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Monday, 30 April, 2001, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Is Britain worth a visit?

Britain can seriously damage the wealth of overseas visitors, a tourist guide has revealed.

According to the Lonely Planet Guide, Britain is expensive and London "horrifically" so.

The guide said that if tourists stayed long enough in old British hotels they would soon realise that "Fawlty Towers was really a documentary".

Although food in Britain is getting better, the guide describes British cuisine as "uninspiring and expensive".

Have you been to Britain recently? Is the guide being fair? If you are British - would you rather be flying off to sunnier climates?


People who think Britain is expensive ought to try California

Jubilee, USA
Last summer I spent a month touring Britain with my wife. The whole trip including plane tickets, rental car, dining and accommodation cost less than $5,000 and if you knew how discriminating my wife is, you'd know we stayed in very nice B&Bs. People who think Britain is expensive ought to try California.
Jubilee, USA

One visit to England is definitely enough for a lifetime. Nobody likes the prices there, but this is of secondary importance. My main reason for not visiting again is the dreadful atmosphere very much resembling Eastern Europe 20 years ago.
Juergen Dudek, Australia

As an ex-patriot from West Ealing, my answer to your question is , no, I will not visit England again despite frequent bouts of homesickness. The reason? I always feel as though I am being exploited. The prices for just about everything are twice what they are in Canada and the service in restaurants and fast food establishments is to say the very least, "below par". As for petrol and transportation, it puzzles me as to how the English can afford to travel in their own country, for the costs are astronomical. If Britain wants to attract tourists they are going to have to offer more affordable prices and cleaner and more inviting eating establishments. I am sure conditions have improved since the days when in London , I have entered restaurants where a grubby spoon was tied to the countertop with a piece of string!
Kaye, Canada

I recently visited the UK for my third time this past March. I really enjoy the UK and the people. I spent most of my time in the North, visiting cities such as Manchester, Blackpool, Leeds and Sheffield. Only the final length of my stay did I stay in London. I stayed in an American-style hotel chain which was the closest thing to an American "motel". These are the negative things I've noted about my stay: 1.) American motels give you more amenities. 2.) Unnecessary complications - restaurants seem very rigid about serving times, where you sit (table assignments in an almost empty restaurant seem utterly ridiculous) Stop annoying paying customers with your rules. 3.) Payphones in the UK are a national disgrace. They are unreasonably expensive and not user-friendly by any stretch of the imagination. 4.) The British people are getting fleeced by taxes, especially on petrol. I had a rental car for my stay and I almost had a stroke refuelling it.

Now having said all that, the UK is a beautiful country with wonderful people. I've met some of the most engaging, intelligent and informed people not only about Americans and our country. I know there is much anti-Americanism about, but I suspect people are smart enough to separate what may be fashionable from what is real. When I hear of the "special relationship" between our two countries, I think its very real. Americans will always want to visit the UK. Perhaps more of them will, however, if some of the points I mention above are addressed.
David Berry, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Hotel and train prices are outrageous compared to most other countries. Britain has fantastic places to visit but how do you get there?
Brian Worboys, UK

While London is an expensive city, the villages and small cities of the UK are wonderful

K. Jones, USA
Come on now, if England is so awful, why are all the asylum seekers and economic refugees and other immigrants queuing up to get in? Can they see something that we ourselves miss? Could that be freedom?
Pete Goff, UK

I travel to the UK every October. Each year I alternate taking one of my children or my wife. All of us love Britain. I don't understand why all of these people writing in seem to equate London with the UK as a whole. London is not typical Britain any more than New York is typical of the USA. While London is an expensive city, the villages and small cities of the UK are wonderful. Never have I been treated rudely, or ever felt threatened. I have met wonderful people and made to feel welcome all over the UK. The only thing I wish I could change would be listening to the British themselves degrade their own country. I think that is a very sad thing. My children have been greatly enriched by visits to British historical sites, and inspired by stories of English explorers. You have a beautiful country and a proud history. Quit complaining and enjoy it.
K. Jones, USA

Yes, Britain is definitely worth a visit, if you are lousy with money and do not mind spending it on things you can buy elsewhere at half the price. The trouble is that I live here and being unemployed for seven years find it difficult to compete with the Japanese, American, and German tourists on the rare occasions I am invited for interview down to "the smoke".
James Bruce Reid , Scotland

Price theory is based on supply and demand. If the cost of touring Britain is too high due to tourist accommodation and transportation costs, one builds more accommodations, or converts more housing to bed and breakfast use at the choice of the property owner in the latter case of course, and one builds an efficient transportation network - rail, road, sea (coastal), bus - to lay the foundations for a proper tourist infrastructure, that is, the basic "hardware" or engineering needs to handle large numbers of tourists.
Don Miles, Canada

I now live in Japan - that speaks for itself. I am dreading the idea of returning home. I fail to see why any tourist would revel in the weather, prices and services in the UK. They are awful
Suzanne McMillan, Japan (UK)

Britain is of course a lovely place to go to. I went there last April and I would say the best days of my life especially London is so lively. However, it is a bit expensive. The biggest problem was shops close at 5pm when the sun sets around 10pm. I can not believe it, that the streets get empty and quite so early where as in Canada malls close at 9pm and stay open even at the weekends.
Qasim, Canada

Fortunately, London is not a true representation of the UK and three or four days is enough for any sane person. In my opinion, the only way to see the British Isles and meet the real Brits is by bicycle. The are so many back roads, green roads, highways and byways. Around every corner is a new adventure. It would take you 200 years to see it properly. You don't need to be fit, just start in a flat county like Norfolk or Lincolnshire and build on the mileage. Stay in YHA or CTC hostels. Where else could you drink in pubs with names like "The Headless Woman" or "Yea Hole in the Wall". Obviously, judging by the comments, most Brits don't know what they have in their own back yard, and you are going to have to experience it for them. Get your butt on a bike in Britain, NOW.
David Butler, Australia

Hotels and public transport (especially rail) are excessively overpriced when compared to Europe. Friends of mine in Switzerland used to fly over every Xmas in the late 70's early 80's to do their Xmas gift and clothes shopping and inclusive of flight they still saved money. Alas now they can shop in Switzerland, give a Xmas gift of an air ticket to London and save money.
Ron W, UK

I fail to see why any tourist would want to come to this dismal, run-down, third rate country! Everything is ridiculously expensive, and any of the goods which are actually made here are of much lower quality than their foreign equivalents. Every holiday I take is an eye-opener to what an abject failure Britain is.
Ian Lowe, Scotland, UK

I will always come back

Rich, USA
Lonely Planet guides are not, I believe, for the average tourist; but, rather for young people who are travelling on small budgets. So, in that regard, England is expensive. Having been there six times in the last six years, I can only say that I have met some of the nicest people, eaten some of the best food, and seen some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. I always feel as if I'm coming home when I step out of the terminal at Heathrow. London is noisy-- yes, crowded--yes; certainly no dirtier than any other major city. There is an excitement in the city that is unmatched, however. I will always come back!
Rich, USA

I travel a lot and all I can say is that sometimes I wish I didn't have to come back. We are ripped off and taxed at every turn. There is no such thing as value for money in the UK. It is a disgrace. If I lived overseas, this would be the last place I would visit.
Lorna Parker, UK

I live in London, and yes it does have a lot of very rude, aggressive people. It is also very dirty, mainly because the same rude people don't give a monkey's about the state of the city. But, if it is possible to ignore the people then this place is so fascinating that you should never be bored wandering around. Having said that I'm emigrating to France as I'm so sick of the hoards of pond life that wander our streets.
Graeme, England

In response to Volker's comment below. I lived in Germany and I agree that transport there is far superior and cheaper than it is here. The reason for this is because the government heavily subsidises transport. To successfully subsidise transport, enough taxpayers' money has to be thrown at the problem. Despite Prescott's efforts, Blair seems to undermine the importance of an integrated transport network which is efficient, affordable and simple to use (it must be a nightmare for foreigners to wade through all the different types of train tickets we have here!). Furthermore, Germany has the funds to invest in public transport quite simply because approx. 50% of your salary there goes to the tax man in one form or another.
James, England

Whatever our troubles, we still have a thriving country which needs us to believe in it

Mercia, UK
I'm an ex-tour guide. My belief is that getting off the beaten track is the best and often cheapest way to explore Britain. It doesn't have to cost as much as the trashy, well-known traps tourist sometimes find themselves in. Britain is a beautiful and special place. Whatever our troubles, we still have a thriving country which needs us to believe in it. After all, if YOU don't love your country, how can you expect others to love it?
Mercia, UK

As a German living in England I can offer friends a place to stay, but all my friends (+family) are absolutely shocked about the prices here in England. Food, transport, services are far more expensive here than everywhere I've ever been to. Example: annual travel card for public transport in Frankfurt 70% cheaper than what I pay here in London (oh, and all night service). I never holiday in England and try to do as much shopping as possible abroad or via the internet.
Volker, England

I recently moved back to England after living in the USA for 11 years. Britain is certainly more expensive than the US on most things, but the biggest problem here is surly and uncooperative service personnel. How these sour-pusses get those jobs in the first place is quite beyond me. However, what is their incentive when they are on such low wages and tipping is rare? If people tipped for good service, and tipped at 15-20%, then we might just get a few happy and cheerful service employees to make our lives so much more pleasant.
Brian Naylor, England

