just how expensive is London

Old Mar 16th, 2005, 02:47 AM
  #21  
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Thanks for all your input. I am not considering the Connaught but I am researching some interesting smaller hotels. I will be spending my time at the theatre, maybe a concert or two, museums and just walking. Probably not shopping...I used to buy Jaeger cashmere sweaters for L17 but that was a different time. Glad theatre is still a relative bargain.

LMF
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Old Mar 16th, 2005, 03:59 AM
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I'm sure Patrick will probably disagree with me but I do not think that London theatre prices for tickets in the stalls running between 45-60 Pounds are a "bargain" with the current exchange rate.

Of course, there are cheaper seats you can get. I was just in New York and saw "Spamalot" from house seats which we paid for and they were certainly cheaper than the house seats we paid for in London for shows such as "Mary Poppins."

BUT, I still think London theatre is more than "worth it" even if the prices are high.
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Old Mar 16th, 2005, 05:50 AM
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Intrepid. I guess you're ahead of me. I've been unable to find where ANY show in London was above 49 pounds for top price tickets (The Producers) which comes to US $94.50, still less than the same show in New York which is $100. And even then that's not a fair match, since the bulk of the center orchestra seats in New York are now called VIP seats and go for $180 or $240. The next highest shows I see in London are top price of 45 pounds or $ 86.50, again compared to the usual $100 for musicals in New York.

If you're talking about paying some agency (Albemarle or Keith Prowse, for example) 60 pounds for a London ticket, well, you deserve to pay more, just as you'd do in New York if you bought from many agencies. But I sure can't find any box office listings at those prices.

I realize that London theatre is no longer the bargain it used to be, and of course both in London and New York there are "deals to be had" for theatre tickets. But for box office prices for top tickets, London is STILL cheaper than New York.

Or do you know something new to me about pricing? Regarding your specific example, I don't know who you got your house seats for the two shows from, but the top price for regular seats for Mary Poppins in London is 49 pounds, less than the $100 for top price seats for Spamalot. Maybe your connections for house seats in New York were better than your connections in London?
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Old Mar 16th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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Oh and by the way. I can call any theatre in London and reserve seats for no booking charge at all, or possibly something like a 1.50 pound charge and they will hold the tickets for free. For New York, from out of town, you HAVE to go through Teletron or Ticketmaster, and you HAVE to pay an additional $10 or more per ticket in fees!!!

Meanwhile, to LilMsFoodie. Knowing you, I think you'd love the Covent Garden Hotel.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 01:10 AM
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VERY EXPENSIVE...New York X2 is an understatement...its not just expensive eating out or buying drinks, but everything little thing you buy will at leas tbe double! However, there are spots in Covenant Gardens that accepts euros, dollars and pounds.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 02:30 AM
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Patrick, thanks for the info. I think your London-NYC comparison is more than fair. I think it makes a lot of sense to compare the 2 cities, even though some disagree.

It would not make sense for me to compare prices of my hometown in Canada with London. You have to compare apples to apples, and NYC is as good a comparison in the US as you can get - we're talking about "global" cities.

I agree that not everyone has a good handle on currency issues. Twice in Toronto I ran into people (not saying from which country) who didn't even realize Canada has its own currency relative to the US. So I guess I can see how people would think a 2-to-1 pounds-to-dollars ratio would lead people to think that costs are double.

This has been a useful post for me, even though I wasn't the original poster - thanks for the info.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 03:42 AM
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London is far. far more expensive than New York. You can spend a lot in New York, but you don't have to. For a nice little exercise, try comparing your classic cheap eats - Indian restaurants. They are at least double in London compared to NY. Try comparing the cost of a subway or any other cheaper activity.

Besides, who cares about NY? Most people don't live there. For the rest of us, the general rule of thumb is that you spend pounds in London like you would spend dollars at home.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 03:49 AM
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Patrick, my experience with theater tickets was that shows are less expensive in London. I purchased two second-row tickets for Mama Mia (normally I don't like sitting that close, but these were fabulous seats) online for 37 GBP each, and that included the cost of mailing them to me. We went to two less expensive shows (somewhere between Broadway and off-Broadway, whatever that equivalent in London would be) and spent much less than we did last year in NYC. We got tickets to opening week of Chitty Chitty Bang Bank in 2002 with no premium ---can't recall the exact amount, but we had the best seats possible for the flying car and I remember thinking at the time that they were strangely reasonable.

