Everyone likes a good deal, especially when planning a vacation. And lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to save money—and still take your dream getaway—right now in Britain. Thanks to the killer exchange rate (currently at a 30-year low!), everything from airfare to accommodation is more affordable than ever.
But the key to being an ultra-savvy shopper is knowing how to save once you’re actually on the ground and running, er, sightseeing. To help, we've rounded up the top tips and tricks for saving money in Britain (and a few budget-friendly strategies to help you get there).
Buy airfare at the right time
Traditionally, air carriers offer specials around the holidays (especially on Black Friday, so be on the lookout). Otherwise, Tuesday afternoons are often your best bet for securing reduced price plane tickets from a variety of carriers. Here’s why: airlines often announce deals on Monday evenings, so on Tuesday mornings the other airlines scramble to match those deals.
Take advantage of what’s free
From sprawling parks to mesmerizing monuments, Britain is bursting with free things to do and see. Nearly all of the museums across England, Scotland, and Wales are free too. Try Glasgow’s dynamic Riverside Museum for a quirky look into the world of automobiles, London’s Tate Modern for seven floors of modern masterpieces, or Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum for a treasure trove of British seafaring history.
Angel of the North
Don’t feel like being cooped up inside? Take a walking tour of Bristol and see Banksy’s latest creations, or head to the Wales Millennium Centre for free lunchtime and early evening concerts. For the ultimate photo-op, journey to Newcastle-Gateshead to see the towering Angel of the North (it’s the height of four double-decker buses), or stop off in Avebury to walk among (and even touch) a jaw-dropping circle of ancient stones.
Stock up on snacks at local markets
Nothing is worse than seeing the sights while your stomach is rumbling. And word to the wise: Those cozy cafes around the top tourist attractions may be cute, but they’re also expensive. Instead of shelling out for an overpriced salad, head to Edinburgh Farmer’s Market or London’s Borough Market and pick up a fresh sandwich, bag of seasoned nuts, or homemade pastry to keep you energized throughout the day.
Treat yourself to a five-star lunch
Many of Britain’s most famous and exclusive restaurants like Maidenhead’s The Royal Oak, London’s Le Gavroche, and Isle of Skye’s Kinloch Lodge, drop their prices significantly during lunch due to less of a demand. You’ll still get the same great food, but without the steep bill or long wait for a table.
Watch live ceremonies
For a bit of pomp and pageantry, get tickets (they’re free, but need to be reserved in advance) to see Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London, or head to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing the Guard (be sure to check the official schedule, as the ritual only occurs every other day in the colder months). If you plan on traveling in June and want to catch a glimpse of the Queen, line the Mall to see Trooping the Colour: The Queen’s Birthday Parade or attend the State Opening of Parliament.
No matter where in Britain your travels take you, be sure to purchase your rail passes and Oyster cards from the VisitBritain shop for maximum savings.