Jump to content

Cheapest/most expensive countries for 'culture'


Recommended Posts

The Post Office Travel Money's first 'Cost of Culture' report since 2009 stresses the low cost of 'culture' for visitors to Eastern Europe, compared with London, supposedly the most expensive city in their list. However, they quote £91 to see a ballet (RB Manon) and say about their calculations:  "For music, opera and ballet performances, prices relate to category 2 seats for performances taking place between 1 and 9 October 2014." A pity they don't take into account the wide spread of prices. They conclude:

 

Although prices have plunged over 20 per cent since 2009, London was even pricier than Paris. Despite the benefit of free entry to galleries and museums like Tate Modern and the British Museum, high-priced opera, ballet and heritage attractions have again made London the most expensive option (£256). For example, a ticket to see the Royal Ballet (£91) costs 50 per cent more than one to see the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow (£60), home of dance.

See: http://media.postoffice.co.uk/News-Releases/Culture-Vultures-Should-Head-East-For-The-Lowest-Priced-High-Brow-Break-10f.aspx

 

Yaffa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of this depends on the exchange rate for Brits travelling abroad.

 

My friend and I went to Copenhagen in 2005 for the Bournonville Festival and realised that, at that time, it was cheaper for us to go to both Copenhagen and Paris than a weekend in London at ROH.  As sterling plummetted that situation changed and the last time I went to Paris it would have been cheaper to spend the equivalent time in London.

 

Now the pound is stronger that situation may again have changed.

 

Where I can have an issue with London it is with the cost for me to get there.  Having easy access to both Liverpool and Manchester airports means that I have had trips to European cities where the flights have cost less than the train fare to London would have done for the same time.  I have discovered that it is almost impossible to get cheaper train tickets on Fridays and Sundays but usually can get them slightly cheaper during the week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think these kind of scales also are only made meaningful when the relative scale of wages of the local populace are taken into consideration.  In that light the Eastern European cultural thrills are less economically enticing certainly than they are for us I often think ... or so it has been in my own personal experience.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Janet, I travelled up to Manchester and back from London to visit my niece and you are right - absolutely no cheap tickets on the friday. I went up on the Thursday evening train at 8pm instead and it only cost me £12.50. I came back on sunday at 11.30am and it cost me £25. So not too bad. I booked through Virgin, which was better than what the TrainLine and other supposedly cheap travel companies offered and no booking fees. I booked quite a while in advance though.

 

We saw a very good production of the ballet Romeo and Juliet in Budapest last year and if I remember rightly we paid about £35 a seat!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some years ago one of our local papers compared the cost of a week on the town in London and New York for a family of 4 from Altrincham or it might have been Wilmslow. By Thursday the family that had crossed the Atlantic was ahead. The families stayed at similar hotels, ate at similar restaurants and saw similar shows.

 

It is a long time since I was at last at Lincoln Center but I seem to remember that programmes which can cost over £5 here (I paid £12 when the Maryinsky were in town) were included in the ticket price.

 

More recently I saw the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company in Amsterdam in November and London in May. The journey to and from Amsterdam was a lot quicker and much more comfortable than my journey to London.  A bus from the airport took me  to the American Hotel which was next to the theatre for 4 euros and a room with a bath and breakfast cost me 95 euros. When I went to London I drove to Luton Parkway where I parked for £3 and took the Thameslink to Farringdon using my senior railcard which was £9.25.   From there I took a bus to Drury Lane using my senior citizen's bus pass. Had I taken the train from Westgate or Piccadilly and stayed at a  hotel like the American Hotel it would have cost me a mint.

Edited by terpsichore
Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's true programs are free in North America, but the ones you pay for in Europe and the UK are a lot more informative and have better pics.

 

One summer I went to New York (from Toronto ) to see some ballet for a week and a month later I went to Japan to see some ballet. When I calculated everything (airfare, meals, hotels, ballet tix) my trip to Japan cost me much less!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's true programs are free in North America, but the ones you pay for in Europe and the UK are a lot more informative and have better pics.

 

Depends where. At some ballet companies in the US the programs are both informative and well printed (besides being free). At the same time charging £12 for the program of the recent Mariinsky tour I consider well above what it should cost. One could argue it was well printed yet there was not much useful information inside.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it's true programs are free in North America, but the ones you pay for in Europe and the UK are a lot more informative and have better pics.

 

One summer I went to New York (from Toronto ) to see some ballet for a week and a month later I went to Japan to see some ballet. When I calculated everything (airfare, meals, hotels, ballet tix) my trip to Japan cost me much less!

