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Once in the country

In this page: Accommodation | Eating Out | Getting Around | Time and Time Difference | Climate | Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems | Paying | Speaking | Emergency Numbers | Communications

 

Accommodation

Self Catering
Cottages for rent in many areas and self-catering apartments in cities.
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Hotels
Budget chain hotels to luxurious country house manors. Hotels are more expensive in large cities, especially London.
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Bed and Breakfast
There are guest houses and bed & breakfast facilities throughout the country.
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Camping/Caravanning
There are camping and caravan sites throughout the UK, for short and long stays.
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Youth Hostels
Over 300 youth hostels in the UK. Standards vary greatly, but prices are very reasonable.
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Hotel Rules
Prices are given per person per night. Hotels are fairly expensive.
For Further Information
VisitBritain
 

Price Indications

Economy Room 40-45 GBP
Medium Price Room 45-120 GBP
Good Quality Room 120 GBP+

Source: Lonely Planet

Eating Out

Categories of Restaurant
 
  • Modern British/French/European
The top category. Run or inspired by celebrity chefs.
  • Traditional
Traditional British food.
  • Specialty restaurants
Catering for vegetarians, etc.
  • Ethnic restaurants
They can be excellent value for money.
  • Pub food
Most pubs offer food
  • Fast food restaurants
Mostly in towns.
Rules For Eating Out
Booking is recommended for top restaurants or if the party is larger than 4. In pubs, orders are taken at the bar, then brought to your table.
In restaurants, a service charge of 10 to 15 per cent is usual, which may be added to the bill, so a further tip is not required. There is no legal requirement to pay service charges added to bills and if the service has been unsatisfactory, the customer may deduct it.
 

Price Indications

Economy Meal 10-25 GBP
Medium Price Meal 25-55 GBP
Good Quality Meal 55 GBP+
 
Food Specialties
Examples of traditional (family) English dishes include: Full English breakfast, Bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potato), Fish and chips (battered fish and chipped potatoes), Shepherd's pie or Cottage pie (minced meat and mashed potato gratin), Cornish pasty (potato, meat and vegetables in pastry), Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Bread and butter pudding, Apple pie, Treacle tart etc.
Drinks
England is famous for its beer (dark ale, served draught in pubs) and cider, and Scotland for its whisky. The south of England produces a very small quantity of wine. There is a wide range of water, fruit juices and non-alcoholic drinks available.
Table Manners
UK table manners are similar to European table manners.

Getting Around

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
In cities, due to traffic congestion, the use of public transport (Underground or buses) is recommended.
Taxis are widely available. Taxis drivers are highly trained but they mostly speak only English. Pedestrians are injured and even killed every year in accidents, forgetting that traffic drives on the left. Extra care should be taken when crossing streets.
Maps of Urban Networks
Transport for London
Urban Transport Agencies
Transport for London (Underground)
Transport for London (buses)
Department for Transport
Find an Itinerary
Subway Navigator
Taxi Companies
London black cabs
Transport for London (taxis and minicabs)
 

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
http://www.heathrow.com/transport-and-directions 25 km / 15 miles £ 35-60 / 45-70 min £6.90/ 40-80 min £16.50 / 22 min Available
http://gatwickairport.com/to-and-from/ 45 km / 28 miles £ 23-60 / 60-90 min £8/ 60-90 min £17.80 / 30 min Available
http://www.londoncityairport.com/visitingtheairport/page/publictransport City - - - Available
http://www.stanstedairport.com/to-and-from-the-airport/ 65 km / 40 miles £ 60-100 / 75-120 min £12/ 120 min £8 / 47 min Available
http://www.london-luton.co.uk/en/airport/ 55 km / 35 miles £ 35-60 / 45-70 min £5-10 / 45-60 min £15.50 / 47 min Available
 

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The country has a good rail network. Intercity lines provide fast services between London and major cities, and there are services to the southeast, to the Midlands, north and south Wales and between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Some rural areas are less well served.
The National Rail network is now operated by train operating companies. Internal flights depart regularly to major cities.
Rail Companies
Rail.co.uk
 

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
British Airways Major Domestic Yes
Virgin Atlantic Major No Yes
Flybe Low cost Domestic Yes
Ryanair Low cost Domestic Yes
Easyjet Low cost Domestic Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 
 
 

Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
There is a good quality road and motorway network. Roads tend to be congested, particularly in the South. There are a lot of trucks on the roads; only the heaviest loads travel by rail. In London, avoid parking in the street, as parking spaces are reserved for those with a resident's permit.
Driver's License
For information on driving in the UK on a foreign license, consult the website of the UK Government . For general information, see the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's website.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
Generally the driver must be 21, hold a valid driving license featuring photo ID, present a recent utility bill if the address given is different from that mentioned on the license, and in some cases leave a thumbprint. Specific conditions apply when paying cash.
Rental Agencies
Hertz
Avis
Europcar
Tolls or Taxes
Motorways are mostly free, apart from the M6 Toll Road and certain bridges/tunnels. In London, a congestion charge applies to cars entering the inner city zone.
Road Maps
Bing map
Google map
Find an Itinerary
The Automobile Association's route planning facility.
Traffic Conditions Online
The Automobile Association's live traffic reports.
Parking Facilities
NCP Car Parks own and manage a number of public car parks throughout the UK.
 

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
17 years
Side of the Road For Driving
Left
Speed Limits
Speed limits: in towns 30 miles/h (48 km/h), on ordinary roads 50 miles/h (80 km/h), on motorways 70 miles/h (112 km/h).
Safety Belts
The law requires drivers and passengers over 14 to wear a seatbelt if available. The driver is responsible for ensuring that anyone under the age of 14 wears a seat belt or uses an appropriate child restraint as required in the regulations.
Permitted Amount of Alcohol in the Blood
80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
National Roads Organizations
The Automobile Association (AA)
The World Road Association - UK national committee
The Highway Code: the rules of the road for drivers and pedestrians.

Time and Time Difference

Summer Time
March to October.
 

Climate

 
Type of Climate
As an island, the UK has very variable weather. Extremes of temperature are rare but snow, hail, heavy rain and heat waves can occur. Average temperatures: January 2°C, June 22°C . Waterproof, warm clothing is advisable at all times, and is essential for any visits to upland areas. The best time to visit the UK is in the summer (June, July, August), but good weather cannot be guaranteed.
For Further Information
The Meteorological Office British Broadcasting Corporation - Weather Section Weather.com
 

Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems

System of Measurement Used
Metric, except for roads where distances, speeds and size restrictions are still signed in Imperial units. Some consumer goods are labeled in both units.
Unit of Measurement of Temperature
Degrees Celsius, with degrees Fahrenheit often quoted in brackets.
 
 
Electricity
 
  • Voltage
230V (+10% / -6%)
  • Frequency
50 Hz
Type of Electric Socket
Type G (British 3-pin): BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz earthed and fused).
Type of Telephone Socket
BT431A, see picture.
DVD Zoning
Zone 2

Paying

Domestic Currency
British Pound
ISO Code
GBP
To Obtain Domestic Currency
The Pound Sterling (£) is divided into 100 pence.
Banknotes: 5, 10, 20 and 50 GBP; Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence, 1 and 2 GBP.
Additional bank notes issued by Scottish banks (including 1 GBP notes) are legal tender in all parts of the UK, but may not be accepted for exchange outside the UK.
Possible Means of Payment
Credit, debit cards and traveller checques (preferably in GBP) are widely accepted. Cash can be obtained from the many ATMs available across the country.
 

To Find a Cash Machine Where You Need, Use the ATM locator

 

Speaking

Official Language
English. Welsh in Wales.
Other Languages Spoken
Scots and Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
Useful English business phrases can be found at About.com
Free Translation Tools
WorldLingo : Free online language translator
Systran : Free online translation box
Promt : Free on-line translator
Google Translate : Free on-line translator

 

Emergency Numbers

Official UK emergency phone number 999
Official EU (and worldwide, via GSM) emergency phone number 112
Non-emergency health advice with NHS Direct 08 45 46 47
Gas leaks 0800 111 999
Non-emergency Police and Local authorities 101

Communications

Quality of Communications
The UK telecommunications system is excellent; its mobile network is highly developed. Despite competition, cost is fairly high. There are numerous public telephones, some coin-operated, some taking phone or credit cards.
Telephone Codes
To Make a Call From the United Kingdom, Dial 00
To Make a Call to in the United Kingdom, Dial +44
Number of Digits of National Telephone Numbers
The UK has an open numbering plan, with up to 11 digits (0 + local area code + number). For detailed information, see Ofcom UK.
To call the UK , dial 00 + 44 + number (zero omitted).
The NumberingPlans website gives the full list of UK regional codes.
Mobile Telephone Standards
International telephone standards GSM 900 and GSM1800. See Mobile-phones-uk.
National Mobile Phone Operators
O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone
 

Availability of Internet

Internet Suffix
.uk
National Internet Access Providers
The largest ones by subscriber size are: BT Retail, Virgin Media, Carphone Warehouse, Tiscali, Sky Broadband, Orange etc. See Ispreview.
Access in Public Places
There are Internet cafés and centers in most urban areas. Some multimedia phone booths, often located at main railway stations and airports, offer touch-screen access. Hotspots providing Internet access include Wi-Fi cafés, where would-be users need to bring their own wireless-enabled devices. These services may be free to all, free to customers only, or fee-based.
Access in Hotels
Many hotels now also have public terminals, though these are usually fee-based. Some hotels are equipped with Wi-Fi facilities.

 

Learn more about Travel in the United Kingdom on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: June 2018