Can you have a budget holiday in the UK?
From England to Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, the United Kingdom is a renowned destination for tourists. The attraction is due to the picturesque landscape and vibrant cultural environment.
There are several amazing spots for tourists to visit. The UK boasts a wealth of art exhibits and museums, and a superbly conserved countryside spotted with castles and scenic plains. You might expect this to be expensive, but at the heights of its diversity, you can find areas where you can holiday on a budget. You only need to know where to look.
Several spots provide good value for money, helping you get the best out of your stay without taking you to the cleaners. That means you can enjoy the beauty and excitement and not have to survive on breadsticks after your vacation.
An added advantage of holidaying in the UK is the ease of movement from one enthralling city to another. If you find yourself in London, a train ride takes you to the stunning beauty of Salisbury. You can take a bus to the world-renowned Stonehenge. Half a day on the rails could also take you as far as Edinburgh or Glasgow in the heart of Scotland.
Holidaying in the UK is not often associated with budgeting. Destinations in the Eastern reaches of Europe attract the average budget traveler. Yet, the UK is teeming with great holiday spots you can visit on the cheap.
Trips to the UK do not have to be cost-intensive if you do it right. There are opportunities to visit galleries and museums for free, towns and squares allow lots of prospects for travel, and there are bargain choices for food and drink.
The selection of destinations below shows that even some famous cities can be subtle spots for a budget holiday. Traveling with family doesn’t have to be all about Legoland. Villages are bursting with culture and beautiful views you can enjoy.
The UK has an assortment of tourist attractions, architecture, and ambiance on offer to the interested explorer. Let’s dive into the budget holiday destinations.
The city of York has a vibrant history, and it has hosted several notable political events. It seems like an area rising from a mysterious fairytale, but it offers lots of famous attractions at a bargain.
The ancient city of York is among the lauded tourist spots in northern England. For long, it has been the religious capital of England, boasting the majestic York Minster cathedral.
The cathedral is England’s biggest medieval church, and its origins are linked to the rise of the Christian religion in the 3rd century, albeit the existing medieval edifice was constructed some 1,000 years after that.
A visit to this historic church includes the opportunity to see the colored glass windows dating back to the 14th-century, and the lavishly adorned interior. The crypt is another vital part of the structure, as it retains remnants of the original structure, erected in the 11th-century, on which the current cathedral stands.
You can also explore other sites like the roughly 5km span City Walls surrounding the ancient center of the city, and offering stunning views of The Shambles. The Shambles is known for its eateries and tearooms, and its numerous fashion stores and galleries.
York also has several significant museums, the National Railway Museum being the pick of the litter. The museum boasts an impressive array of steam engines made back in 1820, and a Royal Train collection.
You can find affordable accommodation at Novotel York Centre.
Located some 96 miles west of London, Bath proudly carries the honor of being named a World Heritage Site since 1987. It hosts an abundance of top museums and other cultural institutions. Exploring Bath is similar to receiving an enthralling, educational history lecture without emptying your purse. Bath is known for its two-for-one tours of the city.
It is among the small cities scattered across the UK, but its small size belies its capacity as a great tourist spot. Bath, named for its famous waters, has attracted callers for over a millennium.
Erected on hot springs, it flourished under the control of the Romans, who made public baths. The water flows from three springs and is reputed to contain several minerals that give it healing properties. It moves over 3,000 meters at a volume of roughly 275,000 gallons per day, and pours at a steady 46.5 degrees.
Bath’s ancient monastery is one more exciting spectacle and the city features one of the most enviable displays of Regency-themed architecture in the UK. It is also enclosed by the countryside hills of Somerset, with Bristol hovering just down the Avon River.
Aside from its ancient history, Bath is also noted for its beautiful Georgian-themed architecture, the pick of the bunch located on the bowed Royal Crescent, amidst its regal townhomes. Royal Crescent houses a museum that gives a captivating account of life in the Georgian era.
You can find affordable accommodation at OYO Winford Manor.
