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Dublin Is Best Bargain For Holidaymakers Who Turn Into Culture Vultures On A City Break

Press Release   •   Aug 22, 2015 00:01 BST

Dublin leapfrogs Eastern European capitals to rate cheapest for a highbrow break

Prices rise 12.5 per cent in London – still the most expensive European cultural capital surveyed

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

Growing numbers of UK tourists are turning into culture vultures when they head off on trips abroad, according to a succession of surveys on holiday habits¹. Now the latest Post Office Travel Money Cost of Culture report² has revealed that Dublin is the city where culture costs the least. The Irish capital was found to be much cheaper than Warsaw, Budapest and Prague, the Eastern European cities that set the pace for a culture-cramming break a year ago.

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 by the Post Office but also less than half the price of 10 competitors, including London. Dublin’s six cultural highlights cost less than one ticket in London for The Barber of Seville (£115, London Coliseum) or Romeo & Juliet (£115, Royal Opera House).

London remains Europe’s most expensive city for culture after registering a 12.5 per cent rise in the Cost of Culture basket to £287.50 compared with last year. 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 set UK visitors back £212 while the New York City Ballet (Balanchine) costs over £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. 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 pounds³, 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 to Warsaw, Budapest and Prague for the lowest-priced highbrow break. Now Dublin has leapfrogged all three 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 10th placed in the overall barometer at a total price of £154.20, but these attractions cost over £35 in Amsterdam. And while there is free entry to the British Museum and National Gallery in London, the Tower of London rated as the most expensive heritage site at £24.50 – over 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 cities4. 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. Similarly, holidaymakers will pay £21.34 a ticket for the Polish National Opera’s production of the Merchant of Venice compared with around £130 for Madam Butterfly at the Paris Opera. In Budapest a programme of Strauss by the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra costs £10.47 but a Warsaw National Philharmonic classical concert is £52.10.

Andrew Brown said: “Every city we surveyed boasts world-class cultural attractions but the prices for these vary dramatically. This means culture vultures looking for good value can save hundreds of pounds by doing their homework before booking and swap expensive cities for cheaper ones.”

Currencies for cities featured in the Cost of Culture report are available at the Post Office, with over 10,000 branches offering euro over the counter. More than 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery.


For more information, please contact:

Emma Coulthurst Post Office Press Office 020 7012 3456

Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997

Notes to Editors:

¹ Surveys conducted by; Moneycorp; Opinion Matters for NewcastleGateshead and Post Office Travel Truths.

2 The Post Office Cost of Culture Report lists six cultural highlights in each featured city, providing prices researched on official websites. For music, opera and ballet performances, prices relate to category 2 seats for performances taking place between 1 and 9 October 2015. Where no performances are scheduled within that timeframe, recent or forthcoming ones have been used instead. A table showing the full breakdown of cultural attractions is provided on a separate sheet.


