A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers the UK vs. Ireland for Museums & Attractions, Families, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit the United Kingdom or Ireland?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit the UK or Ireland? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which country has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.


UK Ireland
Museums & Attractions check
Food check
Nightlife check
Hiking check
National Parks check
Outdoor Activities check

With jaw-droppingly beautiful countryside, award-winning beaches and a whole lot of character, it is no wonder that England tops everyone's must-visit bucket list. In fact, England, Scotland, Wales and the Offshore Islands all offer great holiday destinations with something for everyone, whether you are travelling alone, as a couple, or with your family. You won't find anywhere as peaceful as the English countryside and its beautiful lakes will take your breath away. Rocky coasts, castles, green hills and charming pubs, all that is England; without forgetting energetic, majestic and ambitious London, steeped in iconic landmarks, world-class museums and royal parks and one of the world's greatest cities. The UK's cities and towns also have a lot to offer visitors, from the hip, indie scene of Manchester to the amazing Balti food of Birmingham, from the dreaming spires of Oxford and medieval passageways of York to the lively art scenes of Glasgow. It may be small in size, but England is rich in tradition, complex in culture, endlessly diverse and has a lot to offer when it comes to fascinating history. There are lots of unique historic buildings that you can visit, including the awe-inspiring Tower of London, the atmospheric ruins of ancient castles, prehistoric Stonehenge or the Victorian village of Saltaire. The United Kingdom offers lots of delicious food for everyone. So you shouldn't have any issues whatsoever when it comes to finding cuisine that you will thoroughly enjoy.

There's a lot more to Ireland than Guinness and pubs, although for some, this may be the best part. Ireland has a rich history which dates back to prehistoric times. Its many museums, magnificent houses and historical sites make it a top destination for ardent historians. With its scene-stealing natural beauty and multitude of things to see and do, Ireland is a dream tourist destination. Looking for cliffs, beaches, national parks, forests and 100 shades of green? Ireland has it all. Green is the islands emblematic color. From vast mountains to pebbly beaches, rural bog lands to inland waterways, tourists can sample a feast of natural attractions. Located in the Burren region in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are said to be the biggest natural tourist attraction in Ireland drawing over million people each year. The view from the 200 metre high cliffs is breathtaking and many that visited it will agree that this is a must-visit in Ireland. A visit to Ireland's buzzing capital city goes without saying. Dublin is a super friendly city with a youthful, creative vibe. It has free museums to explore, architecture to gawp at and a more than lively pub scene. If you go during St Patrick's Day, an Irish festival celebrated and known around the whole world, your stay will be unforgettable. The biggest festival is held, of course, in Dublin, and the celebration lasts for several days. Finally, don't leave Ireland without trying their shellfish, Irish stew, colcannon and champ, boiled bacon and cabbage, smoked salmon, black and white pudding, coddle, bambrack and soda bread. You might not think of Ireland as a Gourmet Destination, but the food here is world class.

United Kingdom

Belfast, England Belfast, England

The UK is a prosperous, beautiful, and historic country. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the theater, history and culture, nightlife, and live music.

The United Kingdom, also commonly referred to as Great Britain, offers visitors a diverse set of experiences and attractions throughout the large cities, small town, and countryside. Consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, travelers can explore a deep and rich history and culture along with modern attractions and beautiful, diverse landscapes. From cities such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, it's easy to get out into the smaller towns and countryside to explore the mountains, coastline, and agricultural regions of this island nation.

Ireland

Dingle, Ireland Dingle, Ireland

Ireland is a historic, cultural, and proud country. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the water sports, hiking, shopping, and museums.

Ireland is a unique country with a deep historic culture, a beautiful countryside with rolling green hills, exciting cities, and friendly people. You'll find good food, interesting natural landscapes such as the Giant's Causeway, terrific hikes through the countryside, surfing at the beach, and cultural experiences in the cities.

UK and Ireland: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Great culture, history, and arts
  • Big cities
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Great road trips
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less attractive beach
  • Not as many national parks
  • Less adventure activities
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Great culture, history, and arts
  • Good for hiking
  • Beautiful national parks
  • Adventure!
  • Great road trips
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Not as many big cities
  • Less theater options
  • Less active music scene
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular for students


Edinburgh, Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland

How is the UK different from Ireland?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Below we will examine the differences and similarities between the UK and Ireland. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

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Ireland

You'll find a number of museums and attractions in both Ireland and The UK.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, The UK has many famous sights for visitors. Visitors will find some terrific museums not just in London, but all over the country. For starters, the British Museum is world famous, but York also has the Railway Museum. The smaller town of Bath has its Baths, and you'll find plenty of art galleries all over such as Kelvingrove in Glasgow or the McManus in Dundee.

London: The city has so many iconic sights that we can't list them all, but some of the most famous include the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the British Museum.

Edinburgh: The most famous sights include the Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the National Museum of Scotland.

Many visitors head to Ireland specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Visitors will find a variety types of museums all across the country. History, science, art, and kid-friendly museums are everywhere, showcasing the culture, history, and life of the Irish people. A few of the best in Dublin are the Little Museum, the National Museum of Ireland with its multiple branches, the Irish Whiskey Museum, the Kilmainham Gaol, Dublinia, and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum, among others. If you're visiting Galway, check out the Galway City Museum, Lynch's Castle, Monkey Business Children's Museum, or the Fisheries Watchtower Museum. Also, in Cork, the Cork City Gaol and the Crawford Art Gallery are visitor favorites, although there are many more.


Is the UK or Ireland Better for Culture, Arts, and History?

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Ireland

The UK and Ireland both offer a fairly similar amount of history and culture for visitors.

For those interested in history, art, and culture, The UK is not to be missed. Thousands of years of history is on display all over the U.K. With historical destinations such as London, Stonehenge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, numerous castles, and historical small towns, history lovers will find plenty to do here.

See also Free and Cheap Things To Do in Belfast, and The Castles of Scotland.

Ireland offers world-famous historcal and cultural sights and attractions. This is one of the main reasons why so many people come here every year. Plenty of historical attractions are popular destinations for visitors, especially the castles, small historic towns, and huge monuments. At the Rock of Cashel, you can see the ruins of this historic and beautiful castle from the 12th century. Reginald’s Tower in Waterford is said to be the oldest building still standing in Ireland, and can be toured while also exploring the surrounding city. Glendalough is the home of a monastery and famous tower, as well as stunning natural landscapes. And at Newgrange, you can see this ancient 5000 year old megalithic cemetery. The Blarney Castle is home of the Blarney Stone, and is one of the most famous sites in the country. In Dublin, don't miss the Dublin Castle, the St. Patrick's Cathedral, or the Kilmainham Gaol, all of which showcase a selected period of Irish history. No matter which area of the country you visit, Ireland offers historic sights and attractions of all types for every age.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Big City Activities?

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Ireland

The UK is considered to have more larger cities than Ireland.

Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions in the big cities of The UK that attract lots of visitors. London is the first name that comes to mind when thinking of large cities in Great Britain, and rightly so as this huge global city attracts visitors from everywhere because of its history, museums, theatre, nightlife, food, and monuments. After London, the U.K. has many large cities with their own atmosphere and cultural experiences to offer. Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast all have terrific attractions, nightlife, and cuisine for visitors.

See also 1 Day in London On A Budget, and The Best Things to Do in Glasgow.

Ireland also has some big cities with many activities. Dublin and Cork are the largest cities in Ireland, followed by Limerick and Galway, but even these last two have small populations compared to other cities in Europe. In Dublin you can find plenty of restaurants, cafes, museums, universities, and historic sights. Outside of this city, it's hard to find the same urban vibe. The rest of the country has smaller cities and towns and plenty of rural areas with stunning landscapes, but lacks the large city environments.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Small Towns and Villages?

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Ireland

You'll find a similar number of small towns and villages to explore in both The UK and Ireland.

As The UK is a destination with many small towns and villages, visitors also come to explore the sights and local activities. Some of the most popular and scenic small towns in England include St. Ives, Bath, Castle Combe, Bibury, and Shaftesbury. And in Scotland, don't miss Tobermory, Anstruther, Linlithgow, St. Andrews, and others. In Wales, you'll find beautiful scenery in Tenby, Solva, Rhossili, and others. Outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland, you'll find small town charm in Bangor, Kilkeel, and Portstewart. All of these towns across the nation offer that traditional quaintness that visitors seek from a typical town in the countryside. You'll find pubs, historic architecture, the occasional ruins of castles and churches, farms, and more.

Since Ireland offers plenty of small towns and villages with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors, too. A few of the smaller towns in Ireland are some of the country's most popular travel destinations. Kilkenny has a nearby castle, abbey, a gorgeous cathedral, and a historic medieval area of town. Kinsale has a quaint harbor and colorful houses. Tralee on the southern coast has beautiful seaside views and stunning cliffs. And the ring of Kerry offers even more stunning coastal views and small towns such as Portmagee. Exploring the small towns of Ireland is an absolute requirement for any itinerary, as here you'll find the true local culture and history of the island.

See also 10 Easy and Ambitious Day Trips from Dublin Ireland.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Theater?

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Ireland

Overall, The UK is considered to be a more popular choice for theater-goers.

The theater and performance venues in The UK draw crowds from around the world. The London theatre scene is world famous, and when visiting, seeing a show is a must. But venture further into the rest of the country for even more. Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of Shakespeare, after all. You'll find even more theatre experiences in Manchester, Edinburgh, Brighton, Cardiff, and more.

London: The West End theater district is where you'll find the most popular musicals. Famous theaters include Apollo Theatre, Palace Theatre, and Piccadilly Theatre.

Ireland offers a few theater venues for visitors. Local theaters with community productions can be found in many smaller cities. In Dublin, if you're looking for a show, check out the Abbey Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre, the Smock Alley Theatre, or the Olympia Theatre. Elsewhere in Ireland, make sure to visit the National Folk Theatre in Kerry (Siamsa Tíre), or the Druid Theatre in Galway.


Is the UK or Ireland Better for Food?

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Ireland

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both The UK and Ireland.

The UK has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. In the last few decades, the food scene in Great Britain has taken off as world-class chefs have opened restaurants featuring menus from all corners of the globe. When visiting the U.K., you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality and creativity of the food. That being said, traditional British food itself is not particularly famous. Fish and Chips, meat pies, black pudding, bangers and mash, and "toad in the hole" (sausage in batter) tend to be first on people's lists of interesting foods to try when visiting. But they are not the final say in modern British cuisine anymore.

Ireland offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. Traditional Irish foods can be found at many restaurants around the country. One of the most popular dishes includes various forms of Irish stew that use meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Shepherd's Pie takes this stew and adds a layer of mashed potatoes to the top. Colcannon and Champ is a form of mashed potatoes that mixes in cabbage, onions, and sometimes bacon. If you're tired of potatoes, salmon in various recipes is also common and popular. Also try the black and white pudding, which is actually blood sausage and not dessert. Other popular dishes include vegetables cooked into stews with local herbs. Of course, the local beer is quite popular, too. And don't miss the more interesting forms of Irish soda bread as well.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Nightlife?

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Ireland

The nightlife scene is relatively similar in The UK and Ireland.

The UK has a large number of nightlife venues. London is one of the most popular cities in the world for nightlife. From bars and clubs to theatre shows, the activity in the city is always pulsing. Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, and other large cities also have plenty of nightlife options, too, with active nightclubs, varied music scenes, and theatre productions.

London: Some of the best neighborhoods for nightlife are Camden, Westend, Soho, and Shoreditch.

See also London's Party Hostels.

Ireland has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Dublin and Galway, as the two largest cities, are the obvious choices for nightlife. Dublin claims to be one of the party capitals of Europe, and offers a variety of venues from bars and pubs to undergrounds nightclubs, as well as theater, fine dining options, and relaxed bars and cafes where you can have a drink with friends. Galway has a similar scene with a mix of bars, pubs, and nightclubs, many with live music and plenty of dancing. In Cork, much of the nightlife scene is dominated by the student population of the area, as large universities are nearby. Check out SoHo and the other spots on the Grand Parade. Plenty of other towns and smaller cities offer an array of pubs, bars, and clubs, too.

Dublin: Temple Bar is where you'll find the greatest concentration of pubs and nightlife. The city is among the friendliest and most welcoming, and this is seen even in the vibe around town at night.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Music?

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Ireland

The UK is more popular choice to experience the music scene.

The UK has become a hotbed of musicians and artists. London is the obvious choice if you're looking for live music, as it hosts nightclubs, bars, theatre shows, DJ events, and more. But other cities around Great Britain also have their own music scenes, especially Liverpool, Manchester, and Belfast. From family-friendly theatre productions to raving dance-filled nightclubs to intimate venues, there is something musical for everyone.

London: Famous music venues include Dominion Theatre, the Roundhouse, and Dublin Castle.

Birmingham: The city has long been a haven for musical creativity, and its influence over the global music scene is apparent. Popular music venues around town include Ghetto Golf, Digbeth Dining Club, and the Sunflower Lounge.

Liverpool: Known as the birthplace of the Beatles, the city has been established as a rock and pop capital since the 1950s.

Edinburgh: In addition to a wide range of live music venues, there are also a number of music festivals held in town.

For those who seek it out, Ireland has several music venues. Dublin has many pubs, bars, and clubs featuring a variety of live music. Some of the places showcase new artists and popular dance music, while others host traditional Irish music. Galway, Cork, and other cities are similar in that many pubs host local artists as well as touring musicians. The larger cities also host touring concerts as you would expect in any large city, too. Generally, seeing live music is easy and accessible in Ireland, and quite fun if you're looking for something to do in the evenings.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Beaches?

