Cost saving ideas for exploring the UK
I don’t know about you, but I look to save money every single day, whether it’s on grocery shopping or my energy costs.
One thing I do a lot of is travel – this could be locally or overseas, and saving money on travel can be much harder, but still achievable.
I have found that if you don’t plan your schedule and just go with the flow, you find yourself spending more money than you have to, simply due to lack of planning.
Whether you currently live in the UK or you are visiting from overseas, you might want to see as much of the country as you can without spending a fortune.
Here’s a list of some of the tactics i’ve used in the past to save money when visiting places across the UK…
Low cost train tickets
Here in the UK, train tickets go on sale 12 weeks before the date of travel and you can often grab a bargain by pre-booking a ticket. Train tickets will always be the most expensive on the day of travel.
There are several companies that allow you to book cheap train tickets in advance, such as TrainSplit and Trainline.
If you travel during off-peak times, you will find train tickets are cheaper so it might be worth considering this as an option.
Find free parking
In the UK, we are known for having to pay high parking charges when visiting our local towns and cities, but this can be remedied with some pre-planning.
Whether you’re a local or you’re renting a car during your visit to the UK, you can benefit from finding free parking before you travel, so you aren’t stuck paying car parking charges.
Cities that are popular with tourists have higher parking charges, such as York, Bath and Oxford. London’s parking charges are high but there’s also the added disadvantage of the congestion charge, so it’s rarely worth driving into the capital.
Visit tourist attractions for free
There are plenty of places you can visit in the UK that don’t charge entrance fees, including The National History Museum and The British Museum in London, Durham Cathedral, Durdle Door and Mount Snowdon.
It’s understandable that if this is your first trip to the UK, you will want to visit all the popular attractions such as Buckingham Palace, Blenheim Palace, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge, but there will be charges to get into these places.
Use restaurant vouchers
Eating out in restaurants can be a big expense, but there’s always vouchers to take advantage of, from buy-one-get-one-free to free drinks when you buy a main meal
A lot of restaurants offer an incentive if you sign up to their newsletter, so if you can plan ahead, you can make some real savings. As of 2022, the following offers are available:
Las Iguanas – £5 off next visit
Prezzo – Free bottle of champagne
Harvester – Free drink
Miller & Carter – Free glass of wine
Sizzling Pubs – £5 off next visit
You don’t need to stay signed up to these newsletters – once you have received the voucher code, you can unsubscribe.
Consider your choice of accommodation
If you are visiting the UK from overseas or thinking of taking a break just a couple of hours from home, finding cheap accommodation can really bring the cost of your trip down.
There are some hotel chains such as Travelodge and Premier Inn that are known for offering cheaper stays and sometimes even include breakfast, making it more cost effective in the long run.
One tip here is, the further out of the main city you go, the cheaper the hotel package, so if you can manage a short journey on the bus, you can save as much as £50 per night!
We did a quick comparison on the Travelodge website for a 1 night stay for two people in Edinburgh on 3rd March 2023.
To stay in Edinburgh Central, the cost per night is £168.99 whereas to stay at Edinburgh Cameron Toll, which is 1.6 miles away, costs just £99.99 – a saving of £69 per night, or £345 for a 5 night stay.
Take your own lunch
It might seem like a chore to some, but purchasing groceries from a local supermarket and packing up a lunch for your day trip works out much cheaper than eating out in local cafes and restaurants every day.
I recently did a road trip around California and found we saved so much money buying groceries at Walmart and making sandwiches for our drive, rather than finding somewhere to stop for lunch.
It also meant we could see more of the state as we weren’t sitting in a cafe for an hour at a time.
There’s plenty of ways to save money on your trip, but these are just a few ways to get your started. Remember, failing to plan, is planning to fail!