From exploring an eclectic range of free museums, to discovering iconic works of art in national galleries, there’s plenty to see and do in Britain on a budget. With purse-friendly hotels specifically designed for comfort yet affordability, finding accommodation to suit won’t break the bank either. Make the most of these value ideas for your clients and grab a bargain in Britain.
England’s capital city is awash with events, restaurants, bars, and theatres just waiting to be discovered. With a reputation of falling on the pricier side of city breaks, we’ve rounded up some great value ways to enjoy London for less.
- London is easiest reached by Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. Travel to and from Gatwick via Southern trains or using a Visitor Oyster card. It costs a fraction of the price of the Gatwick Express.
- Travel to and from Heathrow Airport via the Heathrow Connect service, it’s cheaper than a taxi and departs every 30 minutes from key stations.
- Travelling around the London couldn’t be easier than with a Visitor Oyster Card, these can be topped up before your client’s arrival and work out cheaper than buying on-the-day travel tickets.
Clients can stay at CitizenM’s London Bankside Hotel. This stylish yet affordable hotel boasts proximity to the Shard and Borough Market.
- While in London, clients can take advantage of many of the free museums in the city. Just some of the places to explore include the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the British Museum and the Science Museum, as well as the Museum of London.
- Dotted with contemporary galleries and traditional spaces that house works from the ages, art enthusiasts can still enjoy their favourite artists on a budget, with many of the galleries having free elements. Highlights include The National Gallery and the Tate Modern.
- Seeing a show in the West End is a must when visiting London. Beat the high prices and get up to 60% off when purchasing from VisitBritain’s shop
Eating in the capital doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Clients can try The Victoria in Paddington, serving traditional British cuisine. Most mains range from £12 - £15. Another for the list is The Clink, a unique dining experience in a prison. Excellent food at a great price is served by ex-offenders training for life after release.
Head to the west of Scotland and take a trip to Edinburgh. Steeped in tradition and history, the location is a popular spot for culture enthusiasts. Though it’s Scotland’s capital city, there are plenty of things to do and see on a budget.
If clients are arriving at Edinburgh Airport, an easy way to get to the city centre is by the Airlink 100 Express bus, where a single to the city centre costs just £4.50 per traveller, and can be booked in advance. Once in the city, most attractions are within walking distance, however if clients prefer other methods of transportation, a week Ridacard allows unlimited travel on buses, trams, and travel to and from Edinburgh Airport. It costs £18 for adults and £9 for children.
- Clients can stay at the Parliament House Hotel, ideally located in the city centre and close to Edinburgh Waverley train station. A standard double is £60-£90 depending on day of the week.
- A purse-friendly way for clients to stay in the city is through university accommodation which is empty during the summer months. Pollock Halls has more than 2,000 rooms available, ranging from single standard rooms to double en-suites. www.edinburghfirst.co.uk/for-accommodation/pollock-halls
- Major attractions include the National Museum of Scotland, which is free to visit, or St Giles Cathedral or the Scottish National Gallery, which are both also free to enter, though the Cathedral recommends a donation of £3.
- An excellent way for clients to get to know the heritage of the city is on a walking tour of its historic vaults; tickets booked through the VisitBritain Shop cost just £12 per person.
- A 10-minute drive from the city centre is The Royal Botanic Garden, which opened in 1670. The 70-acre site includes the tallest Victorian temperate palm house in Britain, as well as a large greenhouse and visitor centre. Entry costs £5.50 for adults, and children aged 15 and under get in free. For a more bespoke experience, tours can be booked at £7 per person.
Dining in Edinburgh needn’t break the bank. Places like the Edinburgh Larder serve traditional Scottish food at desirable prices, or clients can try Oink Roast where hot hog roast rolls are served for as little as £2.95.
England’s powerhouse of the north, the city of Manchester is rife with cultural hotspots, shopping, eclectic theatre venues and heritage sites. What’s more, clients can explore all of this on a budget by taking advantage of special offers.
- Manchester city centre is easily reached by train from Manchester Airport, with single tickets costing as little as £4.80 per person. If clients are travelling on the weekend, a good option is a Metrolink Weekend Travel Card, offering unlimited travel over the weekend around the city, as well as to and from the airport. A family pass can be purchased in advance for £8 and covers two adults and three children.
- One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around the city centre is the Metroshuttle, Manchester’s free bus system, which links shopping areas, train stations and businesses.
An alternative to a standard hotel, Roomzzz Aparthotel has 59 serviced apartments ranging in size and price, with a stay to suit every pocket. If booked in advance a Smart Studio can cost as little as £99.
- For a heritage inspired trip on a budget, the Imperial War Museum North is worth including on a planned trip; it is part of the Imperial War Museum group and is free to enter, and is housed in a stunning building by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.
- Clients can also visit the Manchester Art Gallery, where regular exhibitions take centre stage. The museum welcomes visitors for free tours on the weekends, making it ideal for families or larger groups.
- World-famous for its football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City, sporting highlights while in the area are the stadium tours. When purchased on VisitBritain’s shop tickets for Manchester United stadium tours cost £18 and Manchester City stadium tours cost £16.
- Clients with children should consider a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. It is free to enter, and has a host of interactive shows and displays, including a working steam engine and textile mill.
There are an abundance of eateries and quirky restaurants around the city with prices suitable for every pocket. A Place Called Common offers towering burgers and plates of fries at good value, while This and That bills itself as one of Manchester’s favourite curry houses.