Lying in northwest Europe, the United Kingdom is an island nation that comprises of four countries namely England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Packed with scenic beauty and nature in its raw form, the nation is endowed with rich past and cultural diversity quite literally. Entertaining the modernism of cities like London, Glasgow and Manchester is in complete contrast with the old world charm found in its quaint villages, and attractive and serene countryside. The place can leave you in complete awe.
Cultural diversity. Scenic beauty. Fusion of modernism and old world charm. Amazing food. Great architecture. Shopping hub.
Very Expensive. It can rain anytime. Costly food. Huge crowd during summers. Difference based on class.
Over 300 years old, the United Kingdom is a group of four constituents England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offering its visitors an enticing fusion of culture, history and overall dynamics. England is one of the largest member country, both in size and population comprising of the capital city of London that is a hub for anything can think of including fashion, food, and shopping as well as remarkable architecture. Where Scotland is packed with natural beauty with myriad of castes at its heart, Wales is renowned for its spectacular coast and even more wild and gorgeous interior. Northern Ireland is all about the buzzing environ of Belfast, remarkable castles and the massive hexagonal columns of the GiantÕs Causeway.
The United Kingdom offers a range of hotels from mid-range to fancy boutique city hotels and premium country manors. However, tariffs will increase many fold in larger cities such as London. There are guesthouses along with bed and breakfast accommodation spread all across the country. Camping and caravan sites are quite common here with and without basic facilities. Apart from that, there are over 300 hostels in the region but the standards may very drastically from area to area along with the tariffs. Cottages and flats are also available suitable to all budgets and tastes and can be rented around the country.
The United Kingdom is an island country with very strong sense of culture and traditions. A very defined class system still exists here subconsciously although things have changed a lot visibly. With lots of migrants into the country, a layer of multicultural society exists adding to the culture of the country. English is the main language here that is widely spoken and understood. However, Welsh is a main language in parts of Wales and Gaelic in parts of Scotland. Many ethnic minorities speak their own languages including Greek, Cantonese, Hindi, Turkish, Urdu and Mandarin etc. Some of the common phrases are: Hello: Helo Thanks you: Diolch Please: Os gwelwch yn dda Christianity is the predominant religion in the country followed by a minority of people following Islam, Sikhism, Jews and Hinduism. About 15% of population have no religion.
British food is quite heart-warming comprising of many delicious ingredients and delicacies. One can enjoy the beautiful picnic food such as sandwiches, cakes, crisps, fresh fruit, scones, cheese and cold drinks, the famous British breakfast including egg, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns, mushrooms and fried bread. Where fish and chips serve as popular take away of the UK, roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding are famous Sunday roasts. Bean Jar, Ormer casserole, Spider crab, Rose veal and Guernsey ice cream are some of the other famous dishes of the country. Rocquette cider is a locally brewed cider, which is quite popular among locals and tourists. Apart from that, there many fast food chains and restaurants serving cuisines from around h globe, especially Indian food.
It is recommended to distribute your cash and cards in different bags and pockets. Also, do not carry large amount of cash with you. Carry light clothes such as shorts, skirts, shirts and dresses for pleasant days of summer, spring and autumn. For winters, pack your warm sweaters, coats, hats and gloves, as it gets quite chilly. Be prepared for weather change any moment while in the UK. As a precaution, always carry a light sweater and raincoat irrespective of the time of the year. Carry toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, sunscreen, sun glasses, mosquito repellent, first aid kit and prescribed medicines. If you have booked a ticket for opera, theatre, concert or have reservation of some fine-dine, make sure to dress up properly.
The UK has always been known for being home to many theatrical big names including Olivier, Gielgud and most important Shakespeare offering great enjoyment. Many of the major cities houses at least one theatre with London, Stratford-on-Avon and Edinburgh as the popular hubs of performing arts. The theatre district in London starts from the South Bank and stretches up to the West End featuring all sorts of plays and musicals. In past five years, cinema has arrived back and most cities offer at least one multiplex and independent cinema. The Leicester Square in London is star studded most of the weeks during film premieres. For clubbing, head to the northern cities of Manchester and Newcastle where one will find from thrilling places to live major music venues around the country including The Junction, Cambridge; MEN Manchester and LondonÕs O2 Arena.
Shopping in the UK can be an extremely vivid experience with options ranging from tiny, independent stores in small towns to huge shopping malls in the cities. London serves as the hub for shopping lovers packed with plenty of out-of-town centres including Westfield and Bluewater comprising several big names. Other than that, there are many neighbourhoods with their own specialities such as Notting Hill is known for chi-chi trinket shops, antiques; Charing Cross Road, and the area around the British Museum for bookshops etc. Check out the Oxford Street in London famous for its street shopping. Other major centre of shopping in the region is Leeds located in the north of England renowned for its stylish Harvey Nichols department store whereas Manchester features cool and trendy fashion along with music shops. The amazing George Street at Edinburgh offering spectacular views of the castle is yet another place to shop or head to Grassmarket for a unique shopping experience.
The United Kingdom is home to a whole range of festivals that are held throughout the year. The Notting Hill Carnival takes place in London in August is one of the most celebrated events of the region with colourful and thrilling parade being its major attraction. Another festival that is held in August is Edinburgh Festival of comedy, theatre, literature that is packed with artistic endeavours. Other major festivals are Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Diwali in Leicester, Robin Hood Festival in Sherwood Forest, Pride in Brighton, Edinburgh Fringe, Obby Oss in Cornwall, Chinese New Year in Liverpool, Bonfire Night in Lewes, and Fowey and Polruan regattas.
The standard of healthcare facility in entire UK is usually very high and professional. Pharmacies are available easily and the staffs are mostly trained to suggest on minor complaints. Tap water is drinkable in the country but bottled water is also widely available. No particular vaccination is recommended before travelling to the UK. Travellers are however, suggested to take required precautions while hiking or camping, especially in the northwest Highlands during summers. Make sure to carry insect repellents.
Handshake is the most common way of greeting someone meeting for first time; however, kissing on cheek is gaining popularity among close friends. Smoking is banned at all the enclosed places in the UK including at stations, pubs and restaurants etc. Casual dress up is common in the UK in general but some nightclubs and restaurants do not allow casual wear such as jeans or trainers. In the UK, 10 Š 12% of service charge is common and is mostly added to the bill. In restaurants, 10 Š 15% is usual and if it is charged in the bill, then tipping is not required.