Brighton and Hove is a coastal city with a pier, pebble beach, and loads of activities. There are several things to do on the cheap in Brighton, and you can have yourself a ball without spending all your savings.
You could soak in the sun at Brighton beach, explore the endless array of parks and gardens, or stroll in the rambling countryside of Sussex. Brighton is the best choice for people looking to explore on a budget.
You also have your pick of museums and galleries to visit, try out the Hove Museum and Art Gallery, and even the Brighton Fishing Museum. There is something for all kinds of travelers, and having the beach within walking distance is an added advantage.
The Victorian pier, which is a popular spot in this coastal town, runs on free admission. You can browse through the entertainment arcades or stroll along the beach below.
The Royal Pavilion Gardens presents one more scenic relaxation spot should you tire of the beach scene. You can also visit the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery inside the Pavilion gardens to view displays of 20th-century-themed artwork and designs, ceramics, and Egyptian artifacts.
Brighton is a good fit for all, whether you are searching for a romantic escape, trying to get some family vacation time, or looking for a good time with friends. The bustle of the markets, creative graffiti, and roadside entertainment combine to create a soothing atmosphere. Keep an ear to the ground for occasions – Brighton Pride is one of the leading ones.
You can enjoy fish and chips on the shore or roaming by The Lanes populated with eateries like Choccywoccydoodah – for those with a sweet tooth – and a range of tasty food and drinks at Sombreros. The Lanes are a group of cobbled roads recognized for their stylish stores and eateries. They could be busy on weekends, but quite lovely in full flow, demonstrating the rich culture of Brighton.
The pier parades a collection of fun activities in tandem with its historic aura. Sip a cider and drink in the view of Brighton’s charming, picturesque seaside exploding with seashore huts and stunning architecture.
You can find affordable accommodation at Portland Road.
Cornwall is wrapped by 300 miles of coastline and tied, not with your normal bow, but with a landmass tumbling into the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, with all the trappings of a clamoring seashore – from fishing harbors to clear waters – it isn’t surprising that Cornwall is well known for surfing and an assortment of other water sports.
Or then again if you like to be on terra firma, Heartland Amusement Park is one of the spots you need to visit. The odds of finding an amusement park with free admission on the planet are minute – particularly one with passages, slides, and a wrecked vessel. In any case, in Cornwall, that is not all, however – The Camel Trail, Falmouth Art Gallery, and Roskillyâs Ice Cream Farm are generally wonderful, and free too.
Widely acclaimed for its seashores, Cornwall is on the tough southwest bank of England. There’s a great deal to appreciate – regardless of whether it’s surfing, or staying at a beautiful fishing town further south, Cornwall provides tons of bargain, inviting activities.
You can indulge in some cheap thrills; take a trip to St Michael’s Mount, visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan, stroll from Looe to Polperro, and visit Lands’ End. As a conventional British vacation region, guests to Cornwall have a lot of options for cheap lodgings like parks for holiday goers, campgrounds, hostels, B&Bs, and hotels.
You can find affordable accommodation at Riverside Stay.
Norfolk is a beautiful city with an excellent coastline, exotic nature preserves, wildlife, market centers, and seafront resorts. It ticks off all the items on a tourist checklist.
The coastline displays its beautiful beaches, marvelous country, and exotic wildlife, the majority of which are free. The coast – spanning 90 miles – is a region of exceptional elegance, making the picturesque waterfront villages and seaside towns a must-see. Make sure to visit Walsingham Abbey and go spot some seals at Blakeney Point.
The area has tons of lodges, bed and breakfasts, hotels, and campgrounds, so you don’t have to worry about cheap accommodation.
You can find affordable accommodation at The Sea Princess.
Pembrokeshire is the most popular coastal destination in Wales, and it doesn’t take a lot to realize why. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only seaside national park of its sort in the UK. Pembrokeshire is the perfect spot for a budget holiday at the beach.
The Pembrokeshire coastline is considered the second-best of its kind in the world by the experts at the National Geographic magazine. There are plenty of activities to engage tourists, excellent accommodation choices, and experiences within a tight budget.
