If you’re visiting the UK from overseas for the first time, welcome! A lot of things in this country are a little confusing for people who aren’t familiar with them, so a little advice can go a long way. Here we’ve tried to compile some of our best advice for anyone entering the country for the first time on a tourist holiday.
Firstly, it’s important to bear in mind that London is not the only place with interesting things for tourists to experience in the country. In fact, many people would argue that spending a lot of time in London when you first visit the UK is actually a waste of money, because prices are significantly higher on the whole compared to the rest of the country. There are many lesser known tourist attractions all over the country which may be less recognisable than Tower Bridge or Big Ben, but are much cheaper, less crowded and sometimes even more impressive.
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on food here, because there is a strong culture around going out for meals and a huge number of commercial restaurant chains trying to take advantage of the latest culinary trends. However, like anywhere else, you can find bargains if you’re happy with takeaways and lesser known restaurants. Be sure to look up places online before you eat there, but luckily you’ll find almost all UK food establishments can be found online as we take our reviews seriously!
Alternatively, of course, you can cook for yourself. Budget European supermarkets are the best places to buy ingredients, such as Lidl and Aldi, and if you’re from another European country you’ll already know this. If you’re really concerned about keeping costs down and you’re used to cheaper food prices, you might find you have to do this at least some of the time. Again, though, outside of London you will find much more affordable food.
Getting around the UK as a tourist could cost a lot if you catch the train everywhere without much forward planning. The rail service is a lot more expensive than it is in most other countries, especially at peak times when commuters are travelling between home and work. A cheaper alternative is to get buses and coaches, although this can cost you more time.
Fortunately, many of the actual attractions in the UK are free to see or enter, which can lower your overall costs. There are many wonderful castles, stately homes and other historical buildings that are unlike anything any other country has to offer, many of them costing nothing or very little to visit. In fact, there are a huge range of different attractions on offer and most of them outside the capital are not widely known, so the best thing to do is look up the top attractions in any area you’re planning to visit and see what’s highly rated.