For Americans traveling abroad, the United Kingdom is a fairly easy option. It’s an English-speaking country with a lot of cultural similarities. And now, says our travel expert, your dollar could go farther.
The British pound has been weakened by uncertainty after the Brexit vote, which will cause Britain to leave the European Union. The pound is still stronger than the dollar – one British pound will cost you about $1.25 as of this writing – but the exchange rate is vastly improved for American travelers.
“I went to school in London in the 1990s, and since then I have never seen the pound so weak,” said KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley.
Airfare is cheaper now, too. Brumley says in 1986, he paid about 950 U.S. dollars to go to Amsterdam. He bought his airfare for a summer trip to London for about the same amount of money.
So, where to spend your slightly more powerful dollar? Here are Brumley’s suggestions.
Of Course, See London …
This is probably where the plane will put you, for starters. And it’s a global capital with a lot to take in. See the British Museum, the war rooms, walk across Tower Bridge, catch a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre. Enjoy the city. Then leave.
To the southeast of London, they call this the Garden of England. Kent is known for beautiful gardens, and Canterbury Cathedral, which is the center of the Anglican Church, and the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
At Great Dixter, you can visit the family home of gardening writer Christopher Lloyd. Its gardens are extensive and worth a walk through.
Then find Sissinghurst, a castle with, yes, more gardens. While there you can also peek inside the South Cottage, which is open for the first time as of this winter. It was a retreat for writers Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West.
Head toward Oxford – with its famous university – and then keep on going to the Cotswolds, a hilly region to the west. Here you’ll find homes and castles to visit, gardens to wander, and countryside to take in. It’s also great for cycling.
“Good hiking, great walking, great little pubs,” Brumley said. “There’s so much to see outside of London.”
A Few More Thoughts Advice
Rent your car in the countryside. Take a train 30 minutes to an hour outside London and get your car there to spare yourself the stress of driving in the city. And keep left, please.
Also, London will be expensive – for everything, and even with the improved exchange rate – but you’ll find better deals in the countryside.
"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.