Are you looking for new adventures? Iconic and captivating cities, with epic and unexpected landscapes, with a history where myths and legends meet, find out with us a complete travel guide to the United Kingdom.
Facing continental Europe stands the United Kingdom, a country that intrigues, captivates, surprises. On its territory coexist four nations with a painful past: Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And if they form only one today, the vestiges of their history recall the centuries-old struggles of each other. To read a tourist guide on the United Kingdom is to rub shoulders with this cultural pluralism and these different influences.
It is discovering the busy streets of London, its rock culture, its buildings, and its neighborhoods with a marked identity. It is walking through the docks of Liverpool in the footsteps of the Beatles, to immerse yourself in the tormented history of Belfast, and admiring the landscapes of Cornwall or the Highlands. It is taking the boat to land on Orkney or Shetlands. It’s going to see a rugby match in Cardiff, a soccer match in Manchester. It is to taste a fish & chips and to taste a whiskey. It is sleeping in a small cottage. It is to visit one of the many castles that the island offers. It is to be interested in one of the oldest monarchies in Europe. So, despite the shock of Brexit, left-hand drive, and habits that sometimes go beyond us, the United Kingdom is very close. Ferry, Eurostar, plane, and Channel Tunnel allow you to reach the United Kingdom easily!
As we used to write in our space about travel; today’s article talks about a useful travel guide to the United Kingdom to help you when planning a travel to the UK; need a visa? Need travel insurance? What are the main places to visit in the United Kingdom? And other important travel tips are illustrated in the present article, so keep reading to find it out.
1. What you need to know?
Islanders, the British are, however, far from being closed in on themselves. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have more museums, more sights, and more to explore than you can imagine.
You can search for a travel counselor about which regions are best suited to the type of trip you are looking for.
1.1 Local flavors and culture
British phlegm is legendary, even if certain subjects like rugby or Brexit (British Exit) will ignite the conversations. United under the same Union Jack flag, the English, the Scottish, the Welsh, and the Northern Irish are nevertheless very protective of their identity and their culture.
In a pub, we are not surprised that you are called darling or love, or that you are made a joke with a tongue-in-cheek tone that you will not have understood very well. It’s English humor.
1.2 A paradise for legendary lovers
On a misty morning on the Scottish coast, it is easy to understand why the United Kingdom hides so many legends. From haunted castles to the monster of Loch Ness, passing through Celtic myths or leprechauns, travelers will have many stories to tell after their visit in the regions which saw the birth of the legend of King Arthur.
2. In preparation for a travel to the UK
Rich in English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish culture. The United Kingdom offers you a thousand and one themes under which to make your trip. Discuss your stay with a travel consultant to make sure you don’t miss anything!
3. Capital city
London, the capital of the United Kingdom and England, is more than just a city. It is a cosmopolitan megalopolis where more than 50 communities rub shoulders. It is inspired by immigrants who constitute a large part of its population to gather tradition and modernity. Red buses, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben – the city’s landmarks – embody the British soul. During a walk on the banks of the Thames, a meal of fish n ‘chips in a pub, a visit to one of its 300 museums, or the discovery of its many markets, London always knows how to surprise the travelers.
The spoken language in the United Kingdom is English.
5. The best time to go
To know when to go to travel to the UK, avoid relying on the country’s weather reputation. It should indeed be understood that the country enjoys several climates according to the geographical area. In any case, it is best to wear a good sweater and a windbreaker all year round so as not to be surprised. Generally, summer (late June-September) is the ideal season for a trip to the United Kingdom. Avoid winter and mid-season if you plan to take advantage of the countryside. On the other hand, for lovers of “strong sensations” and nature, winter is the best time to contemplate the force of natural elements: in the rain and the wind, the coast is magnificent, the colors are sumptuous … and a few number of tourists, except of course during the end of year celebrations.
6. Currency and cost
The United Kingdom currency is the Pound sterling
7. How to get to the UK
Many flights leave Canada to London, England. But you can also arrive in Glasgow, Scotland, or Dublin, Ireland, to reach Northern Ireland. Wales is easy to reach using an internal flight to Cardiff, or the train. There are plenty of ways to travel to the UK!
