- Travel Topics
If you’re looking for accommodations, check out the many holiday homes in UK. They’re super cozy and very affordably priced accommodation options.
We spent an average $71 each per day in England over the course of 23 days. Here is a collection of our impressions, travel tips, and the cost break down.
We spent a lot of time in London but most of it we spent working indoors (the sad reality of travel blogging/being a digital nomad). When we did get out to see the city we mostly went on walking tours, exploring the areas of Greenwich, the South Bank, Soho area, and the East End. The best way to really get the vibe of a city is just by being outdoors and wandering around. We really lucked out and had beautiful weather which made for perfect afternoon strolling. We also saw a hilarious play – One Man Two Guvnors, which I highly recommend seeing if it’s still playing. There’s really no shortage of things to do in London and with the city being enormous it’s best to limit your outings to one area of the city each day (otherwise you’ll just spent hours on the tube)
How could we go to England and not go to see Stonehenge, right? Though it is just a circle of rocks it is still pretty cool. We signed up for a bus tour which took us to Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Salisbury so we made a full day out of it. Salisbury is a nice little town with the gorgeous Salisbury Cathedral which holds the Magna Carta (a royal charter of political rights) from 1215.
Bath is a historic Roman and Georgian spa city and is therefore known for its Roman baths and hot springs. Instead of visiting the ancients baths we took a dip in our couchsurfings hosts’ backyard hot tub (oh the joys of college life). We spent 1 day and 2 nights hanging out with our couchsurfing hosts (4 college guys) and had a blast learning about British culture (did you know all swans in England are property of the queen and killing one is a criminal offense?) and drinking as many bottles of cider as we could manage. Our host, Ollie’s family has an apple farm and his grandfather is the face of Henry Weston’s cider so he brings back crates of the stuff every time he visits home.
Bristol is one of those cities overlooked by tourists but we decided to make a stop there. The city was founded in the 12th century and for hundreds of years ranked among the top English cities, until the Industrial Revolution and the rise of other cities. There’s the old city to see, the harbor, the famous suspension bridge, and St Nicolas Market for a quick bite to eat. I do love cities on the water and this is just another one of them, with plenty of historic districts and nice walks.
Cheltenham was to be our jumping off point for the Cotswolds region. It’s a fairly small town, with a nice tree lined Promenade and series of nice buildings. We had a great night other there, going to see an amateur production of Avenue Q – which I highly enjoyed. The actors did a great job pulling off an American accent!
This was our adventure through the Cotswolds. We planned on a walk/hike through the English countryside taking in the towns of Stanton, Snowhill and Broadway. It didn’t take more than an hour for us to get completed lost, stranded and then soaked by a surprise downpour. The day did not quite go as planned, but I still enjoyed getting a glimpse of these adorable British towns and would have loved to spend a few more days in the Cotswold region to see some of the other town. Best to rent a car in this region to make moving around easier.
Home to the world renowned William Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon has no shortage of tourists, but this does not take away from it’s charm. The architecture in the city is unique and beautiful so walking around on foot is a must. We spent one afternoon learning about the horrifying world of Tudor Life, from Elizabeth I to the Plague at the Tudor World Museum and we even returned there that evening for a lantern lit ghost tour, which was interesting but we didn’t get to see any ghosts or spirits unfortunately. The next morning we went on a Shakespeare tour, visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace, grave, Hall’s Croft and Nash’s House. Stratford-Upon-Avon really is a great town and I highly recommend spending a couple days there
We were only in Nantwich to see Matt, one of our blogging friends and following a brief afternoon tour of the small yet charming town we had a great night out with him and his friends.
Liverpool, well known as being home to the Beatles and apparently also the scouse accent, the least trustworthy accent in England (or so we read in a daily newspaper). Now you’ve really got to visit Liverpool even if it’s just to hear the accent. At times, I eavesdropped on conversations and found myself unable to understand a word. Seriously. I never grow tried of this. When we weren’t walking around trying to start conversations with as many people as possible we walked around the city center, stopping by Albert Dock, the Pier Head, and visiting the International Slavery Museum and the Maritime Museum. Both museums are free and worth a visit. We skipped the Beatles Story museum but imagine if you’re a huge fan of them you would find that interesting.
Newcastle was surprisingly much more picturesque than I would have imagined. I didn’t know what to expect and our main reason for ending up in this area of England was to go to the nearby Seaham beach to collect seaglass for Dave’s mom, so exploring pleasant Newcastle was a nice bonus. A really nice city though with historic buildings and beautiful bridges. For history buffs day trips are available to see Hadrian’s Wall, which we were planning on doing ourselves but got soaked on our Seaham outing and were too cold to go anywhere else.