Fun is around every corner

Rob, USA
It's worth every penny! I visited your beautiful country 3 times last year and can't wait until I come back again this year!!! If anyone out there is contemplating a visit to the UK this year ... GO FOR IT! You won't be disappointed. If you shop around, you can find inexpensive places to stay, eat and relax. Fun is around every corner.
Rob, USA

I lived and worked in London for 2 years and I absolutely loved it. But yes, it's dirty. Backpackers swap tales of their first nose-blow after riding on the Tube and the shock of seeing all the dirt come out!!! And yes, it is expensive. Unfortunately, you have to spend lots of pounds to live well in London. The exchange rate makes it even more expensive for tourists than for residents. Those stories about 25 or more Aussie, Kiwi and South African backpackers sharing a 4 bedroom house to save money are very true!!!
Julia, Australia

I do wish all these guides would forget London as being the only place in the UK to visit as a tourist - there are other places. On second thoughts... keep on thinking of London as the only place to visit - please!
David Catherall, England

I don't think England is outrageously expensive

Kellie Kiernan, USA
I don't think England is outrageously expensive. I think that it really depends on the type of holiday that you plan for yourself. Plane tickets are cheap when you really shop around. Hotels are cheap if you really look into it. Restaurants aren't "cheap" in the American sense because the bar staff and waiters don't make tips like people in America do. They couldn't live off tips alone, so UK restaurants can't afford to be as inexpensive as in the USA. I never travel abroad looking for USA prices! It defeats the purpose. The only thing I will say against British prices is that the trains really are very expensive.
Kellie Kiernan, USA

It's just after I come back from travel abroad that I can appreciate how lucky I am to be in this country. Yes, we still have problems like the trains(which really SHOULD be re-nationalised) but on the whole we should count our lucky stars. This country really is Great Britain.
Kutti Saali, Blackburn, UK

I travel extensively around the world and I have learned one thing more than anything else. The more I travel, the more I realise just how expensive the UK is. We are over-charged by rip-off retailers and over-taxed by a rip-off government. The sooner we get rid of both the better.
Adrian M Lee, England

Of course London is expensive. It's the largest city in Europe and possibly the richest city on the planet - what do you expect? If you can't afford it, go somewhere cheap and cheerful like Australia. Complaining about it is like going to a Rolex store and moaning because you want to buy a Casio.
Mark Parish, USA

You don't realise what you've got there

Dave, Canada
As an ex-pat who's planning to come home, I don't care how expensive it is. I'd rather be broke than bored to tears as I am here! Yes I live in a lovely city with clean streets and all the rest of it, but it's so boring. They have so many silly rules here, like you can't have a pub within one square mile of the next one, you can't smoke in any pubs, and you can't sell crisps because it encourages you to drink more. Public transport is pathetic and nobody has a sense of humour.

You don't realise what you've got there - lovely villages and countryside, historical buildings that inspire the spirit, and a political leader with class. I can't wait to get back to the old country pubs, the banter and some decent employment opportunities!
Dave, Vancouver, Canada

Even as a Brit it has amazed me to find that the countryside and villages (Harrold for eg) were more beautiful than I remember but that the cities (London, Manchester, Altrincham) seemed so much noisier, shrunken, and over-crowded with scruffy people.
F C Payne, Australia

Britain is a great country to visit. The guide is a little harsh in its criticism--no country is perfect. It is true that Britain is expensive to visit. That's partly because of the strong pound. The government can promote tourism and make Britain more attractive to tourists by devaluing the pound.
Jeff, U.S.A.

All Europe is being affected by two diseases that the British have caused. I think that the image of England that we have is very bad, and we don't want to visit England for our vacations
Gerard, Catalonia

Wild horses couldn't drag me there

Amanda Bradley, Seattle, USA
I come to England to visit my mother. If not for that, wild horses couldn't drag me there. Londoners have to be the rudest people on the planet, the litter is shameful, and the trains, if they showed up at all, were filthy. The saving grace of England for me is Cornwall. It's beautiful and mostly unspoiled. But if I have to spend $2,000 on a vacation then I'm going to Bora Bora and Tahiti, I don't care how great the Lonely Planet says Birmingham is!
Amanda Bradley, Seattle, USA

Britain has so much to offer, but after travelling in Australia and New Zealand for 6 months, you realise how few travellers there are in the UK, and it's got to have something to do with the cost! Most don't get north of London so no wonder they get a biased picture of the UK. Australia and NZ cater so well for young travellers with good, cheap accommodation, trips to places off the beaten track and basically the attitude of the people makes your trip! They're great places, like the UK is, but they encourage tourism, rather than making foreigners feel unwelcome!
Kerry, Scotland

