Traveling to the United Kingdom for the first time can be daunting initially but if you’re well prepared, there’s nothing to worry about. To help you out we’ve prepared a list of practical tips for first time UK goers.
At any time of the year it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes. During the summer you can wear light clothes, cotton garments, etc. but don’t forget a sweater or jacket, since you may need it at night. In the spring and autumn the main concern is rain, so umbrellas, raincoats and light warm clothes will be very useful. In winter, everything that shelters you will be necessary: scarf, gloves, hat, coats, sweaters, etc.
Time of the year recommended for travel
The best time to visit the United Kingdom is from May when temperatures begin to rise, until October when the rainiest and coldest months begin to arrive. The best months of the year are during the summer: June, July and August.
With the exception of accommodation in London, which is especially expensive, in the rest of English cities and towns you can find places to stay with prices similar to the rest of Europe. One of these options is the bed and breakfast, very widespread in its culture. If your destination is London but you don’t plan to spend the night in one place, a great option are Day Use hotels. They allow you to get a room for a few hours during the day, without forcing you to spend the night. You can use it to take a nap, refresh yourself, relax and take advantage of the hotel’s amenities without paying for a whole night’s worth. Dayuse hotels are a big thing in London because of how busy the city is and are certainly worth mentioning.
The voltage is 240 volts at 50 Hz. It is advisable to buy an adapter before traveling, since the plugs that you will find are generally of three slots.
The most important difference is that they drive on the left, so if you travel with your own car or are renting, you will have less visibility in overtaking and certain maneuvers. You can use your driver’s license for up to 12 months after entering the country or the international license. They have an excellent network of roads and highways that are very well signposted. It is important to remember the speed limits to avoid the occasional fine, which are 48 km / h (30 miles) in urban areas, 97 km / h (60 miles) on roads and 113 km / h (70 miles) in freeways.
In general, the establishments are open from 9 am to 6 pm. from Monday to Saturday. As usual, in tourist areas the schedule is usually continued, opening even on Sundays and holidays, and in London you can find large shopping centers open until 10 pm. Banks have a schedule from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Currency exchange in Great Britain
The currency used is the pound sterling. The euros are easy to change in the country both in banks, which is most advisable, or in exchange houses, which charge high fees. You can also go to your bank branch and ask what the rate is, which would help you go better prepared. They accept all types of cards such as Master Card, Visa, American Express, etc.
In addition to the typical t-shirts that say: “Mind the Gap” with the subway symbol, the cockpit figurine or the London bus, there are many high quality items and peculiar objects that you can buy, such as books, chocolate, clothing, jewelry, fine porcelain from Stoke-on Trent, etc. There are also more typical products from certain regions, so if you travel to Scotland you cannot return without a good whiskey or tartan, the typical Scottish plaid fabric, as well as bagpipes or wool of the Setland Islands. Also noteworthy are Nottingham’s lace, Castlefield silk, Welsh woodwork or Celtic designs in Rhiannon’s gold jewelry.
The most appropriate in England is to leave 10% of the total cost of the service, if it has been satisfactory or correct. In this country, tips are not only left in restaurants, but also in hotels and even taxis.