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Ireland

For a relaxing beach holiday, both The UK and Ireland are good choices.

The beach in The UK is worth checking out. The southern coastline of Britain has a variety of beach areas, some with wide sandy beaches lined with restaurants, boardwalk shops, and other fun activities. While the water is generally cold, the summer months are still quite popular. Some of the more visited spots include St. Ives, Brighton, Newquay, Bournemouth, and West Wittering. This is just a few, and many more areas are favorites with locals, too.

Ireland is a good spot to see the beach. With a huge amount of coastline, this island nation has plenty of beaches. Some are in protected coves, while others are more exposed and have large waves popular with surfers. Despite the colder temperatures, the beaches here can still be fun because the natural scenery is beautiful. Some of the beaches are in natural coves surrounded by cliffs, rocks, and epic views. Swimming is very possible and popular in the summer months with locals and visitors alike. A few of the most popular beach areas include Inchydoney Beach in County Cork, Dog's Bay near Galway, Strandhill near Sligo, Silver Strand in Country Donegal, and Portmarnock Beach near Dublin. However, there are many more to explore.


Is the UK or Ireland Better for Shopping?

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Ireland

Shoppers can find a variety of stores in both The UK and Ireland.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in The UK. London offers plenty of shopping experiences all over the city, and has various neighborhoods with different styles, trends, and vibes. Other large cities also have their own shopping districts where locals and travelers alike can find anything they want from clothes to gifts to locals artisan crafts.

London: With so much iconic shopping around town, it's hard to decide where to go. Head to Oxford Street, Regent Street, or Piccadilly Circus for a quintessential British experience.

Ireland is a great destination for shopping. While the larger cities and towns such as Dublin and Galway have more variety of shops such as clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, and local galleries, even the smallest towns have nice shopping options. Some of the more popular local arts and crafts for purchase include tweed fabrics in Donegal, Aran Wool clothing items, and hand-crafted pottery. In Dublin, visitors can find several large shopping malls such as Dundram Centre, and more shops in George's Street Arcade, Liberty Market, and Cow's Lane.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Christmas?

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Ireland

The UK and Ireland are fun destinations to visit around the Christmas season.

Since it has plenty to do, The UK is a very popular place to visit during Christmas. While London is an easy choice for the holiday season, as it decorates major landmarks and offers fun winter activities, plenty of other locations around the country are also worth visiting. Edinburgh has a festive atmosphere as well with large trees, festivities, and decorations. Bath, Cardiff, York, and Bournemouth all put on their own activities, too.

London: There's Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, outdoor ice skating, and beautiful Christmas lights throughout the city. You can also listen to Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square or see a classic Christmas show.

Ireland is a fun destination over Christmas. Dublin, Galway, Cork, and many of the other towns and cities put on huge light displays during the holidays. The public squares and town centers have Christmas trees, markets, festivals, and other activities. There's even a polar swimming plunge in Dublin. Some of the famous castles and manor houses also have holiday decorations and festivities which bring in large crowds. The local pubs in many small towns become the center of activity as people gather in the warm and brightly decorated establishments. Also, many of the hotels and smaller B&B's decorate their grounds and have special dinners and parties. For the best Christmas markets, head to Cork or Galway, or even Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Christmas Markets?

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Ireland

Visiting the Christmas markets is popular activity in both Ireland and The UK.

During the holidays, visitors often browse through the Christmas markets in The UK. Visitors over the holidays can find Christmas markets in London, Bath, Bournemouth, Cardiff, and Edinburgh, among others. In addition to shopping, many of these markets offer fun activities, ice skating, shows, Santa encounters, and delicious holiday cuisine.

London: The city has many Christmas markets. There is Winter Wonderland Christmas market, Southbank Centre Winter Market, and Selfridges Christmas Market, among many others.

Ireland has some Christmas markets for those that seek them out. The best Christmas markets can be found in Cork and Galway, although many other small towns offer fun festivities, too. Dublin offers a few different holiday markets around the city, such as at Dublin Castle and Guiness Storehouse.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Hiking?

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Ireland

If you're looking to go hiking, The UK and Ireland both have various trails.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting The UK. Hiking and "walks" are very popular ways to experience and explore the beautiful landscapes of the U.K., as a number of long routes weave their way through the countryside and along the coastline. It's quite popular to do a multi-day walk with stopovers in quaint towns, especially as many of these walks are on routes with easy elevation and clearly defined paths with good signs. Some of the more popular routes include the Hadrian’s Wall Path, The Cleveland Way, Norfolk Coast Path, and Cotswold Way. If it's more strenuous mountain hiking that you're after, definitely visit one of the national park areas such as Cairngorms, Peak District, Lake District, or Snowdonia, as they all offer mountain trails with gorgeous scenery.

Many people include a hike when visiting Ireland. The rolling mountains and beautiful green countryside provide stunning hikes in all parts of the country. From the cliffside walks with epic views to the peaks in the interior of the island, there's a trail for everyone. Some of the most popular routes include the treks around Glendalough where you'll see the Spinc cliffs, waterfalls, and distant views of the lake. If you're looking for a mountain to hike, Diamond Hill in County Galway, Carrauntoohil in Kerry, or Slieve Gullion all provide stunning views, physical challenges, and plenty of wilderness opportunities.


Is the UK or Ireland Better for National Parks?

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Ireland

Travelers can find good number of national parks in both The UK and Ireland.

The UK has some good regions for those that want to go visit national parks. A few of the most popular national parks in the U.K. include Snowdonia, Peak District, Lake District, Cairngorms, and Loch Lamond. Most of these parks offer beautiful mountain scenery, rivers, camping, lakes, and outdoor experiences for the whole family.

Ireland is a great destination for touring the national parks. The 6 national parks here offer stunning beauty and a variety of sights and attractions both within the parks and nearby. Five of the parks are along the western coast, and it might be best if you had your own vehicle to see some of all of them. Killarney National Park is part of the Ring of Kerry and was the first park. You can find historic manor houses, the largest mountain in the country, and a variety of wildlife. Wicklow Mountains National Park is on the eastern side, and in the area you'll find Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough with its famous round tower, and the beautiful Glenmacnass Waterfall. In all of the parks, you'll find hiking trails, epic views, camping, castles, gardens, local wildlife, and other activities such as bird watching, horseback riding, and more.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Adventure Travel?

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Ireland

Both The UK and Ireland have a wide array of adventure travel options for those interested.

The UK has some adventure travel experiences, but not many. Some of the more popular areas to participate in adventure sports are in the more wilderness regions and national parks of the nation. Zip lines, rock climbing, kayaking, paragliding, river rafting, and canyoning are all popular in the mountainous areas. Surfing is sometimes found along the coast, too.

