This post looks at the cost of travel in the UK. Read on for suggested shoestring and more comfortable backpacking budgets. We also have information about the currency and sample prices.
Cost of a Trip to England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland
UK Travel Costs on a Shoestring Budget
US$60/day | £45
The UK is well known as being as an expensive country to visit but our UK backpacking budget of £45/day is by no means unrealistic. The biggest expense is generally accommodation which tends not to cheap. Couchsurfing is a good idea here and you can get by on much less than £45 per day if you do a lot of it. Travelling around isn’t that expensive as it is a pretty small country. Flying isn’t really necessary at any point unless you want to visit Northern Ireland. If that’s the case there are a host of budget airlines that cater for that with flights from £20 or less plus baggage costs, which can be more than the flight itself if you have a big one.
Getting around in the UK can be very cheap but it really does help to book trains and buses in advance. This can all be done online via The Trainline, while Megabus offer some extremely cheap coach travel between the big cities, again if you book early enough. Eating and drinking out remains expensive though and you can easily blow £45 on a night out alone in most UK cities. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, then do what many Brits do and start your night in Wetherspoons, which is a popular chain of pubs that has the best deals on drinks and can be found all over the country, with most major cities having several.
As a general rule London and the Southeast is considerably more expensive than the rest of the country. However you can still get stung badly in cities like Edinburgh, which is another major tourist destination.
More Comfortable UK Backpacking Budget
US$85/day | £65
£65 per day is a lot of money to spend as a budget traveller. However on this kind of budget, you can afford to stay in the best hostels and be a bit less rigid with your planning and just buy transport tickets on the day which is normally considerably more expensive than doing it in advance. One of the good things about London and the UK is that a lot of museums are free to visit. However some other attractions can cost in the region of £20 for entry so you can afford to visit a few more of them on this kind of budget.
One other bit of good news for budget travellers in the UK is that since Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, the Pound has taken several serious hits. Therefore visitors from around the world should now find it slightly more affordable. We are writing this in February 2019, a month before Britain is due to leave/crash out of Europe. Depending on how that pans out there could be more significant changes in terms of the affordability of the UK or lack of it should Brexit prove smoother than many are expecting.
UK Cost of Travel Insurance
Note that these budgets do not cover any pre-trip costs such as booking flights to the UK or the cost of travel insurance. We have a list of what we consider the best backpacker insurance here.
How much do things cost in the UK?
London to Birmingham by train – from £6 (booked in advance), £15 on the day
London to Manchester by train – from £20 (booked in advance), £80 on the day
Day Travelcard on London Underground – £12
Pint of Beer in a pub – £3-4 (£4+ in London)
Meal in an inexpensive restaurant or pub – £8+
Cheap dorm bed in a city – £12-15+ (often considerably more at busy times)
Stonehenge admission fee – £15.50 adults, £13.90 students
These prices were last checked in 2017. Everything else was updated in February in 2019.
Read More – check out our Iceland backpacking budget.
Currency – Great British Pound
€1 = £0.88
US$1 = £0.77
(All exchange rates are correct as of February 2019)
Apart from the odd retail store with dubious exchange rates, Euros are not accepted anywhere in the UK with the exception of a few parts of Northern Ireland which are close to the border to the Republic of Ireland, which uses the Euro. If you are considering hopping over the Irish Sea then read about the cost of travel in Ireland.
Stay at a proper British pub! The Exmouth Arms, conveniently located near Euston Station has 6 and 8 bed dorms above the bar.
street art in Bristol, England
This page was last updated in February 2019.