London on a Budget

1. Enjoy a Shakespearean play at the Globe Theatre. Tickets can be purchased for as low as £5 if you are willing to stand in The Yard. Theatre reconstruction opened for performances in 1997. Visitors come from around the world to tour the theatre, participate in workshops and enjoy a performance. The Globe Theatre is located on the bank of the River Thames.

2. Watch an exciting play at one of the pub theatres. Check out the Hens & Chicken Theatre (from around £10). Hen & Chicken Theatre makes use of the floor above the pub and only seats about 54 people for a more intimate experience. If you are willing to stick around after the performance, you might have the opportunity to share a pint with one of the cast.

bowl.jpg 3. Strike out at the retro bowling alley, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes (from around £7.50 per person for one lane). The 1950s style bowling alley is complete with 8 lanes, pool tables, a cocktail bar, ping-pong, retro arcade games, karaoke booths, a dance floor and an American diner. Bloomsbury Bowling lanes also throw fabulous themed parties, including ‘The Big Lebowski,’ and ‘All Shook Up! – 50s & 60s Party.’ Check out their calendar to hit one of their hoppin’ parties.

4. Try British, American and even international cereals and 25 different varieties of milk and toppings at the Cereal Killer Cafe (starting at £3.10). Try their banoffee stacked hot chocolate. Cereal Killer Cafe also offers “cereal cocktail,” like the feckin nut case (£4.70). It’s a combination of crunchy nut clusters, crunchy nut cornflakes, honey nut cheerios, hazelnuts, and almond milk. They also carry 18 kinds of Poptarts and 13 spreads for your toast. This might be the most fun you have eating out! If you are a cereal junkie, you can count on a sugar-induced coma good time.

5. Try a traditional steak and kidney pie at one of London’s famous eateries. My favorite place is Rock & Sole Plaice in Covent Gardens (£7.50). If you are down for a splurge, go for their famous Fish & Chips, using a 145-year-old recipe! You won’t be disappointed. It is served with all of the traditional trimmings. Covent Gardens is a lovely area to kick around in. They have some delightful, quirky shops. Also in Covent Gardens, there is a neat little restaurant called Avobar, dedicated to the Avocado. Their plates are indulgent food porn if you are interested in trying a White Chocolate Vegan Cheesecake (made with avocado) for dessert (£6).

6. Nothing is more English than tea. Next to the British Museum you will find the London Review Book & Cake Shop. They have an interesting selection of off-the-wall titles, solid classics, and current books. Pick up a book and read one over a pot of tea in (starting at around £3). You might think you are going for the books, or you might think you are going for the tea, but let’s be real, you are really going for the mouth-watering cake! (Pistachio & Rose cake anyone?) Ask the staff to do a cake and tea pairing.

lady dinah's.jpg7. Looking for the purr-fect place to have a cup of coffee? If you are all about cats, check out Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London’s oldest Cat Cafe. Sit among the rescued cats but make sure to check out the house rules (no children under 12 or parties more than 6 are among them). This shop requires reservations (£10, coffee and tea is included).

8. Prepare to be amazed by aquatic life from around the planet in London’s oldest aquarium at the Horniman Museum. This is a great place to spend a rainy afternoon. The entertaining and educational experience is worth far more than the money you will spend. An adult ticket is £4, £10 for a family of 4.

9. Stargaze at a live planetarium show at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (starting at £10). Time travel through the historic home of British astronomy. Learn the difference between the Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World. Discover how time was standardized. Find out how scientists first mapped the stars and seas. This is an educational “must” for homeschoolers and astronomy buffs.

Karl marx.jpg 10. Are you a taphophile? Visit the Highgate Cemetery (£4). Opened in 1860, The East Cemetery is the final resting place of revolutionary Karl Marx and writer, George Eliot. Karl Marx’s robust bust by the famous English sculptor and fellow communist, Laurence Bradshaw, tops his monument.  The impressive West Cemetery is only available by guided tour. It will cost you a bit more, but the 70-minute tour will astonish you with its Egyptian architecture, carved Victorian figures, and Terrace. This is an incredibly fascinating place to visit if old cemeteries and history are your thing.