Ireland has some adventurous travel experiences that often attract visitors. Some of the most popular adventure activities here are sea kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, orienteering, hiking, caving, and more. Many of these activities are found in the countryside and coastal areas of the country, or around the 6 national parks. It's common for travelers to book a single-day tour to do some of these activities, as the guides or outfitter companies make it easy and accessible.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Visiting the Mountains?

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Ireland

Both The UK and Ireland have some nice mountain areas to explore.

The UK does have some mountain areas to explore. Many of the national parks in Britain offer gorgeous mountain scenery with hiking, horseback riding, adventure sports, camping, and more. Snowdonia, Peak District, Lake District, Cairngorms, and other parks have plenty of mountain adventures waiting for visitors. Also, the northern areas of Scotland are rugged and mountainous. The Hebrides for example, offer amazing natural landscapes where the mountains meet the sea to the north.

Ireland is a good destination to visit the mountains, as there are some fun activities. While not too high in elevation, the mountains in Ireland still offer great views, terrific hiking opportunities, and plenty of outdoor activities such as camping, horseback riding, and more. The highest peaks are found in the MacGillycuddy Reeks range in County Kerry, and visitors here will find plenty of natural beauty along with outdoor activities and hiking trails. Wicklow Mountains National Park and the surrounding area is another very popular destination as it also combines mountain views with historical sights, hiking, waterfalls, and more. Killarney National Park is another area worth visiting due to the beauty of the lakes and mountains.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Watersports?

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Ireland

You can find a fairly equal amount of watersports in both The UK and Ireland.

The UK does offer some watersports. Surfing is popular in some areas of the coastline such as Cornwall and in Snowdonia National Park. It's also possible to find a few river rafting outfitters around the country, too. Kayaking, fishing, and boating are all quite popular along the shore, too.

Ireland has some watersports activities that attract many visitors. With a huge stretch of coastline, many visitors here participate in a variety of activities despite the relatively cooler weather. As long as you have the proper equipment for the activity, there's no reason why you can't enjoy the stunning beauty of the water. Surfing is very popular on the beaches, as the waves can be consistent and strong in many areas. Kayaking both on the coast and inland is also a great way to see Ireland from a different angle. Stand-up paddle boarding is another good option for areas with calmer waters. And many of the bays and harbors have clear waters with unique marine life, which makes wild swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling a fun activity after putting on a thick wetsuit. Wind surfing and kite surfing are also possible. As with many other activities, you'll find plenty of surf shops and tour providers that can take you to the right places with the right equipment.


Is the UK or Ireland Better for Outdoor Activities?

UK
Ireland

You can find a fairly equal amount of outdoor activities in both The UK and Ireland.

Outdoor activities in The UK are quite popular with travelers. Outdoor activities in Great Britain include hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, adventure sports, camping, and more. It's easy and accessible to get out into nature here from the big cities, and a diverse array of activities can be found.

The outdoor activities and experiences of Ireland attract many visitors. As Ireland is a fairly sparsely populated country with wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes, visitors will find plenty of outdoor activities of all types. The national parks are a good place to start, as you'll find hiking, camping, horseback riding, climbing, and more. And along the lengthy coastline, visitors can experience kayaking, surfing, swimming, hiking along the cliffs, and perusing gardens and castles. Visiting farms and the other agricultural regions are also quite popular. There's no shortage of outdoor activities in Ireland, so make them part of your itinerary.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for a Road Trip?

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Ireland

The UK and Ireland both have plenty of places to explore on a road trip.

Taking a road trip through The UK is very good way to see the countryside and smaller destinations. The roads in the U.K. are great, and with plenty of small villages, national park areas, seaside destinations, and historical sites, a road trip is a great way to see the country.

Ireland is an extremely popular destination for those that want to take a road trip. The numerous small towns, natural scenic spots, castles, agricultural areas, and other out-of-the-way places make Ireland a terrific place for a road trip. In fact, in many ways it's easier to get around this country by car than with public transit if you're planning to visit many of these smaller sights and attractions. Many visitors make a large loop around the country from Dublin, stopping off at cliffside viewpoints, beaches, castles, small towns, and national park areas with mountains and hiking. The Ring of Kerry is a very busy area for a road trip for obvious reasons - it combines natural beauty with historical towns. The Dingle peninsula is another popular drive for similar reasons. Rental cars are generally easy to hire in Dublin or Galway, so planning a road trip through Ireland is quite easy.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Families?

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Ireland

Kids will enjoy a visit to either The UK or Ireland.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, The UK is a very family-friendly destination. From the big cities to the countryside, if you're traveling with kids you'll find something great to do. London has family-friendly museums and attractions such as science museums, the Tower of London, and amusement parks. Plenty of beach resort areas are found along the coastline, too, such as in Blackpool, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, or Paignton. Head north to Snowdonia for hiking and watersports, or to Scotland for the lakes, historic railways, and castles. Kids of all ages, and parents also will love if.

London: Whether you do a Harry Potter Tour, take a ride on the London Eye, or enjoy afternoon tea, there are plenty of activities for kids around town. There are also many great playgrounds and toy stores to explore.

Ireland is one of the most popular family destinations. Long cliff walks, castles, stunning beaches, gardens, lighthouses, and terrific museums are all some of the best things to do with families in Ireland. In Dublin, you'll find the Imaginosity Childrens Museum, the Dublin Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and Dublin Castle to name a few. Not far from Dublin you can find more castles, the Medieval Museum in Waterford, and Viking history. On the west coast, don't miss the cliffs of Moher, with their epic views, or the ancient stones of the Burren. And the small towns of the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula are fun for everyone, too.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Couples?

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Ireland

With fun activities for couples, both The UK and Ireland make for a good place to visit.

The UK is a good country for couples to visit. Plenty of destinations in Great Britain are great for couples. London for starters has many nice hotels, restaurants, and romantic spots around town. Or, head to the countryside of Scotland or Wales for castles, beautiful natural scenery, lakes, and more. If you're looking for an active trip, check out some of the national park or wilderness areas such as Lake District, Snowdonia, or Cairngorms. Also, many of the beach destinations have nice resort areas for couples, too.

London: With every type of entertainment that you can imagine, this city is the ultimate couple's getaway.

See also Hostels in Liverpool for Solo Travellers, Groups, & Couples.

Ireland is a nice destination for couples. The larger cities as well as the countryside offer plenty of romantic places such as Powerscourt Gardens, the famous and well-photographed Wicklow National Park, the many castles and manors around the island, and the fine dining restaurants and theaters of the cities. Many of the small towns are very picturesque and have plenty of activities for couples, not to mention the quaint bed and breakfasts and walking trails out into the countryside. Don't miss Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, or the Latin Quarter of Galway full of boutiques and cobblestone alleyways. Whether you're on a honeymoon in Ireland or just looking for a romantic weekend getaway, you'll find plenty of romantic opportunities here.

See also Hostels in Galway, Ireland for Backpackers, Couples, and Groups, and Hostels in Killarney for Solo Travellers, Couples, and Small Groups.