As an American, I really laugh while reading the Brit bashing topics on this web site. Brits love to bash themselves more than they do the Americans. Yes, London is expensive, but anyone been to Tokyo or Hong Kong lately? I travel frequently around the world and find Britain a very nice place with better than average friendliness.
Isabel, USA

Nowhere is perfect. Millions of tourists come to Rome every year to trip over the pavements, be ripped off by miserable shopkeepers and run down by the worst drivers in the world. Rome is not perfect but I love it. London is not perfect, but I love it too. Major cities are never cheap and usually dirty. I can't believe anyone is actually surprised at this.
Neil, Londoner living in Rome

I am extremely keen on Britain, it is definitely worth a visit, even if it implies spending an awful lot of money. Besides, London is one of the most amazing cities in the world, and the English are not as impolite as it is usually said. And what is more, where else will you find such gorgeous landscapes? But as far as beer is concerned, I'm sorry Alan, but it is in Germany and Belgium and not in Britain that you can drink the best beer in the world...
Jose Carlos, Spain

Britain offers a huge wealth of entertainment

Emily, UK
As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home". I would say to any tourist coming here that Britain offers a huge wealth of entertainment, cuisine and scenery. Blow the budget - that's the point of being on holiday!
Emily, UK

I totally agree that Britain is expensive and has fallen behind in the standared of accommodation and service available to tourists in comparison with other European and Commonwealth countries. I myself am going to Australia this year where the standard of accommodation, service and cuisine is second to none.
June Culpan, Scotland

"Lonely Planet" could be right. But it's also true that they are Australian and Australians never miss a chance to bash the Poms!!!
Derek, Australia

London is only expensive if you make it expensive. Tourists are drawn to places that don't really represent true life in London or Britain and no wonder they leave with false impressions. This is as much our fault though as British people do tend to be quite insulated and cold towards 'Johnny Foreigner'. Perhaps if tourists too made more of an attempt to understand what is British, instead of racing around attractions (most of which are foreign owned) they would spend less and see more.
Charles, UK

The truth hurts

Tim Dean, Switzerland
The truth hurts. I'm an ex pat and even Zurich, the money capital of the rich people's country, is cheaper to live in than London. Whenever I go back I am impressed by the improvements in my home town of Leicester and I am of course nostalgic and adore going out in London but the smell of the air, the disgusting facilities, the nature of the man on the street, and the horrifically bad public transport are nothing to be proud of.
Tim Dean, Switzerland

I wish people would stop moaning. Britain's expensive, it's not perfect and never will be, but it's good enough to be the fourth largest (yes, read it again, fourth largest) economy in the world. Stop moaning and then maybe everyone would cheer up a bit. All this doomy talk about how awful everything is can't be healthy. Stop it!
Matt, England

Following on what Will had to say, there is an added sting for visitors to the UK from countries such as South Africa. Our currency is extremely weak against the Pound so we are already at a disadvantage. Service or products, good or bad, are already pricey for us. There is often no such thing as value for money in the UK where we are concerned but that is hardly your fault. When we are paying nearly twelve times the price for something, we expect it to be more than mediocre.
John Cross, South Africa

There certainly are very expensive places in England (not just London) but it is also possible to find better-value places away from the obvious tourist traps. As for seedy, this again may be true in part but at least street-cleaning etc is of a much better quality in the areas of London that tourists frequent than in many of the non-tourist areas which us Londoners have to endure on a daily basis. One glaring omission from the guide was the general unfriendliness of Londoners, which many people who visit London often remark upon, and with ample justification in most cases.
Phil J, England

Lonely Planet guides are boring books written by and for the sort of patronising dunderheads who can't wait to get to India or SE Asia 'to see genuine poverty', and think certain parts of the world are massively spiritual just because drugs are cheap and they don't have proper toilets. If the person who serves you your food earns a living wage, they don't want to know. Yes, Britain is expensive, particularly in terms of lodging, and is at times very dreary indeed, but plenty of other places are both of those, and a slagging-off in a book like this isn't worth bothering about.
David Lea, UK

Restaurant prices are horrific

Janine, UK
In terms of the prices of accommodation and eating out, Britain is a rip off. My husband and I have lived in various countries around the world and as busy DINKs we have always tended to eat out a lot. In every other country we have never found this to be much of an extravagance, but since we arrived here we are finding that we tend to eat at home a lot more often. Restaurant prices are 'horrific', and the quality and level of service really don't match up with places of similar status elsewhere. There are good things - like the free museums and galleries - but one has got to eat and that applies to local residents too!
Janine, UK

