On Eurotrip, teens tackle England on a budget

October 23, 2012

By Contributor

Matthew Benson, Andrew Baer and Justin Kay are traveling through Europe before getting jobs and living in “the real world.”

We have had an exciting time and are just now preparing to leave England for France. Most of our time was spent in London with brief excursions up to Manchester and York. Fortunately for us, the English weather has been unusually cooperative for late September, with several days of sun and little rain.

Though the London area is an expensive place to visit, we have found ways of making it relatively affordable. Hostels are an affordable option for those who don’t mind sharing their bedroom with strangers.

Certain horror films in the U.S. give hostels a frightening reputation, though there are many websites, which are helpful in choosing a good one. Our hostel experiences have been quite good so far.

The cost of admission varies greatly from attraction to attraction, ranging from free to about 20 English pounds. Luckily, many of the more interesting places, including the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Imperial War Museum and the Tate Modern Art Gallery, were free so we were able to visit those without worry. We often took advantage of student or young people (under 24-26) discounts, which seem to be common at many of the bigger attractions.

There is also a free tour of London that alights daily from the southeast corner of Hyde Park, running about two and a half hours. The tour covers many of the most iconic sites in the city, but more adventurous travelers can certainly tour these sites at their own leisure. We suggest starting from Trafalgar Square and heading south to Parliament and Big Ben, crossing the Thames and walking northward for a more scenic view of the Houses of Parliament, and then crossing back over the Thames and making your way west to Green Park and Buckingham Palace.

The British are not known for their food, and, with a few notable exceptions, we found this reputation to be well-deserved. The food isn’t bad, though it is often bland. The fish and chips were occasionally delicious but frequently mediocre. We frequented cheaper places, which may have been part of the problem.

If you find yourself traveling through London on a tight budget as we did, check out the food vendors in Camden Town. The selection is quite eclectic, ranging from several Asian-themed stalls to the cuisine of the Mediterranean, all for about 4-6 English pounds.

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