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UK Travel Tips and Information

Tips For Travelers | Travel Information | Tourism Information | Weather Information

Tips For Travelers

Customs

Travelers are not required to pay duty on an appropriate amount of items transported to the United States for personal use. No more than 1 liter of alcohol and 2 liters of wine are permitted at a time, as well as 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco per consumer.

Banking & Currency

Scotland's currency is interchangeable with Bank of England pounds (with the exception of one-pound bills) and is accepted throughout the UK. Banks are typically open from 9:30am to 3:30 or 4:30pm during the week, and some locations offer Saturday morning hours as well. In addition, British ATMs can typically access American and Canadian checking accounts. While traveling in the UK, you may find that your local bank will not charge an additional fee to make cash withdrawals, preferable to the local currency exchange. Although currency exchange kiosks are plentiful in London, rates are not usually as favorable. Your local bank will usually offer the most competitive exchange rates, and it is advised to exchange currency prior to departing. Please note that credit cards are as widely accepted for services throughout the UK as they are in the U.S.

Tipping

Service charges are often included in your hotel or restaurant bill, but otherwise, a tip of 10-15% is customary. Tips are also expected for taxi drivers (10%), porters or bellhops (£.50 per suitcase), and hairdressers (£2 plus £.50 for the assistant who washes your hair). Tips in pubs are not necessary, but you may wish to 'buy the tender a drink' when superior service is provided. If accepted, it is left to the bartender's discretion to either keep the money or indulge in the libation; this gesture is a good rule of thumb and prevents you from offending the servers with a cash tip.

Business Hours

Museums: Hours vary regionally, but typical hours are 10am - 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday, with additional Sunday afternoons in select locations.

Post Offices: General hours are 9am - 5:30pm on weekdays and 9am - 12:30pm on Saturdays.

Restaurants: Breakfast is served between 7:30am and 9am while lunch is typically from noon to 2 pm. Dinner, on the other hand, is served between 7:30pm and 9pm (later in big cities), and high tea takes place around 6pm. (High tea replaces dinner in some locations.)

Shops: Most shops operate from 9am - 5:30pm, Monday through Saturday, while others close early on Wednesdays and/or offer evening hours on Thursdays. Most major retailers in London keep extended hours throughout the weekend.

Travel Information

Entry Requirements

U.S. citizens are not required to purchase a visa when traveling to the United Kingdom for visits lasting less than six months. All pets, including domestic cats and dogs, must be quarantined for at least six months once they have arrived in the UK. Pet owners must also fill out an important "Pet Passport" application prior to arranging any kennel accommodations. The Pet Travel Store is a helpful resource for requesting Pet Passports.

Time Difference

The United Kingdom operates five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the United States and Canada.

Language

English is spoken throughout the United Kingdom, but accents and dialects vary greatly. In addition to English, Welsh is also spoken in Wales, and Gaelic is spoken in Ireland and Scotland. 

Electricity

The UK operates on 240 volts and 50 Hz via the three-flat-pin plug. Although many hotels and shops offer converters, you may prefer to purchase the adapter prior to your departure at any electronics store.  

Tourism Information

Tourism Contacts

British Tourist Authority
USA Office
551 Fifth Ave
7th Floor
New York, NY
Web Site: https://www.visitbritain.com
*British Travel Center (mail and in-person queries only)

British Tourist Authority and British Train and Expotel Reservations
12 Lower Regent St.
Piccadilly Circus
London SW1Y 4PQ

Northern Ireland Tourist Board
St. Anne's Court
59 North St.
Belfast BTI INB
Phone (+44) 01232-246-609

Scottish Tourist Board
23 Ravelston Terrace
Edinburgh EH4 3EU
Phone (+44) 0131-332-2433
Fax (+44) 0131-315-4545
* The Scottish Tourist Board is linked to more than 140 regional information centers.

Wales Tourist Board
Brunel House
2 Fitzalan Road
Cardiff CF2 IUY
Phone (+44) 01222-499-909
* The Wales Tourist Board is linked to more than 60 tourist information centers throughout the country.

Embassies

United States Embassy in Britain
24 Grosvenor Square
London W1A 1AE
Phone (+44) 0171-499-9000
Consular fax (+44) 0171-495-5012

Embassy of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 588 6500
Fax: (202) 588 7870

United States Consulate in Northern Ireland
Danesfort House
223 Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5GR
Phone (+44) 0 328 9038 6100
Fax (+44) 0 28 9068 1301

United States Consulate in Scotland
3 Regent Terrace
Edinburgh EH7 5BW
Phone (0131) 556-8315
Fax (0131) 557-6023

Weather in The UK

General Information

Make the most of your time in the United Kingdom and rent a car with Auto Europe! When you are aware of typical weather patterns of the region where you are traveling you will be able to pack and plan more effectively, and utilize your car rental to the fullest. Select your preferred travel season and book your car rental in advance with Auto Europe for the best and lowest price guaranteed!

Spring

Spring presents average temperatures of 42 - 59 F and 8 - 13 C. This season usually brings elevated amounts of rainfall, and visitors traveling to the region during these months should pack raincoats and umbrellas. Although wet and mild, temperatures can get warmer, but travelers should plan to experience the sporadic showers that the region is commonly known for. May tends to be the most settled month of the year, and is generally one of the best months to visit. 

Summer

Summer days are generally quite comfortable and average anywhere from 55 F and 70 F (12 - 21 C). It is important to note that even the sunniest days frequently end in rain.

Autumn

Autumn months are usually rainy, with drastic and sudden weather changes occurring frequently. Average temperatures for most areas in the UK are 47 - 58 F and 8 - 14 C. Fall foliage in this region is on par with foliage scenes of New England and the vibrant colors are enhanced when areas experience high temperatures late in the season. 

Winter

Winter temperatures are typically 36 - 41 F and 2 - 7 C. Although these months are typically chilly in every region, the coldest temperatures can be found in Northern Scotland, so pack accordingly.

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