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Budget tips for London...GBP at a premium...

Budget tips for London...GBP at a premium...

Apr 13th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Budget tips for London...GBP at a premium...

London is always expensive, like any great city, but news today is that the pound is trading at over $1.98! As I recall, a pint in many pubs is 4 pounds---or more. That's about $8 for a glass of beer! We had planned our "budget" trip some months back, but frankly several of us are worried if this is going to crimp our style. Any tips for reasonable food/pubs/entertainment or should we just grin and bear it....?
DiAblo is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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As I recall, a pint in many pubs is 4 pounds---or more.>>>>>

You're going to the wrong pubs! Around £2.80 - more in somewhere trendy - less in wetherspoons.
audere_est_facere is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Pretty much grin and bear it. We usually paid 3GBP or so for a pint.
If you still have time prepay anything you can now (i.e.shows, hotel, tours etc.)so that your out of pocket once in London is less. As far as entertainment museums and markets are free.
Since everyone on Fodor's loves to debate prices,here's my experience. We paid 6 euros for a pint in Venice, just over $6US and that 3GBP pint, almost $6US.
Prices are high everywhere, just have a good time and try not to think about it. You could be in a bar at home paying $4 for a 12oz. beer and not having as much fun or enjoying any scenery.
tudorprincess is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Lots of museums are free!
JoeTro is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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It's bad, but not THAT much of a jump..it's been over $1.90 for awhile now. Most people "double" the amount anyway when calculating the cost..like, something that's 5 gbp, would be $10.

So, as long as it stays under $2..I'm ok for now!
MissZiegfeld is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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There are a lot of little expenses that can quickly ad up to "real money.' Buying water and soda from a street vendor ( if you need a drink while out run into a tesco). Gifts for friends/relatives/coworkers? Skip these. I think they're a HUGE waste of moeny.

Plan out your trip as much as possible. This way you can limit transport costs. Grab free maps at your hotel. If breakfast is included in your hotel eat a lot! Pack snacks in your luggage for when you need a quick bit to eat. (We're huge fans of granola bars. nuts are grat too)
highledge is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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If your hotel rate includes breakfast that's a great start. We tend to just eat dinner in a restaurant and lunch is "on the go".
Supermarkets like M&S sell very good deli sandwiches cheaper than eating in a cafe. Pick up your drinks at supermarkets too including a few extra beers to sample back at your hotel.

Don't order dessert in restaurants. If you want something sweet after dinner pick up some desserts from Waitrose or M&S, they have an excellent range of top notch puddings.

Eat your lunch outside, in a park if the weather is good (sunlight helps alleviate jetlag too...)
highflyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 09:42 AM
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Go register at DaysOutGuide for many 2-for-1 entry discounts


For meals, lots of ethnic restaurants in London where you can eat relatively cheap.

I also suggest eat a big lunch, then get food from supermarket and eat a small dinner in your hotel.

For musicals, you can get 1/2 price tickets at TKTS.
yk is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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A copy of Time Out is invaluable for telling you not just what's on when, but also current prices and what's completely free. Sometimes there are 2 for 1 meal vouchers and offers inside.

As has already been suggested, sarnies from one of the supermarkets are a good idea for a cheap lunch - London is full of squares and parks where you can stop to eat.

Some of my favourite freebies would be:-
Victoria and Albert Museum, Photographers Gallery (small, but has interesting exhibitions and a fab gift shop),
Free hand massage in Jo Malone perfumerie,
Picnic lunch in Green Park (sort of free!),
Window shopping in New Bond Street jewellers!
Public Gallery in Houses of Parliament to watch debates (if you can still get in their!).
Free music recitals at Royal Festival Hall (check times and dates).
RM67 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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Yes, it's expensive but it's all relative.

I paid $7 for a beer in Midtown Manhattan last month, so if you're comparing big city to big city, it's really not that much more. Of course things are less expensive once you get out of the center of town/commercial areas. We hand another drink in the village and it was less, as it would be if you weren't smack dab in the middle of London.

For reasonable food when we visited London last fall we frequented smaller "local" places and left the destination restaurants alone. Breakfast was light and usually at Paul's. The 2 for 1s mentioned above were great for admission savings, museums are free, and we bought theater tickets with a discount code before we left home (you can also go to the half price booth when you get there).
Margo_Chester is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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beer is cheaper in london than in the US. when i was stranded in grotty revere when my flight out of boston was cancelled, i paid over $7 (after tax and 'required' tip) for a beer at pizzaria uno...a grotty chain restaurant in a grotty suburb. in the centre of london you will pay the equivalent of about $5 (including tax and the non-existent tip) for a top ale. many pubs have bottles of wine for about £8...again, no tip and tax included.

remember, you are not at all expected to tip in a pub (despite some strange recent posts that say the opposite) and tax is included in all menu/bar prices. in restaurants, you need not over tip. 15% will get you a sneer in new york city but in london the waiter will be quite happy with 15% and he will not be disappointed with 10%.

and when you have had enough of london prices, go to a tesco metro and spend £5 on a bottle of wine or 4 giant cans of beer and climb up to the top level of the base of nelson's column in trafalgar square. you will get a great view from all sides and it's a great way to spend an hour or so on a lovely summer evening. you can even buy some sushi or other picnic foods and have a cheap meal by sunset.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 13th, 2007, 08:55 PM
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We lived in the UK for a year in the early '80's. The rate of exchange when we first moved there was about the same as it is now.
bettyk is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Just returned from London and my advice is to skip a meal, or two, each day. Go to Sainsbury and pick up a few snacks and H20 to carry on the go, try a few "street" meals--like pasties, chicken & chips and such and you should be fine.
Have a great trip
wordteacher is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 10:06 AM
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Math refresher:

"We paid 6 euros for a pint in Venice, just over $6US..."

No, it's actually just over $8. But you got to drink it in Venice!
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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YK, I looked at the Days Out Guide, which can only be used in conjuction with a train ticket. I'm a little confused. When would I be taking a train, if I am staying in London and not taking a day trip. I assume I can take a train from the airport to London but the coupons can only be used when a train ticket has been issued for that day. Is that correct? They had some wonderful 2 for 1 coupons, but it doesn't appear that they would benefit anyone except someone traveling to London from Europe by train, not arriving from the U.S. Am I missing something? I suppose it is really day trippers who would benefit most from the 2 for 1 coupons.
RaleighGirl is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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If you buy a Day Travelcard (or 7-day Travelcard), you can use that as the "train ticket." [Note: not just an oyster card]

I would imagine that a train ticket from Eurostar would work also.

Train tickets from airports (such as HEX or GEX or Southern train from LGW) work also.

There has been several reports on Fodors here saying that some sights don't even ask to see the actual train ticket.

I've only used this promo once, at the Tate Britain. I was asked for my train ticket (which was a Day Travelcard), but I don't believe they looked that closely at the date of the card.
yk is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Well, I feel a little embarrassed about my question. I've have been trying to plan my London trip via the Internet today and have been overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available. However, due to the advice of the wonderful Fodor's travelers, I feel I have discover important tips that I otherwise would have overlooked in a guidebook. Thanks for your clarification, yk.
RaleighGirl is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 659
Thank you Robespierre, I always need a math refresher. Be glad I don't work at your bank.
tudorprincess is offline  

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