London, known as being the most expensive city in the world for culture, actually offers a host of tourist opportunities off the beaten path which can be had for £10 or less. Our London travel specialist offers her Top 5 London on a Budget:
- Regent’s Canal Boat Ride - the cruise from Little Venice to Camden Lock is about 50 minutes and you can get off at either end and catch a later boat for the return trip. Depending on which cruise line you choose, London Waterbus or Jasons, adult fares run from £8.00 one way to £14.00 return and off-peak one way fares are even cheaper. Don’t bother stopping at the London Zoo. It’s a small zoo and only good if you are traveling with the wee ones. Grabbing the London Pass could also save you a few bob.
- 100 Club (100 Oxford Street) – you can visit one of London’s legendary music clubs on an off-night and catch great music and quite possibly hear the next big band to swim across the Pond with tickets often as little as £10. And for absolutely FREE admission, you can visit the “Ain’t Nothin’ But…” (20 Kingly St., SoHo) blues bar because there’s nothing like hearing Chicago-style blues in London town.
- Donmar West End Theater (41 Earlham St., Seven Dials) – You never know who you will find performing at this intimate West End theater. London’s leading men such as Jude Law, Jeremy Northam and Ian McKellan have all starred in its productions. The theater only holds 250 people and tickets can be had for as little as £10 with the special Barclay’s Front Row seats. Those reduced tickets are released Monday mornings for shows two weeks later.
- Portobello Road Market – no trip to London would be complete without at least a visit to the Saturday morning madness of Notting Hill known as the Portobello Road Market. Walking is free and think of all the history you can absorb in a couple of hours perusing the antiques.
- My Old Dutch – this chain of pancake houses is located throughout London. They offer sweet and savory pancakes and waffles throughout the day, so there’s something to satisfy your breakfast, lunch or dinner cravings generally under a tenner. Trust me, if I lived in London, I would be a regular at this place.
Let me know how you make out and if you find any other deals along the way! Tah!
Our London travel specialist can help plan a journey for any budget.
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Picture it – Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini all in one place. Oh, the stories to be told, echoing from the hallowed altars and aisles of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. The magnificent church is known as the Temple of the Italian Glories because it is the final resting place of some of the most notable Italian figures in art, music, science and literature. Its sixteen chapels contain a treasure trove of art by della Robbia, Canova and Donatello, to name a few.
I happened upon it during a daytrip to Florence. It was a Sunday and the Piazza di Santa Croce was stirring with tourists thumbing through guide books, munching on snacks and enjoying the summer sun. One step inside the hallowed halls of the Basilica and I knew at once that it was a special place. As I walked along the perimeter of the center aisle, the history of the Italian Renaissance literally laid out before me as my feet crossed the tile floor and the funerary monuments to the giants of Italian culture. As an Italian-American and a student of art, I was awed. As an author and reader, I was carried away by the story of “Galileo’s Daughter” buried with her Dad and the realization of the musings by the character Lucy in E.M. Forster’s “A Room with a View.” It’s nice when a daytrip turns into a magical meandering through history. Italy’s like that!
The present day church was started in 1294 and took more than a hundred years to build but as with anything of this size and importance, improvements, additions, alterations continued well into the 19th century when its neo-Gothic facade was designed by Jewish architect, Niccolo Matas. The patrons and Franciscans allowed Matas to place the Jewish Star of David in a prominent central position at the highest peak but would not allow him to be buried inside. His final resting place remains under the porch!
This article is part of the #SundayTraveler series.
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