UK, England Guide


 City & Country Guides > Europe > UK

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The UK maybe a small island but it is full of surprises, whether you opt for the cosmopolitan nightlife of London town or prefer to go hiking in the Lake District you can be sure that there will be something for everyone. In London, for example, there is a very high concentration of foreign visitors and residents which makes for an exciting mix of cultures. In other places, though, you'll get a great insight into local life untouched by the diversity of the capital.

One tip would be to read Bill Bryson's 'Notes from a Small Island', this is a great introduction to English life.

It would be foolhardy to list everything worth seeing about England here, visit the individual sections on England to find out more about a certain place. Here is a short list of things I rate about the UK:


The UK is served by many airports so wherever your going you shouldn't be too far from your destination, as it is a small island it is possible to drive the length of the country in about 8 hours. The London airports are very crowded and you can sometimes expect a long wait for your luggage.

The train service is getting better or so they say, but in many places the UK's rail networks falls well behind some of it's European counterparts. The reason being that most of the lines were built in the 19th Century and well over 150 years later the cracks are beginning to show. So expect some disruption if you plan to travel by train, as they often get delayed a lot, and sometimes cancelled due to engineering work on the weekends. Another thing to bear in mind is the price of tickets, a train from London to Manchester (equivelant of a 4-5hr car journey) can cost up to £60. Children (up to 16) are generally charged half price. Most train services run reduced services on Sundays, and try to avoid the rush hour periods between 7.30am-9.30am and 4.30pm-7pm.

Another possibility is to use coaches: Stagecoach or National Express coaches are often considerably cheaper than the train and tend to be more reliable. Coaches run from London Victoria Coach Station to practically anywhere, but it is advisable to book in advance. There may be delays due to bad traffic and that is something worth bearing in mind if you have a schedule to keep. Nearly all towns run bus services that will get you out and about, most though will stop running by 12am and only start again at 6am. In some country areas, though, buses can be a bit of a lottery, and decide to run when they feel like it!

Taxis are generally an expensive way to travel if you plan on making a long journey. As a rule of thumb black cabs are more expensive than minicabs, but beware, especially in London, there are a lot of unlicensed minicab drivers who will try and rip you off. Nowadays, in the London area, it can be about £2 a mile. Some cab services also have people carriers which can be a cheaper option if there is a lot of you.

To see the best of the UK, the best way would be to hire a car and motor about....but then you'd be best avoiding urban areas during peak hours (8-9.30am and 4pm-6.30pm).

Things not to miss

London - Must not be missed if you are coming to the UK, save some money though! The museums are some of the best in the world. MORE ON LONDON >>

Brighton - One of the best seaside resorts for nightlife, cool shopping and only 1 hour from London on the train MORE ON BRIGHTON >>

Cheltenham - Beautifully clean Regency town with the lovely rolling Cotswolds surrounding it

Forest of Dean/River of Severn - You'll need a car for this, but loads of woodland and spectacular countryside.

Cornwall - Try those Cornish Pasties or go surfing MORE ON CORNWALL >>

Bournemouth - Sandy beaches that could be somewhere else in the world

The Lake District - For spectacular hiking, mountain climbing and Kendall Mint Cake

The New Forest - Lush woodland with open spaces, a great opportunity to see some great wildlife MORE ON THE NEW FOREST >>

Stonehenge - Summer Solstace is the best time to visit if you want to experience the full vibe

Glastonbury Music Festival - Normally, at the end of June, its the best festival in the world.

A Football League Match - You're unlikely to get a ticket for the high profile Premiership unless you know someone, but check out a game at a lower league ground, you shouldn't pay more than £15 for a ticket. Season runs from August till May.

Wales - The Brecons and Snowdonia MORE ON BRECON >>

Scotland - The Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Nairn (for the beaches) and Edinburgh.

Things to miss

The weather in Manchester - it always seems to be raining! The centres great though.

Modern chain pubs - devoid of character, head for traditional old pubs or stylish bars instead

Trying to get home after 12am if you haven't got much money

The M25/M4 anytime between 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm, infact any motorways.

Pub Closing Times - Its getting better, but we still have 11pm closing at most bars and restaurants during the week, so don't forget to stock up on booze at your hotel/hostel if you're not planning to go clubbing.




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