North London, particularly Islington, is one of my favourite areas. It’s where I had my first job in the city, where I lived for a while, and where I met my boyfriend. He grew up there, and we have loads of friends in the area. But now we’re out East, it’s a bit of an effort to get out there, having to basically go into central and back out again.
*This post is sponsored by Zipcar*
It’s times like those that I wish I had a car, to make things a bit easier. But for the amount I actually need it in London, the commitment and expense just isn’t worth it. Hiring a car is one option – but if I’m going elsewhere afterwards or want to have a couple of drinks, returning it is definitely a major annoyance.
Enter Zipcar Flex. Intended for Londoners like me who’d occasionally benefit from the use of a car. It’s all about shorter, one-way journeys that allow non-car-owners to get around without paying expensive taxi fares or dealing with public transport.
How’s it work? Quite simply, you sign up and download the Zipcar app to locate your nearest Flex vehicle and open it – also done in-app. The keys are in the car, and you’re ready to drive. Once you’ve reached your location, drop the car off in any approved public parking spot in the Zipzone boroughs (there are loooads), then carry on about your day. As Harrison from The Apprentice would say…it’s literally ingenious.
The awesome folks at Zipcar kindly gave me the chance to try out the Zipcar Flex service, and I decided to spend it discovering some of the awesome things I could do with some wheels at my disposal.
Shopping in Walthamstow
On our way over to Islington, we did a stop-off in Walthamstow to wander the market there. Busy and bustling, there are loads of bargains to be had. It wasn’t a big shop day, but it’s great to know that if we did end up with one two many bags of goodies, Zipcar Flex is an alternative to lugging them home on the train.
Festive Fun & Food at Clissold Park
I actually put the main bulk of our day’s exploring in Conor’s hands. Because who better to advise than a North London local? With my driving skills, his local knowledge and a banging Throwback Thursday playlist, we made our way to Clissold Park, just on the border of Islington.
I’d never been before, and I fell a bit in love with the park. There were dogs EVERYWHERE, deer and goats in the park and a cute little café where we indulged in coffee and cake. Getting there from ours is a lengthy venture via public transport – but being able to drive there cuts the journey time in half.
As the sun set, we settled in at the Clissold Park Tavern for pizza and (non-alcoholic!) drinks, before picking up our third Zipcar for another little journey.
Drinks and Cinema in Angel
Our final stop-off of the day was Angel, where we popped in to visit Conor’s parents. We’re spending Christmas Day there too, so being able to drive there in the morning with everyone’s gifts and not having to splash out holiday pricing on a taxi will be epic.
Having dropped off the car, we headed for mulled wine in the N1 Centre. Justice League at the cinema, a couple more drinks, and then we finally took the train home. We go to the cinema straight after work a lot, and it’s awesome to have the option to drive home after and avoid the late-night worse-for-wear types on the tube. Alternatively – if we want to head out for some drinks, there’s no worry about returning the car afterwards.
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I can think of so many more benefits I’ll get from Zipcar Flex too. I get a lot of parcels delivered to my office in Balham, and rather than lugging it all home on the tube, I can just pick up a car near work, transport my stuff home and leave the car in a conveniently located Zipzone space right opposite our flat. Food shops, going to meetings in town, avoiding the horrible weather…the list goes on.
Fuel, insurance, road tax, congestion charge and roadside assistance are all taken care of too, so there’s no worries – just ‘Drive, Drop, Do’!
You can start off with a Basic membership, and there are two other plans (Smart and Plus), depending on how much you’ll use the scheme. Zipcar Flex journeys are charged at 29p per minute – which is far cheaper than a London taxi. And unlike normal car hire, you’re only paying for the time you actually use. Which means more money for market shopping, cinema tickets and drinks…
Although this is a sponsored campaign, it’s something I’m genuinely going to continue using and paying for – it’s well worth it. And if you fancy giving it a go yourself, you can get £25 free credit (I get some too!) – which equals 80 minutes of free driving time. Just join Zipcar for free via this link, and click on ‘Been referred by a friend?’ when you sign up, and enter my name, Milly Youngman. Easy!