People are constantly talking about how expensive England is and many times use it as an excuse not to visit.
The truth is that England can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it! I wrote this article to show you ways you can see England on the cheap and enjoy yourself as much as someone spending hundreds of dollars!
LondonInstead of paying $30 a person to ride the London Eye, sign up for a free visit to the relatively new Sky Garden. You can reserve a spot up to three weeks in advance. Enjoy views of the entire city of London and pocket the money you would’ve spent on the London Eye. Or, alternatively, use the money to enjoy fine dining in one of several restaurants available in the building.
Adults pay £21.50/$30 to see the state rooms at Buckingham Palace and £17.25/$25 to see the Churchill War Rooms. London has a plethora of famous locations you can see for free instead! The Imperial War Museum in London offers excellent exhibits on Britain’s military past. And instead of visiting the state rooms, take in the changing of the Guard and the National Portrait Gallery for free!
You can find a list of free attractions in London here: http://www.visitlondon.com/tag/free-attractions-in-london?ref=mosaic#p0crDiXsO3tR78Xl.97.
DiningInstead of visiting a preferred restaurant at night, consider going during lunch when your food could be as much as half price! Many restaurants offer set lunch fares that are more than reasonable.
Instead of dining in restaurants, try a local pub or fish n chips shop. Or, even less costly, enter Sainsburys and Tesco to grab a sandwich and chips for a couple of pounds.
Instead of paying for breakfast, stay at a B&B that offers a Full English breakfast in the cost of their room (which would cost you around £10.00/$14.50 at an average restaurant).
TransportationThe estimated fare for a cab from Heathrow to Chiswick (about halfway to London’s city centre) is £41.32 or $60. Instead, take the underground station to Turnham Green and get yourself easily to Chiswick high street for around $5. Alternatively, you can take the bus for $3. It will take a few minutes longer, but you’re savings are well worth the extra 15 minutes. For information on the London Underground, see this article.
Car rental costs quite a bit in GB. Take into account the rental fee, the insurance, and the ungodly price of gas and you are well on your way to broke! In addition, I once lost my keys and it cost me £500.00/$726.00!
If you want to get the most out of your trip, and if you’re planning on mainly hitting larger towns, get a BritRail pass. With a flexible pass, you can ride any 3, 4, 8, or 15 days during a month’s time. Wake up in London and go to sleep in Inverness, then take the train from Inverness to Cardiff Wales, to Cornwall and back for as little as $264 US dollars for an adult.
Note: You must purchase the pass before you go to GB. This can be done either online or through your travel agent! Also, if you’re not planning on traveling extensively, it could be that a straight ticket would be less expensive than a pass. Do your math to ensure savings!
Many B&Bs have offers if you stay over a certain number of nights. For instance, I booked at Kirkgate House in Knaresborough for three nights and got 10% of the nightly room rate. Always check ahead to see what discounts may be had. Another choice for simple lodging are pubs. If you’re *very* adventurous, try hostels or even wild camping (pitching a tent in designated areas for free). In addition, some schools (like the London School of Economics) offer their dorm suites for rent during the off seasons.
PurchasesWhen you are out and about purchasing souvenirs or things for yourself, you’re going to be charged VAT (a 20% tax on retail goods). Rather than lugging gifts around, find a retailer who ships. When shipping, you won’t be charged VAT, and what you would’ve been charged will pay the shipping fees! This means you don’t have to lug around hefty gifts through cities, towns, busses, and airports.
Do: Go to local markets to find things at a cheaper rate than high street stores would charge. Don’t go to Harrods for anything other than a peek!