Overall score (Dan) = B
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B
Total days = 9 nights, 10 days
Total cost = $2,005
Cost per day = $200 / day
Flight costs = $613 one-way from Tel Aviv
Cities visited: Sterling, Edinburgh, Bristol, London
As our flight touched down at London Heathrow, we were mixed with emotions ranging from relief to sadness. Relief from knowing our scary and exotic countries were all marked off the list and sadness for the same reason! Arrival in the UK meant that after this country we only had one left to visit – Iceland. It meant we were back to westernized countries where the people looked like us and everything was familiar. It meant our round the world trip was almost complete.
After arriving in London at night, we took a flight out the next morning to Glasgow, Scotland. I still want to call Scotland its own country even though they really haven’t been since the 1700’s! We explored the beautiful countryside in the Scottish Highlands and spent a day exploring the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Next, we flew to Bristol, UK where we met up with one of our friends who we once again used as a tour guide to visit Bath and Stonehenge. After that, we spent three days exploring the many sites of London.
How far does your money go in the UK?
The Untied Kingdom is expensive; gone are the days in SE Asia where we could spend $25/night on a nice hotel. The UK as well as Scotland uses the British Pound Sterling and $1 USD equals roughly .62 Pound.
Here are our per day spending highlights:
Lodging = $82 / day
Transportation = $78 / day
Food = $26 / day
Excursion = $13 / day
Total hotel points used = 7,000 points for two nights at the Sheraton Heathrow Airport Hotel.
We experienced quite a bit during our 10 days in the United Kingdom and really enjoyed our time there. As our first stop was Scotland, we had to make it out of the cities and into the countryside. We spent two nights in a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Loch Lomond, Scotland that we used as our base to explore the local countryside. The weather was a typical cold and rainy Scottish experience, so instead of trekking we spent most of the time driving from place to place – which included Inveraray Castle where Dowton Abbey was filmed! We spent the remaining days exploring other cities and castles such as Stirling (William Wallace’s battle grounds!) and finally Edinburgh. We really enjoyed Edinburgh and would love to return.
After Scotland, we were lucky enough to meet a friend in Bristol where we stayed a night with him and his family. As always, it made the experience so much more fulfilling as we were made to fill at home and more educational with the local knowledge on our tours through Bath and Stonehenge! After that, we hopped fairly cheap bus ride to London (16 Pounds). Although London was really expensive, we were able to keep our costs down by visiting the many free attractions such as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Parliament, and many museums such as the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Design Museum, and the Imperial War Museum.
There wasn’t a whole lot of bad to be found in the United Kingdom besides the high expenses! It was still possible to find cheaper meals, but we usually ended up at local pubs where the bar menu still ran $30-$35 for two drinks and meals. However, our biggest challenge was finding a cheap place to stay in London… man that place is expensive! We spent hours researching and looking at every booking site possible (Air BnB, VRBO, Kayak, Hotwire, etc) but still couldn’t find a more reasonable place to stay! We ended up sacrificing location and stayed at a Crowne Plaza further out of town instead of paying the same price to stay in town in someone’s extra bedroom!
I guess the only ugly I can think of is the discount carriers that fly throughout Europe. We already had some bad experiences with Ryan Air when flying from Tel Aviv to Marrakech when we learned the airports they use are more like warehouses in the middle of small towns pretty far away from the city you’re visiting, but what really made me mad was when we flew EasyJet from Glasgow to Bristol, and I somehow missed that we needed to pay for our bags in advance! Thanks to my mistake (or maybe they were hiding it on their website!) we had to pay around $100 for bags on our one way flight.
In conclusion, The United Kingdom and London were about what I expected, but I was surprised with Scotland and would love to go back in the summer where we can trek around in the Highlands. It also helped ease us back to the United States which are only ten days away!
Next up: Iceland