Just in case you’re too lazy to flip through a guidebook…
Here’s a quick rundown of etiquette, Wi-Fi info, cash exchange, SIM cards…and more!
5 Things to avoid:
- On virtually all escalators (especially those in tube stations), stand on the right side of the escalator and leave room for people to walk past you on the left.
- Don’t confuse pubs with bars. Pubs are gathering places, and in many pubs alcohol is almost an afterthought. They are where people go to meet friends and catch up.
- Always apologize – even if whatever you’re apologizing for is not actually your fault.
- Be aware of the clearly distinct nations which form the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While the four countries share many customs, each has its own set of traditions and history.
- In Britain punctuality is very important, so it is considered impolite to be late, even by a few minutes.
In general, expect the weather in England to be colder than where you’re from. Rain falls throughout the year, and the weather in England can sometimes change very quickly.
The coldest months are December, January and February, with the temperature being between 3 and 6°C (around 40°F).
July and August are normally the warmest month in England, with temperatures averaging between 16 and 21°C (low 60s°F).
England is on the UK time zone, which is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) during most of the year, and British Summer Time (GMT+1) when there’s daylight savings.
England follows the same visa/immigration regulations as the rest of the UK.
There’s no border control when traveling between Scotland and England and Northern Ireland.
If you’re a EU, EEA, Swiss citizen: no visa necessary. You can enter Scotland with a national ID card or a passport.
If you’re a citizen of other countries (including most of North America, Central America, South America, Asia): you’ll need a passport and do not need a visa for a trip lasting less than 6 months. If you wish to stay more than 6 months, then you’ll need to apply for an entry clearance or a visa before entering the UK. See here for a full list of countries that falls under this category.
If you’re a citizen of Oman, Qatar and the UAE: you can apply for Electronic Visa Waiver (EVA) that can be used for six months with the purpose of tourism and study.
If you’re a citizen of China and India with an Irish Short-Stay Visa: you can visit the UK visa-free until your current permission to enter or leave Ireland expires.
English is the main language in England.
There are no strict etiquette rules that you have to stick to when in England. However, you should always demonstrate decent manners and respect to the local culture and traditions.
Keep in mind that cars in England drive on the left. So beware when you’re crossing streets.
For emergency, dial 999 or 112 for ambulance, police, coast guards, mountain rescue or fire.
For the police on non-emergencies, dial 101.
England is very safe, and pickpockets don’t occur as often as they do in other European countries. Just use your common sense and intuition.
England uses the British pounds: £, and ATM machines can be found in many places.
1 USD=0.72 British Pound.
Most major credit cards are accepted in England. It is customary to leave 10-15% tip, however, restaurants often add on a service charge so it’s worth checking your bill if you don’t want to tip twice.
The country code for England is +44, just like the rest of the UK.
You can buy a SIM card at the airport, and folks at the store will advice you about which card is the best for your trip. The best may be a pay-as-you-go card so you can add time whenever you need more. Any SIM card you buy in the UK will have a UK phone number.
Wi-Fi is quite prevalent throughout England, so you won’t have a problem getting connected.
However, it is an offense in the UK to use wireless internet without being given the permission of the administrator, so check for “Free Wi-Fi” signs before logging on.
You can safely drink the tap water in England.
Taxis and minicabs are prevalent throughout major cities. The more rural you go, the less you’ll see taxis.