Every time I go to London it surprises me, mainly in that no one has been to charm school. Service in the UK is my primary objection: there isn't any. People act as though they are doing you a favour if they eg bring food in a restaurant or sell you something. There are many good things about the UK and London in particular, but at the end of each trip I regret having spent my time and money dealing with the British. This year I'm spending my vacation time in Provence. My French is not as good as my English, but the French are much more welcoming.
J. Silver, USA

Britain has no personality, no culture and a wretched history. However it still holds on to the misguided view that it is the greatest empire ever established. We need to re-educate our children on the truth about our heritage so that they can stop acting in a conceited and arrogant manner. Football hooliganism and British nationalism reflect a poor historical education in schools. Britons have a lousy reputation and we must be ready to admit that.
Jones, London

I think holidaying in Britain is well worth the added cost

Cheryl, Canada
We are arriving in the UK this May for a month-long holiday. Can't wait to get started! Sorry to disappoint all of you self-bashers, but I think holidaying in Britain is well worth the added cost. Travelling anywhere is expensive, so get over it! If you can't afford it, don't go. By the way, having twice travelled across Canada, take my advice -forget bargains, they're out for the dollar, the same as anywhere else. Happy motoring!
Cheryl, Canada

I have just spent a weekend in York. £30 each for the train fare (from London) a decent B&B for £34 (for two, not each), sandwiches for lunch, and a good dinner in a pub at two for £6, with desserts and drinks taking the total bill to £15 for two of us. If you want to spend money, you can, but it's perfectly possible to take a weekend break in Britain without spending a fortune.
Nicola, UK

France a few years ago at 7 francs to the pound looked very expensive, and most of my European continent friends were coming to London to take advantage of our cheap prices. Now the exchange rate has moved 50% plus against major European countries, we seem expensive. This does not make Europe cheap or the UK expensive, as domestic prices cannot be expected to change in line with large-scale international exchange rate movements. Our real concern should be poor service - although it's not nearly as bad as it used to be - and lack of imagination. Still, at least we have the best beer in the world by a long way.
Alan, UK

I wouldn't take anything in a Lonely Planet guide seriously

STC, England
I wouldn't take anything in a Lonely Planet guide seriously. I've used their guides to a number of countries, including France, Ireland, Spain and Morocco, along side the equivalent Rough Guides and have invariably found the LP guide to be shallow by comparison and more interested in making a witty comment than in communicating useful information. They also seem to spend a disproportionate amount of space on the classic "grockle traps" whereas the Rough Guides are far better at getting you off the beaten track. If visitors are really so unimaginative that they just "have" to do Windsor, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, Bath and the Cotswolds while overlooking the likes of Shrewsbury, Norwich, Hereford, Exeter and the Welsh border country, then they get all they deserve.
STC, England

I holiday in Britain and abroad and find the main difference is the quality of service & attitude you receive. Some areas of Britain (notably Cornwall) do match, and sometimes exceed, foreign standards, but it is rare. I was in Cornwall (yet again!) after Easter and it was very busy while other regions were deserted. On the way home we wanted to stop overnight in Minehead, Somerset, and called at the town's tourist info centre for details of B&Bs in town, but the staff were as unhelpful as they could be so we moved on. Also, many areas of Britain do not welcome children. More than once I have been asked to leave a pub with a "families welcome" sign outside, because children are not allowed in! Ironically my son's first time in a British pub was in Austria, where they made him very welcome.
Alan, England

I just visited New York and I did not find it exactly cheap. On the other hand it was dirty and the toilets/restrooms were in an extremely poor condition in NY. At least London is cleaner and hence worth the extra expense. The food (only fast food) was probably cheaper in NY but not the quality. Everything seemed to be enhanced with flavours (which is why it is cheaper to make and sell this food). And anyway what good is cheap food in the longer term? The more you get for your money, the more you will eat and you will eventually end up being obese, as most people in USA are because they get more for their money. Is the cheap food worth it when you are having medical problems?
Dipa Patel, UK

Lonely Planet is right to bash Britain. Many tourists come here to see West End shows, only to discover that in this "international cultural centre" they cannot go for a drink in a pub after these shows. NY is comparatively expensive, but can at least claim to be a true 24-hour city.
LMA, England

I don't think you should class all the UK as London

Jennifer Walker, UK
I live in Cumbria and don't think you should class all the UK as London. There are many, many places out there to visit and well worthwhile. Everywhere is expensive these days, none of us can get away from that, but it depends how you want to part with your hard earned cash. Sometimes I think the service in the UK leaves a lot to be desired but it is getting better. I think! I love Amsterdam, but then that's my choice and I would not complain about the cost, I expect to pay for what I enjoy and not moan about it.
Jennifer walker, UK

