UK TRAVEL GUIDE CONTENTS
At a Glance
Land of hope and glory, the United Kingdom is a country misunderstood by many. More than simply England, a unique cultural blend of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish bathes the land in spirit and excitement.
From the bustle of the streets of London to the silence of the valleys of Snowdonia, the UK is full of adventure. Enjoy the brisk weather and bracing winds as you traverse the mountains of the Scottish Highlands or the Lake District before enjoying a craft ale next to a fireplace in a quaint English village.
Soak up the culture of major historical cities like Edinburgh and Belfast or meccas of music culture like Manchester or Liverpool. Never far from a coastline, enjoy the wonderful wild terrains often written about in novels and get active in the waters surfing in the Gower or sailing in the Solent.
UK Quick Information
Electricity Socket: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are usually three rectangular prongs. To avoid having to purchase new adaptors everywhere you go, be sure to pack a universal travel adaptor with you so you can still use all your electronic gadgets.
Visa: When traveling to the UK, a visa is generally not required for stays of up to six months. This applies to all EU citizens and citizens from non-EU member states of the EEA and OCT. Most Asian citizens will have to apply for a visa ahead of time and can stay in the country for six months maximum. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to check your visa validity beforehand. If you’re planning to stay longer than the six months, you will need to apply for a study, work, or another visa.
Safety: The UK is a very safe country to travel to. With a relatively low violent crime rate and lower petty theft rate than a lot of the other main European cities, the same advice is given to tourists: to just be aware of your surroundings and extra vigilant in crowds where pickpockets are more prevalent.
Language: With English being the main language spoken in the entirety of the UK, tourists shouldn’t have any issues with communicating wherever they travel in the country. The only thing to bear in mind is that the UK has a diverse range of accents which can make understanding everything a little trick! Areas with strong accents, in particular, are Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Liverpool and the West Country.
UK Trip Planning
Best Time to Go
You can visit the UK at any time of the year but avoiding the wet and cold months makes for a better experience (unless you’re a winter sports enthusiast!). The best time to go is from May to September (All of the UK is in summer).
In a nutshell, the weather in the UK can be broken down into three parts:
- Cold and rainy (Dec-Feb)
- Cool with a mix of sun and rain (April–May, mid Sep-Oct)
- Hot and sunny (Jun-Aug)
The UK isn’t one of the cheapest European countries to travel around but it is possible to budget for as low as £50 ($65) per day, providing that you stay in a hostel, self-cater for the majority of the time, and use public transport. You will find that accommodation and transport will take a chunk out of your budget so plan accordingly and prioritize!
For a guide to different types of travel, here is a rough break down of costs:
Budget: £15-30 ($20-40)
Mid-Range: £40-100 ($50-130)
Splurge: £130+ ($170+)
Food (Typical Meal For One)
Cafes/Pub Lunch: £7-11 ($10-15)
Restaurant: £10-20 ($13-26)
Very nice restaurant: £25+($33+)
Bus: £4-10 ($5-13) short distance / £15-30 ($20-40) long distance
Train: £10-60 ($13-80)
Car rental: from £35 ($45) per day
What to Pack for Traveling the UK
Like the rest of Europe, you will need a variety of clothes to suit all weather conditions when you visit the UK. No matter the season, make sure to pack a few of both types of clothing to be prepared for both rain and sun, and always pack things that you can layer if you’re cold.
For a complete guide on what to pack for Europe, check out our full article.
Best Things to Do in the UK
Explore Vibrant London
The bustling capital city has to be at the top of your list of things to do in the UK, even if your budget has to stretch for it! With a plethora of history and culture all wrapped up in this beguiling place, you could spend days wandering the streets, discovering the local markets and parks, and absorbing the life of the city by visiting the famous museums.
While you’re here, don’t forget to see the ceremonial changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, visit the Tower of London, and check out one of the many local pubs for a cold pint of beer and a delicious British meal.
For the best things to do in the city, see our London City Break Guide! If you fancy doing a few adventurous things while you’re in the capital city, why not try ice climbing, stand up paddling, or going on a speedboat ride down the River Thames.
Get Your Fill of the Scottish Culture
You can’t get a proper idea of the melting pot of British cultures without visiting Scotland.
The UK’s most northernmost country, Scotland is full of natural beauty from its impressive glacial glens (valleys) to its bewildering lochs (lakes), home to ancient castles, the highest UK peak (Ben Nevis) and mythical monsters. As well as the stunning Scottish Highlands, Scotland also boasts two major cities: medieval Edinburgh and cultural Glasgow.
