Oy, welcome to London. Visit by the Palace, cross the bridge, ride the ferris wheel and stop in a pub for some fish and chips and a pint. Okay, that’s probably not the actual promotional line to visit the largest city in England, because London has come a long way from Oliver and coal-infused skies. It has become a mecca for tourists with its many attractions in and around the city, including the theatres of the West End, as well as for shopping. It’s probably one of the first stops on a trip throughout Europe.
Unfortunately, it isn’t cheap. As of this writing, it takes almost two U.S. dollars to purchase a Pound Sterling for a trip to England. This means the cost to fly is going to be just one of the many expenses. This doesn’t mean you’ll have a bloody rotten time. By doing some research and starting to budget your holiday now you can have a wonderful adventure not only in London but in places like Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Here are few things to consider.
You’re going to need to purchase one if you live in the United States. The initial cost for adult passports is around $110 and about $80 for kids. This includes having your photo taken to be added to the passport. Some city and town halls may have an office that performs both the ordering and the photo-taking for the passport. Consult your local government directory for more information.
They haven’t created the tunnel that goes under the Atlantic Ocean, so there are two ways to get to London — flying and cruising. Cunard Cruise Lines is the primary transatlantic company that sends folks from New York City to Southampton, England. The cost for this type of cruise can run around $1000 per person and the trip takes several days. Those who want to get to England in a few hours should decide to budget around $1,000 round trip per person to get from a U.S. destination to Heathrow Airport. Those who aren’t adverse to driving may save some money by flying into Gatwick airport.
Listen to a local BBC or commercial London radio station and you’ll see that vehicle traffic is somewhere between poor to downright horrendous. Add to that the fact you’ll probably need to learn to drive on the opposite side of the road, and driving may not be your best bet, especially if you plan to stay in or around London. Best thing to do is budget money and utilize London’s vast Underground train system. With one-way rates averaging between three and five pounds, it’s recommended to pick up a all- or multi-day pass in order to travel around greater London. Should you wish to travel outside of the city, consider purchasing a pass for England’s extensive train service and possibly renting a car in another location closer to your desired destination.
What to do
Budgeting money for transportation and accommodations is essential, but plunking down a ton of money on attractions isn’t. London is chock full of free things to do and see, and much of it can be gotten to just by walking around. What you may want to budget for is a show or two in London’s West End, the equivalent to New York City’s Broadway. In fact, many shows premiere at West End theatres before coming to the States. Sites like Time Out London offer same-day discount tickets to many popular shows.