Now let’s move to another section of our travel guide to the United Kingdom and discover the important travel tips while getting to the United Kingdom.
8. Procedures of visa and passport
After that, the United Kingdom has left the European Union. Visa procedures will change for European travelers who want to visit the United Kingdom. Before leaving the European Union, they were able to travel from Europe to the United Kingdom just by a valid passport and an identity card; however, starting from the 31st December 2020, procedures will change, and Europeans will need a visa to travel to the UK. The same thing concerning the British who want to visit the countries of the European Union, they need a visa and authorization.
9. Travel insurance
Like any other country, travelers who want to travel to the United Kingdom need travel insurance to ensure their trip without any risks and troubles. The Travel insurance will cover any canceled flights, luggage lost, any unexpected injuries, and other risks. Thus, be sure to find suitable travel insurance for full coverage during your visit to the United Kingdom.
For your travel to the UK, you have a wide range of accommodation, hotels and hostels, campsites, and guesthouses; you can choose what suits your budget.
Once you are in the United Kingdom, you will discover how varied and developed the transport network is. How people travel daily to go to work or just for activities?
There are several options for getting around Great Britain, especially in big cities:
- car rental
- boats and ferries
11.1 Buses in the UK
The bus is one of the most economical ways to get around the UK. Several private bus companies serve different cities across the country. British buses are regular and comfortable, and fares depend on each city, and the distance traveled. Tickets can be bought online, onboard and at the bus station.
For a long trip, it is essential to check the bus timetables and reserve your seat.
11.2 Taxis in the UK
Several taxi companies serve British cities. Before taking a taxi on the street, make sure they display their tax registration number, often located in the passenger seat. It is always better to ask the price of the trip before starting and be careful that the driver does not increase his prices.
Uber also is operational in the United Kingdom, so you can download the app to get a car. This company is relatively cheaper and easier to use compared to traditional taxi companies.
11.3 Railways in the UK
Railways are mainly well developed in the United Kingdom. You can easily travel in the UK between cities using the railways.
You can buy tickets the day of your travel, or book in advance; prices vary depending on the distance between the cities.
11.4 UK ships and ferries
You can travel in the UK by boat, between regions thanks to the canals. Please note that this means of transport is practical for your leisure activities and tourism and we don’t recommend it in case of an emergency.
Prices vary, and they are more expensive than other means of transportation. You can board your car or motorbike when traveling by ferry.
Continue reading to get informed about more travel tips to the United Kingdom.
12. What to wear and eat?
To appreciate the climate of the United Kingdom. It is essential to have a raincoat and an umbrella in your suitcase, whatever the season. Bring a versatile wardrobe to accommodate temperature variations. The United Kingdom is a country that explores walking, so bring comfortable shoes too. If you plan to hike, make sure you have waterproof walking boots, as the trails are often muddy.
12.2 Food and drink
You are wrong if you think that only fish and chips are served in the United Kingdom. The British are not recognized for their cuisine, but it conceals comforting dishes to accompany gray days. Meat, particularly beef, and lamb, is a big hit in British cuisine.
Stew: each country has its stew recipe. The lamb is simmered for a long time with carrots, potatoes, and onions until it becomes tender.
Shepherd’s pie: Also known as cottage pie is this dish of ground meat covered in mashed potatoes. The French compare it to the hash Parmentier.
Scotch eggs: composed of a hard-boiled egg covered with sausage meat, breaded and then fried, scotch eggs are eaten hot or cold. More of a snack than a full meal, they are great for picnics.
Haggis: the national dish of Scotland is not unanimous, but it is worth you to try it. The haggis is a sheep’s stomach stuffed with offal flavored with spices, onions, and salt.
Plowman’s lunch: often served in pubs, it is a dish of cheddar, bread, butter, ham, salad, and pickles.
Full English breakfast: nothing better to start a day of sightseeing than a full English breakfast. This breakfast consists of fried eggs, bacon, baked beans, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, and hash browns and will support you until dinner … and beyond!
Tea: the inhabitants of Great Britain have been the largest consumers of tea in the world since the 18th century. Usually served with a cloud of milk, it is not uncommon or frowned upon to consume it black, with a lemon wedge or with a little sugar. In the Afternoon Tea formula, you will enjoy small sandwiches and pastries.
