United Kingdom Travel Guide
🗝️ Key Facts
💶Currency: Pound (£) (GBP)
🕙Time Zone: 0 GMT
📞Phone Code: +44
✈️Best time to visit: March-November
🍴Eat: Fish & Chips, Cornish Pastry
🍷Drink: English Tea, Scottish Wiskey
🗺️Don't miss: An afternoon tea & Scones / View of London at the London Eye / Edinburgh Castle
🗺 Menu of Contents:
The United Kingdom prides itself as being one of the most ancient countries, with a rich history, deeply connected to evolution and expansion from the medieval times right to the XXI Century with advances in science, technology and social welfare. No matter where you decide to travel within the UK, you are bound to know about the significance of its history; old-looking historic towns, big cities and important cultural sights await your arrival on the British Isles.
The United Kingdom is made up of four constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these, England, and particularly, its cosmopolitan capital of London, is the most popular tourist destination, followed by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whose troubled political history has until recently kept it largely off the global tourism radar.
Most visitors, come to see the capital, London, and the fascinating things to see and do, see sights of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus (best viewed from the top of an iconic double-decker bus), watch a West End theatre show and cross over Tower Bridge. But its not only London, many will take a trip to the mysterious Stonehenge, or continue the trip to historic cities such as York, Durham and Bath, and the famous university towns of Oxford and Cambridge.
Also, in the top places to visit is Scotland, famous for its compact and friendly capital of Edinburgh, offering an intriguing mixture of historic grandeur and a modern, progressive social atmosphere. Edinburgh Castle, the symbol of Scotland, is a must-see, and nature-lovers will love walking the untamed hills of its Highlands region.
Wales, meanwhile, is undergoing a tourism renaissance of sorts, with its capital Cardiff emerging as a hip and attractive city to rival any in Europe. Wales also remains one of the UK's most unspoilt and ruggedly beautiful places, with a vast network of National Parks and conservancy areas for visitors to enjoy.
There's lots to visit, lands of beautiful scenery to photograph, many historical sites to understand and learn about, lots of entertainment, shopping and many ways to enjoy the United Kingdom; it's not surprising it remains as one of the top destinations to visit in the world!
❗Attention: If you are coming on a short visit to the UK, make sure to plan ahead and book things online! Also, making reservations for transport weeks ahead is best in order to save money! The UK has the disadvantage of being very expensive but very demanded to visit, which increases dramatically on accommodation, transport and last minute things. The key to a good holiday without breaking the bank, is to plan in advance! Also using coupons and APP related services will help reduce the costs!
Most people travel to the UK by plane as the country is an island. That said, you can also travel by train thanks to the EuroStar which connects Paris and Brussels to London by an underground tunnel under the English Channel. For more info check EuroStar.
Flying to the UK is very accessible and the capital, London, is one of the most connected cities in the world! Thanks to frequent connections, and many destinations being able to fly direct to London around the globe. London is in fact one of the most popular destinations to fly to in the world, this is why you will find 5 airports around the city, serving the demand for air travel.
- The most international and convenient airport to fly to is London Heathrow. Its accessible from most capitals around the globe, specially offering important links to many European destinations (Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome etc) and key routes such as New York, Beijing, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, Sydney, Auckland or Buenos Aires are all connected directly. Being only located 20 miles west of the city of London, Heathrow offers travellers the quickest route by metro into central London. From Heathrow you can also connect to most cities in the UK by coach, National Express is the company in-charge of this.
- Gatwick is London's second main airport and again it's an important gateway to the country as you can travel everywhere from it. Gatwick serves most European capitals and secondary cities. Leisure destinations are very popular from Gatwick (Spain,Greece,Turkey,Caribbean,and selected US destinations).Getting from Gatwick to the city centre is easy by train, a 30 min ride to Victoria Station costing £12 for a one way ticket..A Cheaper option is buying in advance a ticket online at Easybus (cost between £2 and £10 one way).this mini-bus service will take you in Earl's Court (West Central London) where you can connect to the London Underground.
- Other airports in the capital are Luton, Stansted and London City.They serve mostly European capitals, secondary and leisure destinations. Flights are cheaper at Luton and Stansted due to the distance away from the city centre (1.50 hours by bus) and for being served by low-cost airlines predominately.The cheapest way to get to Luton and Stansted is by Easybus. London City is located east of the city and connects directly by the DLR (Docklands Light Rail System) costing about £3 for a one way ticket into Central London within a 35 min ride.
Other Airports in the UK, popular by location and importance are Manchester (UK second largest City), Cardiff (Capital for Wales), Edinburgh (capital for Scotland), Birmingham, Leeds, East Midlands, Glasgow, Belfast (Northern Ireland).
Travelling through the UK is quite easy thanks to the advance number of public transport options available in the country.To reach practically every town in the country a wide range of coaches are operated. National Express is the company which provides direct links from major cities, operating a fleet of modern air conditioned coaches equipped with WiFi, and toilet facilities on board. Cheap fares are often found if booking get in advance. For more info visit National Express.
Trains are also a very common used transport option in the UK, though fares are often much more expensive. For fares and timetables nationwide check this following link "The train line".
✔️Tip: To get the best fares within the country when travelling by train or bus, always book in advance and early! On the day bookings can cost up to 3 or 4 times more!
