More bang for your Buck on your Britain vacation!

Dollars and Pounds
Dollars and Pounds

The British economy has weathered the international downturn fairly well, and in recent years has shown some promising signs of recovery. Whilst this was great for us Brits as we headed off abroad on our holidays with a strong pound (£) buying lots in other currencies, exchange rates have not always been so great for people coming here. Whilst the value of holidaying in Britain has never been in question, it now looks like this year it is only set to get better! As other economies catch up with the UK, for the first time in several years, exchange rates with the US and Australian dollars (amongst others) have swung distinctly in favour of visitors to Britain. Indeed in 2015 our international guests are now going to get, to coin a classic American phrase, “even more bang for their buck!”.

Self Drive Tour Scotland
Self Drive Tour Scotland

Experts in British business and in the British travel industry in particular have said that the recent relative decline in the pound sterling is sure to have a great impact on people’s holiday plans and will certainly make the UK an even more attractive destination for international tourism. The appeal to the international visitor is enhanced by the fact that some of Britain’s main attractions include enjoyment of the low-cost, natural environments of England, Scotland and Wales. Visiting Britain’s areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the stunning coastlines of Devon and Cornwall or South West Wales, driving through the Cotswolds, hiking in the Scottish Highlands or enjoying walks in the English Lake District can be experienced at little financial outlay. And service experienced on tours, at attractions and amongst hoteliers is said to be exceptionally high following several years of local competition driving up standards.

English Lake District
English Lake District

In addition to the improvement in exchange rate, the cost of a barrel of oil has also tumbled which has, of course, had a significant knock-on effect to the price of petrol/gas at the pumps. In fact the price of petrol here in Britain currently stands at its lowest price in six years which makes touring the UK on a self-drive tour and getting around between all the sights even more cost effective. Likewise, the competitive cost of fuel has seen escorted coach tours in Britain remain keenly priced for 2015. The savings are enhanced if you choose to cover greater distances on your trip to reach the hidden corners of Britain in the north of Scotland or the South West of England. The price of fuel is set to remain at this recent low throughout the Summer touring season and well in to the Autumn.

So with the exchange rate improved, prices of touring coming down and service at its very best, it seems there is no better time to plan and book your trip to Britain!

Pride and no Prejudice! Jane Austen to appear on new ten pound note.

It was confirmed last week that Jane Austen will be the controversial new face of the British ten pound note when it is launched in 2017.  Why controversial you may ask – Austen seems a natural choice as one of England‘s most renowned authors whose works are enjoyed to this day and whose stories have been reworked for the television and movie screens time and again.  Indeed, she would seem to sit well in the long line of famous British historical figures to appear on our currency from William Shakespeare right through to Scottish inventor James Watt and nature scientist Charles Darwin.

How the new Jane Austen ten pound note may look.
How the new Jane Austen ten pound note may look.

However, the announcement takes on new significance when you consider that Austen will be only the third female ever, apart from her Majesty the Queen herself, to appear on a banknote of Great Britain.  And that the only other woman – prison-reformer Elizabeth Fry – to currently appear on our banknotes is due to be replaced in 2016, by a male figure (Winston Churchill).

It was this announcement of Fry’s replacement earlier this year which caused a storm of debate – an online petition demanding more female representation on our nation’s cash, aside from the Queen, gained 35000 signatures and there were even threats of court action against the Bank of England on grounds of equality and discrimination.  Austen had been suggested as a potential female figure and a social-media campaign of support was quickly galvanised.

Bath Abbey, Bath, England
Bath Abbey in Bath where Austen lived for much of her life.

Fortunately, last week’s confirmation that Jane Austen will indeed appear on our new ten pound notes has quelled some of the controversy.  The new Governor of the Bank of England seems to be more than happy with the selection saying that Jane Austen clearly “merits” a place amongst the other historical figures and that her novels are both “enduring” and with “universal appeal”.  And in response to the online petition he has also announced a review of the selection process for who appears on our bank notes to ensure improved diversity in the historical figures portrayed.

So soon it will be with great pride that we see Jane Austen represented on our banknotes and hopefully we won’t see this type of prejudice again!

Interested in Jane Austen, why not visit the Jane Austen centre in Bath or the museum set in her former home at Chawton near Winchester.