The United Kingdom is a popular tourist destination for U.S. travelers and there are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that the two countries have a long shared history and close cultural ties.
Additionally, the UK is relatively easy to reach from the United States thanks to its extensive network of quality airports and direct flight options. Plus, there are plenty of things to see and do in the UK no matter what your interests may be. So it’s no wonder that so many American travelers include the UK on their list of must-see destinations!
If you’ve always wanted to check out the iconic college campuses, museums, and pubs in the UK, but you’ve always felt overwhelmed at the thought of planning a trip there, the following tips are just what you need.
Read on to find out what are the best sightseeing places to add to your itinerary, what are the most affordable accommodation options in the country, where to exchange currency, and how to spend less while doing more.
Top Iconic UK Sights to See
If you are going to spend at least one week in the UK, plan a three-day trip to London and try to squeeze in three or four more days for exploring the gorgeous areas in southern England, including Bath, the Cotswolds, Oxford, and Stonehenge. Make sure you have plenty of memory on your phone for gorgeous pictures and prepare to visit some of the most iconic landmarks and sightseeing attractions in the country.
The Cotswolds spreads over 1200 miles and it incorporates some gorgeous English counties such as Somerset, Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire. In 1966, the Cotswolds was officially called an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The region is well-known for its cozy English market villages and towns with eye-catching houses painted in the color of honey. Cotswolds truly is one of the best destinations for England lovers in general who enjoy walking or cycling. Visit the region between June and August if you would like to meet up with fellow travelers and add Oxford to your itinerary as well. Students will be out of school during this time of the year, so you will get the chance to endlessly wander around the prestigious colleges there. Also, add the University city of Cambridge to your list of historic places that are within easy reach of London.
With an impressive history dating back to Roman times, having survived the invasion of the Vikings, and packed with museums, cool shops, and a brand new racecourse, York has a lot to offer. The city is located halfway between London and Edinburgh, up north, and it proudly sits on the ancient city of York. Plan a visit here and get ready to walk along the River Ouse and admire the mesmerizing York Minster. Don’t forget about the iconic tipples served at any of the traditional pubs.
The Tower of London
If you have always been drawn by the majestic and imposing castles in England, don’t plan a trip to England without adding a visit to the Tower of London to your itinerary. This is one of the most popular English castles you could choose. The millennium-old castle was built by William the Conqueror and it has been part of the iconic skyline in the city ever since. The castle is home to the Crown Jewels.
The Lake District, Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum, the Big Ben, and the famous London Bridge are, needless to say, additional gems that you should add to your UK itinerary by default.
Best Places to Stay
If your budget allows you to opt for luxury accommodation, choose a boutique hotel in Downtown London and you won’t regret it. If you are traveling on a budget and you would like to save on your lodging, choose student-friendly accommodation instead. The prices will range between $86 for affordable accommodation for a double room and around $200 for mid-range accommodation.
You will be paying the highest room rates between May and July, at the end of September, in October, and during the winter holidays. Go on Booking or use Airbnb, Plum Guides, or Vrbo and look at the rich selection of hostels, hotels, bed & breakfast, apartments, and guest houses you could choose from, many of them feature free cancellation, so you could book a few months in advance and switch to cheaper accommodation later on.
How to Save Money On Your Trip to the UK
- Use a railcard and save around 30% on national rail services when traveling outside of London
- See if you can get an Oyster card or a contactless card and get additional discounts on your trip
- Try to use your US student card to get discounts in London and look for discount vouchers including subway voucher booklets that offer cool meal deals at cheap prices
Where to Exchange Currency
Exchange your US Dollars at a local ATM machine, as long as your ATM card is linked to the Cirrus, PLUS (Visa), or Maestro (MasterCard) networks. Look for these logos on the ATM prior to exchanging your money.
Use a travel agent, a bureau of change, a post office open between 7:30 am and 10:30 pm, or a bank to exchange money. Keep in mind some banks may not exchange your money unless you are a customer.
About the author: David Todva is a sports journalist and freelance writer who combines his passion for experiencing new cultures and traveling the world with his career as a writer.