A sure-fire way to overcome the post-Christmas and New Year blues is to get planning your travels for 2019. Amongst the further flung destinations, you’ll no doubt want to plan in a staycation or two, too.
How to get the best value from your next city break
The most affordable UK cities revealed
To help you get the most out of your next getaway – and keep the costs down this January – we’ve revealed the UK’s most expensive and most affordable cities to visit in 2019.
In order to rank these UK cities from the most expensive to the least expensive, we researched the average prices of essential tourist buys, including a meal out, a taxi journey and – of course – a pint of beer. We also included the cost of each city’s top paid tourist attraction, according to TripAdvisor.
Top 10 most expensive cities and least expensive cities in the UK*
1. London - £89.22
2. Manchester - £85.33
3. Bristol - £80.69
4. Bath - £79.88
5. Edinburgh - £79.01
6. Brighton - £78.25
7. Plymouth - £75.99
8. Portsmouth - £75.68
9. Glasgow - £73.28
10. Bournemouth - £72.72
1. Nottingham - £57.64
2. Sheffield - £58.07
3. Newcastle - £59.54
4. Hull - £63.38
5. Southampton - £63.76
6. Cardiff - £64.70
7. Leeds - £67.35
8. Swansea - £67.78
9. York - £67.81
10. Birmingham - £69.88
London: the UK's most expensive
In London the average cost of a three-course meal for 2, a pint of beer, cup of coffee, taxi start tariff and 1km travel cost, public transport fee and the cost of the city’s top-rated paid attraction, according to TripAdvisor is £89.22.
Nottingham: the UK's least expensive
In Nottingham the average cost of a three-course meal for 2, a pint of beer, cup of coffee, taxi start tariff and 1km travel cost, public transport & the cost of the city’s top-rated paid attraction, according to TripAdvisor is £57.64.
Exciting choices for frugal travellers
While it's no surprise that London heads up the list of the most expensive cities to visit in the UK, seeing cities such as Bristol and Portsmouth may have been a little more unexpected. However, our list of the most affordable UK cities highlights plenty of exciting choices for thrifty travellers, including , Cardiff, Southampton and Nottingham, which we've ranked as the least expensive city break destination in the UK.
City breaks on a budget: tips from a financial expert
If you’ve got your heart set on visiting the country’s capital or any of the other more expensive UK cities, don’t be put off by the higher prices. We’ve enlisted the help of Holly MacKay, money expert and founder of financial help service Boring Money to reveal handy tips and tricks to making your pounds and pennies go further.
- It's an obvious one, but worth repeating: book your train/coach/plane tickets well in advance if you can. Prices typically rise steeply as time ticks on.
- Lots of high street restaurants have frequent offers. Keep the cost of eating out down by checking out popular voucher websites to find the latest deals.
- If you splashed out at a restaurant last night, do lunch on the cheap today. Try local food markets (ask front desk at the hotel for directions) and whip up a picnic in the park. If you really want to eat like the locals, try chips and gravy in Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens, neeps and tatties on Edinburgh’s Carlton Hill, or even jellied eel in London’s Regent’s Park.
- If you live in the countryside, Uber might not be an app you have much use for. But it’s well worth downloading ahead of a jaunt to the city. Unless you’re travelling at peak time (when more expensive ‘surge’ pricing kicks in), Uber is likely to be cheaper and easier than hailing a cab on the street.
- Love theatre but hate the price tag? Although Theatremonkey.com is not an easy website to navigate, check out the Seating Plan section if you’re choosing cheap tickets. It has simple Green-for-Good and Red-for-Avoid guides to every London theatre, highlighting seats that are particularly good/poor value, with explanations detailing restricted views, leg room issues and more.
- Don’t forget that many museums and galleries are free to visit – including more than 20 in London alone. Famous buildings, statues and parks can also make for great sightseeing.
- If you’re keen to really get under the skin of a city, try a free walking tour. Run by volunteer guides (often local history buffs or university students), they’re packed with fascinating anecdotes and cover anything from city sights, to street art and ghost stories. Google what’s on in the city you’re heading to. (Note: Although they are free, you are generally invited to give a tip at the end.)
- Most cities have a hop-on hop-off bus tour – but they can be pricey. Although you won’t get the benefit of commentary, you can often see the major sites from a standard bus. London in particular has some tourist-tastic routes that will cost you just £1.50 (as opposed to the £30 a tour company could charge). Check out Routes 11, 15 and 24 for sights including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and Australia House (used as Gringotts Wizarding Bank in the Harry Potter films).
- Fancy watching the local football/rugby/any other sports team play but can’t stomach the ticket prices? Get online to find the pubs and bars where local fans watch – and soak up the atmosphere with them!
- Take full advantage of age- or status-related discounts. Most attractions shave off a few pounds for OAPs and students, and you might also get the special treatment if you work for the NHS, emergency services or military. Even if you can’t see a discount advertised, it’s always worth asking when you book. Don’t ask, don’t get!
*Data calculated using the accumulative average cost of a three-course meal for 2, a pint of beer, cup of coffee, taxi start tariff and 1km travel cost, public transport fee and the cost of the city’s top-rated paid attraction, according to TripAdvisor. Source: numbeo.com