Tour at a Glance
|LONDON||1 - 5|
|Transfer||Heathrow International Airport [LHR]||The Rubens at the Palace|
|Transfer||The Rubens at the Palace||Heathrow International Airport [LHR]|
The southernmost country of the United Kingdom, set in the Atlantic Sea just off the coast of western Europe, England typically conjures up images of quaint village pubs, red double-decker buses, and of course, copious amounts of tea. While England offers all of these, the country’s real attraction is in its diverse variety of cultural and historical attractions. Marvel at the mystery of Stonehenge, walk the battlements of a medieval fortress, explore grand manors and royal castles, or visit London’s magnificent reconstruction of Shakespeare’s historical Globe Theatre. While preserving this rich heritage, modern English cities bustle with some of the finest shops, galleries and museums in the world. Lively nightclubs, theatres and world-famous music venues provide an endless array of captivating diversions.
BANKING AND CURRENCY
Britain’s unit of currency is the Great British Pound (sterling) – abbreviated to GBP. The symbol for the pound sterling is £. British money is based on the decimal system – there are one hundred pence to each pound. Coins have the values of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2. Notes have the values of £5, £10, £20 and £50.
Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, post offices, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres.
Banks are generally open from 09:30 to 16:30 Monday to Friday. However, opening hours are can differ considerably from branch to branch. All banks are closed on public holidays. Many banks have 24-hour banking lobbies where you can access a range of services via machines. Visitors from overseas should check with their own bank whether they will be able to gain access to these facilities.
You’ll find ATMs at most banks, high streets and shopping centres. You can use international credit cards, debit cards and bank cards at ATMs providing they have a four-digit PIN encoded. As a general rule, any cash machine that displays the Visa badge can be used by Plus cardholders and those displaying the MasterCard badge can be used by Cirrus cardholders.
All credit cards that bear the Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo are widely accepted in Britain. If your card does not bear one of these logos, you should ask the retailer in advance if you can use it.
TRAVEL, TRANSPORT AND GETTING AROUND
London Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world with many flights arriving daily from all corners of the globe. Travel to England is easy! And, once you’re there, there are plenty of transport options to get you around.
If you want to get around England fast then you’ll find all the main cities are covered by a range of airlines. However, because England is a reasonably small country many people rent a car or take a train or bus to different regions. There are plenty of discount rail passes available to overseas travelers offering unlimited travel on the network.
All towns and cities have bus services, and many cities have rail as well as taxi services. London transport options are excellent and you can choose from the underground (tube), overground trains, buses, taxis, even boats and trams.
FOOD, DRINK AND CUISINE ADVICE
Standards of hygiene in relation to food health and safety in England are generally high in hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightspots. Restaurants are subject to food safety control legislation, which is implemented by local government. Regulations include certification and regular inspections by health inspectors to ensure hygienic standards are maintained.
It is safe to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, and to put ice in your drinks. England’s fish, meat and chicken are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself when enjoying the local cuisine.
The most recognizable meal is the traditional English breakfast, which includes: eggs, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, tea, and toast with marmalade. You cannot talk about food in the United Kingdom without mentioning tea, as the average Brit drinks three cups of tea per day. Fish and chips have been a traditional meal since 1865. Lightly battered and then fried until crispy, cod and haddock are the most common types of fish used.
Tap water throughout England is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so take precautions if necessary.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Spring is from March to May and is cool and dry. Noonday highs can become quite warm, particularly as summer approaches. However, snow is still possible, right up until the middle of April. Temperatures range between about 0 and 10 degrees Celsius during the English spring time.
Between June and August, England experiences its highest temperatures. While this is the driest season, localised thunderstorms can occur – usually in the southern, eastern and central parts of the country. The south eastern parts of England generally experience higher noonday temperatures, which reach around 30 degrees Celsius at the hottest, while most days average around 17 to 20 degrees.
Autumn occurs between September and November and produces unstable weather conditions throughout England. Different pressure systems and cold air creates an increased amount of precipitation. Autumn temperatures range between about 1 and 13 degrees Celsius.
The cold winter lasts from December until February. This is a very wet and windy season and snowfall is common in many parts of England. Temperatures can range from as low as 0 degrees Celsius to about 10 degrees Celsius, with very chilly winds.
CLOTHING AND DRESS RECOMMENDATIONS
Like most of Western Europe there is no dress code as such and really anything is acceptable. Smart casual clothes will help you fit right in. In the UK jeans are worn by everyone – young and old alike – and, unless you are visiting more upscale restaurants, they are perfectly acceptable to wear everywhere. But a few upmarket London venues and country hotels do still have a ‘smart’ dress code which is enforced (no jeans or sneakers, jacket and tie for men) so check if you plan to dine in these places. Unless you are staying at a hotel with a swimming pool, or intend visiting a spa, or the beach in high summer – leave your swimsuit at home as you’re unlikely to need it. If you are hitting the beaches, regular swimwear / a bikini is fine for swimming on the hottest days (July and August), but in spring and Fall wetsuits are popular (short or full length) to keep out the chill. From October to March it will be just too cold to swim, except for the very hardy! When out in the countryside you may be some distance from shelter if the weather turns bad; at all times of year go prepared with a sweater, waterproof, snacks and drinking water.
ELECTRICITY AND PLUG STANDARDS
In England the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are type G which is compatible with three flat pronged plugs. You can use your electric appliances in England if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220V – 240V (as in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). If not, a voltage converter will be necessary.