The United Kingdom offers an endless journey of discovery! There is always more to discover wherever you are in England. Its museums, monuments and heritage sites are testament to centuries of history. It’s a busy, eccentric and unique destination; a land of daft humour, tea-and-cake clichés and a thousand and one different personalities; a land where thrusting cities like London, Glasgow and Manchester share map space with the peaks of Snowdonia and the colossal slopes of the Highlands.
The United Kingdom consists of four nations: England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. While England is just one-fourth of the UK, it is common for outsiders to think of the two synonymously. Located in the Northwestern piece of Europe, the UK borders several countries by sea: The Netherlands, Iceland and Portugal.
Because of its geographic location and desirability, a traveler can expect a wealth of influence from different parts of the world. The most recognized city is London, the capital city of England. It is ranked as one of the most powerful cities in the world. Here you will find dominant corporations, variety in religion, and diversity in culture.
It is very interesting to note that while the UK is a very popular place to visit, it certainly isn’t for the weather. Because it stretches almost 800 miles from end to end, temperatures can vary quite considerably between north and south. Differences in rainfall are also pronounced between the drier east and wetter west. It is safe to say that your rain boots and umbrellas will not go to waste when traveling here.
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales)
English, Gaelic, Welsch
British Pound - GBP
Important dates in United Kingdom
- New Year’s Day: 1 January
- Good Friday: March or April
- Easter Monday: March or April
- St. Patrick’s Day: March 17
- St. George’s Day: April 23
- May Spring Bank Holiday: Early May
- Trooping the Colors: Late May
- June Wimbledon Tennis Tournament: June
- Summer Bank Holiday: late August
- Christmas Day: 25 December
- Boxing Day: 26 December
Good to know
A tourist visa is not required for stays under 90 days. No vaccinations are required. Passports must be valid for duration of your stay (six months remaining validity recommended).
Culture and Etiquette in the UK
Dress: The British have a polished, fashionable and professional way of dress. In schools, the army and universities, ties are often worn to express affiliation. Blazers are for weekend wear. Dresses, blouses and suits are acceptable for professional weekday wear. Tweeds, rain boots, sweaters and jackets designed by fashion icons are all a staple in this area of the world. While British fashion isn’t quite as trendsetting as other parts of Europe, it is safe to say dressing up rather than down is your best bet. One item that never goes out of style is an umbrella, even if the weather states sunshine.
Tipping: In pubs and most bars, few people tip, though if you receive good service or you’ve spent a good evening in a ‘local’, you can offer the person who serves you one for their services. Tipping in bars (or not) varies a lot around Britain but a tip is always appreciated by the staff.
Pub/Bar Etiquette: Most British pub-restaurants seem very casual, which can confuse foreign visitors, especially those from the USA. The UK operates in modesty and politeness, including in pubs and in bars. To remember: wait your turn at the bar, speak kindly in moderate tones, don’t argue with the bar staff. Be appropriate with your alcohol consumption; make sure you can coherently communicate, as annoying drunkenness is not usual in the UK.
Transportation: Britain’s railway system is one of the most extensive in Europe, and it is the best way to travel from one end of the country to the other; it is a way to appreciate its highly diverse landscape and culture. You do not need a car to get around nor in the major cities. Larger cities like London and Liverpool have subways (underground train) systems that link many parts of the city and suburbs to each other and to the main railway stations. The London subway, known as the Tube is fairly easy to follow. A backup option is the bus services, offered in all cities.
Things to avoid: Respect the British desire for privacy and space. Don’t ask personal questions, such as where a person lives or what a person does for a profession or job. Like the states, conversations about money should also be kept to a minimum. In some parts of the world it’s acceptable to violate and rudely push through a queue, but not here in the UK.