 

I'm shocked.  I'd always understood that Japan was one of the most expensive places on earth to buy ballet tickets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to visit Moscow regularly in the early 90's and a friend in the company always gave me tickets.  On one occasion he couldn't get me a comp but said if I went to the box office before the performance and gave his name they would sell me one.   Because I had always had freebies I had no idea of prices so took a fistful of roubles along.  To my astonishment I finished up paying the equivalent of 34p.  Things have changed a lot there in twenty years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing about the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Maryiinsky in St. Petersburg is that Russians can buy tickets cheaply - tourists can't.  There are two prices for everything - even to go into Lenin's tomb - and the difference in price is tremendous.  In a way it's nice that they are enabling their citizens to access culture, that they might otherwise not be able to afford.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like Janet, I'm constantly frustrated at the ridiculous train prices between London and the North, particularly since so many of the trains are virtually empty. Often, splitting the journey can help considerably. but I sometimes arrive at RBS morning events after a detour via a European city, solely for cost reasons!

 

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-train-tickets can be a good starting place for tricky train journeys, with pros and cons and many special offers of different networks, alternative routes etc. But not everything of relevance to ballet travel is spelled out. For example, ballet uncertainties (audition outcomes, cast changes etc.) can make it risky to buy most cheap advance tickets, which also usually have high penalties for changing and can't technically be transferred or sold. But Megabus/Megatrain (http://www.megabus.com) offer a limited number of tickets for Virgin, Southwest, East Midlands etc. trains and routes at a fraction of the regular cost - and they are also fully changeable for just a £1 fee! You do need to read the Megatrain terms of service carefully, and it only offers a 6 week booking window and a small number of routes and times (You can see a slightly out of date map of its train routes at: http://images.moneysavingexpert.com/images/megamap.gif?_ga=1.106902723.11961899.1409079758 ).  But its Birmingham to London route, for example, can be great for auditions and for partial journeys between London and the North. Another Megatrain route for ballet folks in Manchester: the 11 p.m. Virgin train from London to Stockport, Macclesfield and Manchester Piccadilly, currently offered on many Mondays to Thursdays for £1 and £5. Unfortunately this route is just one way and does mean arriving at around 2 a.m. - but could be useful for people who want to return affordably from an evening performance in London.

 

NB: The Megatrain/Megabus site combines bus and train searches, with ultra-cheap buses not just in England but also to Europe - I've travelled for £1/£5 for the Paris Opera Ballet School Demonstrations

 

Yaffa (with no ties to any of the above resources - just passing on some of the info I've been collating)

 

[edited to correct typos]

Edited by Yaffa
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing about the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Maryiinsky in St. Petersburg is that Russians can buy tickets cheaply - tourists can't.  There are two prices for everything - even to go into Lenin's tomb - and the difference in price is tremendous.  In a way it's nice that they are enabling their citizens to access culture, that they might otherwise not be able to afford.

It's true that foreigners have to pay a different price at many places. It is not true, however, that an average Russian can buy tickets cheaply for a ballet at the Bolshoi. Most tickets are very expensive also for Russians.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where I can have an issue with London it is with the cost for me to get there.  Having easy access to both Liverpool and Manchester airports means that I have had trips to European cities where the flights have cost less than the train fare to London would have done for the same time.  I have discovered that it is almost impossible to get cheaper train tickets on Fridays and Sundays but usually can get them slightly cheaper during the week.

 

Not just in Britain that this happens, Janet.

 

I've just come back from Portugal, and I discovered that  I could get a return flight on Ryanair from Faro to Lisbon which was half the cost of the train or bus.  I didn't do it at the time, but it does make you wonder.  I assume that the reason trains are more expensive is that there are more journeys, they run daily, and it makes no difference if the train only has one passenger on it. 

 

Also, does culture consist entirely of opera and ballet? Yes, those are very expensive, but what about theatre tickets and musical concerts?   There is such a wealth of those sorts of activities in London, and they are not all eye wateringly expensive. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess it depends on the definition of "eye watering"!

 

I try to get tickets that are in the £30 something price range in central London.  Last tickets I bought were the Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies plays,  for which I paid  £32 each.  Personally, I don't think that is too expensive for an evening of superb drama, but maybe if a person is used to getting tickets for £12 then it is. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've just got me thinking now about theatre tickets in London and elsewhere in the country.

 

I've just done a quick comparison.  The prices for the BRB at the Hippodrome are broadly comparable with those at Sadlers Wells.   Likewise, the cost of tickets for RSC performances Stratford are similar to those for RSC productions in London.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

 

I've just come back from Portugal, and I discovered that  I could get a return flight on Ryanair from Faro to Lisbon which was half the cost of the train or bus.  I didn't do it at the time, but it does make you wonder.  I assume that the reason trains are more expensive is that there are more journeys, they run daily, and it makes no difference if the train only has one passenger on it. . 

