5 Tips for Budget Dining in the UK
1. Enjoy a pasty on the go
You’re hungry and want to get going on your next UK sightseeing adventure. What to do? Drop just a couple of pounds at your local pasty shop (I was quite fond of the West Cornwall Pasty Co.) and pick up a Cornish pasty.
A Cornish pasty is a half-moon shaped baked flaky pastry filled with anything from turkey to eggs. Traditional fillings include potatoes, rutabaga, onion, and seasoned beef. They come in varying sizes depending on the size of your appetite. This rich, filling treat can be eaten for breakfast or lunch and is ideal for providing a filling meal while you get a move on your day. They can be eaten with a knife and fork, but the easiest way to enjoy them is to hold them like a hot pocket and eat them out of the wrapper.
2. Grab a baguette any time of day
Like the pasty, the baguette can be eaten whilst on the move. The beauty of the baguette is that it can be filled with whatever you want: chicken mayo, falafel, tuna and bell peppers, grilled zucchini—the combinations are endless.
A decent baguette should never cost you more than three or four pounds. I lived ten minutes away from the nearest baguette shop, and there were easily another ten within a few blocks of that one. Baguettes are the perfect on the go snack if you are between tours or just taking a quick break
3. Sit down to a cuppa and sandwich in a book shop
I lived within easy walking distance of three book shops, and they each had their own in-house coffee shop. These kinds of coffee shops are very big on designer lattes and fancy whip toppings, but they serve basic coffee and tea as well.
There’s usually a panini combo on the menu that includes a hot drink, so you can get the drink and sandwich for a very decent five or six pounds. Plus you can enjoy the added comfort of being indoors (UK shops are well designed for indoor enjoyment during the months and months of gloomy weather). Of course your budget might be blown when you start gazing around at all the phenomenal titles on shelves that surround the cafe, but I’d call that a pretty fair trade for such an affordable lunch.
4. Pick up dinner from a kebob or fish ‘n chips stand
Food stands are the UK’s gift to frugal diners. Street food stands are surprisingly tasty and more than acceptably affordable. At kebab stands, you can usually buy anything as cheap as chips and cheese (less than two pounds) or shell out the big bucks for a doner kebab (be shocked if it costs you more than five pounds). As for fish n chips, you could sit down to the gourmet version at pubs and restaurants, or you could get the real deal: a fried fish slapped over a bed of fries all wrapped up in newspaper.
5. Tuck into a pub dinner
Pubs can be pricey, I don’t advocate eating at them more than once a day. Pub food is hearty and tasty, which means that it is necessarily heavy with greasy goodness. The key to budgeting at a pub is not ordering drinks. You can enjoy a very tasty, affordable dinner (whether chili or meat pies) that are comparable to if not cheaper than any American restaurant dinner. As soon as you start ordering pints of the house lager, though, say bye bye to your budget.
Analise Marcus lived in the UK as a student. Having lived the life of a starving scholar, she searches continuously for the very best to help budgeting travelers satisfy their wanderlust. A Travelocity promo code or Ryanair can save you oodles on your international adventures.
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