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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Cheaper than Warsaw, Budapest and Prague: Why Dublin is the best bet for culture-cramming city ventures



Which short-break destination is the best value city if you’re looking to indulge in a little culture?

It’s good news for anyone who prefers to stay near home because the Irish capital Dublin has leapfrogged Eastern European capitals and now rates the cheapest for a highbrow break.

Dublin is much cheaper than Warsaw, Budapest and Prague, which set the pace for a culture-cramming holiday a year ago – according to a survey carried out by Post Office Travel Money.

According to the survey, prices have risen 12.5 per cent in London, which means that it is still the most expensive European cultural capital surveyed.

Bargain: Dublin is now cheaper to visit for culture than Budapest (above)

Bargain: Dublin is now cheaper to visit for culture than Budapest (above)

Transatlantic travellers will pay most of all – New York cultural attractions cost over £200 more than London.

Based on six cultural attractions: visits to Ireland’s National Museum, National Gallery and Trinity College to see the Old Library and Book of Kells as well as ballet, opera and musical nights out, Dublin’s ‘cultural barometer basket’ weighed in at just over £76, more than 25 per cent cheaper than a year ago.

Not only does this make the city the best value of 17 cultural capitals surveyed, but also less than half the price of ten competitors, including London.

Dublin’s six cultural highlights cost less than one ticket in London for The Barber Of Seville (£115, London Coliseum).

The survey claims that London remains Europe’s most expensive city for culture with the cost of culture basket hitting £287.50.

Paris is almost as expensive at £247.64 but prices in both cities are far lower than in New York, where transatlantic travellers can expect to pay £491.73.

In New York, a category 2 ticket for the Metropolitan Opera (Otello) will cost UK visitors £212, while the New York City Ballet (Balanchine) costs more than £177.

Budapest has retained its position as second-cheapest in the survey at £91.31 for the six cultural highlights, although prices are up 13.6 per cent compared with a year ago.

You can find the Book of Kells, a  manuscript Gospel book in Latin, in Trinity College, Dublin

You can find the Book of Kells, a manuscript Gospel book in Latin, in Trinity College, Dublin

For holidaymakers who prefer the idea of mixing sunshine with a city break, Lisbon looks to be best value.

The Portuguese capital scored with the third-cheapest barometer cost of £94.41.

Despite the increased value of sterling, which gives UK visitors 13 per cent more Polish zloty for their pounds, Warsaw, last year’s best bargain, has fallen to fourth place because performance prices have mushroomed 51 per cent to £105.10 in 12 months.

Fifth-placed Prague has seen a 20 per cent increase to £111.52.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: ‘Last year we were advising holidaymakers to head east for the lowest-priced highbrow break.

'Now Dublin has leapfrogged them and looks a great bargain, especially as flights to the Irish capital are shorter and such good value, too.’

However, the Post Office points out that the price you pay will depend on your taste in culture.

For example, entry to the most popular museum, gallery and heritage site is free in Copenhagen, which is tenth placed in the overall barometer at a total price of £154.20, but these attractions cost more than £35 in Amsterdam.

And while there is free entry to the British Museum and National Gallery in London, the Tower of London is rated as the most expensive heritage site at £24.50 – more than twice the price of every other site surveyed.

The report found that the cheapest European cities for ballet, opera and music events cost a sixth of those in the most expensive cities.

A ticket for Lisbon’s National Ballet Company (Pedro e Ines) will cost £18.16 compared with £115 for the Royal Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet in London.

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