Is the UK or Ireland Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

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Ireland

The UK and Ireland are both good destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit The UK. The overall price of travel in the U.K. can be quite high, so backpackers and budget travelers will need to plan ahead to find affordable accommodations and entertainment options. London in particular offers plenty of hostels and budget accommodation options, but they are still priced higher than in many other cities. Smaller cities, towns, and destinations in the countryside can usually be more affordable. Prices aside, the overall amenities and infrastructure for budget travelers and backpackers are everywhere and very frequent. It's easy to find lower-priced options everywhere, along with plenty of free and cheap activities, so don't let the overall costs dissuade you from visiting.

London: Although the city is very expensive, it has tons of hostels, affordable restaurant options, and great public transit.

See also Hostels for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, & Couples in London, England, London's Party Hostels, and London Hostels Near Kings Cross.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Ireland. Ireland can be a very affordable destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the large number of lower-cost accommodations, affordable public transportation, and variety of cheaper food options. Hostels are common, especially in the larger cities and towns, as are budget-friendly hotels. Also, many of the sights and attractions are outdoors which means that they are often free or have cheaper entrance fees. Many of Ireland's best attractions are the cliffside or wilderness hikes such as those at the Cliffs of Moher (around €10), Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains National Park, or the Howth Cliff Walk loop. For food, if you eat your meals at a pub or small sandwich shop, you can save plenty of money. Many pubs also have a set menu as an early dinner which is cheaper if you arrive before 6:00 p.m. The trains and buses are also very affordable, especially since the country is not so large that every destination is just a few hours away at the most.

See also Dublin Hostels Near Temple Bar, Social Hostels in Dublin, Ireland, and Hostels for Groups in Dublin, Ireland.

Is the UK or Ireland Better for Students?

UK
Ireland

Most students consider The UK to be the better destination than Ireland.

Many students frequent The UK. Students will find not only a huge number of universities in the U.K., but also a large support network on top of affordable travel opportunities. Many of the major universities around the country are in locations with fun activities, vibrant nightlife, and affordable sights and attractions.

London: The city has a number of universities and is a popular study abroad destination. It's also a very diverse city, so international students will feel right at home.

Birmingham: With world class academic institutions and a very diverse and international population, this is a popular place for international students to study.

See also Hostels in Glasgow, Scotland for Students, Backpackers, and Solo Travellers, Hostels in England for Backpackers and Students, and Hostels in Scotland for Backpackers and Students.

Ireland is popular with students. With a variety of affordable accommodation options and active student neighborhoods featuring nightlife, cafes, and activities, it's easy to see why Ireland offers a lot for students. Various universities around the country draw large number of students both from Ireland and around the world. Dublin, Galway, and Limerick all have multiple universities and active student scenes.

See also Hostels in Ireland for Students and Backpackers.

Is the UK or Ireland easier for Transportation?

UK
Ireland

Visitors will be able to get around equally well in both The UK and Ireland.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of The UK can take you anywhere. Public transit in the cities, combined with the national railway system makes it very easy for travelers to move around the country without their own car. London as well as other major cities are also hubs for airlines with connections abroad. Also, as an island nation, a huge number of ferry services connect Britain to Ireland as well as mainland Europe. The smaller islands just offshore are also connected by regular ferry routes, too.

Is it easy to travel around the United Kingdom?

  • It's very easy and convenient to travel by train.
  • Travel by bus is possible.
  • Travel by car is possible.
  • It's possible to travel by airplane.

Many visitors rely on the effecient and affordable public transportation in Ireland. The train system in Ireland can take you almost anywhere you want to go, and fairly quickly and efficiently too. The bus system is also great, and can get you to many more destinations if the trains can't. The prices are affordable and the trains are safe and clean, just as anywhere else in Europe. The roads are also very good and it's easy to rent a car to get around the country. In fact, if you're planning to visit many of the smaller towns along the coastline, such as in the Ring of Kerry, having a car is necessary because of a lack of transit options. Some of the national parks are also difficult to visit without a car, too. Otherwise, every larger city and town is accessible with trains or buses.

Is it easy to travel around Ireland?

  • Traveling by train is extremely popular.
  • It's fairly easy to travel by bus.
  • Travel on ferry boats is possible.
  • It's possible to travel on cruise ships and excursions.
  • It's quite common to get around if you join an organized tour.
  • It's quite common to travel by car.
  • Travel by airplane is possible.

Is the UK or Ireland more Comfortable for a Trip?

The UK and Ireland are both modern and comfortable places to visit.

The UK is a very comfortable and luxurious destination with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and activities. Whether you're traveling on a budget or looking for higher-end luxurious accommodations, Great Britain offers a high-standard of living and travel for visitors. As a modern, affluent nation, tourists will find comfortable amenities at any price point along with an extensive network of transportation to get around the country. Nice restaurants, delicious food, and an abundant supply of professional tour operators and entertainment venues make a trip to the U.K. very easy, convenient, and comfortable.

Generally, Ireland is considered to be a comfortable and luxurious place to visit. Ireland is a modern and prosperous country with a high standard of living. So, as a traveler you can expect plenty of modern comforts no matter your price range, as even budget hotels will have clean, modern facilities and nice amenities. The public transportation network as well as the road are of high quality and are very efficient. Visitors will find plenty of infrastructure for tourists such as tours, taxis, hotel concierges, and more. And of course, plenty of luxury hotels and tour providers are also available if you seek a higher level of comfort.


Is the UK or Ireland more Touristy?

The UK and Ireland are both quite touristy, seeing a large number of visitors every year.

The UK is a destination which hosts plenty of visitors. London, Edinburgh, various castles, seaside resorts, and some of the national parks can be heavily touristy, especially in the peak summer months. Some of the smaller popular cities and towns for visitors also include Stratford upon Avon, Bath, Cambridge, Inverness, Stonehenge, and more. Despite the number of tourists, these destinations are still very manageable if you're on a trip and wish to see everything. It's also quite easy to avoid the crowds by escaping the larger cities or travel during non-peak seasons.

Ireland is somewhat touristy. Most visitors arrive in the summer months when the weather is warmer, but even then, the tourist crowds are not too bad. Even so, visiting in the shoulder season or in the winter will lead to a trip with less crowds. The most popular tourist attractions are the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, The Rock of Cashel, Killarney and its surroundings, and the Blarney Castle. In Dublin, some neighborhoods can be quite busy such as Grafton Street, as well as the museums, Trinity College, and the Kilmainham Gaol. And while all of these places do see plenty of visitors, it's still manageable and accessible during the busy summer months.

Loch Lomond National Park, England, United Kingdom Loch Lomond National Park, England, United Kingdom

Should I spend more time in Ireland or the UK?

How long in the UK or Ireland?

the United Kingdom and Ireland both offer a nice selection of activities for visitors. Both can be explored in comparable amounts of time.

The ideal length of time for a trip to the UK is 5-14 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Ireland is 5-14 days.


