ULTIMATE TOUR GUIDE TO UK VACATION TRIP

Known for its historical cities, bewitching countryside, outstanding arts and theatre scene, interesting museums, vibrant night and entertainment lifestyle scene, fabulous food and drinks destinations, and plentiful tourist attractions, take a UK Tour to the United Kingdom for it is one of those places where you will never get tired of visiting again and again.

Book the best of UK Tour Packages and head to the United Kingdom, situated on the north-western coast of the European mainland.

A UK Tour Package will take you through the whole of the UK comprising of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, North Sea, and the Irish Sea, the UK trip will always stay memorable.

TOUR GUIDE TO UK

Make the most of your UK Tour Package by planning your trip in the late spring and early fall. The days will be long and the weather will be generally mild and dry, during this period

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Whatever be your VISA category, business or travel or education, all visas must be applied for and approved prior to entry into the UK.

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO CARRY

  • Original Passport that is valid for at least 6 months; and a minimum of 3 blank pages plus all old passports, if any;
  • Online UK Visa Application Form; and
  • UK Visa Fee Payment Receipt.

On arrival at the UK airport or port, your Identity Document (that is, your Passport or Identity Card) will be checked. The Visa should be valid for the whole of your stay.

Depending on your nationality, you may also need a Visa to enter the UK or travel through the UK.

Before embarking on the flight to the UK, organize all your belongings, travel documents, and flight details, at least a day in advance.
Liquids of any kind and larger than 100ml, must be placed in the hold luggage. However, essential medication, special dietary products, and baby food or milk items are exempted.
Check your airline carrier’s rules on luggage allowances, before leaving your home. This will help to avoid paying any extra charges.

LANGUAGE

The official first language of the United Kingdom is English, with a dialect that’s derived from a combination of Germanic and Latin languages, brought to the region by the Anglo-Saxons a millennium ago.

Aside from English, there are 10 other recognized indigenous dialects like

  • WELSH; the second official language of Wales.
  • GAELIC; a Celtic language with two variations of it spoken in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • SCOTS; a Scotland’s native dialect.
  • ULTSER SCOTS; a variation of Scots spoken by some communities in Northern Ireland.
  • CORNISH; the historical dialect of Cornwall, widely used in the region during the Middle Ages.

Accents, words, and common phrases can vary a lot, from region to region within the UK. Since the variations are broad, it is important to ask people politely to repeat what they have said; or speak slowly so that you can understand them well.

NOTE: A lot of popular tourist attractions in the UK offer tours or audio tours in European languages or Chinese.

CURRENCY / CARDS / EXCHANEGS

The official currency of the United Kingdom is the British Pound (also called as Pound Sterling or GBP). The exchange rate of the British Pound between other currencies fluctuates almost daily.

Northern Ireland also uses the British Pound even though the currency of the Republic of Ireland is Euro.

  • When you buy British Pound, ensure you have your travel documents, passport, and proof of address for identification purpose.
  • Most hotels, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions in larger cities and towns across the UK and Ireland, accept debit/credit cards; or contactless card payments.
  • Carry certain amount of cash with you, if you plan to visit rural towns or villages.
  • Withdraw money from an ATM, only if you have an AMEX, MasterCard, or VISA card. Before that, it is better to crosscheck with your individual bank or Card Company to find out whether they charge for overseas withdrawals.
  • Inform your bank in advance if you are travelling to the UK and are likely to use your bank account during the UK tour.

In case, you want to exchange money when you are in the UK or Ireland:

You should try out the Bureau de Changes OR Money Exchanges at airports or on the high streets of most major cities and towns across the UK. Aside from this, money exchange service can also be found at larger Post Office branches.

ACCOMODATION

From budget hotels and B&Bs to Boutique and Top End Hotels, Camp Sites, Guest Houses, Glamping, and Vacation Rentals (called self-catering in Britain), the United Kingdom offers a wide array of accommodation choices.

Among the lot, Camp Sites should be considered only during the summer season. During other seasons between October and April, many camp sites close.

  • HOTELS & RESORTS: Suitable for those who relish traditional elegance with glamour and luxury. The UK has some of the finest hotels in the world like the Savoy Hotel; Claridge’s; The Dorchester; The Ritz; and so on.
  • HOSTELS: Suitable for the budget-conscious people and travelers of all ages and families; and those who like to meet other like-minded travelers like backpackers. Made-up of dormitory-style rooms (shared rooms with 4 to 10 beds); or private rooms. They come with shared facilities like bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas. Try out the YOUTH HOSTEL ASSOCIATION (YHA) or Hostelworld.
  • BED AND BREAKFASTS: Suitable for those who would like to get an insight of the British culture; involves staying in a family home or cottage. UK has many BnBs, run by regular people who open their homes and kitchens to visitors.

But there are also:

  • CAMPING & HOLIDAY PARKS: Suitable for families who want affordable accommodation, and experience the great British outdoors. Found throughout the UK, often in picturesque locations, many offer stationery caravans or units for rent. Some others offer a more luxurious stay accommodation called Glamping. Bathroom facilities are usually shared; and some camp sites offer cafes, shops, playgrounds, and swimming pools. In Britain, there are static caravan parks, often found at seaside resorts. They are mostly spacious, with bathrooms and kitchens; and on-site amenities like club houses with bars, restaurants, and swimming pools. They also provide evening entertainment.
  • MOTORHOMES: Also called Caravan Parks, they are suitable for those who want to explore the outdoors in natural settings; they can be rented out and parked for the night.
  • SELF-CATERING ACCOMODATION: Suitable for those who travel as a group or with family. They can be cottages, or cabins, or countryside mansions, or private apartments; and come with private kitchens, games rooms, pool, or hot tub. Seek out providers like AirBnB, Holiday Cottages, and the National Trust.
  • UNIQUE ACCOMODATION: Suitable for those who love quirky accommodations. Like eco—friendly tree houses, or converted windmills, or water towers, or shepherd’s huts, or age-old castles. They can be found across Britain and Northern Ireland. The only hitch is they are pricier than traditional accommodation options. Seek out websites of providers like Canopy, or Stars and Cool Stays.

TRAVELLING ON UK TOUR ACROSS UK

Travelling across the UK is comfortable, with varied transportation options.

  • AIR: Several airlines have domestic flights that link major cities. The airports also offer international flights to Europe and other parts of the world.
  • RAIL: UK’s Rail Service is extensive and well-developed. They are considered to be the best way to get between cities and regions. There are regular trains in good numbers and frequency, run by private operators serving most of the UK. Rail fares are cheap when purchased off-peak travel and when purchased in advance. To be safe, log into National Rail Enquiries, a comprehensive online guide. For cheaper rail travel more details, log into www.nationalrail.com. However, compared to other transportation modes, it is pretty expensive and can get even more when booked on the day of travel.
  • BUSES: Also called Coaches, they are the cheapest way (especially long-distance buses) to get around the UK. For inter-city coaches, try out National Express; and likewise, four regional companies run local services. They offer coaches that are comfortable although slower than trains.
  • CARS: Hiring and fuelling cars can get pricey in the UK. To reach remote areas, self-driving will be the only way out while some outlying islands are best reached by ferry or helicopter.
  • TUBES: An underground train network, it is the best metro transport in London. The fares can be quite competitive.
  • TAXIS AND AIRPORT TRANSFER: There are frequent shuttles and taxis at major transport spots and the airport. Some popular service providers are Uber, Twelve Transfers, and Kiwi Taxis. The transportation costs to and fro the airport is generally higher than rides within the cities in the UK.
  • CAR RENTALS: Renting a car in the UK allows you to explore it at your own pace. The only obstacles are the pay parking charges that have to be paid wherever parked; and huge traffic jams which can make driving a pain in major cities. Before renting a car, know the road rules and other safety measures well. If that sounds scary, then you can hire a driver.

