What can you actually buy for £2 nowadays?!
This was recently a question I posed to my Twitter friends, the findings being very amusing in places…
A pack of post it notes
8 Freddo Frogs
5 packets of Chinese noodles from Al-Amin on Mill Road
A local bus ticket (mine is £3.50 single from Cambourne to Cambridge – oof!)
2 items from Poundland (perhaps even more if you got the right multiple bargains!)
A punnet of of rank looking strawberries in Newmarket Co-Op
Lamb samosa from cambridge market
A cup of tea
Loaf of bread
A couple of kilo of superb apples from Bushel Box in Willingham
Half a pint of Aspall Cider
The real reason behind this question is because I’ve stumbled upon some public transport with real value for money. I’m not usually one for slumming it on the buses (I prefer to be driven around by my chauffeur, naturally), however for this little adventure, I was willing to give it a go once I’d finished cackling at the thought of me catching a bus at 6am… I’m really not a perky morning person, so it was best to go it alone!
Introducing the MegaBus.
I must admit, I didn’t even know the MegaBus frequented Cambridge until this past week. I’ve only ever (admittedly) sniggered at this bright blue coach with a round yellow smiley face as I’ve passed the bored-looking passengers along various motorways over the years.
Well, once I’d received an invitation to visit Norwich I was trying to figure out the cheapest way to park up if driving there, the answer being there wasn’t seemingly a cheap way to do so.
During conversation with a new (and impressively) bearded friend of mine, he mentioned the cheap bus travel option and I dug into some research. It just so happens that it goes from Parkside in the centre of Cambridge (Bay 16 at the National Express stop) directly to Norwich City for £2 each way.
Yes, really. £2 there, £2 back and 50p for their online booking fee. The only downside being that there are only one or two buses a day, one leaving on a Friday morning (my traveling day on this occasion) at 8:05am or 4:05 pm.
I went for the 8:05am selection, meaning I needed to leave on the Cambourne bus into town at 6:30am – gulp. I nearly missed it too, as this bus was early, so I had to run with my luggage – a glamorous start to my journey indeed!
There were no obvious signs for the Megabus stop, just a little poster on one of the shelters, but as soon as I’d found the stop (shelter 16 just down from the fire station) the big blue bus arrived. My driver was very friendly and as I was his only pickup, he was allowed to leave 20 minutes earlier than scheduled, which got me into Norwich in good time – less than the 2 hours quoted. This bus would normally stop at the UEA (University of East Anglia) first before heading to Norwich bus station, but as I didn’t need this stop, the driver took me straight into the centre of town, fantastic service.
For all my mocking, I couldn’t fault it. The driver was friendly, the bus was cleaner than ANY public transport I’ve ever used and the seats were really comfortable with plenty of leg room. On arrival at Norwich bus station, I headed straight into town and found myself a coffee shop to curl up in and write this blog post…
I even got chatting to a guy called Kevin, originally from Florida and his uncle, both of whom taught me the tricks of the trade when it comes to free Starbucks refills, as well as nattering about the stock market, the price of fuel and where the Megabus visits across the country… I’ll chat to anyone, me!
The return journey was just as simple, leaving the station at 7pm on the Sunday evening and making great time back to Cambridge, stopping to pickup a fair number of people from the UEA en route. This also meant that I didn’t need to drive, saving money on fuel & a weekend of parking fees, as well as allowing me to get in some much-loved blog reading as I moved – win/win!
This was worth the earlier start and I’d use the Megabus again in a heartbeat to save precious pennies on travel, I have no issue with a good bargain, who the devil would?!
Whilst visiting Norwich, I enjoyed exploring the famous Lanes, finding solace in the independent shops (as well as those on the high street too!) and checking out some fine establishments for nibbles & refreshments. I can highly recommend just a few of them here, should you need some suggestions:
The Mash Tun & Gin Palace – A great place for a beer & a Sunday roast from just £10.
The Rumsey Wells – Perfect pub to enjoy a quiet drink a Brays Cottage Pork Pie from the bar.
Norwich Playhouse – Local venue great for comedians and one of the quirkiest bar ceilings I’ve ever seen!
Macarons & More – Perfect destination within the old Arcades for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Jarrolds Department Store – Local independent department store with everything imaginable.
Middletons Steak House – Best steak in town, book a table, they book up quite a bit in advance!
The Tap House – Very similar in feel to The Pint Shop in Cambridge, a great place to try some real ale.
Biddy’s Tea Room – Perfect spot for a delicious afternoon tea in a retro tea parlour.
Adam & Eve pub – Cutest pub in Norwich, a tiny place, tiny bar, great selection of ales & ciders!
I was, however, very disappointed to miss out on seeing the famous Norwich Puppet Man, but it seems he has gone to follow the bright stars of London, a real shame!
The Megabus heads out to Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff & Oxford from Cambridge to name but a few locations, even offering an overnight “Megabus Gold” sleeper to Edinburgh from London (and a few other select locations) with the offer of free Wifi to help your journey go quicker – I may have to try this sometime, it sounds quite fun!
Please Note – I paid my own way on this occasion and I am in no means obliged to blog or write about my experience, but I simply choose to share their offerings with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. Any questions or to discuss an independent review or“Secret Stay“, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All images © 2014 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.