Dining out - keeping to budget in UK

May 31st, 2007, 08:26 PM
  #1  
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Dining out - keeping to budget in UK

As we prepare to leave on our trip to Scotland and England, I'm realizing we have under budgeted for food. We're traveling with two young girls 10 & 14 (the older one a vegetarian). In Scotland and outside of London in England we're staying in B&Bs; an flat in London.

I'd like a little advice on what we should be looking for in the way of family dining..also with a couple of younger, picky eaters. What are the establishments that we should focus on for keeping our dinner costs (especially) down.

Any and all advice welcome! Thanks!
nelcarp is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 08:30 PM
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What budget have you set aside for meals, this will give us an idea of what is available at your budget and enable us to advise you better
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 08:35 PM
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Some big helps:

your B&Bs will mostly provide large breakfasts so you can skimp a bit on lunches. Be sure to tell your hosts that your daughter is a vegetarian - most B&Bs will make sure there are good veg options if they know ahead of time.

In London you can make your own b'fasts.

In London plan on some picnics either that you put together yourself, or w/ prepared sandwiches/drinks from places like Pret a Manger and Marks and Spencer.

You can eat at many country pubs - especially if there is a separate dining room or outdoor tables.
janisj is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 08:57 PM
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I agree with you all the points you make are simple common sense, apart from
"all B&B`s provide large breakfasts",

Being English and living here we use use B&B`s very often either for leasure or business travel, I think i could start thread on B&B`s to avoid.

Beware some country pubs are becoming "Gastro Pubs" with dinning rooms, these serve fancier food and charge accordingly.

For example last saturday OH and i went for lunch to a "Gastro pub"
2 beers,
1 gin and tonic,
1 thai fishcake starter (we shared)
1 grilled tuna and salad,
1 grilled double lamb chop (known as Barnsley chop in the UK)with vegetables,
1 cheese an buscuits,
2 cofees
£48.50 or $96 - not cheap

great pub if you are in Leicestershire

http://www.wheatsheafinn.net/index.htm
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:09 PM
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We budgeted about $100/day figuring that since we're renting a flat in London and Paris that our costs for those days (7) would be much less??

So country pubs really are not family spots unless as you suggest there is a separate dining room or outside dining?

We're banking on the big breakfast to help at the B&Bs. I've got to reprogram my 14 year old into eating more than a piece of toast for breakfast!
nelcarp is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:11 PM
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Sorry, country pubs ARE family spots here in the UK, we always see kids from baby upwards in country pubs the only thing is they cant drink booze.
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:12 PM
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What should we expect for a meal for 4 at a pub that hasn't gone to the "gastropub" affair? Or is the basic pub becoming less common?
nelcarp is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:13 PM
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just seen your reply, look at the link i sent and you will see the menu, which is quite typical and shows prices
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:14 PM
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BTW, this is not a Gastro pub
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:23 PM
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So, it does look like I've under budgeted a bit. Maybe it will balance out a bit with making many of our own meals when in the flats in London and Paris.

I'm a bit embarassed to ask, but do country pubs offer menu selections specifically for children?
nelcarp is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Sure they do and if not ask for a childs portion most are very helpful
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:33 PM
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Pasta meals are probably most economic when ur in your flat. There is a chain of restaurants - "Little Chef" which do good value meals, these are mostly situated on main roads
http://www.littlechef.co.uk/menu.php

look at the menu
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:33 PM
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What do you think I should plan on per day (pounds or $) I just need to plan accordingly. We're assuming we'll sort out packing fruit, bread or picking similar up during the day or light lunches.
nelcarp is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:43 PM
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For 4 people i recon that you should budget £80 a day while staying in B&B`s this will cover lunch and dinner for 4 as well as coffee and ice creams etc. This is £10 a meal. Some may say that this is too much, but living here ican assure you it isnt. For example an ice cream is about £1 and a coffee is £1.20, so that only leaves £17.80 for 2 meals. When in ur flat allow £40 a day should be fine as long as you stick to cheaper options and not steak
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:08 PM
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I think you'll find the same range of meals available to you as in the U.S. -if you think of pubs and cafes taking the place of family restaurants. What would you eat at home if you were on holiday in the U.S.?

Stores likes Tesco, Sainsbury's, etc. -equivalent to large grocery stores - will have sandwiches, delis with take-away, etc. on hand. And there are fast food places everywhere. Plus bakeries with cornish pasties, sausage rolls, etc. (for the meat eaters). I would avoid, at every opportunity, going to a Little Chef. Do you remember what the K-Mart cafeterias used to be like -take it down three notches and you have a Little Chef - the same goes for the Happy Eater chain.

If you tell us the kinds of things you would eat on holiday in the U.S., I think you'll get some better advice on how far your $100 will take you.
rickmav is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:13 PM
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I agree Little Chef is down market but they are cheapo if thats what you are looking for. BTW, Happy Eater is no more
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:15 PM
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This feedback is helpful.
When eating out (U.S.), we typically would focus on sandwiches and salads for dinners and picking up food we can take with us at lunch. The kids (14 year old included) are not very adventuresome and will default to a grilled cheese sandwich, salad...we'll need to push them a bit in the UK (don't want them justing living off of cheese every day).
We have roughly 11 meals that must be out for dinner as we're in B&Bs.
nelcarp is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Oh dear, salads for dinner ok, but sandwiches for a main meal?.
Obviously there is a huge difference in approach to main meals between the US and the UK. As this would mean snack food for 2 meals in a day. There are some people here that do live on snack and fast food and i supose for a brief spell its ok. As long as you are getting your % portions of fruit and veg a day.
Let us know how you get on
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:22 PM
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Sorry 5 portions
blightyboy is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:32 PM
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Thank goodness the Happy Eaters are no more.

You shouldn't expect that salads in the U.K. are similar to salads in the U.S. In my opinion what they offer in the U.K. as a salad is often much better (and fresher), but if you are expecting a Caesar salad or Chef's salad, you'll be disappointed. And I don't think I've ever seen a grilled cheese sandwich in England in a pub. They could exist, but I can't remember seeing one.

Pubs will usually have at least one pasta dish and I've found they usually always have a vegetarian dish. Those days where you have breakfast provided, you can probably grab a sandwich at a Tesco or convenience store and have pasta/fish and chips/vegetarian dish at a pub in the evening. When breakfast isn't a large meal you may want to go for a bigger pub/cafe lunch, then grab sandwiches/deli stuff for dinner. If you are used to eating a lot of sandwiches, $100 will probably be enough for 4 people - although I'm sure once you see what the pubs offer, for the adults anyway, you may want to splurge now and then.

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