London - goes hand in hand with overpriced, dirty and impersonal. It manages very well to have the rudest population in the UK compared to other major cities. It is a place with many great things to see and it is our 'glorious' capital city, but that's not any justification.
James, London, UK

Lonely Planet has always been a tad anti-British. Its core market is the late teens/early twenties, North American back-packer who regards Europe as one animal. Britain hasn't got the weather of Greece, the history of Italy or the culture of France, so it's always going to come off worst. Try looking at the Guides for Scandinavia - 'boring and mountainous' is the summary. In all it reminds me of the entry for Planet Earth in The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - 2 words, 'Mostly Harmless'!
Terry, UK

My job causes me to be abroad a lot and I have to agree with the article. Everything is too expensive, the service is poor and London has to be the most over-rated location in the UK. It smells, and the litter is shocking. I'd consider the best locations in Europe to be Milan, Paris, Brussels and Glasgow. When it comes to food, it's Brussels. Milan just has to be quality clothes. In Paris, it's the girls and in Glasgow, the architecture. Folk may complain this is UK bashing but this country is not good enough and the sooner we all realise it the more likely we are to do something about it.
Ruaridh Shuttleworth, Scotland

I certainly wouldn't pay money to visit London for a holiday!

Richard Haigh, England
A recent trip to Copenhagen really bought this home to me. In Denmark it is expensive but you get great public transport, no litter anywhere to be seen, very high standards and a feeling of safety walking the town at night. In contrast London has poor transport, is dirty and doesn't feel nearly as accommodating. I certainly wouldn't pay money to visit London for a holiday!
Richard Haigh, England

The reason why things are so expensive is mainly due to the high rates and rents - along with high transport costs - that shops and businesses have to pay. If these were brought down to more realistic levels, then perhaps we would see better value for our products and services. Other countries have higher direct taxation but lower indirect taxation, whereas here it's the other way around.
Martin Bullivant, UK

YES YES and YES! Scotland was terrific though. Maybe my parochialism is showing after spending a year in Spain then a week in London during the winter last year. And with the way our Aussie peso is heading, I'd rather torture my cash in a continental European holiday where there are more sites to see and be inspired. London is a bit like Sydney only with the weathers reversed.
Student/Traveller, Australia

It is cheaper for us to have a weekend in France than to travel in the UK

Bridget, UK
Accommodation in particular is outrageously priced in this country. Shortly before our marriage, my (now) husband and I went for a "dirty weekend" to Brighton where we paid £60 a night to stay in a revolting bright yellow basement room. It reeked of damp and even the long-life milk was off! We ended up coming home early. A month later, we were staying in 4-star comfort in Barcelona for the same price! More often than not, it is cheaper for us to have a weekend in France than to travel in the UK.
Bridget, UK

Yes, I remember it well: drab, samey streets in every town; all closed down at 6pm. By all accounts, you can add to that hellishly expensive petrol prices, and the likelihood of encountering a "what you looking at?" thug on any street corner or in any pub. Visitors must find modern Britain a revelation!
Angus, Hong Kong SAR

When I moved to Switzerland from the UK last year, I spent a fair amount of time comparing prices. Switzerland, which is not considered one of the cheapest places, is less expensive than the UK for a lot of things with a quality both of products and services that the UK could do with striving to attain. And when I hear the people I work with saying they won't go to the UK for a holiday because it's too expensive, it does make me wonder what's going on.
Stephen, Switzerland

If it was cheaper, we could have another visit one day!

Phil, New Zealand
Britain is very expensive generally, and ridiculously so for some tourist attractions (particularly in London). Despite this, we had a great holiday there. If it was cheaper, we could have another visit one day! One comment on London: A marvellous place but have the council ever heard of steam-cleaning the pavements? They have got to be the filthiest I have come across in a civilised country.
Phil, New Zealand

What does the guide say about Paris? Describing London as horrifically expensive means that the prices one is expected to pay on the Champs Elysees defy description. The same applies to low grade Paris hotels - at least most British ones are clean. Stop knocking the UK - we enjoy a very high quality of life. Concentrate on the good things and don't let's become a nation of moaners.
Jon, UK

Just about anywhere you go the "touristy" places charge exorbitant prices for generally poor quality goods and services. The difference here is that we as a nation put up with it all the time, rather than confining it to the tourist rip-offs. Comparing the UK to the US and Canada, from a tourist perspective just about everything is cheaper over there. Last holiday I stayed in the Presidential Suite at the Marriott hotel overlooking the Niagara Falls for less money than it would cost to stay in London overlooking the North Circular! If you like what our American friends would probably call the "quaint villages" the UK is well worth a visit; likewise if you like walking (at least when foot-and-mouth is gone) some of our more impressive architecture and coastlines merit a visit. If all you want to do is lie on the beach, then go to Spain. If all you want to do is go clubbing, then go anywhere except here!
John B, UK

