It’s no secret. A recent article in the USA today, called out London as the most expensive city to visit in the world. What is to be done? No fear, the trusty Fighting Couple is on the case. We have some helpful hints and tips that will make your British holiday less painful.
Mind the Gap
London is famous for its taxis. They are classy and the drivers well-trained. However, if you use a taxi to see the city, your wallet is going to be a lot lighter. London taxis are horribly expensive. Use mass transportation instead. The “Tube” as it’s affectionately called is a wonderful, easy, and budget friendly way to the see the city. It’s well-organized, easy to understand, and safe. Most of the best sights in London have their own Tube sights. Buy a pass. The seven day pass is the best deal depending on how far out of London you want to go, prices range from 24 Pounds to 81 Pounds.
Changing of the Guard
Getting up close and personal with the royals is a unique opportunity in Britain. We highly recommend the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace. Our advice is to get early and pick the right time when they do a full on parade and display. It is really quite a pageant. With the tall black hats and crisp red jackets it is a great photo op that does cost a single quid!
Big lunch, Small Supper
This is one of the Fighting Couple fave couple travel tips. We load up on fine food at lunch. Lunch menus are typically much more affordable than the evening meal. Then for the evening meal, we hit the sandwich shop or grab a baguette and chips. One other interesting trend is the increase in the number of street food vendors. These can offer affordable eats at almost any hour. During our recent trip to London, we found the best little crepe hut that offered the most delicious desserts. They were a meal in themselves.
Window Shopping at Harrod’s
Now this is going to take some strong self-control… but window shopping at Harrod’s can be one of the most fun and free activities in all of London. It can also be a fine place to do some old fashioned people watching. Harrod’s was founded in 1834 and is one of the oldest continuously operated department stores in the world. You can find the world’s best brands there. The Harrod’s motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique—All Things for All People, Everywhere. If you are lucky to visit London during the holidays, their displays are flat out incredible. Harrod’s is beyond expensive. It’s definitely for the well-heeled of the world. I ogled a women’s business suit and it was $800. Buy a tote bag instead. It will cost you $75.
Take a stroll down Jermyn Street and Saville Row to take in the newest fashion trends. Most have wonderful window displays that are artwork on their own. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with patron saint of dandyism, Beau Brummell.
Cheap Show Tickets
Of course any trip to London would not be complete without an evening at the West End. Personally, we find London theatre even a cut above Broadway and many of the shows that eventually make it to New York City get their start in London. Expect to pay less for a ticket in London, but with the exchange rate it equals more. Just like in New York, London has its own version of TKTS. Scope out their website at http://www.tkts.co.uk/. The website shows what shows are selling and what you’d expect to pay at the theatre and what you’ll pay at TKTS. Bloody Brilliant! Know a couple of shows you want to see before getting to the counter so if they sell out before you get there, you have options. TKTS makes shows so affordable; you can see three shows instead of one!
Breakfast and Bed
Another strategy to travel on a budget is staying at Bed and Breakfasts. We love staying with actual people. We learn so much more about the place we are visiting. In addition, they can offer budget saving suggestions. Try Travelstay.com to find the best rates for Bed and Breakfasts.
A Picnic in the Park
London has some amazing green space. Take advantage of a romantic setting with you lover! There are four major “royal” parks. Each of these are located on former royal hunting grounds: Green Park, St. James, Hyde Park, and our fave Kensington Gardens. Find a grocery store, load up on your favorite snacks and take along a large blanket, a book and enjoy the scenery.
That’s it! Our ideas to make your visit to London on a budget less painful. Enjoy!