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Culture Vultures Should Head East For The Lowest Priced High Brow Break

Press release   •   Aug 22, 2014 14:28 BST

- Almost half of UK holidaymakers call themselves culture vultures
- Warsaw is Europe’s cheapest city for culture with prices under a third of those in Vienna, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris
- Eurozone culture comes with lowest price tag in Dublin and Rome
- London is the most expensive cultural capital despite price falls of over 20 per cent in the past five years

Nearly half of UK holidaymakers describe themselves as holiday culture vultures according to the results of two recent surveys¹. While Post Office® Travel Money’s first Cost of Culture report since 2009 has revealed that Eastern Europe is the pound-stretching place for a culture-cramming city break, while London remains the most expensive.

Based on the price of ballet, opera and concert tickets together with entry to the city’s top museum, art gallery and heritage attraction, Warsaw was cheapest by far of 12 European cultural capitals surveyed by Post Office Travel Money.

Thanks to a 13 per cent rise in the value of sterling since 2009², tickets for world-class national ballet and opera performances in Warsaw cost just £20. In total the Polish capital’s cultural barometer basket weighed in at under £70³, less than the cost of one ticket for the English National Opera’s production of Otello at the London Coliseum (£117.50) or the Royal Ballet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House (£91).

Culture vultures can also expect to pay more than three times as much as the Warsaw price in four leading eurozone culture capitals: Vienna (£223), Amsterdam (£223), Barcelona (£242) and Paris (£252). Falls in the cost of ballet, opera and concert tickets mean prices in Vienna are 27 per cent cheaper than in 20094. However, despite an 11 per cent rise in the power of the pound against the euro, visitors to Paris can expect to pay 11 per cent more for its cultural attractions, while prices in Amsterdam have rocketed by 37 per cent.

Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Budapest (£80 for the six cultural highlights) rivals Warsaw for low performance prices. Prices may have risen locally but a 27 per cent improvement in sterling’s value against the Hungarian forint means that a visit to the State Opera House to

see the National Ballet perform The Nutcracker costs just £15.

Similarly, a 23 per cent strengthening of the pound against the Czech koruna means that the cost of the cultural shopping basket in Prague (£93) is virtually pegged at 2009 levels, making the Czech capital a good bet for lovers of art, music and history.

Dublin and Rome emerge as best value for a cultural break in the eurozone. Prices in Dublin (£102) are over 19 per cent cheaper than in 2009. However, Post Office Travel Money found that autumn opera and ballet performances are thin on the ground in the Irish capital. In contrast to this, visitors to Rome (£132) will be spoilt for choice and this was the city showing the biggest price fall – 36 per cent – of the 12 surveyed. Paris, the highest-priced eurozone city surveyed (£252), was over 90 per cent more expensive.

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.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “We based our report on the idea that people would want to visit galleries and museums every day on a short break and spend evenings at music-based events. What we found was that while every city surveyed boasts world-class cultural attractions, prices vary dramatically. This means culture vultures can save hundreds of pounds by doing their homework before booking and swap expensive cities for cheaper ones.”

The survey identified the three best value choices5 and the most expensive6 for each of the cultural attractions. OnlyBarcelona, Amsterdam, Moscow and Vienna failed to feature as a best value option in any category.

At £19.75, Buckingham Palace State Rooms was the most expensive heritage attraction whereas entry is free to many of its continental competitors. Rome’s Vatican Museum was the highest-priced museum (£13.20) and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam was the most expensive art gallery (£12.38). Vienna charged most for music (Vienna Symphony Orchestra concert – £54), while Barcelona had the highest-priced opera ticket at £135 (The Barber of Seville at the Liceu).

Andrew Brown said: “Buying tickets while on holiday is often an impulse decision – but it will cost less to plan ahead, budget carefully and change enough cash before leaving home to see you through. Charges for using plastic to pay for tickets could make that ‘spur of the moment’ decision an expensive one.”

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. Higher rates are available for bigger value transaction in branches or online. More than 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

City break holidaymakers can compare costs in individual European cities by checking the Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer at postoffice.co.uk/cityreport2014.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Gabrielle O’Gara
Post Office Press Office
0207 250 2534 / 07436 034094
Gabrielle.ogara@postoffice.co.uk

Christine Ball
CBPR
01798 874177 / 07976 285997
cball@cballpr.co.uk

Notes to editors

¹ Research taken from 5142 UK respondents to the Post Office Travel Truths questionnaire between 4-12 July showed that 48 per cent described themselves as culture vultures. Similarly, a study by Opinion Matters for NewcastleGateshead conducted between 12-16 June found that 47 per cent of 1,648 UK adults said they ‘cram more cultural activity into a city break weekend away than they do when at home’.

2 Table showing the strengthening of sterling against Cost of Culture currencies since August 2009 (rate used relates to online exchange of £500 or more on 13 August 2014):

Currency

% +/- 2014 vs. 2013

August 2014

August 2009

Euro

+11.1%

1.216

1.0948

Czech koruna

+23.4%

32.6111

26.4186

Hungarian forint

+27.2%

366.7374

288.2192

Polish zloty

+13.4%

4.9819

4.392

3 The Post Office Cost of Culture Report lists six cultural highlights in each featured city, providing prices researched on official websites or supplied by tourist offices. For music, opera and ballet performances, prices relate to category 2 seats for performances taking place between 1 and 9 October 2014. 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 produced on a separate sheet.

POST OFFICE COST OF CULTURE CITY PRICE GUIDE

Culture

Warsaw

Budapest

Prague

Dublin

Rome

Berlin

Museum

£2.82

£4.37

£3.08

£0.00

£13.20

£10.31

Art Gallery

£3.02

£3.83

£4.61

£0.00

£9.08

£6.60

Heritage site

£4.43

£2.73

£0.00

£7.43

£9.90

£0.00

Ballet

£20.13

£15.03

£27.07

£40.43

£49.50

£38.78

Opera

£20.13

£31.43

£30.45

£28.05

£32.18

£59.41

Classical concert

£19.12

£22.96

£27.38

£26.40

£18.15

£43.73

TOTAL COSTS

£69.65

£80.35

£92.59

£102.31

£132.01

£158.83

Culture

Moscow

Vienna

Amsterdam

Barcelona

Paris

London

Museum

£6.24

£11.55

£7.84

£9.08

£9.90

£0.00

Art Gallery

£5.35

£9.82

£12.38

£9.08

£9.08

£0.00

Heritage site

£4.46

£9.49

£12.38

£12.21

£0.00

£19.75

Ballet

£60.60

£76.73

£59.41

£37.95

£78.38

£91.00

Opera

£62.38

£61.88

£93.23

£135.31

£117.16

£117.50

Classical concert

£53.47

£53.63

£37.95

£37.95

£37.13

£28.00

TOTAL COSTS

£192.50

£223.10

£223.19

£241.58

£251.65

£256.25

Source: Post Office®. Data relates to online exchange rates on 13 August 2014

4Table showing the percentage rise or fall in prices since the 2009 Cost of Culture report.

City

% +/-

2014 v 2009

2014

2009

Warsaw

+8.3

£69.65

£64.32

Budapest

-15.2

£80.35

£94.72

Prague

+1.1

£92.59

£91.61

Berlin

-15.8

£158.83

£188.63

Rome

-36.1

£132.01

£206.59

Amsterdam

+37.3

£223.19

£162.59

Paris

+11.1

£251.65

£226.53

Barcelona

-6.9

£241.58

£259.40

London

-21.4

£256.25

£326.00

Vienna

-27.3

£223.10

£306.81

Dublin

-19.1

£102.31

£126.50

Note: Moscow not surveyed in 2009

5 Post Office charts showing the three best value cities for each of the categories surveyed.

BEST VALUE IN CULTURAL CAPITALS

MUSEUM

1

London

British Museum

Free

2

Dublin

National Gallery of Ireland

Free

3

Warsaw

Warsaw Uprising Museum

£2.82

ART GALLERY

1

London

Tate Modern

Free

2

Dublin

National Gallery of Ireland

Free

3

Warsaw

Zacheta National Gallery of Art

£3.02

HERITAGE SITE

1

Berlin

Brandenburg Gate

Free

2

Paris

Notre-Dame

Free

3

Prague

Prague Astronomical Clock/Old Town Hall Square

Free

BALLET

1

Budapest

National Ballet (The Nutcracker)

£15.03

2

Warsaw

Polish National Ballet (Romeo & Juliet)

£20.13

3

Prague

State Opera Ballet (Romeo & Juliet)

£27.07

OPERA

1

Warsaw

Polish National Opera (Merchant of Venice)

£20.13

3

Dublin

Chisanau National Opera (Madam Butterfly)

£28.05

3

Prague

Prague State Opera (Il Trovatore)

£30.45

CLASSICAL CONCERT

1

Rome

All Saints Church ( Vivaldi 'Four Seasons’)

£18.15

2

Warsaw

National Philharmonic Orchestra (Schoenberg)

£19.12

3

Budapest

Béla Bartok National Concert Hall (Richard Strauss)

£22.96

6 Post Office charts showing the most expensive cultural attraction for each of the categories surveyed.

MOST EXPENSIVE CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS

Museum

Vatican Museum

Rome

£13.20

Art Gallery

Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam

£12.38

Heritage Site

Buckingham Palace State Rooms

London

£19.75

Ballet

The Royal Ballet (Manon)

London

£91.00

Opera

Liceu (The Barber of Seville)

Barcelona

£135.31

Classical Concert

Vienna Symphony Orchesta (Schubert)

Vienna

£53.63

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