Travel Postcard: 48 hours in London for bargain-hunters

Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:11am EDT
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By Madeleine Cowley

(Reuters Life!) - If you think London is the kind of luxury destination that will empty your wallet in seconds, then you'll be delighted to know that you don't have to be a billionaire to enjoy the best of the British capital. This city is also a jewel for the world class bargain-hunter looking for top food, culture and art on a staycation budget. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge show you how to get the most out of London on the cheap.


10 a.m. Contender for the best coffee in London, a brew from Monmouth Coffee Company is an ideal way to kick start the long day of exploration ahead. ( Next nip across the road to London's larder, Borough Market, stocked full of organic fruit and veg, artisan cheeses, bread, meat and fish. Browse amongst the gourmet goodies and graze your way round the numerous free samples. (

12 p.m. Work off brunch with a stroll to Southwark's newly created Urban Physics Garden, an inner city oasis bursting with medicinal plants and herbs that heal. Be sure to try out the unconventional Serbian seesaws. (

Opposite is the Jerwood Space, the gallery boasts an exciting program of visual art exhibitions, showcasing emerging new talent. (

1:45 p.m. Wander down to the Thames to explore London's riverside cultural quarter, the South Bank. Theater enthusiasts should head to the thatch-roofed, oak-beamed Shakespeare's Globe, a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse originally built in 1599. Between April and October visitors can experience a near authentic, original 'Shakespeare in performance'. Tickets for the pit, the open air free standing yard are a snip at 5 pounds ($8.15).Tours of the building and the Shakespeare exhibition are on all year-round.

Strolling along the riverside path, it's hard to ignore the imposing Tate Modern, housed in a former Power Station, the center has succeeded in bringing challenging modern art to the masses. Inside, the vast turbine hall displays awe-inspiring site specific installations and the permanent collections feature work by the likes of Francis Bacon, Picasso and Mark Rothko. Check for the schedule of free guided tours.

4:30 p.m. Stride across the pedestrian Millennium Bridge admiring views of the Thames. Next destination is St Paul's Cathedral, Christopher Wren's 17th century domed masterpiece. Visiting is free for worship purposes and you can catch the cathedral choir giving an Evensong performance at 5 p.m.   Continued...

<p>A street performer wearing a Union flag suit and top hat stands in front of Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square in London June 26, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>