Things To Know Before Visiting The UK

The United Kingdom is a country full of contrast. With modern architecture nestled alongside ancient castles and beautiful countryside just a few minutes from bustling city centres, it offers something for everyone to enjoy. In order to help visitors get the most out of their trip to the UK, here are a few pieces of essential information you should know before you arrive.

- Four countries in one

The first thing to remember about the UK is that it comprises four different countries; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each of these countries has their own identity, with a strong sense of history, culture and regional pride. Try to learn a little bit about the customs and traditions of the region you're visiting in order to fully appreciate the experience, and be ready to experience some very varied accents and dialects!

- Getting around

The UK has an extensive road and rail network that makes it easy to travel around the country. Car hire is relatively cheap, although visitors should remember that, unlike Europe, America & much of the world driving is done on the left-hand side of the road. But if you would like to travel by road, there are a number of taxi companies in the UK which can provide competitively priced cabs. As an alternative to driving, train travel is another option, with big savings to be made if you book tickets in advance.

- Money matters

The UK's currency is the Pound, although there is no need to change a great deal of money and bring it with you. ATMs are widely available in order to get hold of cash, and virtually every shop, restaurant or hotel accepts credit and debit cards. One custom that may surprise visitors is that tipping is not compulsory, although you can still do it if you feel you've received good service.

- The weather

It's often said that Britain can experience four seasons in one day. Whether you're planning a trip in the height of summer or the depths of winter, be sure to pack clothes for all weather conditions.

- The right frequency

If you want to use your mobile phone whilst in the UK, you should check with your provider before your journey to ensure this is possible. Many phone companies block international usage to prevent fraud unless you specifically ask to have the block removed. Visitors should also remember that the UK uses 230-volt wall sockets, so an adapter may be needed for phone chargers and other appliances.

- Avoid the tourist traps

Everyone knows about the Tower of London and Stonehenge, but make sure to get out of the main tourist areas and explore the whole country. For example, why not visit the Museum of Witchcraft in Devon, or take a boat cruise in the Lake District?

- Eating and drinking

Although the UK has a wide selection of top-end restaurants, the best place to get good, affordable food is probably the local pub. Some traditional food - like scampi, or black pudding - may seem unfamiliar at first, but don't be afraid to try new things or ask if you're unsure of what something is. Most pub food is freshly cooked, very tasty and goes down well with a glass of beer or two!

So whether you're a seasoned traveller, or someone who is visiting the UK for the first time, hopefully this article has contained a few tips to ensure your next visit is as stress-free as possible.