 

Sometimes Ryanair has promotions with less consideration of short-term costs as a marketing ploy. I believe it actually scrapped the Lisbon-Faro route;  the current ultra-cheap Porto-Faro and Lisbon-Porto routes are seen as an attempt to woo those who would normally travel by train (see: http://portugalresident.com/ryanair-promotional-package-offers-flights-for-same-price-as-a-rail-ticket). Maybe Ryanair are hoping that some of these people may now be interested in Ryanair's new more expensive 'business plus' service (though there  are some sniggers at the idea of Ryanair providing the kind of customer service that business travellers would want)... 

 

But Ryanair and the budget airlines do operate with much smaller costs, including faster turnaround times than 'typical' airlines (though of course a large proportion of their revenue is from extra 'optional' charges not included in the quoted fairs).  

 

Yaffa

[edited to add last sentence]

Edited by Yaffa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just done a quick comparison.  The prices for the BRB at the Hippodrome are broadly comparable with those at Sadlers Wells.

Broadly, perhaps, but not at the bottom end, unfortunately. These days, it's quite a stretch for me to be able to afford any BRB ticket at the Hippodrome, and that's before you add on the train fare. Hence why I didn't in the end bother going to the mixed bill this summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there tend to be few price ranges within provincial theatres for the "big shows" (which fortunately I don't usually go to!) - often there is only one or two prices in the stalls.  I prefer to sit in the front stalls (usually front row) so unless it's something really special it is cheaper for me to go closer to home.  I agree about the Sadler's Wells pricing but BRB are also cheaper everywhere else except Birmingham.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes Ryanair has promotions with less consideration of short-term costs as a marketing ploy. I believe it actually scrapped the Lisbon-Faro route;  the current ultra-cheap Porto-Faro and Lisbon-Porto routes are seen as an attempt to woo those who would normally travel by train (see: http://portugalresident.com/ryanair-promotional-package-offers-flights-for-same-price-as-a-rail-ticket).

 

I actually meant Porto, I don't know why I put Lisbon!  Ryanair do change all the time.  A few years ago I got 2 return plane tickets from Faro to Madrid for a total of 4 euros 99.  They also did cheap ones to Barcelona, but before I could get them they stopped both routes.

 

However, I think they are currently doing a cheap deal to Paris, which must be successful, because the Algarve was teeming with French people this year. 

 

 

I think there tend to be few price ranges within provincial theatres for the "big shows" (which fortunately I don't usually go to!) - often there is only one or two prices in the stalls.  I prefer to sit in the front stalls (usually front row) so unless it's something really special it is cheaper for me to go closer to home.  I agree about the Sadler's Wells pricing but BRB are also cheaper everywhere else except Birmingham.

 

I assume this is because the theatres' overheads must be cheaper in the "provinces"?  I am woefully ignorant about theatre prices in cities other than London and Birmingham, being a Londoner.  Sorry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's true that foreigners have to pay a different price at many places. It is not true, however, that an average Russian can buy tickets cheaply for a ballet at the Bolshoi. Most tickets are very expensive also for Russians.

You can buy cheap tickets on the streets outside the Bolshoi before any performance - it's better if you speak Russian though or have someone with you that speaks Russian!  You can often get good seats as well if you haggle for a while!  I went to see Lady of the Camelias with my daughter on such a ticket with Svetlana premiering the lead role. Students can also get very cheap tickets.

http://talaleeturton.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/springtime-celebrations-in-moscow-and-lady-of-the-camellias/

Edited by JoJo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello MAB - I have always only paid in rubles - the equivalent of £40 per ticket for the Lady of the Camellias performance (with great seats) but have had cheaper.  My daughter pays as little as 100 rubles for a student ticket but she is then expected to sit up with the gods!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm afraid I don't know how much they cost exactly, just that they were quite a bit cheaper when bought by Russians.  Our daughter-in-law's parents bought them for us on line (we saw Don Q) as a gift.  I hope that they didn't just say that they were cheaper, so we wouldn't make too much fuss about their inviting us!

 

By the way, I have had some wonderful best of house tickets for West End shows for 25 pounds by getting Senior concessions!  Actually, the first time I asked for them, the box office clerk asked for ID and the woman who had been in front of us got rather upset - apparently she hadn't been asked to prove her age!  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mean it's not only my ancient IE8 that makes a total mess of her site?

 

Concessions are all very nice where given.  I was surprised a few years ago to note how few were available to the unemployed, but I suppose the thinking is that if you're only getting £75 a week Jobseeker's Allowance you probably can't afford to waste 1/3 of it on a theatre ticket.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...