No circus acts at Piccadilly Circus, just the occasional singer.
The Thames River walk is home to several tourist attractions.
A boat on the River Thames with the houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben in the background.
Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on August 14, 2023.