UK Money Saving TripsPosted on: 23 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
A few of the ways to make the most of your money and cut costs when travelling around the UK
Here are just a few of the ways to make the most of your money and cut costs when travelling around the UK.
Remember by planning ahead you can make some of the best savings, especially when booking accommodation or travel.
There are a huge variety of activities and events around the country many of which can be enjoyed at a discount.
If you are looking for a luxurious break at a country house hotel in the Lake District or a characterful town house hotel try a hotel booking agency website for some of the best last minute rates.
Once you have found a good deal always check out the hotel's own website and compare prices – the hotel may have special deals that are not available elsewhere.
Links- www.laterooms.co.uk, www.hotels.com, www.lastminute.com For London also try www.visitlondon.com, the official visitor site for London, which gives a "best-price" guarantee on hotel prices.
Book a budget hotel
With hotel chains based in the cities and on major routes around the UK you can pay around £49 a night for two adults or a family of four sharing a room (children under 15 stay and eat for free).
This winter Travelodge offered rooms for as little as £19 a night in low season.
Booking ahead generally means you’ll get the best deals in popular towns and cities where prices can more than double at busy times.
In most major cities you can find serviced apartments to rent for one night or longer. If you need more than one room this can work out cheaper than a hotel – and some have hotel style benefits such as internet access or reception facilities plus you can cook your own meals.
If you choose an apartment within walking distance of the sights you want to visit you’ll save time and money on public transport too.
If you want to get to know an area of the UK why not hire a cottage in the countryside and live as the locals do. Choose from a Scottish castle to a more modest thatched cottage in Devon.
Bed linen is usually supplied and kitchens are fully equipped so all you will need is to visit the farm shop for fresh local produce.
Short breaks are available (usually a three night minimum) though week long rentals are more typical in the British school holidays.
Links- www.visitbritain.co.uk/accommodation/self-catering; www.english-heritage.org.uk; www.premiercottages.co.uk
Holiday in the Forest
The Forestry Commission has 18 woodland sites around the country where you can camp, park your caravan or stay in a wood cabin.
This year motor homes and pre-erected tents and even tree house cabins are on offer.
Prices start from £109 for a three night short break in a cabin.
Stay in some glorious locations and meet other travellers of all ages and nationalities.
You no longer have to be a member to use youth hostels though you will save money if you are.
The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) has the largest choice of hostels in England and Wales offering anything from fairly basic Camping Barns (around £10 per night) in the countryside, to private rooms in city centre locations (from £20 to around £34 per night in London).
The Scottish Youth Hostel Association (SYHA) has over 70 hostels, from crofters cottages to castles in some remote locations (around £14) and in cities too (around £20).
There are thousands of waterway miles to explore from the comfort of a holiday boat taking in the rural sights at a gentle pace through the UK.
There are boat hire centres dotted all around the country from Shropshire to Loch Ness, so you can choose the area that appeals most and discover it in detail.
Boat hire costs from around £200 per week per person and is great for families and groups who enjoy visiting canal side villages, pubs and restaurants, wildlife sites and museums.
National Express coach and bus routes cover the length and breadth of the country and fares are generally cheaper than standard rail fares.
Offers such as a limited number of Fun Fares were available to 50 destinations from £1 each way this Spring – the earlier you book the more likely you are to find one.
Always book your journey in advance – it’s even worth buying the day before you travel, to make savings on standard National Rail Fares.
Fares are usually released for sale 12 weeks before travel – so this is the best time to find a cheaper fare though the ticket may be restricted to a specific day and time.
You can also book train and bus routes through Megabus.
There are less routes available than through National Express or National Rail but you can book up to 45 days in advance and prices start from £1.
The earlier you book the more likely you are to find a good deal. Trains must be booked at least a day before travel but buses can be bought up to 30 minutes before travel.
In London this pay as you go Travelcard caps your daily costs at the cheapest price available.
You’ll save on cash payments for individual journeys on the underground. Under 11’s travel for free when travelling with an adult, 11-15 year olds need to purchase a Travelcard.
Valid on the underground, buses, the DLR and some National Rail services in London and you can get reductions on river transport you can buy before you arrive in the UK.
Attractions - Going out
The Great British Heritage Pass is the most comprehensive pass for entry to 580 attractions over four to 30 days and has some of the best reductions if you intend to pack in the sights. It also allows you to skip queues at busy locations such as Hampton Court or Warwick Castle.
Museums and Galleries
Many of the UK’s finest museums and art galleries have no entrance fee and entry is by voluntary donation.
They include some of the best in London including the British Museum and the National Gallery, in York the National Railway Museum and National Museums in Cardiff and numerous Scottish museums too.
For details of museums and exhibitions around the country www.culture24.org.uk.
Two for the price of one
If you are travelling by train to London two-for-the-price-of-one entry vouchers are available to a variety of sights and theatre productions at www.daysoutguide.co.uk.
Buy theatre tickets for half-price
The tkts ticket booth in Leicester Square, London offers the best seats in the theatre at half the normal price. On the day of the performance you can check out the shows available and go along to the booth itself where you can buy tickets.
Alternatively on the day, stand-by tickets are sometimes available direct from the theatres’ box office.
Fine dining If you want to eat well but not blow your budget try a fixed price lunch or pre-theatre menu.
Book in advance online and there are a wide choice of deals to be found in many towns and cities.
Festivals for all
There are hundreds of festivals and local fairs and fetes taking place throughout the year with many free and low cost events taking place.
Ask locally at Tourist Information Centres for details.
National Gardens Scheme
3,500 gardens open for charity throughout the year.
If you are an enthusiastic gardener or inquisitive tourist this is an enjoyable way to visit privately owned gardens with an abundance of interesting and well grown plants and often meet with their owners and sample a cream tea too.
By Lucy Smith
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