A majority of tourists that visit the United Kingdom will head straight to the country's most popular city to visit the typical tourists hot spots such as The London Eye or Buckingham Palace. Little do they know that there is so much more to this amazing region than that London. From the English Lake District known for its artistic heritage and its unparalleled natural beauty, filled with glistening lakes, rugged mountain landscapes, and lush green valleys to Scotland, known as having one of Europe's wildest terrains, the United Kingdom has something for everyone. Just remember to pack your rain gear! This United Kingdom travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
United Kingdom Travel Guide: Fast Facts
- UK power voltage is 230 V 50Hz; Plug G
- UK currency is the British Pound and is around 0.70 GPB for 1 USD
- The cheapest way to travel around is via the Megabus, where fares start around $1.50 USD. You’ll need to book at least a month in advance on popular routes to get the special fare.
- In the UK, cars drive on the left side of the road. Remember to look to the RIGHT before stepping off a curb.
- An Oyster Card – save money on public transportation with London’s travel card.
- The emergency police/ambulance number in the UK is 999.
- Value added tax (VAT) is charged on purchases, such as meals at restaurants, shopping expenses and hotel accommodations. If you are resident of a non-European Union country, you can get a refund of this tax in certain participating shops. For more info on VAT refunds, click here.
Top Packing Tips for United Kingdom Travel
The United Kingdom has a temperate climate which is moderated by the North Atlantic current and the country's proximity to the sea. The country experiences modest daily high temperatures during the summer and mild winter temperatures that seldom fall below freezing. Temperatures can vary slightly depending on the region you are visiting. Scotland and Northern England tend to have slightly cooler temperatures and are quite likely to see some heavy snow in the winter months. In contrast, the south of England experiences warmer temperatures and is unlikely to see more than a few flakes of snow in the winter. The west of England and Wales tends to see slightly higher rainfall than the east. The weather in the UK can be variable and unpredictable, so visitors should be prepared for all type of weather conditions.
- Rain gear – the United Kingdom is renowned for its rain, however in practice it rarely rains more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. Nevertheless, always be prepared for rain and make sure to carry around a small umbrella or a rain coat just in case the weather unexpectedly changes.
- Classic Basic items – You do not need to be a fashionista to blend in. The key is in embracing neutral toned items that can be mixed and matched easily. Avoid logos, baseball caps, shorts, hoodies, flip-flops and running shoes as these items scream tourist!
- Layers – even during the summer months it is recommended that travelers bring along a sweater or even a jacket or hoodie.
- Insect Repellent – if you are going to Scotland or Northern Wales in the summer make sure to stock up as the midges can be a nightmare!
- Personal Safety products – Certain areas in London are known as pickpocket hotspots. Before leaving for your trip, make sure to pack some personal safety products, like money belts and locks, so that you can keep your valuables safe on your trip.
Top Things to Do in the United Kingdom
- The Lake District National Park – this park is fast becoming the adventure capital of the UK, drawing just as many people looking for a thrill as a nice country wal
- Spend the Night in a Haunted B&B – If you want to spend the night in a haunted castle (or B&B, or hotel, or normal apartment building), Scotland is the place to be!
- Go Munro Bagging – A Munro is simply a mountain over 3,000 ft. Some people spend years trying to climb them all (“bagging”) – there are nearly 300 of them.
- Be Adventurous in Scotland – Scotland is one of Europe’s wildest terrains, so why not go exploring?
- Take an Archaeological Holiday – With centuries of ancient history it isn’t a surprise that the UK and Ireland are packed full of archaeological sites to visit, but just imagine if you had the opportunity to pick up the trowel and make a discovery of your own?
- London's Top 5 Alternative Attractions – there is so more to this amazing city than Prince Harry’s crown jewels, The River Thames and pigeons.
- Take a hike! – go hiking through the real quintessential England.
- Visit Museums in London – Check out the top 5 most popular museums in England, all located in London, for an edifying, enjoyable experience.