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Practical information United Kingdom

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

United Kingdom : Travel Information before you go!

Area

36317 sq.mi

Languages

The official language in the UK is English.

Population

62,041,708 inhabitants

Flights

  • Scotland :

    1 hr 30 mins from London to Aberdeen Airport, which is approximately 398 miles.
    1 hr 15 mins from London to Edinburgh Airport, which is approximately 333 miles.
    1 hr 20 mins from London to Glasgow Airport, which is approximately 346 miles.
    1 hr 30 mins from London to Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is approximately 376 miles.

  • The Channel Islands :

    The archipelago is some 80 mi off the British coast. Flight duration from London: 1hr 30 mins.
  • Northern Ireland :

    1 hr 20 mins. Belfast is 322 mi from London.
  • Wales :

    30 mins. Cardiff is 137 mi from London.

Required travel documents for United Kingdom

- For European citizens, a valid identity card or passport is enough to enter the UK. If you do not have a UK or EU passport, you will fall into the category of either a visa national or a non-visa national. Check to see if you are a visa national. If you are not a visa national, you will need to apply for a visa in a British Consulate or Embassy in your home country.
- On 1 January 2012, changes were made to the UK pet entry rules. The regulations now vary, depending on which country you are travelling into the UK from. Generally, pets are exempt from quarantine if they have a microchip under their skin, are vaccinated against rabies, have a blood test done 6 months before departure and an anti-parasite treatment 1-5 days before entry into the UK (which has been recorded in the passport or Official Health Certificate).

Religion

44% Anglican, 5% Presbyterian and 10% Catholic.

Currency

The currency in the UK is the pound Sterling. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are largely accepted, and cash machines can be used to withdraw money. Cash and travellers cheques in pounds can easily be exchanged. Bank opening hours: from 9:30am to 4:30pm during the week.
Although English notes are accepted throughout the United Kingdom, it is worth remembering that Scotland, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland print their own notes, equal in value to the pound Sterling. Whether it is from Scotland, Jersey, Guernsey or Northern Ireland, this currency cannot be exchanged outside the United Kingdom, so check what type of notes you still have before leaving the country.
A realistic budget for travel in the UK excluding transport would be 50 per person per day, or 30 for backpackers staying in hostels and cooking for themselves. Notes, this does fluctuate from city to city, London being considerably dearer than the rest of the United Kingdom. Students, young people under 26 and seniors over 60 can often get discounts on transport and admission to attractions and museums.

Transport

-The Eurostar terminal in London is at St Pancras International (north bank). This station is linked to Kings Cross, where British national rail services trains to destinations in Scotland, Wales and the north of England. Trains are a more comfortable and faster means of transport than buses or coaches, but are notably more expensive, than the bus. Kings Cross underground station is also on 6 lines of the London tube, facilitating journeys around London or further afield. A single journey on the underground is about 4, or get a Visitor Card (3 days) or the Oyster Card (7 days) to save some money. A London bus ticket costs 2 per unit.

- EU registered vehicles can be brought into the UK easily by ferry or the channel tunnel, providing you have a registration plate, relevant papers and insurance. Note, Congestion Charges apply if driving in central London (at least 8 GBP per vehicle and per day).

-To rent a car, a national driver's licence is enough. Driving is on the left and speed restrictions are in miles, with a maximum speed of 30 mph (that is 48 km/hour) in towns, 60 mph (that is 97 km/h) on 'A' roads or highways and 70 mph (that is 113 km/h) on motorways.

- There is a huge number of ferry ports in Engand, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, which service UK and other European destinations.

- Bus or coach is your cheapest option to travel within the UK. The main companies that cover inter-city travel are National Express and Megabus, which is owned by stagecoach. The bus or coach fare is, on average, twice as cheap as the train.

- Plane is a quick option either for domestic UK flights or from mainland Europe. Most big UK cities have their own airport, although the main ones are London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.

Health

- EU nationals should obtain a European Health Insurance Card before going to the UK. Please remember this is not a substitute for health insurance, and you must take out a comprehensive health insurance policy as well. The EHIC warrants you state provided medical treatment on the same terms as British nationals.
- No vaccines are required, but make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date.

Electricity

Voltage is 240 V. Electrical outlets have three pins. An adaptor is thus required for travellers from outside the UK.

Attendance

In 2010, Great Britain welcomed just under 30 million travellers.

Taxes

A tax of 10% is generally included in the bill. If this is not the case, remember to add it to the bill's total.

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