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Somebody Help This Poor Guy

He is about to be really poor–last year he promised his teenage daughter he would take her
to London this summer. What a whack job! He is going lose hundreds of pounds and still be fat. But he’s a good father so I think we should help him find some inexpensive or better yet, free things to do while they’re swinging around London counting bobbies on bicycles two-by-two. I mean how many hours can you spend in the hallowed Food Halls in Harrods without plucking down a fiver for a sack of cheese scones? Cheap eats in London, anyone?

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12 comments on “Somebody Help This Poor Guy

  1. Walking the Grand Canal is wonderful. Look for it on the map of Central London, about a mile north of the northwest corner of Hyde Park in a area called Little Venice. It is where many of the canals from across England come together. The Grand Canal loops northeast and ends at Regent Park. It ia a very rural feeling in in the middle of London. Where the canal goes through tunnels, you can follow the canal or go over the hill. It takes about 2 hours. It is fun to see the canal boats carrying cargo and those that are residential.

  2. That’s tough, especially at the current exchange rate. Pubs typically serve affordable (though heavy) food. But they end food service pretty early, so make sure you get there by 7:00pm at the latest. Wagamama is a popular pan-Asian chain (think Pei Wei, but less sugar) that’s pretty affordable. Also, typically small hole-in-the-wall Indian places are affordable.

  3. Benjy’s – Kind of like Subway but better and best value for just filling up on a good sandwich. I recall there are multiple locations in and around town. Also through the mists I recall Chelsea Kitchen – near Harrods – maybe Old Brompton Road?

  4. Ate some real interesting potato chips over there, or crisps as they call em. I liked the roasted chicken with rosemary and the Thai curry shrimp ones. Nothing is cheap, just pretend the pounds are dollars and you won’t notice the sticker shock till the Visa bill arrives.

  5. All of London’s museums are free…..there is a small fee for some of the exibits, but I found jus absorbing the culture was enough……We did a walk throuh Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens…BEAUTIFUL. ..of course the changing of the guard is something to see. There are tons of street performers in the convent garden market, too…the street markets are amazing, and you can really pick up a lot of great memories…most can be researched on the internet. i liked Brick Lane (it’s only open on Sundays) and the Borough Market the best. Scour the net, there are TON’S of sites about cheap things to do there (that’s what I did before I went.)

  6. A classic low rent dinner is the greasy fish and chips. You should probably try to stomach that once!

    For lunch, swing by a Boots (there’s probably another brand i am forgeting). Anyway, they are on every corner and have a great selection of fresh sandwiches and other light fare. Nothing fancy, just good cheap fuel. Different tastes, naturally, than here, so there is interest in the experience. The distribution of prepared food across London is very efficient — small stocks three times a day. I have heard that Tesco was planning to export the concept here. Hope that happens.

    If you follow Lee’s advice, you can start in London and take the underground to Swiss Cottage Station. There is a small outdoor market there with a nice selection of ethnic street food. You can then walk south thru Primrose park and intersect the Canal in Regent’s park.

  7. Donna’s right on about Wagamama (but the food is much better than Pei Wei) and the best cheap Indian places are on Brick Lane in East London. He might also want to try the cafe at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank. It’s cafeteria-style but reasonably priced by London standards and it’s got an awesome view of the Thames.

  8. Another vote for Wagamama. Another chain is PizzaExpress. All over Britain, you will pay £7 per person for a personal pizza and they are open late, something you don’t see much of in London. You can also save by grabbing a sandwich at a Tesco, Marks & Spencer or Pret a Manger.

    Borough Market is a must see. It’s open Thur, Fri, & Sat. Fresh cheap food, great history, and great part of Town.

    London Walks are fun ( they are £7 per person are lead by fun and entertaining guides and cover every subject from pubs, Jack the Ripper & Beatles.

    The museums are free, the British Museum is a nice place for afternoon tea. And if you ride the tube avoid the morning and you can buy a off-peak card that is quite a bit cheaper. Just enjoy walking the city and make sure you go over the Millennium Bridge. It connects St. Paul’s to the Tate Modern.

  9. Pret a Manger ( is cheapish, and the sandwiches are usually pretty good. I second the recommendation for Borough Market – fantastic food there!

    The first few times I visited London, I was a dirt-poor student, and I found plenty of free things to do (museums, parks, window shopping, people watching). Street markets in Portobello Road and Camden Town can also provide cheap shopping and local flavor.

  10. As ChrisR said Pizza Express has great pizza, really good and cheap.

    Borough Market ( is a must, if your lucky you can see Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey, if they are in town. When you are at Borough you should visit the Brindisa stand. ( They import some of the finest foods from Spain, but the real jewel is the chorizo sandwiches they serve for lunch, cheap and outstanding.

    Yo Sushi! is another good chain that is on the cheap side, cool experience for a fast food joint.

    as far as cheap things to do, just walk around, there is pretty amazing history and sights all over. hit up the museums for free and walk around Covent Garden for an evening for some people watching and just great culture.

  11. There’s also Nando’s, which has delicious peri-peri chicken & GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen). I also vote for Wagamama, Pret a Manger and a trip to Borough Market. The best chocolate chip cookie I ever had is at Konditor & Cook right next to the market.

    You may also want to check out Time Out magazine’s London website. (