• London on a Budget

    London on a Budget

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    London on a Budget

    writes Janet McGarry

    BUDGET TRAVEL

    London sucks you in – whether you go there for a couple of days or a year. The sheer scale of the place can be overwhelming, and there are endless opportunities for amusement. I’ve worked there in the past, and explored some of the less visited areas at weekends, so this year’s trip was a pure tourist experience. Five hectic days hitting all the obvious highlights, catching up with family and friends, and taking a great one day side trip to Cambridge.

    So if you think you’ve been there, done that, I can now say that there is always something for a fresh visit a few years later. There are new attractions to try (like The London Eye), seasons to enjoy (mass daffodils in the gardens at Hampton Court were a stand out), and times to be a pure tourist (sitting upstairs at the front of an old fashioned red bus is still hard to beat).

    1. INDULGENCE

      Our splurge was in Harrods – a cliché, but still got some wow factor. A very indulgent ice-cream was a work of art and there was plenty of people-watching opportunities from the bar counter seats.  

    We’ve all heard stories of money woes in London, so let’s say this upfront – London is expensive, no matter what the Australian dollar is worth. Truth is, there is just too much to do in this metropolis, and you’ll find money winging its way out of your pocket. So, here are a few budget tips:

    1. Transport – wait till after 9.30am to buy an off peak London Transport ticket that you can use on the Tube and bus as often as you like. Much cheaper than individual tickets. 
    2. Entry tickets – you can spend a fortune seeing the sights. For instance, 16 pounds for St Paul’s Cathedral alone. But if you have used a mainline train to get to London from somewhere else in the UK, on the day you arrive you can access 2 for 1 price entries to most of the main sights. Plan an early arrival, and go for it. See daysoutguide.co.uk for information.
    3. Museums – some of the best in the world, and often with free entry. Get lost in The British Museum or reflect at The Tate. But one of the more unusual ones is The Welcome Collection on Euston Road – a museum dedicated to the connection between medicine, life and the arts. See more at wellcomecollection.org  
    4. What’s On – each week there are lots of free and low cost events all over the city. Find more at spoonfed.co.uk/London/whats-on
    5. Eating out – when you need a break from cooking in the hostel kitchen, try the cafes at the main London YHAs, or one of The Stockpot chain of cafes – two course for less than 8 pounds. 

    The markets, streets and canal in Camden offer free entertainment_shutterstock