Far too often visitors to Scotland encounter the "Country That Likes to say No!" We offer poor service - often unfriendly - and low value. On many occasions I have felt that the customer is an inconvenience, and to encounter pubs/bars etc that still close in the afternoon, is not what visitors are looking for after an activity or visit somewhere.
George, Scotland

I stayed in the middle of San Francisco last summer and got royally ripped off

Simon, England
It depends where you go. I've just come back from a family holiday to Norfolk. There was beautiful countryside, wonderful National Trust properties and friendly people, and nothing was too expensive. If tourists spend all their time in London then I'm certain they will get fleeced at some point, but that's major cities for you. I stayed in the middle of San Francisco last summer and got royally ripped off.
Simon, England

The main problem about trying to have a holiday in the UK is the public transport system. It is expensive, dreadful and difficult to use. Why can't we have a system like they do in most of Europe with bus stations next to railway stations and an integrated transport system? Why the assumption that people want to or can drive? Getting to major English towns like Oxford or Warwick from Glasgow is not fun. There may well be nice places to visit in the UK, but it is cheaper and easier to travel abroad.
B. Bardzki, Scotland

When I came to the UK from Australia 10 years ago, I spent the first 3 years in London. It is without doubt that London is one of the most expensive places in Europe, if not the world, to live. I would NEVER recommend London to anyone considering a visit on a budget!
Ron Sumner, United Kingdom

Once again people leap at the chance to come here and moan about Britain. The major problem with Britain is not the expense of visiting (if you think the UK is expensive - visit Scandinavia!), nor the hotels which are not really any worse than others I have stayed in abroad. Nope, what makes Britain stand out as a miserable place is the vast number of Brits who seem to take a perverse delight in belittling our country. Wake up, people - we live in a country that has some beautiful countryside and impressive tourist sites. Why not do our tourist industry a favour and stop whining!
Mike, England

If eating out was cheaper here, far more people would do it

Alastair Stevens, UK
This is undoubtedly a land of rip-offs. Yes, you can find great deals and lovely places, off the beaten track, but why is it that you can pop across to France and get a lovely 3-course lunch for a tenner in the heart of the tourist trap areas? If eating out was cheaper here, far more people would do it.
Alastair Stevens, UK

I have relatives in Britain and have visited often, staying in many places in England, Scotland and Wales. The pound is currently so strong that the exchange rate to Australian dollars is terrible. There used to be 50 English pence to the Australian dollar, there are now about 35. Britain is expensive for tourists anyway compared to prices in many places in the world. I've always found the food quite good, including the breakfasts, though perhaps a bit stodgy. However, I've noticed improvements every time I've come. London is definitely very expensive, but then again, so is Paris and many of the other main tourist cities of Europe and I feel London is fairly comparable with them.
Emma, Australia

Lonely Planet raises a number of issues which I believe both the tourist/ leisure industry and indeed the populace at large need to consider here in the UK. The quality of customer service, real value for money and a passion for food and culture to a great degree are lacking in this country and I think we suffer greatly - and mainly silently - for it. We seem to have perfected the art of dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator and then accepting this as the norm. WAKE UP BRITAIN!
Richard, England

I agree that eating out in Britain is overpriced. The reason for this I would suggest is lack of competition. On the continent most bars and restaurants appear to be independent whilst in the UK big chains dominate all but the top end, leading to bland tasteless food and high prices.
John Haigh, UK

I'd imagine they'd have to take out a loan to visit England

Ethan, England
I was born and bred in England and can't imagine how the tourists cope with the high-inflated prices here. I've been to many countries on business trips and I have to honestly say the quality of service and price of food in most of the more expensive restaurants there is far better and cheaper. I'd imagine they'd have to take out a loan to visit England.
Ethan, England

Yes, Britain is expensive compared to some countries, and I can see why people from the USA complain at our prices. However if we keep paying £50 for Levis and 60p for a can of coke they will never go down. Surely it is up to the individual to say NO to high prices and to shop around.
Richard, London, England

I visited Britain for the first time in early March. With a college group we stayed in London but visited Stratford and Oxford and we had a wonderful time. London was more exciting than NYC and we found it less expensive overall than the Big Apple. Perhaps foreign visitors are put off by the high value of the pound, and are discouraged when they get so little in return at the exchange rate.
Donald, USA