  • How many days in the UK or Ireland? Ideal Length of Stay
    UK 5-14 
    Ireland 5-14

A weekend in the UK or Ireland?

In the UK, you'll find live music, food, and hiking. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

Ireland is a great place to explore. Don't miss the history and culture, as that's what most people do. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in the UK or Ireland?

The UK is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that the UK has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Ireland. Don't miss the history and culture, as that's what most people do. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in the UK or Ireland?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in the UK. In the UK, you'll find hiking, shopping, and museums. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Many travelers enjoy the food, water sports, and hiking when visiting the cultural destination of Ireland. This country offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Two weeks in the UK or Ireland?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in the UK. In the UK, you'll find hiking, shopping, and museums. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Two weeks is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that the UK has to offer.

Many travelers enjoy the food, water sports, and hiking when visiting the cultural destination of Ireland. This country offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have two weeks, this is a great place to go. With all of its activities, you can easily fill two weeks here.

London London

Which country is cheaper, Ireland or the UK?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in the UK is £122, while the average daily cost in Ireland is £94. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each country. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for the UK and Ireland in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    UK £60
    Ireland £43
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    UK £120
    Ireland £86
Compare Hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Looking for a hotel in the United Kingdom or Ireland? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in the United Kingdom


Hotels in Ireland


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: UK Hotel Prices and Ireland Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    UK £23
    Ireland £15
Typical Local Transportation prices in the UK

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in the UK:


  • Taxi Ride
    £15
  • Heathrow Express
    £18
  • Luggage Storage
    £8.00
  • Local Bus
    £3.60
  • Rail to Airport
    £11
  • London Map
    £1.29
  • Oyster Card
    £36
  • 24 Hr Bus Passes (for 2)
    £20
  • Ferry to Isle of Wight
    £16
  • Parking
    £2.00
  • Toll Way - Mersey tunnel
    £1.70
  • City bike hire Liverpool
    £6.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in the UK

Also for the UK, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Aberdeen: Private Transfer to/from ABZ International Airport: $65
  • Bus Transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports: $37
  • Cambridge: Private Transfer to Cambridge City Airport: $73
  • Cardiff: City Center to Airport Private Transfer: $87
  • Cardiff: Private Airport Transfer to City Center: $86
  • Dover to Heathrow and London Direct Shared Transfer: $106
  • Dover to London & Heathrow Transfer via Warner Bros Studios: $160
  • Dublin Airport: Private Transfer to Belfast: $435
  • Edinburgh Airport: Bus Transfer: $6.06
  • Edinburgh Airport: Private Arrival or Departure Transfers: $34
  • Edinburgh: Private EDI Airport Transfer to or from Center: $64
  • Edinburgh: Private Transfer To Or From Edinburgh Airport: $71

Typical Local Transportation prices in Ireland

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Ireland:


  • Rental Car for a Day
    £13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ireland

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ireland:

  • Rossaveel, Galway: Ferry Transfer to Inis Mór (Aran Islands): $34
  • Private Transfer Dublin City Centre to Dublin Airport: $91
  • Private Transfer Dublin Airport to Dublin City Center: $91
  • Dublin: Private Transfer to/from Dublin Airport: $68
  • Connemara/Galway: Inis Meáin Return Ferry Transfer: $34

Is it cheaper to fly into the UK or the UK?

Prices for flights to both Ireland and the UK change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    UK £30
    Ireland £28
Typical Food prices in the UK

For the UK, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch at Starbucks
    £13
  • Tea
    £6.00
  • Morning Tea
    £2.50
  • Ice Cream
    £3.00
  • A Quick Snack
    £4.00
  • Dinner
    £22
  • Breakfast
    £8.50
  • Dinner at Filling Station
    £10
  • Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason
    £39
  • Lunch
    £14
  • Morning Tea
    £6.35
  • Pastry
    £5.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in the UK

For the UK, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • York: Evening Dinner Cruise: $61
  • London: Christmas Party Dinner Cruise: $88
  • Aberdeen: Walking City and Food Tour: $91
  • Oxford: River Cruise plus 3-Course Dinner: $93
  • Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Secret Food Tour: $94
  • London: 3-Hour Secret British Food Tour: $100
  • Brighton: Walking Food Tour: $101
  • London: River Thames Dinner Cruise: $103
  • London: River Thames Dinner Cruise with Live Jazz: $110
  • London: Murder Mystery Cruise With 3-Course Dinner: $110
  • London: 6-Course Luxury Dinner Bus Tour: $142
  • Liverpool: Personalized, Private Food Tour with Local Guide: $144

Typical Food prices in Ireland

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Ireland:


  • Lunch for Two
    £28
  • Fish & Chips Dinner
    £6.99
  • Lunch Lynam's Pub
    £3.40

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ireland

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ireland.

  • Dublin: Delicious Walking Food Tour: $74
  • Galway Food Tour: $75

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    UK £22
    Ireland £13
Typical Entertainment prices in the UK

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for the UK's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Two Tickets to a Concert
    £83
  • Show Tickets
    £32
  • Movie Tickets
    £8.00
  • London Symphony Orchestra
    £34
  • Movie Tickets for Two
    £12
  • Donation for Storytellers
    £6.00
  • Bike Rentals (for 2)
    £20
  • Newspaper
    £0.85
  • Luss Highland Games Entrance Fee (for 2)
    £12
  • Two Bike Rental
    £34
  • Thermal Bath Spa
    £35
  • Warwick Castle (2)
    £59

Tours and Activities in the UK

For the UK, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • River Thames: Self-Guided Audio Tour (No Cruise Ticket): $3.31
  • London: National Gallery Self-Guided Audio Tour App: $3.95
  • Bristol: Self-Guided Sightseeing Audio Tour: $5.07
  • Birmingham: Haunted Birmingham City Exploration Game & Tour: $5.63
  • Liverpool: Haunted Liverpool City Exploration Game & Tour: $5.63
  • London: Haunted Exploration Game and Tour: $5.63
  • Manchester: Haunted Manchester City Exploration Game & Tour: $5.63
  • London: Self-Guided Tour with Over 100 Sights: $5.64
  • Edinburgh: City Highlights Self-Guided Smartphone Tour: $5.66
  • London: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.37
  • Edinburgh: The Witches Tour: $6.80
  • Cambridge: Secret Society Exploration Game and Tour: $7.88

Typical Entertainment prices in Ireland

Here are a few typical costs in Ireland for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Wild Wicklow Tour
    £22
  • Guinness Brewery for Two
    £23
  • St Pauls Cathedral
    £3.88
  • Dublin Writer's Museum
    £5.43

