With the world becoming a global village, yearly trips abroad have become a more common affair, and people often visit other countries on a yearly basis.
The UK is one such destination that is often frequented by people from all over the world. Buckingham Palace, the Royal family, the warm and welcoming pubs, and, last but not the least, James Bond are a few attractions that make the UK a visitor’s paradise.
But, visiting a new place can be quite daunting, so the best way to make yourself comfortable is to conduct thorough research on the place you want to go. We have compiled a list of things you need to know before you visit the UK.
The UK has different visa requirements for people from different countries. Citizens from some of the countries where English is spoken do not need a visa while traveling to the UK for tourism purposes, and can generally stay up to a period of six months. It is always advisable to check the visa requirements before you begin your trip. A special tool is provided on the UK government website which can give you the visa requirements for your country. Your passport must be valid for the duration that you plan to stay there. It should have at least six months of validity no matter where you are traveling.
London is full of busy and narrow streets, so driving can be quite cumbersome for newcomers. Along with that, the government also has congestion Charge fees for driving within London. For tourists, public transport is the best way to navigate the streets of London. As such, the city boasts a comprehensive, sprawling network of buses, trains, and tubes. On Fridays and Saturdays, the tube runs throughout the night on certain routes.
It is important to be aware of the currency you are going to be dealing with. The currency you will use is the pound sterling. You need to inform your bank that you will be using your card overseas. Once that is done, there should be no problem. The most common way of making payments is the ‘chip and pay’ method. This method requires a debit card with a chip, and the pin number will give added security. You need to be aware of the exchange rate of the currency too. If you find yourself constantly comparing rates, you may find a use for ExchangeRates.org.uk, which can instantly give you the exchange rates for every currency. You need to be well informed about the tipping etiquette as well. Unlike the US, tipping is discretionary in the UK.
There are certain things to keep in mind while traveling on the London tube. You drive on the left on the roads but, while walking on the tube escalators, you must keep to the right. Many of the stations are old and therefore there remains a gap between the platform and the carriage. You need to be careful about this gap. For ticketing, Oyster cards are available that can be topped up and your travel fees will be taken care of at daily limits.
In case you need a doctor, the UK health service is very useful. The NHS or National Health Service of the UK makes it easy for visitors to consult doctors. Some countries also have a reciprocal health care agreement with the country. This information is readily available on your government website but your travel insurance should be adequate enough to cover medical expenses too. Travel insurance is included with some credit cards but you need to be aware if you are insured or not.
Most British museums and galleries have no entry fees. The artifacts present in these museums and galleries are often spectacular, or, at the least, informative. Some of the museums that are a must-visit are the World Museum Liverpool, The British Museum, The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, The Tate Modern, The Natural History Museum in London, and Coventry Transport Museum.
Though the Queen’s English is supposedly the common language, there are a variety of accents spoken across the different regions of the UK, from Liverpudlian, West Country, Cockney, Geordie, Midlands, and Welsh.
There are a few more things that you can keep in mind while traveling through the beautiful countryside of the UK, the landscape that has motivated many poets to pen down beautiful lyrics in its praise. Tea is generally considered the national drink and yes, be prepared to talk about the weather at any time of the day because the weather there is extremely unpredictable and can surprise you. We have compiled this list of things you need to know before visiting the UK, which I am sure will come in handy. So go ahead and plan your trip. Bon Voyage.