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Beating the Pound in London (and the rest of England)

Budget Travel in London - Take the Bus

Are you leery of the potential for England’s pricey pound to sink your vacation budget this summer? Travelers on Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums concur that traveling to London and around England can require some careful planning, but based on their experience, values are easy to find if one knows where to look. Here are just a few of their recommendations:

Have a perfectly good idea for a day’s itinerary in London that doesn’t break the bank? Share your tips for trimming costs.

1. “Taking buses are cheaper (and more scenic) than the tube. £4.80 for zone 1-2 off-peak for tube; but £3 for bus only (per day).” — yk

2. “I’ve been researching travel in London, and it seems like quite a few B&B’s listed include breakfast in the price, some even offer a full English breakfast, or a choice between that or a continental breakfast. Most seem to be a pretty good price, especially for a place with character. They may not be hostel prices, but most of what I’ve seen were under 100 pounds.” — caladrius

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Budget Travel in England - Hartington Hall Hostel3. “We stayed in YHA hostels everywhere except London and the Cotswolds. We had double rooms, most with ensuite baths, for about $60-70 per night. All had full kitchens, which we used to cook most of our breakfasts, some dinners and to prepare picnic lunches. Far from being soulless, bleak places to stay, many YHA hostels are located in former coaching inns (Snowdon Ranger in Wales), a 16th-century manor (Hartington Hall in the Peak District, photo, right), and a lovely Italianate mansion (Bath).” — ElendilPickle

4. “We don’t plan on purchasing much in the way of souvenirs…We love browsing through major fresh markets–Borough Market is on our agenda, and since cooking at home is a major hobby for us, it’s interesting to check out local markets for comparison of products. We usually buy a few small food items–mustard, tea, spices, to remind us at home of our trip.” — Barb_in_Ga

5. “If you want to attend West End shows that aren’t available at the TKTS booth, try They have some decent priced specials for dinner and tickets, sometimes for a better deal than buying just the tickets would have been.” — Kellye

6. “We are heading to England for the month of May and welcome all suggestions of how to s-t-r-e-t-c-h- those pounds! The South African ZAR is, and has been, horrific for a number of years but we still pay up and enjoy Europe! Budget Travel in London - GBKMy recent discovery regarding cheaper ways of eating will be looking out for GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen), started from New Zealand by TV chef Peter Gordon.” — tod

7. “Last June when my niece came with me, I joined Historic Royal Palaces as an annual member. For one, it’s £37 or I think it was £55 or 58 for the 2 of us. That enabled us to have admission to Kensington Palace, the Tower, Hampton Court Palace and Kew Palace, as well as the Royal Banqueting House. Also, I was given a very nice book that sold for £10 in the gift shop as well as all purchases in any of the palace gift shops were discounted. When I got my final membership card mailed to me, the membership actually was for 13 months so I could use it again this year.” — Carrybean

9. “The Great Britain Heritage Pass now has a family pass (which I got last summer for our party of 3 for $217 for 2 weeks) which can be a great deal if you are traveling in the right parts of the country (less so if you are only seeing London and its environs). At that rate, you can recoup the cost in just a a couple of visits to high priced sites like St. Paul’s, Hampton Court, and Blenheim. Check the list of attractions against your itinerary to see if it’s a good deal for you.” — twk

10. “For cheap hotel stays, hotel points! I am staying at a 5 star centrally located hotel including BF buffet, next to an Underground stop, FREE! For me, hotel points are the most cost effective way to travel, esp in the big cities of Europe. This week-long stay would retail for well over $2000!” — niblette

Recently asked on the Forums:

“How good are the best seats available at the TKTS booth?”
“Can some explain the difference please, between a National Trust Pass and a English Heritage Visitor Pass”?
“How should I group these London sights on my itinerary?”
“Which town for a base in Yorkshire dales?”

Photo credits: (1) photo by Krysten Newby; (2) photo courtesy Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Bureau; (3) photo courtesy GBK.

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