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She Enjoys London for Less

Meals for less...

It's no secret that your dollar won't go very far in Britain. If you're on a budget you can't expect to eat in posh places yet that doesn't mean that you can't eat well in perfectly delightful surroundings. My travel pal and I sought out tiny cafes or ethnic restaurants and found delicious, reasonable treats at each and every stop. We lunched on steaming bowls of soup (carrot and dill) augmented by shared sandwiches (smoked salmon and cheese) and desserts (English Trifle or savoury apple tarts). For dinner we ate Indian food around Brick Lane and Chinese in Chinatown. Our hotel had a tiny fridge as well as coffee and tea making appliances. That was a real money saver for us. We often popped into Marks and Spencer's foodhalls to buy fruit, yoghurt, individual packets of English cheddar cheese and fresh rolls for breakfast. That also meant that there was always something to snack on in the evening while we were watching the telly.

Here are a few of the eateries we tried and recommend to other women:
1) The Buttery Cafe at Burgh House in Hampstead Village. A delightful stop off the beaten track serving light meals. Ask locals for directions.
2) The Portrait Cafe (downstairs basement of the Portrait Gallery) off Trafalgar Square. Sandwiches, soups, tarts, etc.
3) Poons Chinese Restaurant (4 Leicester Square). The place was clean and the food was tasty. Expect to spend about 25% more than you do at home for Chinese.
4) Food For Thought is located at 31 Neal Street in Covent Gardens. This is a tiny, reasonably priced vegetarian restaurant serving huge portions of comfort food. While the food was great, their housekeeping was a tad lacking so if you are a stickler for absolute cleanliness, skip this one.
5) Dil Chad Indian Restaurant is located at 24 Widegate Street in London's East End. Easily accessible by tube. Food was tasty, the place was clean and many businesswomen and men were enjoying lunch there.
6) Le Metro, located two minutes from Harrods at 28 Basil Street is a tiny, sophisticated neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar serving the tastiest fish and chips I've had in a long time. This is not a budget restaurant but costs are very manageable if your meal is shared. Besides, it was impossible to be hungry with the yummy fresh French bread and butter that we ordered as well.


Theatre tickets for less...

Check out the TKTS Half Price Ticket booth close to Leicester Square. They offer same day tickets for reduced prices. You won't always get your first-choice in shows but this method offers the terrific opportunity to experience excellent London Theatre without breaking the bank. If you're lazy or pressed for time your hotel concierge can locate seats for you but expect to spend an extra £10 - 20 pounds per ticket. For further advice on ticket buying see: http://www.thisistheatre.com/halfpricetickets.html as well as: http://www.journeywoman.com/gfc/theatre.html



Meandering is fabulous...

London is a walking city and its architecture is a fabulous feast for tourists' eyes. Take your map and head towards all those sights you've read about, seen in films or on television. History becomes alive as you spot Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and much, much more. Cross the modern Millennium Bridge, stroll the bank of the Thames River, make your way to museums. The list of goodies you'll encounter is endless and you won't have to spend a single penny.


Walking tours are a delight...

Journeywoman is a very strong advocate of walking tours. Not only do the guides make history come alive, this is also a perfect way to meet other curious folks from the four corners of the world. My friend Marilyn and I chose two individual tours offered by an excellent company called, 'The Original London Walks'. Their itineraries are endless with walks scheduled for each morning, afternoon and evening of the week. Topics range from 'Soho in the Morning' to 'Old Hampstead Village' the 'Old Jewish Quarter', ' The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour' and 'Jack the Ripper Haunts' -- something for every taste and interest. Most tours are two hours long, they're led by friendly, expert guides each with specific areas of interest. Jean is a writer who lectures on local history. A former actress and teacher, her storytelling abilities were superb. Peter G. is an actor who loves architecture and parish churches. He led a dozen of us through the village of Hampstead and showed us where poet Keats and painter Constable used to live and where Russell Crowe and the Spice Girls live now. We saw where Joan Collins will eventually be buried and where President DeGalle went to church during the war. We walked, chatted, listened, learned and had a wonderful time. For further information see: http://www.walks.com


Browsing shops, museums, woman’s library and a huge splurge

 

 

 

 

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