The United Kingdom is positioned between the moist maritime and dry continental air currents, which results in atmospheric instability and extremely unpredictable weather. Many types of weather can be experienced in one day and travellers should go prepared, particularly as in most regions of the UK rain is possible at any time of year.
Summer's are always more pleasant from May to September and the further north you go the milder it gets. June and July are the hottest, with temperatures reaching as high as 30 °C in London and the south! Humidity is also greater, so the feeling can be worse. If visiting London during this time, might be a good idea, to always take a bottle of water as undergrounds for example don't have air conditioning. However, if visiting the north of the country, Summers are more enjoyable with mild temperatures.
Winter's can be reach around 10 °C on average and very rarely below freezing, in England. Scotland does get hit with more colder weather and sub-zero temperatures can be expected at the height of the WInter in January. Also be ready for frozen mornings and the chance of the odd snow fall at times in the north.
The best time to visit is April to October, with milder conditions and away from the high season. Overall.July and August is good weather, but it's the highest season, very crowded and expensive. However, always carry an umbrella, as you never know when the skies will cover and start raining, which can last whole days without stop with fine rain.
Dishes range very differently depending on the region. However in a whole iconic cakes, sandwiches and stews all are famous from the United Kingdom. Of course tea is a national drink accompanied by scones. Another fine UK institution is breakfast, and although there are plenty of coffee shops selling US-style muffins and bagels, the full-on British breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, tomatoes) served with a cuppa can be found in cafés or in pubs. Generally eating out in the United Kingdom is expensive, except for ethic restaurants/take aways and the more local fish & chips shops which are located all over the country.
- As for England, cooking has become very popular, with excellent restaurants in the capitals and beyond. The proof in the pudding. The use of local, seasonal ingredients has spread throughout the country from gastro pubs in Yorkshire to fish restaurants in Cornwall.London and the larger cities offer every type of ethnic food imaginable, with Asian food such as Indian, Chinese and Thai being particularly popular and value for money.Where drink is concerned, both craft beer and gin are popular. English wine is growing in stature. Meanwhile, the English taste for real ale is as unquenchable as ever.
- Scottish cuisine has a reputation for strong flavours and interesting ingredients. Inspiration comes from oats, whisky, salmon, Aberdeen Angus beef and game. Fish and chip shops are widespread. In Scotland’s cities, you’ll come across a huge assortment of international cuisine; Glasgow in particular is famed for its Italian restaurants and first-rate curry houses. As for drinks, Whiskeys are the king.
- Wales' gastronomic image is rising. Lamb is never off the menu for long. The coastline provides a great variety of fresh fish and shellfish: mullet and brown shrimps are common on the Gower peninsula, as well as cockles, whilst several producers have awards for their crab and smoked fish.
Specialities in the United Kingdom include:
- Fish and chips, battered and deep fried fish with chipped potatoes, widely found.
- Sunday roast, beef, lamb, pork or chicken, served with roast potatoes, veg, gravy and other accompaniments.
- Cream tea,scones, jam, butter, clotted or double cream and, of course, tea.
- Spotted dick, suet pudding with currants and raisins.
- Bakewell pudding, pastry base covered with jam, almond filling and topped with icing.
- Cheese, popular kinds include Cheddar, Wensleydale, Lancashire and Stilton.
- Curry, the English have a passion for Indian and Bangladeshi food. In fact chicken tikka masala is considered the national dish.
- Full English breakfast, commonly a combination of bacon, sausage, egg, beans, mushrooms, black pudding, tomato and toast.
- Lancashire hotpot, A lamb and onion stew, slow-cooked and topped with sliced potatoes.
- Cornish pasty, crusted pastry filled with meat and vegetables. An iconic snack in the West Country.
- When visiting any coastal town, be sure to try the "Cone flake" ice cream with a Cadbury chocolate flake.
As for drinks, alcoholic drinks are widely available in any pub, bar, restaurant and even theatres and operas. Having a glass of wine with your dinner or lunch is very popular and British love their drink after work. It's very common to flock to the pubs and bars after a long day at work and drink out with a pint glass whilst talking, smoking or watching sport events. Ales, Beers and Ciders are the most popular to drink. However cocktails are very well made and they are a common choice on the weekend with many bars specialising in their making. Whiskeys and Vodka is widely available and are a favourite amongst the younger crowds and not so young.
The United Kingdom is my birth country.I have many memories attached to it's cities and surroundings. After a 20 year period living in Madrid I came back to London in 2007 for work and setting up a new life. The United Kingdom offers a great opportunity to people like myself to expand horizons and gain independence, skills and maturity by living in a "foreign" country.
The UK, has a very distinct identity and its British people are renowned around the world for being polite, educated and refined. However the UK now has one of the highest immigration levels within Europe and many of its main cities are "coloured" in the different races and backgrounds who choose to live in the country. It's a true Multicultural experience, in which every citizen around the globe can be represented and found in the UK. Specifically in London.
The UK will also strike you for its medieval history, rich architecture, literature, and culture. It has many national parks, beautiful green scenery, low planes, dense forests and even snow peaked mountains where you can ski.
There is so much to see and do, so much to learn and so many cities were important history events took place that it would take a book to write it all.
However below you find all the basic info for the United Kingdom when visiting from abroad and the main cities I have travelled to.
(Lived in country)