Subject: London budget tips
Hi Ziners,

London is expensive, no doubt about it. Here are some things I discovered on my trip.

If you arrive at Gatwick, consider taking the regular train

(Southeastern) rather than the Gatwick Express. They leave from the same platform, go to the same station (Victoria) and take twice the time. But for less money than the Express, you can get a day travel card which entitles you to travel on all services in London, all zones as well as the train from Gatwick. We zipped to Greenwich on the London Docklands Railroad with our pass.

If you will arrive late in the evening at Heathrow or Gatwick, check hotels at the airport. We found they were cheaper than central London and we travelled into the city refreshed, arriving in daylight.

If you need to leave your luggage, try your hotel for free service. The Travel Inn even gives receipts for items stored in their luggage room. Victoria Station left luggage costs 5 pounds each item (mind you, they x-ray it.)

Bus day passes cost 2 pounds and can be bought at the curb-side ticket machine. The cost is equivalent to two bus rides. With the new traffic restrictions, buses move quicker and you get a view!

Food is expensive. Consider buying sandwiches in Boots, the pharmacy. They even have lower fat sandwiches! We found TimeOut's Cheap Eats in London a good guide. The only time we varied, boy, were we sorry! Tiny over-priced portions, a cover charge for bread and a few shrimps, and expensive wines. This restaurant was recommended by several guidebooks.

Major museums are free in London so that means you can go in for an hour or two. We visited the National Portrait Gallery before a theatre performance at the Haymarket Theatre.

If you want discounted tickets, use the official TKTS booth in Leicester Square - right in the middle. Rick Steves calls the other discount outlets nearby scalpers with an address! The official booth charges 2.50 Sterling service fee. For information about seating and events, I found Theatre Monkey useful:

Frances Toronto, Canada