Pound sterling (£)
Budget: Less than £55
- Dorm beds: £15–30
- Cheap meals in cafes and pubs: £7–11
- Long-distance coach: £15–40 (200 miles)
- Double room in a midrange hotel or B&B: £65–130 (London £100–200)
- Main course in a midrange restaurant: £10–20
- Long-distance train: £20–80 (200 miles)
Top End: More than £120
- Four-star hotel room: from £130 (London from £200)
- Three-course meal in a good restaurant: around £40
- Car rental per day: from £35
A bit of mild haggling is acceptable at flea markets and antique shops, but everywhere else you're expected to pay the advertised price.
ATMs widely available; credit cards widely accepted.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
- Restaurants Around 10% in restaurants and teahouses with table service, 15% at smarter restaurants. Tips may be added to your bill as a 'service charge'. Not compulsory.
- Pubs & Bars Not expected if you order drinks (or food) and pay at the bar; usually 10% if you order at the table and your meal is brought to you.
- Taxis Usually 10%, or rounded up to the nearest pound, especially in London.
In England you're not obliged to tip if the service or food was unsatisfactory (even if it's been automatically added to your bill as a 'service charge').
ATMs (usually called 'cash machines' in England) are common in cities and even small towns. Cash withdrawals from some ATMs may be subject to a small charge, but most are free. If you're not from the UK, your home bank will likely charge you for withdrawing money overseas. Watch out for tampered ATMs; one ruse by scammers is to attach a card-reader or minicamera.
The currency of Britain is the pound sterling (£). Paper money (notes) comes in £5, £10, £20 and £50 denominations. Some shops don't accept £50 notes because fakes circulate.
Other currencies are very rarely accepted, except at some gift shops in London, which may take euros, US dollars, yen and other major currencies.
Credit & Debit Cards
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in England, except at some smaller B&Bs, which take cash or cheque only. Other credit cards, including Amex, are not so widely accepted. Most businesses will assume your card is 'Chip and PIN' enabled (using a PIN instead of signing). If it isn’t, you should be able to sign instead, but some places may not accept your card.
Cities and larger towns have banks and exchange bureaux for changing your money into pounds. Check rates first; some bureaux offer poor rates or levy outrageous commissions. You can also change money at many post offices – very handy in country areas, and exchange rates are fair.