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I’ve had the great privilege to visit England twice. My first trip was for 3 weeks during the summer when I was single and I did the majority of the trip alone. My cousin Melissa went with me for the first 5 days of the trip and we toured in and around London and stayed in a hostel.
The second and third weeks, my cousin returned to the states and I ventured out on my own. At the time I was considering going to England to live and do ministry and I was trying to decide what organization to work with. I stayed with a mission in the Birmingham area for about a week and then stayed with a very nice woman from a church in the Manchester area. It was a little scary traveling alone, but also quite liberating and courage building.
The second trip was with my husband for a week. Our base was at a hotel in London. We toured London, but also used it as a hub and took day trips by train to Bath and Rochester, England. The second trip with my husband turned out to be quite costly.
Comparing my first trip to my second, not only did I realize there are less expensive areas to visit in England than London, but that there are also quite a few hidden gems around the English Countryside.
If you dream of visiting the UK, but cost is a factor, you may want to consider using a different city, such as Manchester as your hub or base. I’ll break down the cost for this vacation and I’ll filter throughout some of the awesome places you can visit in and around the Manchester area.
I’ve already converted the cost in pounds to dollars and have based this trip on a full week (Sunday through Saturday) in late September.
Here we go!
Airfare round trip to Manchester is much less expensive than flying into London. Using New York City as the departure city, a non stop round trip ticket to Manchester will cost you as low $500! That’s at least $300 less than a round trip ticket to London with multiple stops!
Cost: We’ll round it up to about $800 to account for different times of year and additional fees.
You don’t even have to stay in a hostel to afford this trip! A hostel is the cheapest option though and you can find them as cheap as $13 a night. Just be prepared to share a room and to have to use a communal bathroom. Check out Hostel World for more information on Hostels in the Manchester area.
If this isn’t ideal, you can find a studio apartment on HomeAway for around $110 or a single/double room on AirBnB for around $30+ a night. The plus sides of a studio apartment are that you have your own space including the bathroom, a lock on the door and you’d have your own kitchen! Some of the AirBnB private rooms will also provide access to a shared kitchen space.
Cost: I’ll go mid-price on this one and choose the private AirBnB room. We’ll choose a nice double for around $50 a night with access to a kitchen for 6 nights comes to $300 total.
There is excellent public transportation all around the UK. You can take a single ride on a bus for around $2.50 or a day pass for around $15. But, I think an excellent option if you can trust yourself to drive on the right side of the car and the left side of the road, is to rent a small fuel efficient car. A mini sized car (like a Fiat) will cost you about $22 a day or a compact car (like a Civic) will cost you about $29 a day. I have traveled a good bit in rental cars and with fuel efficient cars typically you will only have to fill up once in a week of travel around a more localized area. To fill up a tank of gas in a small car will cost you about $60 in the Manchester area.
Cost: I’m going to go with the mini car and for 7 days with gas it will cost you $214 total.
I recommended you stay in either a studio apartment or a private room with access to a kitchen. This will allow you to eat many meals at your home base. I recommend eating breakfast and dinner at home and eat lunch out when you are touring the area.
The following information was taken from Expatistan.com:
Fast Food Lunch ~$8
Basic Lunch ~$10
Pub Dinner ~$35
3 Course Italian Dinner with wine ~$75
1 Cocktail ~$10
1 Pub Beer ~$5
1 Coffee ~$4
Cost: If you factor in one pub style meal and 1 beer a day with the cost of groceries for your other meals I would budget around $38 a day or $266 for the week.
I don’t know about you, but I visit England for the beauty, both in the countryside and the architecture, the history and the literary connections. The Manchester area provides a little of everything you could want. On your doorstep is the amazingly beautiful rolling green hills of the Peak District which is perfect for hiking. The Peak District is also great for cycling, mountain biking, horse back riding, rock climbing and caving. To check out the many activities available go to the Visit Peak District website.
There are also many quaint villages, historic manor houses, castles and ruins.
Many of these buildings are preserved by the National Trust and if you plan on visiting several, a good option is to become a member for $83. To visit the houses individually will cost about $12 each. The National Trust has 23 sights throughout the Manchester area.
When I was there I was able to visit Lyme House which was used as Pemberley in most everyone’s favorite Pride and Prejudice adaption from the 90’s with Colin Firth.
I am a huge Jane Austen fan and seeing “Pemberley” was a dream come true for me! I couldn’t even be dampered by the rain! (England Tip: Make sure you take a rain coat, sudden rain is common!)
I was also able to visit Haddon Hall which has been used as the house for Thornfield in the 2006 Jane Eyre film.
I also visited the village of Bakewell which is famous for their Pudding.
While in town you should also visit the majestic Manchester Cathedral!
Cost: There are many FREE options in and around this area, but if you plan to do any nightlife, shopping or touring of historic sights you will want to budget for that. All in all you should budget an extra $60 to $100 depending on what you want to do. We will add in the lower end at $60.
Total Cost for a Week in England: $1640 for one person.
To calculate for a 2 person trip, you should factor in the additional cost for flight, food and sightseeing into your over all budget. And, possibly slightly more for the room if you will need more space.
Another option if you’d like to venture further afield, would be to spend day trips at other famous areas such as Liverpool (Beatles!), Birmingham (did you know Birmingham has more canals than Venice?), York (on my bucket list!), Stratford Upon Avon (Shakespeare), Hadrian’s Wall (Roman Ruins), etc. You could drive or take a train to these other areas for a day. This is how my husband and I ventured out on our day trips from London on my second trip. Check out Britrail for more info on rail travel!
Have you had the chance to visit other places throughout the United Kingdom? What are your favorite destinations? Share in the comments section below!
Want more British Travel? Check out my posts The Secret Side to London Every Charles Dickens Fan Should Know and The Jane Austen Fanatics Guide to Bath!
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