5 Cost-Saving Tips for an Unforgettable Trip to Britain

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Everyone loves a great deal, especially when planning a vacation. And luckily, there are plenty of ways to save money—and still take your dream getaway—right now in Britain. Thanks to the favourable exchange rate (currently 20 percent lower than last year!) 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 five tips for saving money in Britain (and a sneaky trick to help you get there for less).

Purchase airfare at the right time
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 others scramble to match those rates.

Take advantage of what’s free
From sprawling gardens to mesmerizing monuments, Britain is filled with free things to do and see. Plus, nearly every museum offers free entry too! Try Glasgow’s dynamic Riverside Museum for a quirky look into the evolution of automobiles, Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum for a treasure trove of British seafaring history, or London’s Tate Modern for contemporary masterpieces, British Museum for multicultural treasures, and Victoria & Albert Museum for the largest the collection of decorative arts in the world.

On warmer days, take a walking tour of Bristol and unearth infamous pirate lairs and smugglers’ caves, or head to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff to hear free concerts as the sun sets. 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 amongst a jaw-dropping circle of ancient stones.

Stock up on gourmet snacks at local markets
Nothing is worse than sightseeing when your stomach is rumbling. And word to the wise: the cosy cafes near the popular tourist attractions may be cute, but they are 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 plate of crispy fish and chips, freshly-pressed juice, or homemade Cornish pasty to keep you energized throughout the day.

Treat yourself to a five-star lunch
Several of Britain’s top-tier restaurants like Maidenhead’s The Royal Oak, London’s Le Gavroche, and Isle of Skye’s Kinloch Lodge, drop their prices midday due to less of a demand. You’ll still receive the same delicious food, but without the steep bill or long wait time for a table.

Watch live ceremonies
For a bit of pomp and pageantry, secure tickets (they’re free, but need to be reserved in advance) to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London, or journey to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard (be sure to check the official schedule, as the ritual only occurs every other day in the colder months). If you’re planning on traveling in June and itching 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 lead you, be sure to purchase your rail passes, theatre tickets, and Oyster cards from the VisitBritain shop for maximum savings.