Author Topic: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England  (Read 11884 times)

takara159

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A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« on: April 04, 2013, 10:08:30 PM »
Hey everyone, my fiance and I are getting married in a month and are keeping the wedding very small so we can enjoy a better honeymoon. Our plan is to go spend two weeks in England, I was born and raised there and my wife wants to see my homeland. We visited her homeland in China last year.

The last time I was in England (2011) I did it in a very anti-MM way and am looking to atone for my sins this time around.  I am looking for suggestions on maximizing our dollars experience, is there a way to cover all the major tourist sites in London without shelling out $100 or more in tickets ?. 
I am a huge fan of trains and we are purchasing britrail passes to get out of the city and enjoy what makes England truly special in my heart.

Any suggestions on how to make our honeymoon awesome would be greatly appreciated.

Jamesqf

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2013, 10:57:32 PM »
Can't help much with things in London - I avoided it as much as I could.  I'd suggest hiking or biking part of (you won't have time for all of it) the Ridgeway Path.  I'd suggest the southwest part. from Avebury to around Henley.

kt

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 12:19:17 AM »
how are you doing train tickets? some tickets into london offer 2-4-1 on many attractions which could help. (http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk) it has even been suggested in the past buying the cheapest tickets that count just to get this one but i can't remember which they are, if you'd consider it worth or if they've closed that loophole somehow.

on the topic of train tickets, booking in advance helps if you can. otherwise this can give you ideas on getting prices down: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-train-tickets

it might be worth having a look on the internet see if any companies are running any offers, newspapers sometimes do, so do cereals and similar fairly regularly.

i'd take a look here, it's updated regularly:
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-days-out

currently includes:
Find an 'adult goes free' voucher on promotional packs of Kellogg's cereal (2ish), valid at 29 Merlin attractions, incl London Eye, Sea Life Centres & Madame Tussauds. There are 43 attractions (the others are independents) in total to choose from.

and this which amuses me and make me wish i were still in london!!
The producers of Monty Python's Spamalot are giving FREE tickets to theatre-goers who turn up to the show dressed as a knight, as well as anyone who has been knighted until Sat 2 Nov 2013, subject to seat availability. Just arrive at The Playhouse Theatre, London at least one hour before the show starts in all your Arthurian finery, which must include FOUR of the following knightly articles: a helmet; a hood; chainmail; armour; a tabard; a tunic; a cape; gauntlets; a shield.


not nec free or suitable for you but shows you what is available if you look!! a lot of theatres do cheap returned tickets on the day or a few hours before shows, if you were interested in that.

this has a lot of ideas about what's on in london: http://www.timeout.com/london
only works for looking close to the dates you'll be there but you can then filter by 'free' 'special offer' and 'recommended' once you're in. quite a bit and might require trawling but there's often interesting things on depending on what you're interested in. if you like music look for lunch time concerts.

have a look see if there are any festivals on too, they're always fun! food, music, culture, markets. i love the southbank!

i think there's a bus route which is recommend as a 'free' tour of london (a bus journey is about 2.10 using an oyster card - do get an oyster card!). actually this one takes you on a few buses but buses are capped around 5 if that's all you use in the day:
http://www.londonforfree.net/outdoors/bustour/bustour.shtml
there may be other suggestions you could look for.

this company does free walking tours, they only ask for tips and they're not pushy. they're usually a few hours (1-2) and are very enjoyable and interesting. i've done them in berlin, munich, prague and paris.
http://www.newlondon-tours.com/daily-tours/royal-london-free-tour.html

standing tickets at the globe are 5 if the season's started.

list of free museums: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/free-museums-and-art-galleries

few ideas, hope that helps!



« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 12:21:54 AM by kt »

takara159

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 11:41:05 AM »
KT
Wow thanks for all the information.  Regarding the trains we were actually planning on doing Britrail passes (www.britrail.com) which are only available to people who live outside the UK.
Do you have any suggestions for cheap stuff to do in other cities / towns out in the country side ? We are going to be hitting up Bath Spa (where I was born) , Bristol , Windsor , Liverpool, York, Canterbury, Oxford , Penzance and a few others.

On the subject of food we plan to do a lot of eating from Tesco's and M&S Foods for lunches and snacks . A few nights will be fish and chips.


madgeylou

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2013, 11:52:37 AM »
pub lunches and long walks, that's the best part of england right there! and long train rides, especially if you get one of the older trains where the windows open.

crazy jane

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2013, 12:04:24 PM »
Most definitely get an Oyster card for the tubes.

