Today saw the the much anticipated release of the latest Lonely Planet guide for the UK and the results are something of a mixed blessing. With the economy what it is right now and the exchange rate favourable for overseas visitors buying their Sterling, the UK is an attractive proposition at the moment for foreign travellers looking to spend some time on these shores. But this does mean less value for UK staycationers. David Else, who wrote the latest guide, explains: “Britain aint cheap, Public Transport, admission fees, restaurants and hotels are expensive compared with other European countries.” Scotland has something to smile about though, with Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness all coming in for praise.
Describing Edinburgh Castle, the Lonely Planet guide tells of “one of Scotland’s most atmospheric, most popular-and most expensive-tourist attractions,” but Mike Cantley, on behalf of the Scottish tourism industry, disagrees: “VisitScotland works closely with the industry to offer a broad range of superb deals (through) money off vouchers for a range of accommodation, restaurants and attractions throughout Scotland. Head of Edinburgh Castle, Nick Finnegan, concurs, by suggesting membership of Historic Scotland, for £7 a month, provides a more cost-effective way of visiting the castle and many other historic sites and monuments.
It seems then at face value, the nation’s greatest attractions can be expensive but it is worth shopping around and using some foresight to get the best deals available. Value for money aside, there is much to be celebrated about the increasing appeal of cities such as Glasgow, “Unpretentious, gregarious and evolving at a dizzying pace…a byword for style” and expensive it may be, but when Edinburgh has “Top shops, world class restaurants and a bacchanalia of bars,” perhaps it is worth it after all.
Image: Scotland by Secret Pilgrim, on Flickr