The UK has something for everyone: history lovers can wander castles that have stood for centuries. Modern music fans can see the birthplace of some of their favorite acts.
London is an international city with food, art, and music from all over the world. While the appeal is undeniable, figuring out whether a visit is attainable will take a bit of research.
That is why we’ve explored sample costs in multiple categories. By breaking it all down, we can help you understand just what you would spend on a visit to the UK.
Average Trip to the United Kingdom Cost in 2023
A week in the United Kingdom costs around $6,100 for two people:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $200 a night
- Average Flight Cost: $600 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $200 per person, per day
- Transportation: $50 per person, per day
- Total Cost:$6,100
United Kingdom Trip Cost: Average by Item
Everyone’s travel style is different. Some people like luxury hotels, others are into the communal, shoe string budget vibe of hostels. Most of us are somewhere in between.
We’ve picked sample expenses at every price point, so you can get an idea of how traveling to the UK will work on your personal budget.
It’s also good to understand that some costs are flexible while others are more fixed. If you are locked into a particular time of year for travel, you probably cannot get a lot of wiggle room on your airfare.
Certain parts of the country will have more limited restaurant choices, which can mean sticker shock at the menu prices. But, you can also sometimes get good deals by researching your options.
Tickets for long distance trains, for instance, are often a lot cheaper when purchased two or three months in advance. Many well-known attractions, like the Tower of London, come with a hefty admission fee.
But, many of the world’s best museums are in the UK, and most of those offer free admission every day of the year. What you’ll spend comes down to the choices you’ll make. Here’s what we’ve found to help you keep costs in line.
How much you’ll spend depends on what you are looking for. The Holiday Inn Express near Heathrow has rooms for about $100 per night. However, most of us don’t feel like spending our vacations just outside the airport.
Looking luxury? One of the highest-reviewed hotels on Skyscanner is the Hotel Cafe Royal. Amenities include an indoor pool, a 24-hour concierge, an on-site hairdresser, and a doorman. Rooms start around $700 a night.
For a little less, you can stay at COMO the Halkin. This is located about a mile and a half from the London Eye. Many guests praise the traditional English tea.
You can get a room here for $200 to $300 a night. What you spend also depends on where in the country you visit. Cornwall, for instance, has a number of hotel options between $100 and $200 a night.
One of the advantages of travel to the UK is that good deals on airfare are easy to find. A trip from JFK to London’s Heathrow Airport, for instance, costs between $500 and $600.
Other destinations in the country may cost a bit more. A flight to Manchester runs anywhere from $450 to $800. Be careful when booking some fo the cheapest flight. A $487 flight in our search results looks like a great deal on the surface.
But, when you look at the details, you learn that it involves two stops each way and flights with three different airlines, spread over 33 hours. You’re probably better off spending the extra $100 to fly direct.
The UK, of course, is more than big cities. However, getting to a more remote location, like the stony Cornwall coast, will likely mean spending a lot more on your flight. Airfare, on average, will run anywhere from $700 to $1,300.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Food prices in the UK were never cheap, but they’ve gotten much higher in the wake of Brexit. Locals say the cost of eating out has about doubled. On average, expect to pay $30 to $40 per person for a restaurant meal in London.
There are a few tricks for finding cheaper meals in London and in other parts of the UK. Typically, you will save money by buying sandwiches and other ready made meals from Tesco and other markets.
Kebobs from spots like Lahore Kebab House are a good way to get a good meal while saving your money. An entree there costs about $10 to $15.
Three Uncles in Brixton has a few street food and dim sum options. The three meat and rice combo will cost around $15 per person.
Food also tends to be cheaper in Chinatown. You can often find dishes for $10 to $15. Most people coming to the UK for the first time want to hit at least one or two of the famous tourist attractions.
A ticket to go to the Tower of London will cost around $40. They have discounts on admission for both students and senior citizens. You can also see parts of the Tower for free if you buy tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys.
The London Eye gives you a great view of the city. Tickets start around $30 for a basic entry. There are VIP and even champagne experiences for around $60 a ticket.
After spending a lot on food, you’re probably looking for ways to keep yourself entertained without spending a bunch.
