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Four airlines currently offer non-stop flights to Vancouver International Airport (YVR), with services from London airports operating daily all year. Better still, prices are as competitive as they have ever been. The average flight time from the UK is nine hours and 40 minutes.
Lots of alternative routes are possible, including twin breaks incorporating American cities and some legendary train journeys.
Language: English | Currency: Canadian Dollar ($) | Local time: UTC-8:00 | Avg. Flight time: 9.5 hrs
Both Air Canada and British Airways have a daily departure from London Heathrow (LHR) to Vancouver every day of the year. Air Canada’s planes leave in the morning during summer and mid-afternoon otherwise, whereas BA services set off in early-evening. Due to their travelling more or less due west, all arrive the same day; however, return flights, which leave in the evening, are effectively overnight services and all land at Heathrow a day later in the calendar.
Air Transat offers a more affordable service from London Gatwick (LGW): this departs daily in summer (May-October) and once a week from November to April. Low-cost airline WestJet often offers the cheapest flights to Vancouver of all; these also leave from Gatwick but only run in summer (May-October again). They operate 4-6 times per week.
Air Transat also flies direct from Glasgow (GLA) and Manchester (MAN), but only from May to October. While the Glasgow departure is only weekly (leaving on Tuesdays, returning on Wednesdays), services from Manchester operate three times per week.
It’s possible to connect to Vancouver through other Canadian cities – most commonly Toronto and Montreal – from other British airports, including Birmingham (BHX) and Belfast (BFS).
Consider also flying direct to San Francisco, Portland (with Delta Airlines only) or Seattle (British Airways and Virgin Airlines only) from the UK, and then driving or getting a thrilling coastal train on to Vancouver before flying home.
Finally, many people arrive in Vancouver aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, having flown to Calgary or Banff to catch this wonderful train there. Crossing the Rockies and Continental Divide, journeys promise extraordinary scenery.
Travelling outside of peak season (July and August) will always cost less, but flights in general are becoming more affordable. According to recent research, Vancouver saw the biggest price drop of any long-haul flight destination served by the UK in 2016 – a fantastic 18%, meaning an average saving of £126 versus a year before that. The time to go is now!
October can be the cheapest month for Vancouver flights, with return fares often dipping below £400.
While a visa isn’t required for British holidaymakers to visit Canada, you will need to acquire an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before boarding the plane. This is done online via the Government of Canada’s website. It currently costs $7 CAD (£4) and usually takes only a few minutes.
Passports need only be valid for the duration of your stay, although those with six months or less remaining validity are sometimes detained longer in immigration.