Affordable Souvenir Ideas – Part 2

Last week I posted my first 5 affordable souvenir ideas and today I will be posting the second half of the list with examples from my recent trip to London. Let’s jump right in!

  • Coffee Mugs: Much like magnets, I simply cannot visit a new place without getting a mug! We are actually running out of room in our cupboard so I’m not sure what I’ll do once that happens!
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Just about the only thing I could afford at Harrods!
  • Prints: Prints are probably my all-time favorite souvenir. You can find them in most gift shops (try a museum gift shop for really nice options) and they are typically fairly affordable. It’s such a fun way to remember your vacation – and it makes your house look nicer too!
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Print of Hampton Court Palace
  • Bags: For some reason I love tote bags. I have about a million of them. They are great for carrying groceries, books, etc. and are usually pretty cheap!
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A keepsake from the fabulous play
  • Local snacks: Part of the fun when traveling is trying new foods. While I couldn’t very well bring home fish and chips from London, I was able to get a bunch of candy and snacks from the local grocery store! In Part 1, I listed specialty food items such as fancy tea but buying cheaper stuff (aka the stuff the locals actually snack on) works just as well!
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Candy from England!
  • Bookmarks: Last week I mentioned that tins of mints make a wonderful – and affordable – gift for coworkers. Another great idea is bookmarks! You can find these in many gift shops and they are usually very cheap. As an avid reader, I always appreciate a new bookmark and I’m sure your coworkers will too!

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As a big fan of souvenirs, I like to buy as much as possible when I travel. And buying the items on this list, and the list from last week, allow me to buy even more! It is definitely possible to buy some great stuff for a reasonable price! A few other affordable ideas? Stickers, coin purses, and tea towels!

Up next: Come back in July when I’ll be posting a day-by-day recap of my trip to San Antonio!

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Affordable Souvenir Ideas Part 1

I don’t know about everyone else, but I love to shop! This gets me in trouble when I travel because I want to buy everything! Today and next week I will be posting my 10 favorite affordable souvenirs to buy when I travel (along with examples from my most recent trip to London)! You can get all of these items for less than $20! Here are the first 5:

  • Christmas Ornaments: Mr. L and I have started purchasing a Christmas ornament every time we visit a new place. We have a great time reminiscing about all of the places we’ve been as we put the ornaments on our tree each year. Plus this is something you can keep for a really long time- not bad for less than $20!
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Christmas ornament of Hampton Court Palace. I love the design and shape!
  • Magnet: This is an obvious choice but man, do I love a magnet! I get one every time I visit a new place and my fridge is pretty well covered but it’s a great affordable keepsake so I am still adding this to the list!
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A few fun items to add to the collection!
  • Specialty food/drink items: While visiting London,  I was able to buy boxes of tea at the famous Fortnum & Mason. The boxes were around 5 pounds each (around $7 US). So not only was this a great souvenir for myself, it also made a wonderful and affordable gift for family and friends!
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A variety pack of teas from Fortnum & Mason
  • Local cosmetics: I like this because a.) it’s something you’ll actually use, b.) it will probably last for a long time, and c.) you’ll think of your trip every time you use it! I recommend visiting a Superdrug in London – all of the makeup was buy 2, get 1 free.
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Cosmetics from Superdrug in London
  • Mints: This is one I like to grab for gifts! Tins of mints are usually super affordable and can be found at pretty much any gift shop. Plus I know it’s something that will be used and they come in all sorts of fun designs.
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How cute are these mints?!

Come back next week – I’ll be posting the last half of the list!

London – Final Thoughts

Today I’m posting a few final thoughts about  my trip to London.

  • Weather: The week before I went to London, my boss went! He said it rained every single day. Mr. L & I didn’t end up having a single day of rain. In fact, it was in the 80s the last two days! That being said, my weather app predicted rain for our visit. So don’t take the weather apps as gospel and be prepared for anything.
  • Food: The food we had in London was fantastic. In fact, we only had one bad meal – a ‘Mexican’ restaurant, which really, we should have known better. There are so many options, I recommend planning a few must-eat places in advance. And make sure you get those fish & chips, sticky toffee pudding, afternoon tea, etc.!
  • Flight: We decided to upgrade our cabin to Premium Economy and we are so glad we did! We had more leg room and were each able to check a second bag for free, which really came in handy on the way  home. Having flown economy to Europe before, I can confidently say that the upgrade was worth the extra cost.
  • Oyster Card: We each put 50 pounds on our cards and they lasted us almost the entire trip, and that includes a trip out of zone 1 to Hampton Court Palace. If you run out of money, you can ‘top up’ very easily. I have been told that if there is extra money on the card at the end of your trip, you can cash it out as well. We found the tube and trains very easy to navigate and clean!
  • TV: Mr L. and I really enjoyed watching TV shows that we can’t get here in the states. I got a kick out of the reality dating show Take Me Out and we both loved Gogglebox. They even have their own Law & Order!
  • London is huge: Despite being there 9 days, we still didn’t get to see it all! Be sure to plan your must-see items in advance!

Overall we had a wonderful trip with wonderful weather and we look forward to going back to London again soon. If you are planning a trip to London and have any questions, let me know!