Make sure to visit Castle Beach in Tenby, see St. David’s Cathedral, browse through The Last Invasion Tapestry Gallery, and go hiking in the Canaston Woods or Gwaun Valley.
You can find affordable accommodation at Long Lane House B&B.
Dorset has a rich chronicle of human settlement; the Celtic races, the Romans that overcame them, and the shire-making Saxons have all contributed to the appeal of this beautiful city.
The shoreline dating as far as 200 million years ago has led to recognition as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Its lavish countryside has seen Dorset become an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Indeed, having a great camera, an inclination for adventure, and a feel for exploration is the first step when holidaying in Dorset.
If you’re searching for a holiday spot with beautiful landscapes, unbelievable seafood, and tons of open-air escapades, Dorset is just the place!
The popular Jurassic Coast, starting in East Devon and running to the gorgeous Old Harry Rocks close to Swanage in Dorset is a must-see. The cliffs are approximately 252 and 201 million-years-old, formed in the Triassic Period.
There are also some eye-catching sceneries and mountain passes. Make sure to visit Durdle Door, a rock arch atop the sea on one of Dorset’s beaches. Go kayaking to see it in all its glory.
Visit Corfe Castle and Tyneham village for something a tad bit different from the regular pattern. It is a deserted village, evacuated during the Second World War, and you can examine the broken dwellings and the elegantly refurbished WWII-era schoolroom.
You can find affordable accommodation at Glendevon Hotel.
The Peak District
When you consider the possibilities on offer for tourists in the Peak District, you would expect high prices for the duration of your stay. However, that is not the case.
You can take a stroll through the Monsal Trail or go cycling at one of the most scenic areas in England – Rudyard Lake. Formed as a reserve for the canals of Caldon, Trent, and Mersey sometime in the 19th century, Rudyard Lake is now used for fishing expeditions, boat cruises, rowing, and swimming.
You can find affordable accommodation at The Fountain Inn.
The city of Liverpool is well-known around the world for its football club, however, there is a lot more on offer beyond the joys of soccer. The city was a major trade and migration port, and boasts a vibrant cultural scene. There is a lot to explore in the wonderful city of Liverpool, and you can do it all while straying outside your tight budget.
The city has been around for a long time, 1207 to be exact, and has built a reputation as a fertile ground for music. Liverpool has been the launching ground for many a number one single in the UK. Artists like Gerry and the Pacemakers, and by no means less, the Beatles, have all contributed to Guiness bestowing the city with the tag of the Capital City of Pop.
Make sure to pay a visit to the popular Cavern club, or take a trip to the World Museum for a day of cultural exploration. Hardman Street also provides loads of excitement for those with nocturnal habits. You can also take a tour of popular sites associated with The Beatles, and see the homes where music icons Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon were born.
Sightseeing in Liverpool is a treat; you can visit the museums at the Albert Dock area, soak in the sun at the beaches of Crosby and Formby, enjoy its many festivals, cross the Mersey on a ferry, or visit the Baltic Triangle.
The Albert Dock area is filled with warehouses adapted as stores, bars, and eateries. It also has a number of sights you can visit for free like the Tate Liverpool gallery with its modern art and the stunning view of the Mersey, and the International Slavery Museum for a more somber experience.
Ignoring the slightly expensive hotels in the city of Liverpool, the budget traveler has the option of picking from the many cheap lodgings, and hostels available.
If your mind still isn’t made up, Liverpool also plays host to numerous medieval buildings, beautiful parks and gardens, and top-notch museums and galleries like the Merseyside Maritime Museum, and the Walker Art gallery.
This eclectic city is reasonably cheap for holiday-goers, except on Liverpool FC’s match days of course. Accommodation rates soar during that period as fans flock into the city for the game. Visit Bold Street for its excellent food, most of which comes at a bargain.
You can find affordable accommodation at Tune Hotel.