Contrast that with Wicked, which our youngest son and I are dying to see. Cannot get tickets without a HUGE premium from brokers (like $250 a seat) and we are actually considering flying to Toronto to see it because at least then we'd get a trip somewhere new. Canadian ticket prices are about 30% less.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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Sunny 16 - Took our daughter to lunch at the Lexington Avenue Candy Shop when last in NYC (Yeah, we know how to spoil the girl!) and must admit that it was excellent value, and a fun place to eat.
I agree that it was more entertaining than pub grub.
The best value for money in central London is Chinatown. In the suburbs, it has to be good old Fish and Chips!
One of the biggest problems with eating in London is that there seems to be chain restaurants everywhere like Garfunkels, and then there's the horror of McDonalds, BurgerKing, Pizza Hut etc.
The other problem is (as with the rest of the UK) that hotels are disproportianately expensive compared with the rest of Europe.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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I think 'value for your money' is relevant too. What is a $100 hotel room like compared with elsewhere in Europe ? and what do you get for your $200 hotel room compared with elsewhere ?
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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Yes, that elusive nexus of price and value. That's one reason why this forum is so valuable---people are willing to share that information when they find it.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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a few years ago, we decided we wanted to start traveling abroad for extended vacations annually. we're quite comfortable, but frugal by nature (which is why we're still quite comfortable). the best thing we ever did was look into home exchanging. this summer, well be doing our 10th home exchange, to maida vale, london (3wks), amsterdam (3wks), and ireland(2wks). it makes you nearly immune to price considerations. we'll be spending $1800 to fly a family of 4 from the u.s. to europe, plus a handful of cheap hop flights on easyjet. we'll be spending $0 on accommodations. what's more, we have the full amenities in our london brownstone that you'd have back home, ie. kitchen, washer/dryer, internet access. it makes for easy cost savings, while living luxuriously. the cost of the tube, cabs, souvenirs, plays, or restaurant dining feel absolutely irrelevant. Maybe two or three thousand dollars? I really couldn't sing the praises of home exchanging enough.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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and one last consideration - anyone who travels with children know how underwhelming it is to stay in a cramped hotel room. it's enough to make you swear off traveling entirely.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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CarmelbytheSea:

If I am interpreting your screen name correctly, you live in a highly desirable area for exchange. We would do that in a minute, except that no one wants to stay in a large (7000 square feet) home in a tiny town (8500 people) in Georgia that is two hours from the big city. Unless it is a convention of square dancers, and we wouldn't want that many people in the house.

Your situation sounds ideal, and we've thought about exchanging our lake home, but our homeowner's insurance won't allow it unless we store the boat. And who wants a lake house without the boat? Do you pay a rider on your insurance for this purpose?
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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Carmel - Would you mind saying what exchage service you've used?
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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To Carmelbythesea: How do you coordinate your home exchanges? I'm assuming the London, Amsterdam and Ireland exchanges were with different families? Do you have a cleaning service/agent that comes in after each family leaves and checks for damages, etc. We live in Del Mar and would love to do home exchange, but haven't had the courage or know-how.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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Sorry for interrupting....

kswl, are you interested in a Georgia GTG? If so, see the US board

...back to the program...

I'd love to exchange this house if someone wants to come in and do an Extreme Makeover - I'm renovating an old farmhouse in GA.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Using the big mac comparison rate. You can expect to pay £3.00 ($5.77) for a big mac in London. A large big mac meal (with chips and drink) £3.50 ($6.73).

Or put it this way. London is more expensive than Paris but cheaper than Dublin.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 12:16 PM
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What is the price in the States for same? We pay about $1.80 in Asia.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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I would say that London is about 50% more expensive now, due to the exchange rate. A few years ago, when the exchange was $1.35/ 1 pound, I found that things I would pay a dollar for back home cost about a pound. More recently of course things are singificantly, though not necessarily prohibitivley, more expensive. And that sucks.
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