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Currency information

Code GBP
Symbol £
Coins
Pence & pounds - 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2
Banknotes
Pounds - £5, £10, £20, £50, £100

Expert tip

If you’re touring the UK and Ireland in the same trip, remember that you’ll need to exchange your pounds for euros (or vice versa). With the nations so close together and so similar in many ways, it’s easy to forget the currencies are completely different!

ATM access

5/5 stars  there are ATMs everywhere.

Tipping

In most UK cafés, bars and other establishments, tipping is either rare or simply not done. However, various restaurants may have their own standards for tipping, such as including a service charge in the bill or having a tips jar on the cashier’s counter.

Another exception would be giving your hotel porter a tip of £2 or so. Tipping your taxi driver is similarly unconventional here, though they will usually be happy to keep the change for the sake of convenience.

Bargaining scale

3/5 stars – some bargaining is acceptable.

A common misconception is that in the UK haggling is only appropriate in street markets.

In fact, there are a number of chain stores where skilled hagglers can test their abilities and negotiate to save some money. Depending on your confidence level, you can take a shot at Comet, B&Q, PC World, and many others.

Card access

As in New Zealand, debit and credit cards are widely accepted.

While it’s convenient to have your plastic on standby, it’s also a good idea to carry some pounds with you. This will cover you for costs at smaller shops and help you skip the high transaction fees often involved in paying by card.

Inform your bank of your travel plans to make sure your credit card activities don’t cause alarm.

Cost of a coffee

£1.30-£2.50

Transport

For tourists in London, the best way to get around is often the London Underground (or ‘The Tube’). You will most likely prefer to purchase an Oyster Card for £10 so that all your train trips are cheap. If venturing into the suburbs, you may need to also catch a bus.

Other large cities in the United Kingdom have their own public transport networks, but you may find yourself relying more on taxis. As an example of taxi charges in the UK, a trip from Heathrow Airport to London’s CBD typically costs between £40 and £70.

Pickpocket security rating

3/5 stars – theft is possible.

Especially when walking through busy areas, there is a chance of being targeted by a thief. The frequency of pickpocketing incidents is typically higher in summer, so be extra alert if visiting from May to September. Keep your cash close to your body and out of sight to maximise your security.

Scammers and ripoffs

ATM fraud is an increasing problem in the UK. Do not use an ATM if other people in the vicinity are behaving suspiciously, and always cover the keypad when entering your PIN. When shopping at street markets, be wary of potential knockoff products and non-genuine items, as you would in any country.

Departure tax

An ‘Air Passenger Duty’ will typically be incorporated into the price you pay when booking your outbound flight. This fee varies based on your travel class and destination. For flights to New Zealand, the tax will usually be between £97 and £388.

The Air Passenger Duty routinely increases, so refer to your airfare for the exact surcharge.

Visa costs

When travelling for tourism purposes (for a period of up to six months), New Zealanders do not normally require a visa to enter the United Kingdom.

However, in some instances you may be asked to prove that you have sufficient funds and/or family support to remain in the country for that long without working.

If you are planning to visit the UK for more than six months, or for any other reason other than for a holiday (such as to do paid or unpaid work), consult the UK Visas and Immigration website for more information on the visa you will require.

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