Tours and Activities in Ireland

Here are a few actual costs in Ireland for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 4-Day Grand Atlantic Rail Tour from Dublin: $813
  • 5-Day Tour of West Blarney Stone & Cliffs of Moher: $1,040
  • An Insider's Best of Malta - Half Day Tour: $169
  • Belfast & Giant's Causeway: 2-Day Rail Tour from Dublin: $344
  • Belfast: Full-Day Tour with Titanic Experience: $133
  • Best of Ireland 6-Day Backpackers Economy Tour: $590
  • Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin: $72
  • Blarney and Cobh Tour from Cork: $40
  • Boyne Valley: Full-Day Celts and Castles Guided Tour: $48
  • Burren Discovery Ticket 7-Day Pass: Wild Atlantic Way: $28
  • Christ Church Cathedral Entrance Ticket & Self-Guided Tour: $9.61
  • Cliffs Cruise, Aran Islands & Connemara in One Day: $89

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    UK £10
    Ireland £11
Typical Alcohol prices in the UK

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in the UK:


  • A Couple Beers
    £9.00
  • Beers at pub
    £5.40
  • Beers at Pub
    £6.10
  • Beers
    £5.00
  • Beers
    £8.00
  • Beer & Wine
    £14
  • Drinks at the Pub (for 2)
    £7.55
  • Pitcher of Pimms
    £15
  • Drinks at the Walnut Pub (for 2)
    £10
  • Bottle of Wine
    £12
  • Ciders at Kilted Skirlie
    £3.50
  • Half Pint at Tollbooth Tavern
    £1.65

Sample the Local Flavors in the UK

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in the UK:

  • London: 2-Hour Haunted Pub Walking Tour: $19
  • Glasgow: Clydeside Distillery Tour and Whisky Tasting: $20
  • London: Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour: $22
  • Oxford: Historic Pub Tour with Student Guide: $23
  • Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare Gin Distillery Tour & Taste: $24
  • Bombay Sapphire Distillery: Guided Tour & Gin Cocktail: $24
  • Edinburgh: Holyrood Distillery Gin and Whisky Guided Tour: $24
  • Glengoyne Distillery: Distillery Tour with Whiskey Tasting: $24
  • London: Camden Pub Crawl with Drinks: $27
  • London: Pub Crawl Experience at 4 Venues with Shots: $27
  • London: The Original Shoreditch Pub Crawl: $27
  • Central London Bar Crawl and Nightlife Tour: $27

Sample the Local Flavors in Ireland

Also in Ireland, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Dublin: Authentic Brewery Tour: $11
  • Dublin: Generation Pub Crawl: $14
  • Dublin: Pearse Lyons Whiskey Distillery Experience: $23
  • Dublin: Private Distillery Trail with Irish Whiskey Tasting: $316
  • Dublin: Private Pub Crawl Tour: $333


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between the UK and Ireland, we can see that the United Kingdom is more expensive. And not only is Ireland much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ireland would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ireland and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in the United Kingdom would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in the United Kingdom than you might in Ireland.

Bristol, England Bristol, England

Why is the UK more expensive than Ireland?

The UK is well known as an expensive travel destination, even by European standards. The National Rail service is one thing citizens in this part of the world love to complain about, as it is very expensive. Unfortunately, restaurants will also not be friendly to your budget when you visit England so you might want to avoid eating out. You can find cheap food in England if you really pay attention. Fish and chips, kebabs, Indian and Asian food are only a couple of pounds. However do not expect to pay less than £15 if you sit-down at a restaurant. Cheap accomodation is also very hard to find in the UK and while some activities, such as a few museums, are free or cheap, castles and other attractions entrance fees are around £10 to £20. You'll find most other day activities, such as cycling, wine tours, tours to ancient ruins tend to be around 80 GBP.

Ireland, in general, is an affordable destination and with some insider knowledge, you can stretch your money further and have a fabulous upscale vacation there. In terms of accomodation, prices average 10-20 euros a night for a hostel dorm room. You can find private rooms that sleep two ranging from 35-60 euros. In the bigger cities, especially Dublin, expect to pay a bit more. You could also try Airbnb, which has shared rooms for as low as 16 euros per night and entire homes averaging about 50 euros a night. Fast food items start at around 4 euros, while a simple meal at a pub will cost you about 10 euros. A nicer meal, with a drink, will be upwards of 20 euros. If you go out early to lunch or dinner, you'll find many restaurants offer “early bird” specials where you can get good deals. Public transportation is first-rate in Ireland! Whether you're on a bus or train, expect free WiFi, friendly drivers, and timely departures. Bus trips around Dublin cost about 2 euros for a single journey. Longer bus journeys, such as Dublin to Belfast will cost around 17 euros. Taxis are expensive and, since most cities are extremely walkable, it is suggested that you avoid them. Most museum fees throughout the country cost about 10 euros.

What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in the UK and Ireland?

Cities are more expensive than the countryside in the UK. A city break in London, Brighton or Edinburgh could cost you almost twice as much as the equivalent stay in Newcastle, Sheffield or Liverpool. St Andrews, Bath and Oxford should also be avoided if you are looking for a budget-friendly trip in the UK. However Exeter, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham are very affordable. A great city with affordable accomodation and food is York. It has a history dating back to prehistoric times and has been a backdrop for numerous influential political events. Cornwall is an incredibly popular destination in the UK and it turns out that cottages and food is fairly reasonably priced. Norfolk seems to have it all; clear coastline, interesting nature reserves, incredible wildlife, market towns, seaside resorts and remains a budget destination! For a cheap beach holiday in the UK head to Pembrokeshire, the most popular coastal destination in Wales. It boasts the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only coastal national park of its kind in the United Kingdom. As for Dorset and the Peak District, finding budget food and accomodation is all about knowing the right places to visit, and going at the right time. While these are not the cheapest regions in the UK, affordable holidays are possible in the countryside if you book in advance or sometimes taking the risk and booking at the last minute also pays off.

Dublin has a reputation for being an expensive city and it certainly can be if you're not careful. Food and drink are going to be two budget killers. Luckily, attractions aren't too expensive and hostels/accommodation are reasonable. The countryside and smaller towns are way less expensive than the capital and, of course, slightly more affordable than any famous tourist spots such as Kinsale, Galway City, Cork, Kilkenny or Clifden.

How can you save money while visiting the UK and Ireland?

Bare in mind that many public museums and cathedrals offer free admission in most city throughout the UK. It's a great way to learn about the country's most influential artists, immerse yourself in the country's history, and waste a rainy day without paying a cent. Most major cities in England offer free walking tours as well. They usually last a few hours and are a great way to see the city. When in cities, rely on walking to get around. Private cars and taxis can ratchet up the cost of your trip significantly because fuel costs in Britain are high. You can also use public transport but when in London, use an Oyster card. Visitor Oyster cards and contactless payment cards offer the cheapest ways to travel in London. Using a Visitor Oyster Card is more than 50% cheaper than buying one-day paper Travel Cards or single tickets with cash. A good way to lower your food expenses is to stick to eating out during lunch only. Restaurants offer fabulous lunch specials where you can get multi-course meals for around 10 GBP. For good cheap and filling meals, visit the local pubs. Most serve good meals for less than 10 GBP and are a great way to meet the locals! Don't let the UK's reputation for expensive accommodations put you off visiting. For budget accommodation, look no further than London's friendly hostels, budget hotel chains, B&B's and Halls of Residence. If chilly days don't bother you, January is the cheapest month to take a vacation to Britain. The hotels have the lowest prices, and since tourism is usually weak, restaurants, theaters and museums offer deals to boost business.