Irish beers: in Ireland, beer is the most consumed drink. Besides the famous Guinness, try the Smithwick’s, the Murphy’s, or the Beamish.
Ciders: Alcoholic apple nectar popular in the United Kingdom. In pubs, you will have a wide choice of ciders in barrels or in bottles, sparkling or flat, dry, or sweeter.
Pimm’s Cup: Invented in the south of England, the Pimm’s drink is sold in bottles. It is served mixed with lemonade with pieces of fruit and offered, especially in summer.
Whiskey: One of the things the United Kingdom has in common with Canada is the production of great whiskeys. The name “scotch whiskey” is, however, a protected designation, and to take this name, the whiskey must have been distilled and aged in Scotland for at least three years.
Moving to the second part of our travel guide to the United Kingdom, which concerns the most visited sites in the United Kingdom.
The London capital will delight many of you, with its monuments, culture, and nightlife, as well as its architecture. Many solutions exist to discover the capital! Discover the London Pass in particular so as not to miss anything of the city, the British Museum and the Big Ben are undoubtedly not to miss. But don’t just stick to London. Discover the coasts: those of Cornwall consist of cliffs, medieval castles, authentic villages, which are accessed from Plymouth, that of Downs is home to Brighton, and the white chalk cliffs of Eastbourne, while Yorkshire has superb villages along its coasts.
Nature lovers will have the choice between hiking in the Lake District near Manchester, or along the canals of the Midlands such as Nottingham. In the far North of the country, Hadrian’s Wall will take you back in time in the footsteps of the Roman Empire. It is up to you then to combine tourist visits in the cities of Liverpool, under the air of music by the Beatles, New castle, Oxford, Birmingham, or even Bristol and Bath, with the heritage and the landscapes which surround them. Finally, note that athletes will appreciate local sports that have been practiced for centuries: cricket, football, rugby…
Nature, in its purest form, perfectly united with the castles and vestiges that mark out the most beautiful sites. Scotland is known for its sublime landscapes and many legends that leave a strange appearance wherever you go. Go to the Highlands where the tallest British mountains are (1300m for the highest) but especially the lochs, these magnificent lakes including the legendary Loch Ness. In the south, the Lowlands are land of castles like that of Stirling or Culzean Castle, but it is especially here that you will stay in Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Aberdeen. Whiskey lovers will be delighted between the Malt Whiskey Trail or the tasting of those of the Isle of Islay, among the best in the world. Without forgetting the coasts and islands which advance towards Scandinavia, which offer idyllic spots for photographers or hikers.
Wales is a destination out of the hustle and bustle of its British neighbors. But happiness will only be greater! Indeed, you will come across breathtaking landscapes here as from Mount Snowdon in the heart of the impressive Snowdonia National Park in the North of the country, and very close to the unmissable villages of Llandudno and Conway. To the south, you will find the Brecon Beacons National Park. Whether in these national parks, or in Wild Wales, you will have a wide choice of hikes along the meadows, bays, fortified castles, sheep, and small local villages. In the West, towards Ireland, you will not fail to pass on the peninsula of Llyn and the village of St David’s, or in Aberystwyth. And finally, of course, how not to stay in Cardiff, the capital, with its heritage and lively student life? In addition, you will be pleasantly surprised by the Welsh people who are adorable, with a completely different accent from their English cousins.
4- North Ireland
Not to be confused with Eire (Ireland), Northern Ireland is, like Scotland, Wales, and England, under the leadership of the kingdom’s crown. Despite being the smallest country in the United Kingdom, it has a myriad of must-see sites. Start with the Chaussée des Géants on the Causeway Coast, where nearly 40,000 vertical and hexagonal columns in cooled lava are juxtaposed. Next door, on the Antrim coast, are Portrush and Dunluce Castle, as well as Bushmills, famous for its whiskey. Then go for a walk for several days around Lough Erne Lake in Enniskillen, for example. Do not miss Belfast, its castle, and its nightlife. East of Belfast, you will not hesitate to make a detour to the Ards peninsula. In the south of the country, the Morne Mountains are the hosts of vestiges, dolmens, and New Castle, a peaceful seaside resort.
Stay tuned to discover more about England in our coming articles.
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Originally published on Live Positively.