When To Go
If you can avoid the busy summer period which is July and August,
your visit may be cheaper, and you'll encounter less crowds. British
weather can be pleasant from April onwards until the end of September,
it still can get quite cold. You can visit in the winter, but it
is often dark by early evening (4 pm) and many places, such as large
houses and castles, are closed the whole season. However, if your
interest lies in museums, art galleries, theatre or culture, winter
may be a good time to visit.
Import of Animals
No animals of any sort may be brought into Britain. There are no
exceptions, and heavy punishments.
You are only covered for free emergency treatment by the British
National Health Service, unless you come from a member country of
the European Union, or a country which has a reciprocal health-care
agreement with Britain.
Some pay-telephones take coins from 10p and larger. However many
phones only use "phone cards" which you can buy at many shops.
All telephone codes include an "area code" which starts with "0".
When dialling a number in the same area, you do not need to use
the area code.
Note that British telephone books are often divided into two sections
"Residential" (private numbers) and "Business".
The emergency telephone number is 999 or 112.
Students and Under-26
There is a special card for students and those under 26 that can
give savings on some travel and accommodation, and cheaper or free
entry to museums, art galleries and other places of entertainment.
It also gives discounts for membership to the Youth Hostel Association.
This card is obtainable from local student travel offices or student
union centres at universities and colleges. You can also get a card
by ordering from:
ISIC Mail Order, Bleaklow House, Howard Town Mills, Glossop, SK13
8HT, England. Tel: +44 (0)1457 868003
The British currency has two units - the pound and the pence. 100
pence make £1. Currency paper notes are £5, £10, and £50. Coins
are £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. In Scotland, £1 notes are
still in use. Please note that Scotland also issue their own Bank
notes. British and Scottish notes and coins are interchangable but
you might find some reluctance in the South of England to accept
The different notes are quite similar in size and appearance,
£50 notes are not common, and many shops will not accept them, because
of the danger of forgeries.
The Channel Islands and Isle of Man have some different coins
from the mainland. You can use British currency there, but you cannot
use Channel Islands and Isle of Man currency in the rest of Britain.
The Republic of Ireland has coins and notes of similar sizes to
Britain. They are a different exchange rate to the UK pound. You
cannot use British money in the Republic of Ireland, or Irish money
In most larger towns, you will find cash dispensers which will
accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards. This can be a cheap way
of obtaining British currency, because they work on a good exchange
rate. There will probably be 1.5% fee. Check the situation with
your own bank first. There will probably be a maximum amount of
money that you can withdraw each day, in this way.
There are good transport links from all airports to city centres.
Do not take a taxi unless you are sure how much it will cost. To
take a taxi from London airports will be expensive, unless you are
in a large group. Go by train or bus if possible London Heathrow
has frequent electric underground trains to the centre of London,
as well as buses.
Passports and Visas
All visitors are required to hold a passport that is valid for at
least 6 months beyond intended date of departure from the UK, except:
(a) 1. nationals of EU countries with a valid national ID card
for tourist visits not exceeding 3 months;
(b) nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland
holding a valid national ID card for touristic/social visits of
less than 6 months and in possession of a British Visitor's Card
available from travel agencies.
Visas are required by all exept nationals and citizens of EU countries,
Japan, Australia, the United States of America and Canada. The two
types of entry clearance are: Visa(which is compulsory)and An entry
certificate(which is optional but recommended). Please check with
your local British Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate.