Ask the Expert: How to get the best currency exchange rate in London
The best places to change your currency in London include Thomas Exchange, any branch of the Post Office and larger Marks & Spencers department stores.
With multiple exchange counters concentrated in Central London (including 5 Market Place in Oxford Circus, 25 Euston Road in King’s Cross and 115 Kingsway in Holborn), Thomas Exchange often has the best exchange rates. To guarantee the very best rate, order your currency online and collect it at a Thomas Exchange branch later. You must collect within 24 hours of ordering, so we recommend ordering your currency in the morning, which will allow you to pick it up on the same day.
You’ll find Post Offices all over London, with locations in Zone 1 including 24-28 William IV Street, WC2N 4DL (near Trafalgar Square), 24-28 Grays Inn Road, WC1X 8HR (near Chancery Lane station) and 52 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NN (near Southwark station).
Similarly, you’ll find large Marks & Spencers department stores placed in each of London’s major shopping destinations, such as Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Victoria, Westfield Shepherd’s Bush and Westfield Stratford City.
Avoid exchanging your currency at the airport, or in any of the numerous currency exchange offices in major tourist areas such as Piccadilly Circus: a small proportion of these booths will offer you a fair rate, but many more will offer a very bad rate.
If you do find yourself using one of these currency exchange booths, never hand over your money without first asking if there are any extra fees. Often they won’t reveal these fees until it is too late.
Finally, always count your money in front of the cashier before you give it to them, to avoid any disagreements or misunderstandings later.
Expert advice courtesy of: Jamie Sieu, Financial Consultant/Director, JSKIBRIT Limited
Gold bar image courtesy of The Bank of England Museum