We drove down a country lane, passing lush, green hedges that were almost as high as our car. The road narrowed before going over a tiny, medieval-looking bridge. We waited for an oncoming car to cross. The driver waived his thanks, and then we drove over the quaint canal. Above us, a private helicopter prepared to land at a country club. It might have been David or Victoria Beckham, who were reported to have a multi-million dollar estate nearby. It could have been a member of the British royal family, simply flying in for tea.
This was, after all, the Cotswold District of England. Its rolling green hills and villages are adored by the rich and famous. It also attracts plenty of American tourists, keen for a taste of jolly old England. The United Kingdom is the third most popular tourist destination for Americans, after Mexico and Canada.
And the best time to visit England might be this summer. That’s because the British pound, compared to the U.S. dollar, is near an all-time low. Ten years ago, 1 British Pound cost $1.65 US. On May 31, 2019, 1 British pound cost $1.26 U.S. In other words, the British pound has dropped about 24 percent over the past ten years. It was slightly lower, in 2016, shortly after Britons voted to leave the European Union. But the British Prime Minister’s recent resignation might test new lows.
The British Pound Has Dropped 24% In Just Ten Years
In 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The decision, known as Brexit, shocked then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who promptly resigned. After the Brexit vote, the British pound dropped to a 31-year low. Theresa May then became Britain’s second female Prime Minister, after Margaret Thatcher. The British pound rallied in 2017 and 2018. But Theresa May faced a tough task. She had to convince her party and the opposition party how Britain should best exit the European Union. Unfortunately, the politicians couldn’t agree. The turmoil brought the pound lower, testing its 2016 low. Many people blamed Theresa May, and on May 24, 2019, she announced her resignation.
This doesn’t mean a trip to England would be a depressing affair. I just returned from the old country, after spending time in Nottingham, York, Buckingham, the Cotswold District and Oxford. Yes, the government has frustrated many. But people are still laughing in the pubs, enjoying long walks and cheering for their favorite football (soccer) teams. Businesses also appear to be booming. The Guardian reports that unemployment is at a 44-year low.
Most Americans take a well-worn British tourist path. But if you’re looking for something different, keep your eye on the Brits. Time Out magazine reports that more British people are enjoying vacations at home this year. Here’s a list of some of their favorite spots.
You might also enjoy a canal boat trip. You can find some great deals at Waterways Holidays, where a boat for 4 people could cost as little as $1,500 USD per week. Some of the canals are barely wide enough for two narrow boats. But that’s part of their charm. You can putter along at 4 miles per hour, stopping at tiny, waterside pubs for a pint of the local brew. One thing’s for sure: you’ll see a part of England that few tourists ever do.
The political uncertainty is keeping the British currency low. Once Britain moves forward with a Brexit deal, the British currency will likely rebound to more normal levels. Until then, take advantage of the deals that the country’s lower costs now offer.
Andrew Hallam is a Digital Nomad. He’s the author of the bestseller Millionaire Teacher and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas