Survey Says London Is Europe’s Most Expensive City For Culture

The Royal Opera House: getting in needn't cost a kidney. Photo by Tony Hawkins from the Londonist Flickr pool.

The Royal Opera House: getting in needn’t cost a kidney. Photo by Tony Hawkins from the Londonist Flickr pool.

The price of a holiday in London is taking a bashing again, with a survey saying our city is the most expensive in Europe for cultural activities.

The Post Office picked various activities in different cities and, while many of our best museums are free, we came top of the price list for opera, ballet and a classical concert. Hang on though: those tickets are £91 for a seat to the Royal Ballet’s Manon and £117 for English National Opera’s Otello. But there are plenty of tickets for Manon available at just a fiver, and if you fancy catching Rigoletto at the Coliseum (Otello doesn’t appear to be playing at the moment) there are still seats going for £30.

It seems like this report picked the priciest tickets for London, but when we checked costs for Coppelia at the State Opera House in Budapest, where a Post Office-selected ticket for The Nutcracker was £15, the top priced ticket is £30 — still obviously way cheaper than London, but raises the suspicion of not comparing like with like. At least the survey went with the Buckingham Palace State Rooms for the ‘heritage attraction’, at £19.75, rather than the Tower of London’s £22 (including donation). But both St Paul’s and the Tower Bridge exhibition are cheaper.

Should anyone need reasonably priced ways to get the most out of London’s culture, we recommend you head over to our Free and Cheap section. Not a £117 ticket in sight.

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  • unslugged

    Good of them to come up with this just before Europe’s largest street carnival. Which is free.

  • HHGeek

    I’m with the last paragraph. I regularly get a day of multiple low-cost cultural events courtesy of Londonist’s updates.

    Top tip for Tower Hamlets residents: if you’ve got an Idea Store or library card, go to the Tower of London for £1. https://www.ideastore.co.uk/whats-on-visit-tower-london

  • BJD

    Why on earth did the Post Office do this survey? Has their remit changed recently?

  • Isa

    This survey is a joke right? I’m visiting London on a regular basis (every 2 month or so) from Paris to get my dose of culture: theatres, museums, monuments… And I can say without a doubt that it’s much cheaper than in Paris (not to mention that it’s more exciting as well…).

  • Ami

    Perhaps instead of the word ‘expensive’ they meant ‘cheapest’. Or instead of ‘culture’ they meant ‘housing’.

  • sarahtherese

    Great sentiment but just FYI, English National Opera (who perform at the Coliseum) and the Royal Opera (whose Rigoletto you’ve linked to) are not the same company. English National Opera *is* in fact doing Otello, but it doesn’t open till Sep 13. Two opera companies, both with plenty of good ticket deals most of the time, so yeah, this so-called survey is definitely messed up.