Money and Costs


The official currency is the pound sterling (£, GBP). It is subdivided into 100 pence. The major bank notes in circulation are £5, £10 and £20.

Buying Sterling

It is best to shop around and look for the best currency exchange rates and buy some currency before you come to the UK. Credit cards are widely accepted so you probably won’t need a great deal of sterling – just enough to pay for small items such as coffees, snacks, drinks and bus fares. If you haven’t bought any sterling before you arrive there is a currency exchange facility at Bristol Airport that stays open to meet incoming flights. Generally the exchange rate here is not as favourable as you can find elsewhere. Otherwise you can exchange money at some travel agent shops, some post offices or in banks.


There are numerous banks in Bristol. They are generally open Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm. Most banks do not open in the evening or at weekends and they are all closed on public holidays. There are external cash machines where you can withdraw money using a credit or debit card – be aware that there is sometimes an additional charge for this.

Costs - eating and drinking

In Bristol you will find a wide range of catering establishments from relatively low cost fast food outlets to expensive gourmet restaurants. Most will have their menus and prices displayed so check before you sit down. Lunch tends to be cheaper than an evening meal in most restaurants. As a general guide the price of a main course in a fast food outlet is around £3.50 and in a restaurant from about £11 upwards. The cost of a pint of beer or a glass of wine is from £3 upwards.

Costs - Entertainment

Bristol offers quite a number of free things to do, so take advantage of free entry to all the council run museums and interesting sights such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Other major attractions generally cost around £12.50 per adult. Children are usually half price and often money can be saved by purchasing a family ticket.

Costs - Accommodation

The city offers a wide choice of types of accommodation from hostels and budget hotels to higher class establishments. As in other parts of the world the price you pay for a room will vary depending on the time of year.  Dormitory accommodation in a hostel starts around  £15 whilst a shared room will cost from about £38. Budget hotels charge from £40 per room and a higher grade hotel £70 plus.


It is often difficult to know when and how much to tip when visiting a foreign country so here is a rough tipping guide for England. 

Restaurants: It is customary to tip around 10% in a restaurant if you have enjoyed the meal and have experienced good service but always check the bill first because many restaurants. automatically add a service charge  – you don’t want to tip twice!!

Taxis: Normally people round up the fare to the nearest £1. 

Hotels: Luggage porters can be tipped about £1

Pubs: It is not usual to tip unless you are having a meal in a pub.