Up next: Come back in June when I’ll be posting some tips on buying souvenirs (with examples from my London trip!)

 

London Day 9 – Sherlock Holmes Museum

On our last full day in London, we went to 221b Baker Street, where they have a Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

I really just wanted to see the actual 221b Baker Street more than see the museum so I wasn’t disappointed. But if you are waffling on the money, I’d say just get a photo of the house and visit the great gift shop.

After that we finally had lunch in a pub. I had steak & ale pie and Mr L had bangers and mash (his third of the trip, I think.)

 

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Yummy steak & ale pie

 

After that we did some final souvenir shopping and headed to Covent Garden for dinner. We went to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, which we enjoyed. I recommend the mojito!

 

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Inside the Palace Theater

 

Then we watched part 2 of Cursed Child. This was just as great as part 1! What a wonderful trip!

Tip: If visiting a pub, simply seat yourself. The tables have menus and table numbers. Once you know what you want to order, go to the bar (be sure to let them know your table number) and they’ll bring you your food.

Up next: Final thoughts

 

 

London Day 8 – Tower of London & Cursed Child

Today we visited the Tower of London!

 

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Tower of London

 

This was a palace for several kings and was also the location of several executions including Anne Boleyn. My favorite spot here was the Crown Jewels! This is not a quick place to visit – plan on spending half a day here! It’s very large and full of fascinating information. This was one of Mr. L’s favorite stops of the trip.

 

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View of the London Bridge from the Tower of London

 

We had lunch here as well which included a scone with clotted cream and jam – so good!

 

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Scone with cream and jam

 

We then went back to the hotel to change clothes and headed to Leister Square. It was over 80 and super sunny so we eventually wandered into the National Gallery to cool off and see some art. None of the buildings seemed to have air conditioning but it was better than being in the direct sun and we saw some amazing paintings.

 

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The beautiful Palace Theater

 

Finally, we went to the beautiful Palace Theater for Part 1 of Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.  We somehow managed to get great seats and the play is amazing. Even sitting fairly close, I still don’t know how they pulled off some of the special effects. It’s just really great!

Tip: If you can get tickets, see the Cursed Child! I was a bit worried as it is really 2 full-length plays so it’s (a) expensive and (b) long. No need to worry! It was 100% worth the time and money. I love the theater and have seen many plays. I can honestly say that this was one of the best. If you are a HP fan, make sure to do this!

Up next: Sherlock Holmes Museum & more Cursed Child!

 

London Day 7 – Stonehenge & Bath

Today Mr. L. and I got up bright and early for our one and only tour of the trip. We took a day trip with the company The English Bus.Our guide, Lilly, was great and we got to see a ton!

It is a small-group tour and we had only 6 people, which I thought was very nice. Having a smaller bus also allowed us to drive down roads that the larger buses couldn’t.

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Driving through the English countryside

We drove through the English countryside (beautiful) seeing sheep, lambs, gardens, neighborhoods, etc. It was in the 70s and sunny so it was a perfect day for a drive like this. Our tour was called, Stonehenge, Bath & a Secret Place. Our first stop was the secret place so I’ll keep my lips sealed but it was worth the stop!

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Roman Baths

Once in Bath, we stopped at the Royal Crescent and drove around the town a bit before we were dropped off at a central location. Mr. L and I visited the Roman Baths, had pasty’s for lunch at the Cornish Bakery, popped into the Jane Austin Heritage Center before wandering around a bit. We were given several hours here and really enjoyed it.

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Finally, we visited Stonehenge, which is 5,000 years old and probably the oldest thing I’ll ever see. The bus even dropped us off right by our hotel!

This was a super long day so Mr L. and I grabbed Nandos for dinner before heading to bed. What a wonderful day!

Tip: I highly recommend the English Bus; we had so  much fun and learned a ton! I’ve taken several bus tours and am so glad that we went with a smaller tour, we learned so much more and it’s much more fun as well.

Up next: Tower of London & Cursed Child

 

London Day 6 – Westminster Abbey

By this point in our trip, our feet were getting very tired. But we had a lot left to see so we soldiered on!

Our first stop was Westminster Abbey which is one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen. We were not allowed to take photos inside but if you are on the fence about visiting … go! There were many tombs here including most British kings, Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, etc.

 

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Westminster Abbey – an amazing place!

 

Our second stop of the day was the Churchill War Rooms & Museum This housed the British government, including Churchill, during WWII. This was very neat to see in person.

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We then walked to Trafalgar Square for some pictures and lunch. We went to the first place we saw, which was called Garfunkles. I will equate this to being the Applebee’s of London. Not bad but also not good.

Mr. L mentioned earlier in the trip that he was hoping to find some tube-themed souvenirs. Thanks to my obsessive planning, I knew just the place to go – the Transport Museum! We found a lot of neat items here including shirts, socks, prints, and more. We also walked through Jubilee Market, which was very close by. Our favorite shop here was Benjamin Pollocks Toy Shop

 

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Outside of Jubilee Market

 

I think we did room service again this day, to save our poor feet!

Tip: The War Rooms and Museum logistics seemed to trip a few people up. You start with the War Rooms, then about halfway through, go to the Museum. The War Rooms continue afterwards.

Up Next: Stonehenge & Bath!