Torbay (The English Riviera)
Torbay is a popular place for tourists to visit. It picked up its nickname as “The English Riviera” in the early 19th century, when it was a celebrated attraction. It is situated on the coastline of South Devon, and the must-see areas include Paignton, Brixham, Babbacombe, and Torquay.
The Torbay area has several beaches, remarkable attractions, and a striking landscape. It is an ideal seaside vacation spot for everyone. It is popular with families looking for a beachfront holiday because of the beautiful gardens, nighttime light shows, and the miniature village.
Make sure to visit Preston beach, the Berry Head National Nature Reserve, and take in the exhibits at the Brixham Heritage Museum. If you are in the mood to explore, you can visit Occombe Farm, Anstey’s Cove, Torre Abbey, the Dartmouth Steam Railway, and the quaint Cockington Village.
There are tons of lodgings offered in Brixham, Paignton, Torquay, as well as other neighboring parts of Torbay. You can get bed and breakfasts, cottages, parks, and inns on the cheap. Food and drink aren’t left out either, try Man Fridays Seafood Restaurant or Maido’s Japanese Noodle Bar.
You can find affordable accommodation at The Sands Hotel.
Glasgow is a renowned, pulsing, and energetic port city, with majestic structures, art, world-class stores, and a vibrant culture. If you are visiting Scotland, Glasgow, in all its glory, is quite a sight to see.
There is a lot you can do in Glasgow without having to break the bank. See the exhibits at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum or the regal People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. You can also walk the mural trail in the city center and go dancing at the Sloans Ceilidh.
Make sure to visit the beautiful Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis, the Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace, as well as the Hunterian Museum. There are also numerous low-priced accommodation options for the budget traveler to take advantage of.
You can find affordable accommodation at Argyll Guest House.
Lytham St Annes and the Fylde Coast
The Fylde Coast is a seaside plain reaching from the north side of Liverpool to the Lake District and comprises towns like Lytham St Annes, Cleveleys, Morecambe Bay, Fleetwood, and Blackpool. There are loads of sights to see and activities to do in the region for travelers looking for a bargain holiday. Notwithstanding its proximity to Liverpool, the airport in Manchester will be the best option to travel to because of its railway link into Blackpool.
The Fylde area is in walking distance from Blackpool and Preston, and it has all the requirements for a great vacation.
There are lovely centers stuffed with tea shops, cafes, and hotels. If you prefer the outdoors, there are also tons of activities for you. You can use several cycling or walking paths and even go bird-watching in hotspots around the city.
In summer, Lytham holds its festival where notable musicians deliver live performances for the excited masses. The 2017 festival had Madness and Olly Murs in attendance.
You can find affordable accommodation at South Shore Hotel.
Llandudno and Conwy
The Victorian coastal jewel of Llandudno and the charming town of Conwy situated on the north coast is a region of Wales that is ideal for tourists looking to explore a standard British seacoast town, having the bonus of an extensive mining past.
This region is as beautiful as it is memorable – and Snowdonia lies nearby should you fancy spending some time enjoying some of the best parks in Wales.
There are several hiking paths and even an Alice-in-Wonderland theme trail, inspired by the real Alice Liddell, to keep the children occupied if you fancy a family vacation.
You have to tour the lovely Conwy and see the beautiful scenery that has earned it the status of a World Heritage Site. It is also deserving of mention that you visit Conwy Castle, and then take a trip to the lovely Colwyn Bay.
Must-see sites include Anglesey’s Centre for Art and History and Oriel Ynys Môn, the National Slate Museum, and the MOSTYN Gallery in Llandudno.
Make sure to visit the curiously-named Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the island of Anglesey. Yes, that is the real name of the village! It can be called Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll.
You can find affordable accommodation at Elsinore B&B Hotel.
Portsmouth, Gosport and Southsea
Portsmouth is a port city recognized for its maritime culture, and it also holds the status of the only island city in the UK. The city stretches over Portsea island. Gosport and Southsea are towns located in Portsmouth that contribute to tourist attraction with holiday activities and fascinating spots to visit.
