Despite the world seeming to become more interconnected every day thanks to the digital revolution, sometimes it can truly hit home that you’re, well, not at home when you travel abroad. A case in point is foreign currency.
Nowadays, owing to the rise of the smartphone, it’s possible to pay for many things digitally wherever you are in the world – and when you can’t use your phone, you only need to pull out your credit and/ or debit card. Yet accidents happen, emergencies occur; sometimes it’s invaluable to have local currency in your wallet when you’re overseas.
So, it’s good news then that should you be considering visiting London’s West End for a short break, you’ll not be short of outlets offering you decent currency exchange services – and decent rates of exchange, to boot. Indeed, here are some located in the area…
Fast Global Currency Exchange
(104 Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 5EQ; 262 feet from Piccadilly West End hotel)
Usefully located halfway down the long, shambling tourist-trap of a thoroughfare that’s Shaftesbury Avenue, so right in the heart of the West End (and just a few steps away from affordable hotels like The Piccadilly London West End), this establishment offers excellent exchange rates in all major currencies and no commission on money you’re wanting changed. It also claims to match any improved rate you’ll find elsewhere – quite a claim given this part of the capital’s bursting with bureaux de change!
Change Group London
(95 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0BP; 0.2 miles from Piccadilly West End hotel)
The Central London branch of a business that’s been in the money exchange game for 20 years, this outlet should bring an air of reliability when you step through the door, located, as it is, in the bookshop-laden street that’s Charing Cross Road, right on the eastern edge of Soho. Also an online entity, Change Group boasts its customers can reserve money before they travel, via three clicks on their website, and pick it up at their preferred branch. Which, let’s be honest, does sounds like a time-saving way to go about exchanging currency during your stay in the UK.
International Currency Exchange (ICE)
(19-21 Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 7ED; 0.6 miles from Piccadilly West End hotel)
Claiming to stock more than 50 currencies in its branches (including this one, situated very handily at the bottom of Shaftesbury Avenue and just a step away from Piccadilly Circus), ICE is a world-leading, award-winning bureau de change company, boasting outlets not just in the UK, but throughout Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. Among its services, it provides customers with travel money, prepaid currency cards and private and corporate money transfers. Granted, this particular branch isn’t open as long each day as some of the others in the area (9am-5.30pm on weekdays, only 10am-1pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays), but you’re dealing with a global brand here, so it has a lot to lose if its service garners poor online reviews – something to think about!