Culture 1. Dublin 2. Budapest 3. Lisbon 4. Warsaw 5. Prague 6. Moscow
Museum £0.00 £3.90 £3.63 £3.20 £2.80 £5.47
Art Gallery £0.00 £3.41 £0.00 £2.67 £4.20 £3.28
Heritage site £7.26 £3.41 £7.26 £4.09 £9.81 £2.73
Ballet £22.80 £35.06 £18.16 £21.34 £27.74 £41.56
Opera £24.69 £35.06 £29.05 £21.34 £27.74 £59.05
Classical concert £21.42 £10.47 £36.31 £52.46 £39.23 £19.68
TOTAL COSTS £76.17 £91.31 £94.41 £105.10 £111.52 £131.77
%+/- 2015 v 2014 -25.5% +13.6% n/a +50.9% +20.4% -31.5%
Culture 7. Brussels 8. Stockholm 9. Berlin 10. Copenhagen 11. Rome 12. Vienna
Museum £7.26 £10.04 £5.81 £0.00 £11.62 £10.17
Art Gallery £5.81 £9.27 £8.71 £0.00 £7.99 £8.64
Heritage site £0.00 £7.72 £0.00 £0.00 £8.71 £9.37
Ballet £37.40 £42.47 £45.03 £52.23 £43.57 £84.24
Opera £73.35 £42.47 £55.19 £69.14 £83.51 £55.92
Classical concert £18.16 £35.52 £38.49 £32.83 £21.06 £36.31
TOTAL COSTS £141.98 £147.49 £153.23 £154.20 £176.46 £204.65
%+/- 2015 v 2014 n/a n/a -3.5% n/a +33.7% -8.3%
Culture 13. Amsterdam 14. Barcelona 15. Paris 16. London 17. New York
Museum £12.35 £10.17 £10.89 £0.00 £14.56
Art Gallery £12.71 £2.90 £7.99 £0.00 £16.55
Heritage site £10.17 £10.89 £0.00 £24.50 £11.91
Ballet £53.74 £58.10 £79.88 £115.00 £177.37
Opera £106.75 £114.74 £130.72 £115.00 £211.78
Classical concert £30.86 £30.50 £18.16 £33.00 £59.56
TOTAL COSTS £226.58 £227.30 £247.64 £287.50 £491.73
%+/- 2015 v 2014 +1.5% -5.9% -1.6% +12.2% n/a

Source: Post Office®. Data relates to online exchange rates on 11 August 2015. Brussels, Copenhagen, Lisbon, New York and Stockholm were not surveyed in 2014.3 Post Office exchange rates for Cost of Culture currencies, August 2015 compared with August 2014:

Currency August 2015 August 2014 % +/- 2015 vs. 2014 +/- on a £500 exchange
Russian ruble 91.4412 56.1041 +63.0% +£193.22
Swedish kronor 12.9510 10.9856 +17.9% +£75.88
Euro 1.3770 1.2120 +13.6% +£59.91
Danish kroner 10.0517 8.8765 +13.2% +£58.46
Polish zloty 5.6232 4.9686 +13.2% +£58.21
Hungarian forint 410.7068 365.9313 +12.2% +£54.51
Czech koruna 35.6915 32.5095 +9.8% +£44.58
US dollar 1.5110 1.6200 -6.7% -£36.07

4 Post Office charts showing the best value cities and the most expensive ones for each category surveyed.BEST VALUE IN CULTURAL CAPITALS

1 Copenhagen National Museum of Denmark Free
2 Dublin National Gallery of Ireland Free
3 London British Museum Free
1 Copenhagen National Gallery of Denmark Free
2 Dublin National Gallery of Ireland Free
3 Lisbon Berardo Collection Free
4 London National Gallery Free
1 Berlin Brandenburg Gate Free
2 Brussels Grand Place Free
3 Copenhagen The Little Mermaid Statue Free
4 Paris Notre Dame Free
1 Lisbon National Ballet Company (Pedro e Ines) £18.16
2 Warsaw Polish National Ballet (Romeo & Juliet) £21.34
3 Dublin Ballet Ireland (Coppélia) £22.80
1 Warsaw Polish National Opera (Merchant of Venice) £21.34
3 Dublin Opera & Ballet International (Carmen) £24.69
3 Prague Prague State Opera (Rigoletto) £27.74
1 Budapest Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra (Strauss) £10.47
2 Brussels Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra (Bruckner) £18.16
3 Paris Paris National Opera Orchestra (Schubert/Hummel) £18.16


Museum American Museum of Natural History New York £14.56
Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam £12.35
Art Gallery Metropolitan Museum of Art New York £16.55
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam £12.71
Heritage Site Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island New York £11.91
Tower of London London £24.50
Ballet New York City Ballet (All Balanchine) New York £177.37
The Royal Ballet (Romeo & Juliet) London £115.00
Opera Metropolitan Opera (Otello) New York £211.78
Paris Opera (Madame Butterfly) Paris £130.72
Classical Concert New York Philharmonic Orchestra New York £59.56
Warsaw National Philharmonic Warsaw £52.10

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