England Money-Saving Tips
MoneyWith the exception of airport stores and busy tourist shops, most UK establishments do not accept Euros, so make sure you have pound sterling.
Oyster CardIf you’re spending time in London, get an Oyster Card (£3), which saves you money on single fares for buses, trams, and tubes and cuts time for queuing at often-busy ticket machines.
Car RentalIt may be cheaper and easier to rent a car if you’re in England for more than a few days. Many major companies operate from all major cities and you can pick up and drop off in different cities and at most airports.
Coach travelIt may take longer, but traveling by bus is the cheapest way to get around. If you buy at the right time you can get a one-way ticket from London to Brighton for as low as £1!
B&BEngland is full of cheap B&B accommodations. For a good user-friendly guide, check out www.bedandbreakfasts.co.uk.
Short-stay surchargeDuring high-season (July and August), many hotels and rental agencies require a three-night minimum stay and single supplement charges.
Stay in a cottageExperience historic England with a stay in a National Trust cottage. The National Trust is a registered charity, dedicated to preserving England’s countryside.
Shopping taxBe aware that a 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) charge is levied on most UK purchases. However, tourists may get a refund at the airport or by post.
LanguageNaturally, Americans won’t find much of a language barrier in England, but certain words can cause problems. A sidewalk is a pavement, a trunk is a boot, and automobile gas is petrol. A bill, in British English, is an invoice or restaurant check. The first floor is the one above floor level in most English establishments.
CuisineOutside of London, English cuisine isn’t known for its “wow” factor – but the English do love to dine out. Expect a wide range of restaurants and gastro-pubs, and be aware that a smoking ban is in full force across England, Wales, and Scotland. If you want authentic English grub, try bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) and, of course, fish and chips.
SportsThe English love their sporting events – especially football, cricket, and rugby – and love nothing more than cramming into a small pub on finals night. Town centers can get very rowdy during sporting events and pubs fill up fast.
Annual eventsDuring the summer, a wide range of musical events take place in stately homes and open-air venues around the country; the Wimbledon (www.wimbledon.org) tennis tournament is held every June/July; and nothing is more English than the five-day Henley Royal Regatta (www.hrr.co.uk), held annually in Oxfordshire.
TimeEngland is on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Museums and galleriesMost larger museums and galleries in the UK are now free, including London’s British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, and the Science and Natural History museums.
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