Challenge Yourself in Snowdonia
Impressive Snowdonia National Park is a diverse region in Wales, home to glacial landforms and Wales’s highest mountain: Mount Snowdon.
Offering breathtaking views of Wales and across the sea to Ireland, this challenging mountain lures in many hiking enthusiasts year after year. With an extensive network of trails, stunning nature, and the longest zip line in Europe and the fastest in the world, is there any wonder why this is a top attraction while in the UK?
The outdoor activities in Wales are some of the best in the UK, so why not check it out?
Get Active in The Lake District
For outdoor enthusiasts, the beautiful Lake District is not to be missed. Located in northern England, this stunning destination is the perfect place for hiking the mountains, cycling through the forest or sailing on the lakes. Although crowded during the summer, the weather makes for a truly magical visit.
Bask in Southern England
The south of England is a charming and quaint place and the better weather makes for a better time too!
From the rolling hills and small fishing towns of Cornwall to the bustling port cities of Southampton and Portsmouth, you can be sure that you will soak in all the best aspects of British culture whilst also enjoying some of the best views. You will also find the luscious New Forest and the chilled Isle of Wight in the South, which like the rest of the region, offers stunning nature and some of the best foods.
Discover the Beauty of the Gower
An under-appreciated region of Wales, the Gower is a hidden jewel just waiting to be discovered.
With some truly amazing surf surrounded by beautiful rolling sand dunes and hills, this place is an adventurer’s paradise. A perfect location for enjoying the quiet and quaint Welsh countryside, the Gower also isn’t far from the up and coming coastal city of Swansea.
Festivals and Celebrations
England is known for its festivals, so if you can plan your travels around some of the biggest such as the Glastonbury Festival, then you’ll be in for a treat! If you love music whilst drinking beer and traipsing around a muddy field in your wellies, then you need to experience a true British festival in all its glory.
What to Eat in the UK
Due to the temperamental (and often cold!) weather in the UK, the food reflects what the British people want in those times: warm, comforting, and hearty grub! Bringing a whole new meaning to comfort eating, these classic dishes have now become increasingly popular and are widely eaten throughout the whole of the country.
To get your hands and taste buds on some of the best, here are a few traditional dishes you need to try:
Fish and Chips
The most popular British meal and a staple diet for a Friday night is the much-loved fish and chips! You will find this delicious dish in almost every pub and restaurant and, of course, fish and chip shop, so don’t leave without trying it with a lot of salt and vinegar.
A long-standing tradition for a Sunday is the classic roast dinner. Also known as Sunday Dinner or Sunday Roast, you will see this in every pub and restaurant on a Sunday for those people who want to venture out for their hearty fix. With a plate full of meat, stacked with vegetables and potatoes, and smothered in gravy, you can be sure that you will never forget your first and it won’t be your last.
Full English Breakfast
Yes, the warmth and heartiness begins at breakfast too! Wherever you are in the UK, imagine your plate piled with greasy goodness comprised of sausages, eggs, beans, toast, hash browns, tomatoes and more!
Steak and Ale Pie
Another British favorite is the belly-warming steak and ale pie. With a crispy and flaky exterior packed full of meat, cheese, and Guinness, this generous dish is the food equivalent of a cozy blanket and a roaring fireplace.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Apparently invented in Glasgow, this creamy Indian dish is always packed with flavor and served with a savory rice and herby naan bread. You can find this in every Indian and every pub and you can be sure it will be amazing!
Bangers and Mash
There is nothing like a ‘stodgy’ meal like sausages and creamy mash to warm your insides and give you that truly satisfied smile! Although one of the simplest meals to make, you won’t be disappointed with this dish whether at a pub or at a local’s home. In fact, you will definitely be going up for seconds!
Places to Stay in The UK
Accommodation can be quite expensive in the UK, especially if it’s last minute, but there are plenty of options to choose from. From couch surfing and camping all over to hostels, BnBs, hotels and Airbnbs, you will always be able to find a place to stay whether in the city or countryside.
Talking about the countryside, if you’re heading to the Lake District (and we highly recommend that you do!), make sure to check out The Lakeland Cottage Company which offers stunning holiday cottages that will make your trip worthwhile.
For those heading to London, make sure you check out our guide on where to stay in London.