Budgeting for a vacation in Europe is tough. The plane tickets are enough of an investment, and once you’re there, the weak dollar means even a “bargain” is comically expensive.
Here are a few ways we managed to get out of London without going broke:
1. Museums, museums, museums! Most of the museums in London are free, and there are enough to provide days of sightseeing. We saw the Wallace Collection, the Victoria and Albert, the Natural History Museum, the Tate Modern, and the National Gallery. And we only had time to see a small part of their enormous collections.
2. Cheap transport. Most of the time, we walked – probably at least 5 miles a day. But we also bought Oystercards, which are a LOT less expensive than cash tickets- a ride costs £1.50 instead of £4!
Beat the Clock specials at Belgo Centraal
3. Food specials. My favorite was at Belgo Centraal, a large underground Belgian beerhall featuring robed waiters and co-ed bathrooms. Between 5 and 6:30 on weekdays, you “pay the clock” for an entree and a beer. (In other words, come at 5 and pay £5.) The dishes were great – we had wild mushroom puff pastry and roasted vegetables in a pastry shell topped by a delectable slab of goat cheese.
Another good low-priced option is The Stockpot, with affordable fixed-price and a la carte options, and the kind of food you’d imagine eating on a Sunday night at home growing up in England. The restaurant has several locations.