Top Tips for Your Trip
»At major London airports, you can buy tickets for the express trains into central London from London Transport staff in the baggage arrivals hall; this saves queuing or dealing with unfamiliar machines.
»The best way to get local currency is usually from an ATM, but this term is rarely used in England; the colloquial term ‘cash machine’ is more common.
»If staying more than a couple of days in London, get the travel card the locals use, called an Oyster. For more details,Click here.
»Pickpockets and husﬂers lurk in the more crowded tourist and transport areas, especially in London. No need to be paranoid, but do be on your guard
»Britain’s electrical plugs are not like those in the rest of Europe, so bring (or buy) a UK-speciﬁc plug adaptor.
What to Wear
England’s weather is notoriously changeable. A rain jacket is essential, as is a small backpack to carry it when the sun comes out. Bring sunscreen and an umbrella; you’re bound to need both. Possibly even on the same day. For sightseeing at castles, cathedrals, museums and galleries, remember what your granny told you: comfortable shoes can make or break a trip. If you plan to enjoy England’s great outdoors, suitable hiking gear is required in higher or wilder areas,but not for casual strolls in the countryside.Some smarter pubs, bars and restaurants operate dress codes banning jeans, T-shirts and ‘trainers’ (sneakers, runners).
Whatever your budget, book accommodation in advance for the ﬁrst few nights, especially during high season. If you’re on a longer or more ﬂexible trip, booking in advance is not essential. When arriving in a new area, the local tourist ofﬁce will usually have a list of local hotels and BBs with availability. Rental car deals are better if you book in advance and avoid peak periods. Booking ahead is highly recommended for major journeys by public transport, as is avoiding peak periods.
For more details, see the Transport chapter.
What to Pack
»Plug adaptor(U K speciﬁc)
»Mobile (cell) phone and charger
»Manners The English have a – sometimes overstated – reputation for being polite, and good manners are considered important in
most situations. When asking directions, ‘Excuse me, can you tell me the way to…’ is a better tactic than ‘Hey, where’s…’
»Queues In England, queues (‘lines’ to Americans) are sacrosanct, whether to board a bus, buy tickets or enter the gates of an
attraction. Any attempt to ‘jump the queue’ will result in an outburst of tutting and hard stares, which is about as angry as most locals get in public.
»Fscalators If you take an escalator (especially at tube stations in London) or a moving walkway (eg at an airport) be sure to stand on the right, so folks can pass on the left.
»Bargaining If you’re in a market, it’s OK to haggle over the price of goods (but not food). Politeness is still key though. Haggling in shops is rare.
»Restaurants Around 10% in restaurants and teahouses with table service. Nearer 15% at smarter restaurants. Tips may be added to your bill as a ‘service charge’. Paying tips or the service charge is up to you.
»Pubs Bars If you order drinks (or food) and pay at the bar, tips are not expected. If you order at the table and your meal is brought to you, then 10% is usual.
»Taxis Usually 10%, or rounded up to the nearest pound, especially in London.
Top Tips for Your Trip