Funnily enough, we are discussing this very point on the Lonely Planet website bulletin board. Sure, if I was British, I would want to go abroad, much the same as everyone else. That's what travelling is all about - discovering new cultures and lifestyles. As for the comments, I think that they're very unfair. It's hardly what the tourist industry needs right now.
Alex Banks, Wales, Living in Sweden

I've been to England 30 times and will be back

Richard Lewis, New York, USA
Pricey, yes. Worth it, absolutely. Tourists should go into the country and avoid the tourist traps. I've been to England 30 times and will be back. New York isn't exactly cheap either.
Richard Lewis, New York, USA

The main problem in Britain is a lack of cheap accommodation for tourists. B&Bs still have this tag of you must be in bed by 11pm etc. Otherwise, the tourists have to fork out lots of money in order to stay somewhere decent. Also more provision of foreign language brochures, guidebooks etc, as foreign visitors go to more places than just London.
Helen, UK

I must say it's sad but true. I spend three days a week in mainland Europe. The quality and prices are definitely better than in the UK. One more for "Rip off Britain".
Mark, Britain

On the Continent it's not just British tourists who eat out on a regular basis, the locals do too but in this country few can afford to do this. Britain has some wonderful places to visit on holiday by both people abroad and from other parts of the country but they are losing out because of our high prices.
James Pittman, England

It's easy to agree with the Lonely Planet comment

Kenny, United Arab Emirates
I go home every year for the summer to Glasgow and find Britain very expensive. If you compare the UK to other European countries and the hotels and service they provide, it's easy to agree with the Lonely Planet comment.
Kenny, United Arab Emirates

I have recently returned to London from Vienna and one thing that pleases me about the UK is the number of free museums and art galleries. We should be proud of this! I also find that there is no such thing as "British cuisine", and the diversity of food in London must put any other city in the world to shame, even if it comes at a high price.
Simon, UK

What strikes you the most is the inconsistent levels of service - usually poor and of course the lack of quality and inventiveness of the cuisine. It's bombastic to expect to pay twice as much as usual for this sort of treatment.
Jeanne Pienaar, Britain

London is certainly pricey, and some parts are seedy. What I find shocking is that if you want an affordable and fun long weekend, it is cheaper, usually more interesting and fun and of a better tourist standard, to go abroad to the Continent. And that's including the price of the flight!
D. Holloway, From US, living in London

Economics is all relative

Matt, England
Lonely Planet would also tell us that parts of Asia were extremely cheap, great to visit, but what of the residents to whom a £1 tip is a weeks wages? Hardly heaven on earth. Economics is all relative, it is expensive here because we are a wealthy nation.
Matt, England

Expensive? In places perhaps, but we have more free museums and galleries than anywhere I know. There are numerous places you can eat well for under £7 a head and I don't mean fast food or the like. If you are willing to sleep in a hostel and don't insist on top of the range restaurants it is really not a problem.

Every year we go away for our anniversary and this year as money is a bit tight we looked at going to Devon for a week. We worked out that petrol would cost over £100, (88p per litre now) accommodation in a cheap B&B would be £23 per person per night and then there is food which is about £30 a day. Adding these up, it worked out cheaper to go to Greece for a week. The thought of spending a small fortune to sit in a coffee shop while watching the rain makes me almost think why on earth do people bother coming here?
Paul Atkins, UK

I always tell friends planning a visit to the UK to spend two days/ one night in London, to do the tourist thing, and then get out and go see the country; stay at inns, small town hotels or even B&Bs. Like anywhere in the world, if you stay in the tourist traps, you'll end up a trapped (and impoverished) tourist!
Mark M. Newdick, USA/ UK

I totally disagree with Lonely Planet's comments on England

Sam Karunaratne, England
I totally disagree with Lonely Planet's comments on England. The publisher Footprint bought out a great book on London which looks past the clichés. Of course it's easy to say that London is expensive - but surely the whole point of guidebooks is for them to find the best places. My Footprint guide showed me the cheapest and best places to eat and stay. I hate to be cynical but I think LP is try to get publicity in the wake of foot-and-mouth.
Sam Karunaratne, England

I'm getting rather tired of all the Brit bashing going on in the media. People are suffering and dying all over the world. Many of them are desperate to come to the UK. Don't we have anything more important to discuss?
Malcolm Cupis, England

I am a frequent traveller and can say that Britain is the most overpriced and overrated country I know of. The British really should get off of their little island every now and then and see what's going on around them. Then they may realise just what a bad deal they are getting
Samuel Bond Luxton, England

Britain is far too expensive for its own residents so how can we expect visitors to stomach costs often double what they are used to paying in their own countries for poorer services and products?
Will, Britain

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