Portsmouth has a lot of attractions for the budget holiday-goer; Portsmouth Museum is one of the top destinations to visit alongside the Southsea Model Village, Spinnaker Tower, and the Westbury Manor Museum.
Other notable spots include the Mary Rose Museum, Clarence Pier, Bere Forest, the Westbury Manor Museum, the stoic Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and the Isle of Wight. For a more educational experience, you can also visit the World War I Remembrance Centre.
You can find affordable accommodation at the Coastal Retreat guesthouse.
Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and happens to be the 11th largest city in the UK. It is a modernized, pulsing metropolis bustling with ceaseless activity.
Cardiff is the seat of the National Assembly of Wales, and hosts the majestic Senedd building. It is also the home of several sports venues for soccer, cricket, and rugby. All of this exists alongside a vibrant cultural scene.
Notwithstanding its small size when compared to England and Scotland, Wales boasts many tourist attractions and entertaining activities. Visitors can take in the awe-inspiring landscape and experience the open-air wonders of its state parks, while also touring its medieval castles.
Some notable highlights are; the State Apartments, the Chapel, a magnificent Banqueting Hall with elegant murals, and the Clock Tower. Make sure to tour the numerous early Victorian shopping arcades, the pick of the litter located throughout The Hayes.
The majority of its visitors start their touring at Cardiff Castle. It is situated in the heart of the city and erected on the remains of a dated Roman fortress. Several sections of the edifice can be traced back to 1090, although much of it underwent renovation around the 1800s.
Cardiff is a great place to enjoy the beauty and diversity that Wales has on offer. The elegant Cardiff Castle alongside the Principality Stadium are great spots worth a walk-through. If the admission prices are too steep for your budget, try nearby Bute Park with its lovely green area that requires no entrance fees. The Taff River runs through the park, and you can cruise the river to Cardiff Bay.
The Cardiff Bay is another spot that is worth visiting. It is one of the biggest redevelopment projects in the UK. The big space has many excellent eateries, exhibits, and stores in what used to be warehouses on the enchanting Mermaid Quay.
The Bay also houses the World of Boats, with its singular assortment of boats from all over the world. You can likewise visit Techniquest, an entertaining science hub with a planetarium and amphitheater.
Make sure to visit City Road for affordable meals. It is a roadway bursting with multicultural diversity and cuisine. Mezza Luna is a great option for Moroccan meals and I Giardini Di Sorrento if you fancy Italian cuisine.
You can also have lunch at the New York Deli – an American-themed lunch bar serving hulking hoagies at bargain prices – and munch on Welsh cakes at Bakestones. The National Museum holds considerable natural history and art collections, which are not only impressive, but free to study.
You can walk all over Cardiff comfortably. You will need exact change to take the bus, but it is more affordable than a taxi. Reliable, convenient lodgings are available at the Safehouse and the River House.
Tourists in Cardiff are never short of sights to see; try St Fagans National History Museum, Penarth Pier, or take a trip to Barry Island. Take in the Welsh Mining Experience and stroll through the Rhonda Heritage Park. The Norwegian Church Arts Centre, which includes the Dahl Gallery, is another great spot.
You can find affordable accommodation at ibis Cardiff Centre Hotel.
Loch Ness and Inverness
Even though the stories of mythological beasts have been discredited, Loch Ness remains a favorite for tourists traveling to Scotland for the holidays. Although it is improbable that you’ll meet any monsters, you will meet the wonders of some of the most enchanting landscapes in the UK.
Top spots to visit include the wreckage of Urquhart Castle, facing the Loch, one of the biggest fortifications in Scotland dating back to the 14th century.
For those interested in learning more about the myths surrounding the area, its history, including that of its monster, is available at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition with details of continuous quests for the beast.
Inverness lies further north, playing host to several notable attractions, like St. Andrew’s Cathedral built in the 19th century, Inverness Castle, and the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.
History enthusiasts can visit the Culloden Battlefield as well as the Visitors Centre. The penultimate battle between the English and Scots that sealed the fate of Scotland as a British dominion was fought at Culloden in 1746.
