Best Ways to Save on UK Travel

Cut Costs of Food and Drink, Accommodations, Shopping, Sightseeing and More

Travel smart with these top vacation money savers. Discover the best ways to save on your UK trip.

You can save a bundle while making the most of all that England, Scotland and Wales have to offer. Sometimes the challenge of trimming the fat from your budget can actually be part of the fun.

  • 01 of 09
    Fish and chips
    Traditional fish and chips - portions are often big enough to share. Storkpicks/Getty Images

    The cost of food can put a big dent in a small travel budget. But if you are clever, you can keep costs down - or even eat for free now and then. And you don't have to go on a diet to do it. There are plenty of hearty options for both carnivores and vegetarians, along with opportunities to see how the locals chow down. Go ethnic, go native, splurge on lunch. Find out more about how to save on food and drink in the UK.

  • 02 of 09

    How to Save Money on UK Accommodations - 11 Top Tips

    Family self-catering
    Family self-catering in a 200 year old stone barn on the Isle of Wight. Visit Britain/James McCormick/Getty Images

    Don't let the UK's reputation for expensive accommodations put you off visiting. You really don't need to spend $200 or more for a night in a grim and mediocre hotel when there are other options available. Be a flexible and confident negotiator and you'd be surprised at how far your money can go. Find out how to save on accommodations in the UK.

  • 03 of 09
    waiting in line for the palace
    Not only do discount passes save money, they can also help to avoid long waiting lines. Visit Britain/Britain on View/Getty Images

    Discount passes for overseas visitors, offering free, unlimited entry to hundreds of UK landmarks and attractions, are a great way to save money on UK travel. Besides cutting costs, prepaid passes usually allow you to jump the waiting line at busy sites. Most also include a few extras - like useful guidebooks, maps and apps. And you don't have to keep up with changing exchange rates - you know what you've spent before you go. Find out how to save money on UK travel with the best visitor discount passes I've found.

  • 04 of 09

    100 Rooms for Under £100

    Citizen M Glasgow
    CitizenM Hotel in Glasgow - Style on a budget. © Ferne Arfin

    All over the UK, it's possible to get perfectly decent, clean and well equipped rooms within a budget. From friendly, family-run B&Bs to well-maintained international brands, Cheap rooms under £100 - and often well under that amount - are not impossible to find. This guide will lead you to rooms in all the regions most popular with vacationers.

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  • 05 of 09
    Edinburgh train station
    Waverley Station in Edinburgh. John Lawson/Belhaven/Getty Images
    Train travel in the UK is faster, cheaper and easier than long distance road travel and British Rail travel with a BritRail Pass makes a lot of sense if your vacation plans involve crisscrossing the UK from one major city or region to another. A BritRail Pass is a prepaid pass sold outside the UK - you have to buy it before you leave home. It's valid for unlimited UK rail travel, during a specified period that you choose. It's especially useful for touring since you'll likely want few round trip tickets and one-way fares are often much more expensive than what the British call "return" fares.
  • 06 of 09
    Sweaters at Pringle
    Pringle, the Scottish company noted for its cashmere and lambswool knitwear, including traditional argyle patterns, has a shop at Bicester Village, the luxury and designer goods discount shopping center near Oxford. © Ferne Arfin

    If you are a member of the tribe who can't travel without time outs for retail therapy, recent UK shop prices can seem discouraging. Don't despair. Discount designer outlets, factory outlets and brand outlet shopping malls are popping up all over the UK. There are some excellent buys on designer and high street goods as well as inexpensive restaurants and coffee shops. Some discount malls even have extra destination features like landscaped gardens or shuttles to local attractions. Find out where to save money on UK shopping.

  • 07 of 09
    Train tracks
    Train tracks near London with view of Battersea Power Station. simonbyrne/Getty Images

    Low cost travel on Megatrain and Megabus services saves quite a bit if you're flexibile and committed. Be flexible about travel times and you might be able to score tickets to top UK destinations for as little as £1 plus a 50p booking fee. It may mean traveling earlier - or later - than you originally planned but with such low prices, how can you argue? And as for commitment? Well, once you've bought it, you're on it. You need to commit to the specific time and train service you've purchased. Try an earlier or later train or bus and you'll have to pay the full fare. Find out how to save money on UK travel with Megatrain.

  • 08 of 09
    Long Distance Coach on Coastal Road in Wales
    Long Distance Coach on Coastal Road in Wales. courtesy of www.britainonview.com

    Buses and coaches - the European term for inter-city bus services - are the cheapest way to get around the UK. Maybe you haven't taken a bus since your college days but don't worry - they are much more comfortable than they used to be. Some even have on board restrooms and snacks. The distances between key destinations in the UK are relatively short - so unless you travel from the south of England all the way to the top of Scotland in one go, you won't be taking overnight trips. Most journeys are a couple of hours or less. There are a lot of different services and some good online tools to find them. Find out how to save money on UK travel by hopping on a bus.

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  • 09 of 09
    Burberry Catwalk
    Burberry Catwalk, Mens London AW16 collection. Samir Hussein/Getty Images

    Okay, technically, this is a way to spend money, not save it. But if you have always coveted a real Burberry raincoat - not a cheap and touristy flash of the plaid, but the real deal - you might get lucky in the company's official factory outlet store in Hackney. Ditto a snappy Barbour waxed jacket for the outdoor lifestyle - possibly half price at the factory gates in Jarrow, in the northeast. Factory shops are not the same as discount outlet malls (which often sell merchandise made especially for these malls). Designers may have only one or two factory stores where they unload surplus stock and slightly imperfect fashion goods at up to 70% off. They tend to be pretty secretive about these places but I can let you in on the secret locations of several designer factory shops right here.