Also, know

  • London Pass; most popular among travelers, it allows priority access to major tourist spots and locations; and free utilization of public transport.
  • Oyster Card Pass; Suitable when using the buses, ferries, underground trains, or tube in London. It’s cheaper and also quicker than purchase of paper tickets.
  • Round Trip Tickets; also called Return Fares, they are expensive for bus and train tickets than pairs of one-way tickets (called singles).
  • Hiring a car in the UK and Ireland; know that vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road; and you must be at least 18 years of age to drive. Also, wear a seat belt when driving.
  • Certain public bus services and underground in London, operate 24 hours on weekends; and run throughout the night on all days.

FOOD AND DRINK

Food in the UK is representative of cuisine from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Over the years, British dishes imbibed influences from the Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and Roman invaders.

UK has its own brand of cuisine. Like the classic ‘British’ meals inclusive of fish and chips; Roast Dinner comprising of a large beef roast, gravy, potatoes, and vegetables; Shepherd’s Pie cooked using lamb or mutton; Rifle, an English dessert with delicious layers of tasty sweets comprising of cake, flavored in sherry, and accompanied by layers of jelly custard, cream, and fruit; and more

Known for its spectacular range of international cuisines, the UK has many gastronomic hotspots.

Aside from London, five places are especially famous for their ability to satisfy foodies.

  • EDINBURGH: Scotland’s capital offers much more than the traditional haggis, neeps, and tatties. There are several cozy cafes and classy cocktail bars, in addition to restaurants.
  • YORK: It is a historic city that scores for its perfect five star thanks to its incredible range of food and drinks. There are several quaint cafes and up-market restaurants along the pretty cobbled streets of Swinegate.
  • GLASGOW: Known as Scotland’s fine-dining capital, it offers a vibrant food and drink scene. There are many charming restaurants along the cobbled streets of Ashton Lane that serve fine Scottish fare.
  • BRIGHTON: Known for having 15 restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide, it scores very highly for its range of food and drinks. The place’s best restaurants that serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare can be found between the Lanes and Kemptown.
  • LEEDS: Known as the ‘Gateway to Yorkshire’, it is a dynamic food and drinks destination. The best food and drinks can be had at the Kirkgate Market, the largest covered market in Europe with over 800 stalls. From Yorkshire pudding wraps to Vietnamese cuisine, and more, everything can be found here.

The United Kingdom is also famous for tipples, especially whites; and vineyards, most of which can be seen in the southern part of the UK.

UK TOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY

The United Kingdom is a safe and secure place in terms of health and safety.

  • Food items are approved by Food and Safety authorities only after stringent quality tests.
  • You can drink water straight from the tap. There are occasional insect or water-borne diseases.
  • Traffic in the UK drives on the left. This can be new to unwary pedestrians who need to look both ways before crossing a road.
  • Even the biggest cities in the UK are generally safe when compared to many global metropolises. However, it is still advisable to hold on tightly to expensive items or purse or wallet; and stay watchful. People can get rowdy late on weekend nights.

EMERGENCY CONTACT

In emergency situations anywhere across the UK or Ireland, you should get-in-touch with the Police, or Ambulance, or Fire Services, by calling up number ‘999’. The calls are free of charge.

Even though the UK and Ireland are generally safe, there could be times when you would need help. In such a scenario, get in touch with Tourist Information Centers, available in most cities and large towns throughout the UK and Ireland.

LEGAL DRINKING AGE

You should be 18 years of age or older to legally drink alcohol in the UK and Ireland.

In case, you are 16 years of age or 17 years of age, make sure you’re accompanied by an adult person. If you are old enough, drink beer or cider or wine with a meal at a venue that sells alcohol.

CONCLUSION

Your UK Tour Package will be best served by undertaking the tour of the UK with a private tour guide. This way, you get to explore the best of UK through the eyes of a local and appreciate it better.

Finally, make sure to plan and enjoy a truly unique trip with the best of UK Holiday Packages.

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