There are plenty of ways to save money when you travel in Britain, and we don't just mean all those free museums and galleries - although they're brilliant too! Plan ahead to take advantage of money-saving initiatives and kids-go-free events with these top tips. Looking for more money-saving tips? See our recent guide, Britain on a Budget.
1. Buy before you fly!
Check out www.visitbritainshop.com before you travel for discounts on travel tickets, tours, attractions and more!
2. Sightsee for less
If you're planning to see a number of Britain's most iconic heritage sites, it's worth buying a heritage pass, offered by the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Scotland. These offer access to hundreds of sites such as Stonehenge and Stourhead, with big savings when compared to individual entry prices.
www.visitbritainshop.com/world/english-heritage-overseas-visitor-pass, www.visitbritainshop.com/world/national-trust-touring-pass, www.visitbritainshop.com/world/national-trust-for-scotland-discover-ticket
3. Free heritage
Every September thousands of historic monuments and buildings, especially those usually closed to the public, throw open their doors for free. Open House London focuses exclusively on the capital, while Heritage Open Days runs across England, with well-known sites opening up alongside hidden gems. Doors Open Days offers the chance to look around sites in Scotland, while hundreds of properties in Northern Ireland take part in European Heritage Open Days. Meanwhile, events take place across Wales for Open Doors, offering a chance to explore venues such as atmospheric abbeys and radio museums.
4. Cheaper 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, off peak. 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 agents, offers unlimited travel on all rail services and most local bus services in Wales.
5. Online deals
Canny visitors to London's Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace are wise to check the website. Entry was half price when booked online in winter this year and last. And while it's not unusual for under-fives to get free entry to attractions, at Kensington Palace everyone under 16 enjoys the privilege. This year, Kensington Palace's popular Fashion Rules exhibition has been ‘restyled' to present new dresses from The Queen, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana - heaven for aspiring princesses.
6. Wear the kids out for free
All of Britain's 15 national parks are free to enter, and there's plenty 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. www.nationalparks.gov.uk, www.breconbeacons.org
7. Discount websites
Sign up to OpenTable 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. www.opentable.co.uk, www.lastminute.com, www.groupon.co.uk
8. Cheap theatre
If you're after cheap theatre tickets in London, head to the official TKTS booth in Leicester Square where you'll find great seats in theatre 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 bargain tickets is at The Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, offering standing tickets every 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 the Hostelworld app. It has 33,000 listings of hostels, Bed & Breakfasts and budget hotels with more than 3.5 million user reviews. Meanwhile, relatively new app Travelpouncer lets you take advantage of unfilled tables at restaurants. Perfect for the spontaneous at heart, the app offers discounts at restaurants for the same day or day after.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com