I highly recommend doing London Walks. They are inexpensive guided tours. I have never been disappointed. They also do guided day trips to places like Stonehenge.

Have fun!

Villanelle

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2013, 02:26:35 PM »
I second London Walks, although they aren't dirt cheap.  Check out a Rick Steve's book from the library.  He has a good walk that covers a lot of the major sites. 

madgeylou

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2013, 03:43:11 PM »
Oh yes, London Walks! I went on one of the Beatles ones and absolutely loved it.

Also really liked The Old Operating Theater Museum. Creepy, but fun!

StetsTerhune

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2013, 04:51:13 PM »
London cheap and romantic is one of my specialties. My (now) wife and I were there for a year, she was working for practically nothing, I was in grad school.

KT makes excellent suggestions above.

My top 2 suggestions:
1. Fish and Chips: Fishcoteque, right across from waterloo station. Grab 2 beers from a convenience store (I'd get Fosters, wife would get Strongbow), and split a fish and large chips to go. Walk down to the Thames and eat on a bench. Grab a free newspaper to eat it on.

2. Borough Market: I think it's thursday to sunday, don't go on the weekend, too crowded. Grab some random food there, wander around. It's great.


Other suggestions: British Museum, free and awesome, Notting Hill Market, always fun, though it gets old pretty fast. I've never once paid money for a site in London. I'm sure the tower of london, the house of wax, and that giant ferris wheel are great, but there's so much free stuff to do.

For trains, I'd investigate prices closely, if you book early you can get some crazy deals on popular routes. Might be a better deal than a britrail pass.

I love pretty much anywherein the english country side. Rambler's rights is the greatest invention in human history. Beer in pubs is a much better deal over there than it is here, and especially in the north they have some fantastic beers.

takara159

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2013, 06:17:51 PM »
Wow thanks everyone for your suggestions. THis is way more than I was expecting and is greatly appreciated.

Does anyone have any thoughts on reasonable hotels (preferably not chains) in London and surrounding cities. 

Also one idea we were toying with was going up to the lake district since it will be fall and even though I lived in England for over half my life I've never been there. Anyone have any suggestions for the lake district ?

StetsTerhune

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2013, 06:40:27 AM »
I love the lake district. You really can't go wrong there.

My recommendation of where you should go would depend on why you want to go there. Here's 4 towns I've stayed in the lake district. I like to hike a lot, so that's my perspective. Also, particularly if you're American, which I've been assuming, you may hear any references to "touristy" as a very bad thing. This is much, much less true in England than America.

Windermere: Probably where you'd take the train to. By far the biggest town in the lake district, plenty of fairly cheap b&b's to stay in once you wander off the main streets. Not much hiking accessible straight from town, and it's a bit big for my tastes. It also can be very posh, plenty of very nice hotels and restaurants near the lake.

Ambleside: Short bus ride up from Windermere (the buses work pretty well up there), Ambleside is a lot smaller than windermere, but still big enough to have conveniences of a big town. In England, to me, that just means a chip shop. Ambleside is basically to outdoorsy tourists what Windermere is to posh tourists.

Grasmere: Really nice little town in a valley, probably my favorite town in the lake district. A few literary sites to see, really good hiking, and some nice pubs. If I was going alone, this is where I'd go.

Coniston: A bit farther by bus. The town itself is smaller and not as cute as grasmere, but the location is probably slightly better. Lots of hiking and a wide variety of hiking (everything from flat along a lake, to rolling pastures, to good mountains).


And of course, same recommendations for staying on budget there as anywhere else in england (or europe, or anywhere). It's beautiful and there's grocery stores and you can drink in public. Find a nice spot, buy some food and wine or beer, hang out.

ozzage

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2013, 03:25:31 PM »
Transport and accommodation in London are big expenses. People always say that eating out in London is expensive but that's only true if you insist on eating at fancy places or right in the middle of the tourist hotspots!

I can't help much with accommodation but you could try https://www.airbnb.co.uk/ and see what's available if you have an area in mind. If you got somewhere with a kitchen you could go highly Mustachian. Grocery shopping is not particularly cheap in US terms but it's definitely still very cost effective compared to eating out.

