Tourist / Visitor Travel Tips

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland comprises four separate countries.  England, Scotland and Wales make up Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the fourth country that creates the United Kingdom.

The Republic of Ireland is a separate country to Northern Ireland and is not part of the United Kingdom.

Currency in the UK is the Sterling pound (£).  One pound is made up of 100 pennies (pence). 

The UK in general and London in particular has a very good network of public transport which can be used easily and efficiently to move between the main towns and cities.  Once in town or a city there are often good, local bus networks and some cities have modern tram networks as well.

Informative, public transport websites can be accessed here:

Train travel is quick and easy and can often be a cheap way of travelling long distances quickly.  Train ticketing in the UK can be complicated but generally, at a high level, the earlier you book the cheaper it is and if you can commit to a specific train, well in advance of the date of actual travel, you can purchase the cheapest of tickets (Advance tickets).  If you require more flexibility in your ticket options then prices become higher but your ability to choose trains and dates and times of travel becomes wider.

Car Hire is available and, in more remote, rural areas, often necessary.  Cars in the UK are right hand drive and they drive on the left hand side of the road.  The vast majority of cars for hire are manual gear change.  Automatic gear change cars can be hired but are often more expensive than the manual options and often need booking well in advance.  Cars can most easily be found at airports for visitors arriving by air but all cities and most towns will have a selection of car hire firms ready to offer you a deal.

Advise on these forums is to deal direct with a reputable and well known car hire firm and to avoid third party websites who act as booking agents.  Firms often recommended include those below (but others are available):

Accommodation choices are many and varied across the UK and they can vary considerably in both quality and price depending on location and time of year.  Hotel bedroom sizes are normal for European hotel rooms but can often be seen as small by visitors from more spacious countries (Australia, Canada and the USA for example).  Air conditioning is often not included as part of the hotel room amenities, almost never included in B&B stays and rarely in apartment rentals.  Two reputable, budget, hotel chains with accommodation in most towns and cities can be found in the links below.  These are included purely for pricing and comparison at the lower end of the accommodation ladder.  All areas will have local B&Bs, independent hotels, bigger chains and more expensive options.  These are provided purely as a starting point for the inexperienced UK traveller:

The British Winter is December, January and February, Spring is March, April and May, Summer is June, July and August with Autumn (Fall) being the remaining three months.  The UK generally does not have massive extremes of weather but neither does it have a history of settled and consistent weather.  The maritime climate experienced by the UK makes for regular and often rapidly changing weather patterns which cannot be forecast, with any degree of accuracy, too far in advance.  Most natives of the UK will tell you that they listen to the weather forecast only so they can comment, later in the day, on how wrong the forecasters got it (and you will, at some point in time, speak to a British native who mentions the weather.  It's a national obsession ... primarily because Britons never really know what it will be in a few hours time).

Two reputable (but not necessarily accurate more than two or three days ahead of time) weather websites can be accessed here:

More info to follow ...

 This is a variety of tourist information for tourists / visitors to a variey of regions within the United Kingdom and the wider British Isles: