There are plenty of ways to save money as you travel around Britain, and we don’t just mean all those free museums and galleries - although of course, they’re brilliant too! Plan ahead to take advantage of money-saving initiatives for the entire family with these top tips.
1. Sightsee for less
If you’re planning on seeing plenty of Britain’s iconic heritage sites, it’s could be worth investing in a heritage pass, which is offered by the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Scotland. Visitors with a pass are able to save money when accessing hundreds of sites such as the historic Stonehenge and Stourhead compared to paying for individual entry prices.
2. Buy before you fly
If you’re looking for discounts on travel tickets, tours, attractions and more it’s well worth checking out visitbritainshop.com before your travels even begin. You’ll save yourself some pennies and you can start to fill your itinerary full of adventure – potentially with a visit to Cardiff Castle or even a trip to The Making of Harry Potter studio tour. How magical!
3. Experience heritage for free
Every September thousands of historic monuments and buildings, especially those usually closed to the public, throw open their doors for free! Open House London focusses exclusively on the capital, while Heritage Open Days runs across England, with well-known sites opening up alongside lesser-known gems. Doors Open Days offers visitors the chance to look around the sites in Scotland, while hundreds of properties in Northern Ireland take part in European Heritage Open Days. Wales opens its doors and offers visitors the chance to explore venues such as atmospheric abbeys and radio museums.
4. Secure cheap rail travel
Booking early is a sure-fire way to save on rail travel, but did you know that regional train companies often offer special discounts too? Families heading to Dover, Canterbury and other places in Kent and East Sussex should check out Southeastern Railway’s Kids for £1, which allows up to four kids to travel for £1 each with one adult. Two kids can travel for free with each adult under Scotrail’s Kids Go Free scheme, and tickets also give one child free entry to some popular Scottish attractions. The Explore Wales Pass available in advance from railway stations and offers unlimited travel on all rail services and most local bus services in Wales.
5. Wear the kids out for free
All of Britain’s 15 national parks are free to enter and there’s plenty on to keep little ones busy. The Brecon Beacons National Park Mountain Centre has stunning views, kid-friendly walks along an adjacent moorland ridge, and a large, well-tended field that’s perfect for letting off steam.
6. Hunt for online deals
Canny visitors to London’s Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace are wise to check the website. Entry is often half price in the winter and while it’s not unusual for under-fives to get free entry to attractions in Britain, at Kensington Palace everyone under 16 enjoys the privilege. Kensington Palace’s popular Fashion Rules exhibition has been ‘restyled’ to present dresses from The Queen, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana – heaven for aspiring princesses!
7. Use discount websites
Sign up to Open Table for access to a devoted page of specials – including half-price deals – at eateries across Britain. Or predominantly covering London, Lastminute.com has ‘Offers under £20’ and ‘Top 10 Restaurant Deals’ pages. Subscribe to Groupon for a vast range of discount vouchers valid across Britain. You’ll find accommodation in stately homes and castles for well under £100 per night, 50% off luxury afternoon tea experiences and a few ideas to tempt you off the beaten track too.
8. Theatre trips for less
If you’re after cheap theatre tickets in London, head to the official TKTS booth in Leicester Square where you’ll find great seats at half the normal price. The booth is operated by the Society of London Theatre, the industry body that represents London theatres. Another way to bag some bargains is at The Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, offering standing tickets each night for 10p. You have to be quick, as these are first-come-first-served and there are only eight of them available each night.
9. Cheap eats
Monday is often Britain’s quietest dining night, when most locals’ wallets get the night off. That leaves restaurants with seats to fill, which means offers aplenty! Take a culinary voyage at Liverpool’s Titanic-themed 30 James Street hotel, offering a free starter or dessert with every main course come Monday nights. On the same evening in Bristol, south-west England, seeing bar-and-kitchen Prego charge only £6.95 per pizza.
10. Helpful, money-saving travel apps
Download apps before you travel to help you save money once you’re in Britain. Citymapper helps you get from A-Z with a variety of transport methods on offer. It will also tell you how much a journey will cost, helping you save money. If you’re looking for accommodation on a budget, try Hostelworld, which has 33,000 listings of hostels, bed & breakfasts and budget hotels with more than 3.5 million user reviews. Meanwhile, relatively new app Tablelpouncer lets you take advantage of unfilled tables at restaurants - perfect for the spontaneous at heart!