Great Britain is a fantastic country to visit in so many ways and for so many reasons but like most countries, it does its best to make the maximum out of cash rich visitors and tourists. Whilst locals learn the tricks to keep the cost of living to a minimum, for visitors it's not so obvious so we've put together a quick guide for visitors to the UK to keeping your costs low so that you have more to spend on all those lovely souvenirs!1. Ditch the restaurant, visit the pub!
For many countries around the world bars and establishments that sell alcohol are seedy places full of people you wouldn't choose to mix with. In the UK our 'pub culture' has always been famous throughout the world as being a bit different to others and never more so than recent years. Many of our pubs are now more like family restaurants with children's play facilities outside or soft play inside. Pubs are non-smoking and offer great value meals. Many chain pubs offer deals throughout the week such as '2 meals for £10' and free refills on soft drinks (Brewers Fayre chain). The food in chain pubs is not usually incredible but look out for pubs offering 'home cooked' meals, these are meals freshly made on site and usually very tasty.
2. Chip shops
No visit to the UK is complete without visiting the chip shop. This is also where you will find the cheapest hot meals by far. Fish and Chips will cost you just a few pounds and tastes great. Just a warning though, it's not exactly a low calorie option so try not to visit too many times if you're watching your waistline!
3. Lunch in a mini market
If you're planning to grab a quick picnic lunch on the go, forget Subway. All our major supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons etc) have small 'express' versions of their shops popping up all over the place. These shops all have a fridge full of fresh sandwiches, fresh fruit, cheap drinks and every snack that you can think of. Most will do a 'meal deal' too for an even greater bargain!
4. Avoid the service stations
Our motorway service stations carry some of the largest mark-ups and most expensive meals. They are great places to stop for toilets and a break from driving but we suggest stopping there and breaking out the supermarket sandwiches!
5. Self-drive fuel
If you have hired a car and need to buy fuel, the places to avoid are the independent stations which are often found in more remote locations. The service is usually great and personal but prices have to be higher. Motorway Service stations are the most expensive places to fill up whilst supermarket stations are usually the cheapest. If you happen to be travelling to Ireland (or from Ireland into Northern Ireland) be sure to fill up in Ireland as the tax on fuel is lower so you will pay less.
6. Britrail is the way to go!
Rail Travel within the UK is not cheap, at all! A businessman travelling from Manchester to London during the rush hour can expect to pay well over £300 for his ticket and that's not even first class! However, rail travel is a great way to get around, especially if you don't want to drive. It's fast, convenient and the stations cover most of the UK. Some of the scenery on route is pretty great too! Fortunately there is a solution for visitors, the Britrail pass. Passes can be flexible (for use on x days within 1 month) or consecutive (for use on 4 consecutive days for example) and can cover some or all of the UK. Prices vary of course but you can easily plan your itinerary around the most economical passes for where you want to go and tickets are a fraction of the price of regular rail fares. With the pass you can travel on any trains, any time (within the ticket limitations you purchased) and there are even family discounts. Great British Trips always include Britrail passes for customers who are not self-driving and plan your trip around the best priced tickets for you.
7. Multi-attraction passes are a hit
If you're planning to visit lots of attractions in the UK, it's well worth looking into what passes are available. We have many passes which represent great value for money if you're wanting to pack a lot in. In London the London Pass is great value but you will need to think in advance about what days to visit the attractions on the pass and what days to visit the other and free attractions. It's only great value if you take in several attractions each day so you don't want to waste half of your day in the free British Museum for example! Outside of London the Hudson Heritage Explorer Pass, the English Heritage Pass and the National Trust pass can be great depending on the attractions you want to see. On a Great British Trips tour we will automatically include these passes if you can save money on the attractions that you have told us you would like to see.
8. Oyster Cards
Later on this year Transport for London are phasing out many types of tickets in favour of the Oyster Card. If you are spending any amount of time in London an Oyster Card is worth getting as tickets are cheaper and you don't need to think about zones or costing. There's also a daily spend limit so once you hit a certain amount it won't keep going up.
9. Don't miss the museums
Throughout the UK there are hundreds of fantastic museums from the large British Museum or Natural History Museum in London to the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow. Our museums and galleries house priceless works of art and artefacts that have been collected throughout the old British Empire and world over centuries. The best bit is that many of the best ones are totally free! It's worth checking out on the internet beforehand but all our state owned museums have free entry (apart from special exhibitions) and many private ones are very cheap in order to compete with free museums.
10. Theatre Passport
West End shows are an incredible experience but you do have to pay for the privilege! With many tickets getting up towards £100 each, shows are often beyond the reach for many a budget traveller. The Theatre Passport is a great little ticket which for just £25 entitles you to a choice of the best seats from a range of shows. A number of theatres participate in this scheme as a great way to fill up spare seats. You won't know what shows you can choose from until the day you wish to exchange your passport for tickets but there should be something to suit your taste.
By Ruth Lancey
Date: 2017-11-28 13:17:33