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Leaving for Great Britain

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Practical A to Z

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Practical A to Z



The pound sterling (£) is the currency.

Banks / exchange

Banks are open Monday-Saturday from 9.30am to 4.30pm; some are also open for a few hours on Sundays.

It is possible to change money in exchange offices, travel agencies and hotels, but the commission charged is often higher than in banks and exchange rates can be very variable.

Budget / cost of living

Compared to the rest of the United Kingdom and other European capitals, London is very expensive, particularly in terms of accommodation and transport.

Shoe string budget travellers staying in a youth hostel, eating snacks or picnics and using public transport will need around £35 per person.

If on a small budget, a night in modest hotel, snacks and public transport will cost around £50 per person.

A medium budget with a night in comfortable hotel, good meals in a restaurant and public transport and taxi fares will cost from £90 per person.

Those with more to spend, should budget on a minimum of £140 per person for a night in an upmarket B&B, meals in good restaurants and taxi fares.


Museums are open daily from 10am-6pm (sometimes with shorter opening hours on Sunday). All the major national museums are free of charge.

Public holidays

1 January

Good Friday

Easter Monday – England and Wales

1st Monday of May – May Day Bank Holiday

Last Monday of May – Spring Bank Holiday

Last Monday of August – August Bank Holiday

25 and 26 December


Shops are open Monday-Saturday from 9.30-10am to 6-7pm, sometimes later in department stores. Some shops are open on Sundays from 10-11am to 5-6pm in tourist centres. Others stay open later (8-9pm) one night a week, on Wednesdays (Knightsbridge, Chelsea) or Thursdays (Oxford Street, Kensington High Street, Covent Garden).

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