There are a number of free museums throughout the country. The National Gallery showcases many famous examples of British art. The Natural History Museum is another great place to pass an afternoon. In Liverpool, check out the free Liverpool Museum.
Free walking tours are also a great way to see London, Manchester, and other cities. The tour guides are paid through tips. Past travelers say a $10 tip is usually about right.
Transportation costs will vary a lot depending on where you are in the country. Manchester, for instance, has a free bus that will take you to multiple parts of the city.
Many cities have hop-on/hop-off buses and boats, which can be a great way to see different locations. Typically, a ticket is good for 24 to 48 hours, and allows you to jump on and off the line as you check out different destinations.
A Thames River pass, for instance, costs around $25 and takes you to destinations between Greenwich and Westminster. If you are traveling within London, you have a few alternatives.
Locals and savvy repeat travelers say to skip the classic black London cabs in favor of Uber, as it is far less expensive. You can also take the tube (subway) or a bus.
Buses are often recommended so you can see the sights as you move around the city. Bus fare starts around $2 and runs a little over $5 for a full day. Tube fare depends on distance and whether you are buying a single trip or a full day pass.
You can buy a 7-day pass for under $50. Depending on the weather, however, London can be a very walkable city. It is sometimes faster to get around on foot than to try to use a cab or a train to get where you are going.
Train prices in the UK are far higher than you might find in other European countries. This is because the trains aren’t public utilities, but rather privately owned. Booking your trains in advance can help cut your costs significantly.
BritRail is a good place to start looking for train fares. This site offers flexible rail passes that can be used on a number of rail lines. A BritRail England pass starts at about $175.
A number of travelers report they’ve gotten good deals on train fare by using services like Virgin Trains Ticketing. To use the service, you’ll need to download the app.
It can also be used in conjunction with Virgin’s rewards program, Virgin Red. Buses are sometimes an easier and cheaper way to get around. Look at fares on both Megabus and National Express to see which offers a better rate.
Megabus rates from London to Manchester range from $10 to $40, depending on when you travel. If you are flexible when it comes to destinations, you can find some hidden deals, including long distance rides for a dollar or two.
Renting a car is another option for getting from one part of the country to another.
Depending on when you purchase and where you are going, there are some great deals available. The rental cost for one week in a small car like a Toyota aygo, for instance, is under $100 if you pick the car up at Heathrow.
Things to Consider
A few things to consider when planning a trip to the UK:
- Be sure to bring a jacket. Even summer days can get chilly quickly. While sweatshirts can make great souvenirs, buying one because you’re getting cold can mean having to pick something you wouldn’t want otherwise.
- Book any train travel as far in advance as you can. Train travel is privatized, which makes it more expensive than the public transit in other European countries.
- The UK does not use the same electrical plugs as the rest of Europe. England and Ireland use type G. You’ll get the best deal buying an adapter online before you go.
- Pubs don’t let you keep a running tab. Instead, you’ll pay by the round. Most offer contactless card payments to make it quicker and easier. Tipping isn’t required, but a tip of around 10% is appreciated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about the cost of travel to the UK? These are answers to some of the most common ones:
How much money should I have to visit the UK?
Different people have different budgets and expectations when they travel. A good rule of thumb is to allocate between $100 and $200 per day, per visitor.
Is England an expensive place to visit?
The UK is widely considered one of the most expensive destinations in Europe. All that said, you can find some good deals with a little flexibility and research.
Is the UK expensive for Americans?
Some things are cheaper in the UK, while others are more expensive in the US. It all depends on your expectations and where you are most likely to spend your money.
Is the UK cheap for American tourists?
A lot of the cost differences between the UK and the US will come down to currency conversions. At the time of this writing, one Pound sterling is worth about $1.25. In the past year, that’s gone up as high as $1.50, and low enough to nearly consider the currencies at parity.
Check the exchange rate when you plan to travel to learn more about how far your money will go.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to the UK Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$200 a night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$600 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$200 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$50 per person, per day|
|💲 Total Cost||$6,100|
It will cost around $6,100 for two people to go to the UK for seven days. This is, of course, an average. You can often find deals that will lower your costs.
You can also find experiences that will cost more than the average, but leave you with the UK travel experience of your dreams. Play with the numbers and see what you find. Happy travels!