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Budget Help for London

I asked this question on the Switzerland thread. But I want to check out England as well since we will be going there.

My husband and I will be spending 3 days/2 nights in London early next spring. Not counting hotel or transportation, would it be accurate to budget $400 for food? I know, with the exchange rate right now (and I am sure that by the time we go it will change) it equals out to be around 200 pounds [thanks to everyone that told me England uses pounds, not euros!]. I’ve never been to London so I don’t know if this will be enough. We are also going to be staying in a hotel or B&B that serves breakfast so we will only need lunch & dinner.

So, in a nutshell, would 200 pounds be enough for two people for three days for two meals a day? Or should I increase the amount? If I increase the amount, what would you suggest I increase it to? Also, we aren’t the kind of people that need to eat at fancy places. We actually prefer the mom and pop restaurant or stands.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
225 posts

The UK uses Pounds Sterling, not Euros, but anyway.

I would budget at least $100 per day per person for food. That should cover you for two meals with some left over if you eat at the M&P places. London is just expensive. Lunch might be 10 - 15 Pounds per person and dinner around 20 - 25 Pounds per person.

Posted by
18 posts

Good heavens! I thought everyone in Europe was using Euros. Ok, so I believe it equals out to be 200 pounds. From what it sounds like 300 pounds would be best. Would everyone agree?

Posted by
8293 posts

Liz: England does not use euros. The British Pound is the currency and the approx. rate is 1 GBP to 2 US$, so your budget of $400 would be 200 GBP. I must warn you that London is the most expensive of the European cities and I doubt you will manage well for 2 people, for 3 days of lunches and dinners, on 200 GBP, even if, as you say, fancy places are not where you like to eat. I was there in April and when we stopped at a motorway rest stop we paid 12 GBP for 4 coffees (just plain coffee, no lattes or fancy-schmancees) and 2 doughnuts. That is US$24 ! I would suggest you increase by 50%. Let's see what others think.

Posted by
98 posts

I think your budget is fine if you stick with pubs, sandwich shops, chippies, etc. I spent 9 days in London with 2 adults, a growing pre-teen boy and 1 other child and our budget for lunch, dinner and snack was £70 per day. I even came home with money from our food budget. We usually had lunch at the cafe of whatever attraction we were visiting, an afternoon snack from a grocery store or ice cream, and dinner of chinese take away, pizza or fast food. You will probably want to be little more discriminating than we were but you can do it on a budget.

Posted by
1455 posts

Liz, a lot of your questions have been discussed. Go to the search box and key in "London budget" (or whatever city you're posting about.

click here for a similar post.

A lot of your budget can be lightened if you go to the sit down places for lunch instead of dinner. Even though London is expensive, it can be done on a budget.

Eli posted about his time in London. click here to see his post on Prices in England.

Posted by
1455 posts

Click here for an old post I did, asking for "cheap eats" in London

I totally forgot that I asked about this!

Posted by
291 posts

Personally I think you are well overbudgeting.
In Central London you basically pay what you want to pay.
Try the Weatherspoons pubs they have very good deals, they have a web site with their sites. On Sundays a full English Roast dinner with roast beef and all the trimmings plus any alcholic drinks for 6 GBP ($12 US) On Tuesdays its steak night and Thursdys Curry Night. Other days you can still get the usual mains for less than $US20.
McDonalds Meals and Fish & Chips are around $10.
Steer clear of obvious tourist places and monopoly places like motorway service stations where you are gauged.
Also remember you don't tip in the UK at restauarants and bars, though if you go mad in a posher restaurant they might put a service charge on your bill already.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks Bob & Michelle. I am learning quite a bit and I think my budget thanks you for it!

Posted by
2297 posts

I spent a week in London last year and stayed at a hotel in Greenwhich. Its breakfast buffet was included and enormous! That really saved me as I ate quite a bit for breakfast. With all the walking and touring during the day I didn't really get hungry for lunch much. A simple snack would usually enough for me, sometimes just a piece of fruit or a small sandwhich (3-4 pounds) or a Babybel I had taken along from the breakfast buffet. Dinner was more substantial then. Though on our first day we were rather jet-lagged, slept in, had a very nice lunch at the Tate Modern (and not cheap but most other places with view of the Thames charge substantially more) and only a sandwich from Marks&Spencer for dinner. Ethnic food can be a good choice in London as well. We had a very good Indian meal that wasn't overpriced at all.

We mixed our meals from sandwich dinners to pub to one fancy meal that we treated ourselves to as this was one of the VERY few times we were travelling without kids.

Posted by
3580 posts

I spend only about $25 a day for food, lunch and dinner. A sandwich for about $6 and a budget meal of some sort for about $10-15, plus some fruit. It can be done for less or more. Eat that big breakfast at your hotel first, then follow some of the suggestions on this Helpline or in one of Rick's books.