5 Ways to Survive a British Holiday on an Aussie Budget

The exchange rate nearly sent us packing, but we stuck it out, thanks to some great local tips on how to eat, stay and tour on the cheap.

 


 

5 Ways to limit blowing your Aussie dollar

 

First and foremost, having family to stay with is the easiest way to survive Britain on an Aussie budget and the second way would be if you were rich. Luckily for us we had family.

The exchange rate when we visited dropped down to as low as .41 which meant that for every Aussie dollar we spent was a mere 41 pence and inversely, it meant that for each pound we spent $2.20.

 


 

 

We have never seen so many people eating picnic lunches in a city before, Trafalgar Square.

These steps are covered with people eating home-made lunches, us included, Trafalgar Square.

 

 1. Eating out

Lunch –

If you don’t have time or the means to make sandwiches, buy some fresh sandwiches from:

Greggs – bakery and sandwich shop.

Items are dual priced, for eat in or takeaway. They also have great package deals; order a sandwich and select a drink for as little as 3 pound or $6.60 AUD.

Website: greggs.co.uk

Dinner –

Pub chains are extremely popular all over Britain. We tried a few but the best for quality and price was:

Wetherspoons

They have a different theme night each day of the week, further reducing the price on the dishes associated with the theme. We were able to eat dinner for as little as 25 pound ($55 AUD)  including drinks. Many of the plate selections include an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. The children’s menu included a soft drink and a bag of sliced apple and red grapes.

Adding to the dining experience, many of the franchises have been built in disused banks, churches and cinemas.

This old church is now a Wetherspoons pub in Prestwick.

This old church is now a Wetherspoon pub in Prestwick.

There is a private dining room in an old vault in the Counting Room Wetherspoons in Glasgow.

There is a private dining room in an old vault in the ‘Counting Room’ Wetherspoon, former bank, in Glasgow.

TIP: make sure to arrive before 6pm as many of the stores do not allow children to remain in the venue after 7pm or 8pm and will not allow you to order your food.

Website: jdwetherspoon.co.uk

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2. Accommodation

After staying in many types of hotels, hostels, B&B’s and homestays. The best priced hotel chain we found was:

Premier Inn

The rooms are fitted with modern furnishings and are clean and comfortable. We stayed for as low as 45 pound a night, that’s about $100 AUD.

TIP: Book your stay direct through their website instead of through a hotel booking site or at reception to save money.

Website: premierinn.com

When we didn’t find a Premier Inn to stay in we booked online via Booking.com.

Check the latest prices for England by clicking here.

 

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3. Shopping

Even if you have a list of gifts that you plan to purchase for loved ones and don’t like to shop beyond those purchases, you still might have to do some regular shopping at some point.

Argos – has everything and anything; from bikes to exercise equipment to clothes, washing machines, furniture and computers. It is a shop front attached to a warehouse. All you need to do is look through the catalogues and order online at the computer counters. It really is a lot of fun. We purchased a wifi dongle and walked up to the counter with our ticket and got it straight away. The staff even know about the products and can answer your questions.

Argos computer station with huge catalogue.

Argos computer station with huge catalogue.

Website: argos.co.uk

Primark – It’s like Target and you can pick up some cheap thongs, tops or hair ties, as we did. The quality of goods is a step up from the dirt cheap ‘Pound’ shops or ’99p’ stores.

Website: primark.com

 

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4. Free family fun

There are many, many Museums that are free to enter, such as the British Museum, Museum of London, Natural History Museum, Science Museum and more.

Check out this list of ‘101 Free things to do in London’ from visitlondon.com and it lists the Museums.

It is free to visit the popular Harry Potter film locations. One of the most popular locations is at King’s Cross Station. Stop at the archway between platforms 4 and 5, where Hogwarts Express departs from ‘Platform 9 3/4’. Then walk to Platform 9 and prepare for a long wait (about 40 minutes) before taking your picture pushing the luggage trolley into the magic wall.

Autumn driving the trolley at Kings Cross station

We also visited Charing Cross Road in London’s West End. Walking along Charing Cross Road away from the theatre district will take you to the back drop of The Leaky Cauldron Pub and Inn for wizards on (fictitious) Muggle Street. Every second-hand bookshop or antiquarian looked like it sold wands. Charing Cross Antiquarian

Ask your friends and family about cheap deals. We went with the girls to Adventure Island at Southend-on-Sea for half price after 6pm. It costs between 17 and 27 pound, depending on the age of the child and it is free for non-riders. So our nighttime outing costs us close to $60 AUD. The same deal is offered at Luna Park in Sydney and is $50 AUD.

 

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5. Walking tours

Public transport in London is expensive but more expensive is driving in the centre of the city. London has introduced a ‘Congestion charge’ ranging between 10.50 to 14.00 pound and it successfully stopped us from taking the car.

Purchase an Oyster card to get around on public transport, this can be done online at oyster.tfl.gov.uk

If you take the train into Euston Station, follow the signs for ‘Jubilee Walkway‘ and head South toward the city. The Jubilee Walkway is marked with metal discs in the path below your feet or on tourist information signs and covers 24 kilometres of the city centre. With so many iconic landmarks in London this one walkway takes you past a great majority of them.

Jubilee Walkway emblem

Jubilee Walkway emblem on a sign along the track, London.

TIP: Grab a map from one of the many portable travel information points as they have the walkway marked on them.

 


 

We used the same franchise food and shops across England and Scotland because we knew the quality and price suited us. If we didn’t have family to introduce us to these bargains it would have made our time there a lot harder.

 

GPSmyCity app GIVEAWAY

In line with our 5th tip for saving money in Britain, we are giving away 20 GPSmyCity apps to readers. Offer only available for ipad or iphone or other Apple device.

To enter for your chance to claim a GPSmyCity app, comment on this post. Tell us in our comment box, in one sentence, what you would do to save money in London. 

The best responses will be sent a code to download the GPSmyCity app, for free, containing self-guided city tours of London, valued at $4.99USD in the App store.

This app will give the user access to over a dozen self-guided walking tours of London. The best thing about this walking app is that it works off-line. Just turn it on and see London on foot at your own pace.

This special giveaway expires on 27 November 2015.

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