Use your student discounts! A valid student ID will get you discounts, up to 50%, to many attractions, museums, and buses throughout the country. Also, Ireland's strong pub culture will hit your wallet hard so try to temper the cost by visiting happy hours, drinking at home, or skipping drinks altogether. For the best value food, head to the pubs for good, hearty local Irish food. Local meal, with local people, at local prices! For those of you that love to tour heritage sites, you should definitely get an OPW Heritage Card. It guarantees access to main attractions, including most of the castles throughout the country. The card is a must for people visiting multiple cities in the country as it only costs 25 euros for adults. For free accomodation, use couchsurfing! This app connects you with locals who will give you not only a free place to stay, but also a local tour guide who can introduce you to all the great places to see. If you're flexible in your schedule, you can also use the ridesharing service BlaBlaCar and catch rides with locals between cities. If you decide to hire a care, there are lots of different car hire sites, and you can compare deals but you should book your hire car in advance to avoid excessive fees.


Tenby Harbour and Castle Hill, Wales Tenby Harbour and Castle Hill, Wales

When is the best time to visit the UK or Ireland?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

As an island nation in the north, the U.K. experiences cold winters and mild summers. It's common for it to rain most of the year, although it's not usually a pour, but more of a drizzle most of the time. In Scotland and Northern Ireland in particular it can be more rainy than in the southern areas, but not by much. Despite the cold and rain, it does not snow very frequently except for in the mountain areas. When visiting, prepare for cooler weather and rain, even in the summer months.

Ireland can see its share of cold weather, especially on the coast during the wet winters. The summer months are mild with temperatures that are comfortable but not too warm. This makes it a great place to escape the summer heat from other destinations while taking in the country's history and culture. In fact, the weather can be wet at times and change suddenly, too. But it rarely snows in the winter, so don't be afraid to visit during the off season, too.

The United Kingdom can be visited at any time of year, as its climate is relatively temperate and, in general, doesn't experience extremes during either summer or winter. Bare in mind that no matter when you travel, you should always pack an umbrella, as the UK is notorious for experiencing misty days and showers year-round. Indeed, England has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to weather, but one of the joys about the country is that, in fact, it does the seasons very well. Overall, spring, from March to June, and autumn, from September to November, are the best times to visit, as it is usually warm and dry. Spring is full of new life, with daffodils blooming and Easter egg hunts and autumn dazzles when the trees turn bright red and orange. However, England during summer is all about eating ice cream at the beach and picnics in the countryside and winter brings snow and cosy nights in front of a roaring fire. Late spring, along with summer is UK's high tourist season so hotel and flight prices reflect the surge. Although some attractions close in mountainous areas, and there's likely to be snow in the north during winter, the main cities remain fully open and will be quieter for sightseeing. December in London is also an incredibly popular place to be during the holidays, so expect the streets to be crowded with both English and international tourists.

Ireland has a mild, temperate climate and although at times rainey, you can visit at any time of year. However, depending on what you're looking for from your vacation, there could be better times than others to travel. During the months of March to May and September to November, the weather isn't as cold as during the winter months and the sites are not as crowded as during the summer months. The months of June, July and August are the warmest of the year, when Ireland's landscapes are at their most vibrant and days are extremely long. However, in summer, sites and roads are crowded and prices are higher. From late October some sites close, and temperatures drop. There's no avoiding the rain in Ireland no matter what time of the year you land on its shores but in terms of prices, opened sites and number of tourists, the mid-seasons are definitely the best time to visit Ireland.

Should I visit the UK or Ireland in the Summer?

Both Ireland and the UK during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to the UK because of the beaches, the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the beaches, the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Ireland this time of year.

In July, London is generally a little warmer than Dublin. Temperatures in London average around 18°C (64°F), and Dublin stays around 16°C (60°F).

In the summer, London often gets more sunshine than Dublin. London gets 195 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dublin receives 166 hours of full sun.

London usually gets less rain in July than Dublin. London gets 46 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 50 mm (2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    London 18°C (64°F) 
    London 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit the UK or Ireland in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both the UK and Ireland. The hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to the UK this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Ireland for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

London is around the same temperature as Dublin in the autumn. The temperature in London is usually 12°C (53°F) in October, and Dublin stays around 11°C (52°F).

London usually receives more sunshine than Dublin during autumn. London gets 107 hours of sunny skies, while Dublin receives 97 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, London usually receives less rain than Dublin. London gets 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 70 mm (2.7 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    London 12°C (53°F) 
    London 11°C (52°F)

Should I visit the UK or Ireland in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to the UK as well as Ireland. Many travelers come to the UK for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Ireland in the winter for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in London. In the winter, London is cooler than Dublin. Typically, the winter temperatures in London in January are around 4°C (40°F), and Dublin is about 6°C (42°F).

In the winter, London often gets less sunshine than Dublin. London gets 52 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Dublin receives 56 hours of full sun.

London usually gets less rain in January than Dublin. London gets 52 mm (2 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 69 mm (2.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    London 4°C (40°F) 
    London 6°C (42°F)

Should I visit the UK or Ireland in the Spring?

Both Ireland and the UK are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to the UK in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Ireland for the beaches and the natural beauty during these months.

In April, London is generally around the same temperature as Dublin. Temperatures in London average around 9°C (48°F), and Dublin stays around 8°C (47°F).

London usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Dublin during spring. London gets 147 hours of sunny skies, while Dublin receives 157 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, London usually receives less rain than Dublin. London gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Dublin receives 51 mm (2 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    London 9°C (48°F) 
    London 8°C (47°F)

Typical Weather for Dublin and London

London Dublin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (40°F) 52 mm (2 in) 6°C (42°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
Feb 5°C (40°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 6°C (42°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 7°C (44°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Apr 9°C (48°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 8°C (47°F) 51 mm (2 in)
May 13°C (55°F) 51 mm (2 in) 11°C (52°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
Jun 16°C (61°F) 51 mm (2 in) 14°C (57°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Jul 18°C (64°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 16°C (60°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Aug 18°C (64°F) 51 mm (2 in) 15°C (60°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Sep 15°C (59°F) 51 mm (2 in) 14°C (56°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Oct 12°C (53°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 11°C (52°F) 70 mm (2.7 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 8°C (46°F) 65 mm (2.5 in)
Dec 5°C (42°F) 57 mm (2.2 in) 6°C (44°F) 76 mm (3 in)


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UK vs. Ireland Travel Comparison

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