The tombstones of Scottish soldiers from the different clans and a Memorial Cairn, constructed in 1881 to honor the battle, are also a must-see.
You can find affordable accommodation at the Lochside Hostel.
It is possible to go on a holiday in the UK and not visit London, but it is not advisable. The city provides plenty of attractions to interest tourists. If you are keen on getting to know more about the rich history of the UK, then one place you must go is the Tower of London.
Situated alongside the magnificent Tower Bridge on the edges of the Thames, this one-time palace and jail holds several attractions. You can see the famous White Tower dating over 1000 years, with its captivating exhibits of war memorabilia, as well as the Jewel House which holds the Crown Jewels.
Followers of the Royal Family will fancy heading over to Buckingham Palace in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Queen. Good luck with that. At least, you can experience the interesting ceremony of the Changing of the Guard.
The Whitehall Road region is another must-see, who wouldn’t want to see Big Ben, the Parliament Houses, or Westminster Abbey? The latter has hosted several royal weddings.
Simply taking in the sights in this great city can be entertaining and quite fulfilling. You only need to roam on the Southbank or jump on the #11 bus to go past the Westminster Cathedral, Big Ben, the Parliament buildings, the Bank of England, and the Strand at a bargain price!
You should also visit South Kensington which is the home of the best museums in the city. Browse through the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, as well and the renowned Harrods Department Store. Don’t miss out on Trafalgar Square, where you can find the famous Nelson’s Column as well as the National Portrait Gallery.
While England’s capital may not be famous for its cheap prices, with the right attitude you can holiday in London on a budget. With the right plan, you can make your trip a memorable one without crippling your finances.
Consider all the free activities and sights in London and the legend of this city being a budget holiday location in the UK starts to gain some traction.
After all, when comparing London to other world cities, not many provide as much gratis pleasures as this majestic capital.
From stores to parks, galleries to castles, there is such a wide variety of activities to experience in London that you may not have to spend much to have the best time. Is that not what a budget holiday is all about?
You can find affordable accommodation at The Stay Club @ Willesden hostel.
The Lake District
The Lake District is one of the UK’s best national parks, and one of North England’s treasures. If you’re passionate about the great outdoors, hiking, picture-taking, bars with home-cooked meals, or touring the birthplaces of well-known poets, then you should visit the Lake District. It has what is arguably the most beautiful landscapes in the UK.
The lake district was created during the ice age, and became a popular destination during the Victorian era. There are much more than lakes to be found in the largest national park in England. Located in the north-west, the Lake District hosts many picturesque spots, and has the highest mountains in England.
From Ravensglass you can board a train to the heart of the National Park in the valley of Eskdale. This is a fine gauge steam train trip, a ride you cannot get anywhere else in the UK.
Once you are done cycling, walking, or canyoning about the wonderful countryside, the Lake District is filled with comfortable pubs that serve copious amounts of ale. In Keswick try the Dog and Gun, or the Royal Oak in Ambleside, for a decent Cumbrian encounter.
Consider this; if the Lake District was sufficiently capable of inspiring the likes of Wordsworth as well as Beatrix Potter, isn’t it worth a try? The wide region of natural beauty is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Lake District is one of the prime spots to go to in the UK if you are on a budget holiday.
Its out-of-the-way position and countryside indicate that the majority of the fun activities are tied to outdoor experiences, and if that does not present enough of a bargain for you, I don’t know what will.
It does not get more economical, while still retaining its excitement factor, than putting on your walking shoes to take on Friar’s Crag or Scafell Pike. Besides, the small settlements in this region present a sufficient chance for you to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst for a price that would make an honest man blush. There are also lots of lodgings about people searching for cheap accommodation.
The four largest towns in the region Windermere, Bowness, Keswick and Ambleside all have attractions, and there are loads of beautiful villages with lovable pubs which are ideal origin spots for scenic strolls and walks.
You can find affordable accommodation at OYO Hotel Majestic.