Would we do it the same way?
I loved England, and the English themselves. It was so strange to be traveling in a foreign country but where the native language is your own, I loved it. It removed all communication barriers and allowed us to interact with a lot of people. I personally just love the British accent, so simply hearing it all around me put a smile on my face. The pronunciation, the slang, all of it, just love it. Though I did notice that Brits seem to mumble a lot more than us Americans, it seems they’re trying to talk by opening their mouths as little as possible, which does at times make understanding them a bit tricky. With communication all in English, traveling around was a breeze and we generally found people to be really friendly (except for the one bed and breakfast chap who repeatedly barked at Dave ‘now don’t get funny with me mister’). Everyone we hung out with (from friends, to couchsurfers to fellow bloggers) was always down for a drink, if not 3 or more. My kind of people. Full of outrageous stories, these Brits had me almost in tears. Be careful with the beer though. On several occasions we ordered a “British” beer and ended up with a completely flat beer. The first time this happened we actually returned the beer, thinking that there was something wrong with the tap. But no, the beer was just as it was supposed to be…flat. I’m completely baffled as to who would actively seek out a flat beer, but hey I guess the English like it?
In the first part of our trip we were lucky and had some great weather – blue sunny skies, warm days, though eventually this took a turn for the cold, grey and dreary. I guess I can see now why so many Brits we meet on the road are always fleeing the weather over there.
The British pound is a bit of a killer though. Everything is expensive as is and then when you have to multiply that by 1.55 to see what you’re spending in US dollars, it is a bit of a blow. Transportation seems to be outrageously expensive and we took some absurdly overpriced trains, but buses didn’t seem to be a better option. If you book far in advance perhaps you can get a better deal.
England is not well known for its food and our expectations weren’t too high but we were pleasantly surprised. One of my favorites has got to be the Fry Up – the full English breakfast. Our couchsurfing hosts in Bath took us out for our first fry up, it seems to be the way to bring in a hungover Saturday morning among college kids. With baked beans, sausage links, bacon, black pudding, hash browns, eggs, toast and juice — this is the heartiest breakfast I have ever had. Oh and black pudding in case you’re not aware is blood sausage – not quite my favorite but worth a taste nonetheless. Now if this wasn’t terrible for your health or your waistline I would probably be eating a lot more of these, but if you’re in England make sure to get the fry up at least once.
And if breakfast isn’t your thing, then go all out for a big plate of fish and chips. Best meal ever. Why is deep fried food always so good? Especially good when it’s nice and cripsy, with a hint of lemon and vinegar. I don’t even want to know how many calories in this one. But really, you’ve got to get at least one order of fish and chips in England.
As seems to be the case in every country we couchsurf in, this again was our best experience. Hanging out with locals really is just about the best thing ever, and England was the perfect place to do that. Between the guys we met in Bath, our host in Bristol and our friend Matt in Nantwich we had some awesome nights, getting drinks, sharing some stories, really a great time. Connecting with people really is the kind of experience that stays with you and creates a last impression about a place. Sure, museums, monuments, landmarks are all impressive, but you don’t look back as warmly on those memories as you do when people are involved.
We took some local buses in the Cotswolds and while they don’t run that frequently you can use them to get around if you don’t want to rent a car.
We took a few trains and found them to be incredibly expensive. Not sure if this is because we bought tickets last minute or if they are expensive all the time but if you are traveling in a group it seems like renting a car might be a less costly option.
No cabs taken in England.
We didn’t take any long distance buses.
We were able to get a few student discounts so make sure to carry the student id with you!
We don’t remember having problems with finding bathrooms.
We felt very safe in England.
There are tons of various cafes, casual food establishments and restaurants everywhere. You can find just about any cuisine in England and we tested out a few of them. For cheaper more casual meals look for an outdoor market. We found these in many cities/towns we visited and these were always cheaper than full on restaurant meals. You’ll also find many chain cafes like Pret-a-Manger where you can find sandwiches, salads, soups for a reasonable price.
Credit Cards And Money
We were able to use our credit cards sometimes, though we have cards without the chip so this gave us trouble sometimes.
Internet is widely available.
We stayed in a mix of hostels, hotels and couchsurfed. A good mix.
We had no problem finding couchsurfers in the places we were interested in finding them.
We kept track of every cost we had down to the purchase level and categorized it into 5 groupings:
So where did we end up? $71 per person, per day.
Would we go back to England? YES but not immediately. We had a good time while we were there and I would love to go back to explore other parts of the country but we’re not in a hurry to do so.