How to See London on $100 a Day - Page 2
|Tower Bridge, London, England (Visit London)|
Embrace the sandwich
To save up your pounds for a decent evening out, cut costs on lunch. Although this city doesn't really do deli counters, a good bet for picnic food and lunch in London on the cheap is the food hall at Marks & Spencer or supermarkets like Waitrose. If the weather permits, head to the verdant, statue-studded Royal Parks (the city has eight) for a picnic and a sunny stroll. Central London’s Kensington Gardens and the adjacent Hyde Park both make fine picnic venues; after all, Hyde Park is where Henry VIII hunted deer in the mid-16th century. In the summer months, you can even row or swim in Serpentine Lake to work up your appetite. If it’s not quite picnic weather, take a Thames-side seat at one of the many simple restaurants and cafés along the South Bank to snack on world cuisines while gazing at riverboats, joggers, skateboarders, and street entertainers. Cost: $15.
A night out in London: Dining
Why spend your day’s $100 paying full price at one of London’s dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants? Many top eateries offer discounted pre-theatre menus. Try L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden, offering excellent French cuisine with a fixed-price menu below its usual price (before 6 p.m.). Beloved by a celebrity crowd, The Ivy in Theatreland has tasty British dishes for a two-course early evening menu for around $30. For more choices, register at TopTable to take advantage of some mouth-watering dining deals. In London, you can sample pretty much all the world’s cuisines, a reflection of the capital’s heady mix of cultures. For no-nonsense Asian cuisine, Chinatown is bursting with North Asian restaurants and noodle houses, while East London’s Brick Lane (a.k.a. Banglatown) has a tempting variety of Indian and Bangladeshi choices. Just north of Oxford Circus, Turkish restaurant Ozer has half-price drinks all evening at the bar, and they’ll even bring you complimentary hummus, fresh bread, and the occasional dish of köfte (lamb meatballs).
A night out in London: Entertainment
London’s famous West End entertainment doesn’t always come cheap, but you can get cut-price theater tickets when you plan ahead. Check out low-cost performances at the spectacular Royal Opera House for classic opera and ballet, where balcony tickets cost as little as $15. Three separate stages comprise the excellent National Theatre, with tickets starting at £12 (approximately $18) for each performance. Bard buffs should head to Shakespeare’s Globe, a recreated Elizabethan theater staging performances of Shakespearean plays throughout the summer. Here, you can stand in the “groundling” pit for just £5 ($8). There’s always some edgy drama at small “Off West End” theaters such as the Soho, Waterloo East, and Young Vic theaters, with tickets from $15. If you prefer musicals and other West End blockbuster productions, visit the official TKTS booth in Leicester Square for discounted day-of tickets for star-studded line-ups. Cost: dinner and entertainment under $50 combined.
A nightcap in London
Have a few pounds rattling in your pocket? Catch last orders in a traditional pub where a pint of ale, bitter, or lager will cost you around $6. If you fancy a touch of history with your pint, pop into some of the centuries-old pubs around Holborn. Try Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, rebuilt in 1667 after the Great Fire of London. Nearby, Princess Louise is a perfect example of a Victorian pub, all mahogany snugs, ornate tiling, and decent pints of Sam Smiths beer, a fine (a relatively cheap) way to end a day in London. Cost: $6.