Don't discard walking as an option. We live in London and while we obviously use the tube and buses as well, we also walk a lot and it's a great way to get around. London is so old and full of little nooks and crannies that every turn can lead somewhere interesting and unexpected. Look down, look up, look around, because there's always something to see.

We also use that most Mustachian forms of transport: the bicycle. While London is certainly no cycling paradise, it IS possible and cheap to get around by bike and in central London the "Boris Bikes" (cycle hire) will cost you 2 for 24 hours including as many trips as you like, as long as you only use a bike for up to 30 minutes EACH time. There are docking stations all over London where they can be taken and returned. We use our own bikes in the area around where we live, but if I'm in central London and need to do a short trip I'll jump on a Boris Bike. I have an annual membership which is great value but not much use for you!

You probably won't be staying right in the centre, so a cheap way I would personally do it would be take a bus into the centre near your first destination (buses cost 1.40 each trip as long as you're using an Oyster), then try to get around just by walking or using the Boris Bikes, then take another bus back in the evening when you go home. Avoiding the tube is the best way to save money on transport and you see a lot more too.

The museums are of course fantastic and often free. Brilliant are the Science Museum, British Museum and the Natural History Museum, but there are many more, including what seems like HUNDREDS of small bizarre museums dedicated to weird topics or people you've never heard of, which are usually not free but cheap and can be fascinating. I'm not sure when you are going... the Imperial War Museum is outstanding but closed until July for refurbishment.

I wouldn't bother with Madame Taussards and such things, although I do like the London Eye as a splurge (not cheap!).

Hang out on the Southbank if the weather is good. It's just nice. And free. Somebody mentioned Borough Market earlier: you can do a nice walk from that market, up the river to the Southbank. Lunch at the market, then a pint at a pub along the way, end up at the London Eye and Westminster right in the thick of things.

The river itself is sadly under-utilised and there are no real free/cheap ways to actually get out on the water. The boat trip down to Greenwich is nice though if you're willing to pay and you get some witty commentary from the guys on the boats about the scenery on the way.

The walks by the London Walks company are great (I've done a couple) but not cheap. You can also download free podcasts of a bunch of walks by a guy called Robert Wright, which I find excellent. A different experience obviously and a bit weird with two people (both playing the MP3 with headphones on) but they are really great and of course don't cost a penny :)

I know you love trains, but getting around by bus between cities is MUCH cheaper. Megabus, for example, has fares from 1.50 and (just looking at their website) you currently won't pay more than 5 for any fare in England/Wales travelling on Wednesdays!)

If the sun is out, have a picnic in one of the parks on the weekend. It's a very London thing to do. You won't be alone :)

I'm not from London originally but it's my favourite city in the world.

Jamesqf

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2013, 10:35:40 PM »
Anyone have any suggestions for the lake district ?

Castlerigg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlerigg_stone_circle  If you stay in a B&B near Keswick, you can get up early enough to watch the sun rise, with fair odds of having the place to yourself.

The road between Windermere and Ullswater is quite scenic (but strenuous, if you're biking).  At the top you'll find what's billed as the highest pub in England.  (IIRC, I was last there maybe 15 years ago.)

If you're in that part of the country, following the middle part of Hadrian's Wall is interesting, and scenic.


Worsted Skeins

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Re: A Money Moustache Honeymoon in England
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2013, 05:54:51 AM »
My favorite day in Britain began with one of those organized group walks through Shakespeare's London, followed by lunch from the Borough Market (Southwark Cathedral), and culminating with a play at the Globe.  I was going to spring the money for seats but my son insisted on being Groundlings.  We were literally next to the stage.  What a great experience!

I also second walking in general. We did some nice hiking along Hadrian's Wall.  The so called Jurassic Coast near Lyme Regis is a World Heritage Site if you are interested in fossils.  We also took docent led tours in Cathedrals.  These are often led by great story tellers who know their surroundings.

Because we wanted to spend a month in Britain, we sometimes stayed in hostels operated by YHA.  These are quite different than the stereotypical flop house.  Many of their facilities have private rooms with baths and you have access to a kitchen facility.  In my case, I was traveling with a kid so I wanted him to have the experience of grocery shopping and sharing the kitchen.  We met a number of couples and families utilizing this less expensive financial alternative.

We also stayed in B&Bs or in rooms above pubs in small towns.  I found the Lonely Planet Guide to be helpful.