UNITED KINGDOM

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TOP ATTRACTIONS
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Name: Tower Bridge
Location: London, UK
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London. As a result, it is sometimes confused with London Bridge, about half a mile (0.8 km) upstream. Tower Bridge is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. It is the only one of the trust's bridges not to connect the City of London directly to the Southwark bank, as its northern landfall is in Tower Hamlets.

The bridge consists of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal tension forces imposed by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical components of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge deck is freely accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians, whereas the bridge's twin towers, high-level walkways and Victorian engine rooms form part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, for which an admission charge is made.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_Bridge
Name: Stonehenge
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds).

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

One of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882, when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge
Name: Buckingham Palace
Location: London, UK
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality.

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds. A German bomb destroyed the palace chapel during World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Palace
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO UK.
FACTS:
Official Languages: English
Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)
Time zone: GMT (UTC) / BST (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +44
Local / up-to-date weather in London (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for UK travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to UK, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
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ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO CAMEROON.

The currency throughout the UK is the pound (£) (more properly called the pound sterling to distinguish it from the Syrian or Egyptian pound, but this is not used in everyday speech) (ISO code: GBP). It is divided into 100 pence (singular penny) (p).

Coins are 1p (small copper), 2p (large copper), 5p (very small silver), 10p (large silver), 20p (small silver with angled edges), 50p (large silver with angled edges), £1 (12-sided bimetallic with silver centre & gold outside – the old gold coin has been withdrawn) and £2 (large, thick with silver centre and gold edge). A commemorative £5 has been made but not circulated.

Coins are the same throughout the UK, but banknotes (in US English, “bills”) vary by country. The principal banknote issue is by the Bank of England: these come in £5 (green/light blue), £10 (orange/brown), £20 (blue/purple) and £50 (red), and depict the Queen on one side and famous historical figures on the other. Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland issue their own banknotes, in the same colours but with different designs, and in practice not necessarily as widely accepted or negotiable in the rest of the UK.

Bank of England notes are changing from paper to smaller polymer notes. The £1 was withdrawn in 1988, and replaced by the £1 gold coin, which has since been replaced by the bimetallic £1 coin. The £5 is polymer depicting Winston Churchill (replacing Elizabeth Fry). The £10 is polymer depicting Jane Austen (replacing Charles Darwin). The £20 is paper depicting Adam Smith (replacing Elgar, but due to be replaced in 2020 by polymer depicting Turner). The £50 is paper depicting Boulton & Watt — try not to carry these as they are often refused by shops and elsewhere. (They’ll say “risk of forgery”, they mean “too much change to give you”.)

If you have old paper notes, first try to exchange them at a post office or a bank. If that fails and you’re in London, you can exchange them in person at the Bank of England, Threadneedle Street EC2R 8AH. They’re open M-F 09:00-16:00. Otherwise post the notes to that address, at your own risk. See Bank of England terms, e.g. for ID, but there’s no time limit on such exchange.

Bank of England notes are universally accepted throughout the UK. Three Scottish banks (Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank) and four Northern Irish banks (Bank of Ireland, First Trust Bank, Danske Bank and Ulster Bank) issue their own bank notes with their own designs. These notes mostly come in the same denominations as Bank of England notes, with additional £100 notes. They are viewed with suspicion in England and Wales, and some shopkeepers will refuse to accept them. However, these notes can be exchanged for Bank of England notes at any bank for free. When leaving the UK, try to only have Bank of England notes with you, as others can be difficult to change outside the UK. If you are keeping notes for a future visit, try to only keep polymer ones.

You may also hear the slang term quid for pounds. It’s both singular and plural; “three quid” means “three pounds”. People often will just say ‘pee’ instead of pence. “Fiver” and “Tenner” are common slang for £5 and £10, respectively.

Occasionally, you may have problems if you try to pay for a small purchase with a £20 banknote. Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes can also be hard to spend outside those areas; and in some cases you can’t pay with notes at all (buses, for instance, don’t always accept them). When paying a bill (for example, in a restaurant or hotel), usually any reasonable method of payment will be accepted unless it’s been made clear to you in advance. Sterling travellers cheques may be accepted, although it’s best to ask first.

Larger banks and post offices have bureaux de change (one of many instances of English borrowing terms from French) which will exchange most foreign currencies for pounds, and vice versa, although they tend to accept only foreign notes, not coins. Travel agents and several department stores (such as Marks and Spencer) often have them too; and even small airports have at least one, although rates there are often poor. It’s worth shopping around for the best rates in larger towns and cities, although as British ATMs accept foreign credit and debit cards, there’s no real need to bring in large amounts of foreign currency anyway. When researching where to exchange cash into Sterling, look for the buyback rates. Included fees (in the exchange rate) of up to 50% are not uncommon. Do not get fooled by the No commission statement that many bureaux de change put. This is a trick and actually a blunt lie, because the exchange rates are just made so bad so that they cover for any ‘lost’ commissions. So, how do you identify a decent exchange rate? The spread between the buy and sell rate tells you what is the fee (divide the difference by 2)—anything above 10% is a rip-off, 5% is good, 1% is excellent but forget about it in the UK. So, you are better off using an ATM here but check with your bank for rates and fees before using.

BY TRAIN:

Train travel is very popular in Britain—you’ll find many services busy, and passenger numbers have been rising steadily. It is one of the fastest, most comfortable, convenient and enjoyable ways to explore Britain and by far the best way to travel inter-city. From High Speed 1, which connects London to Kent and mainland Europe, to preserved railways operating historic steam trains through idyllic countryside, to modern inter-city services and the breathtakingly scenic lines of Scotland, Wales and northern England, the train can be an enthralling and affordable way to see much that the UK has to offer.

All infrastructure is owned by the state while trains are operated by private companies, usually multinational transport companies, which bid for temporary franchises from the government. The system is tightly controlled, both by the national government and the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales. Despite the presence of many franchises, the network provides seamless journeys even if travelling on multiple companies’ trains.

Unlike its continental European neighbours, the UK has comparatively few high-speed rail services, with the only high-speed line being HS1 from London to the Channel Tunnel. It is used by high-speed “Javelin” trains between London and Kent, as well as international Eurostar services to France and Belgium.

BY CAR:

Unlike most of Europe, the UK drives on the left. Most cars in the UK are manual transmission, and car rental companies will allocate you a manual transmission car unless you specifically ask for an automatic when you make a reservation. Renting an automatic version of the same car will cost more. The Government offers advice on driving with a non-UK licence. Most hire companies will check your driver’s licence before you are able to hire a car.

A car will get you pretty much anywhere in the UK. Parking is a problem in large cities, especially in London, and can be very expensive. Visiting smaller towns can often be done via the rail network, although driving may be a good option for more remote destinations. Fuel is heavily taxed and therefore expensive. As of March 2017, unleaded costs 119.5p per litre.

Road distances are indicated in miles (1 mile is about 1.6km) and speed limits are indicated in miles per hour (70 mph is about 115 km/h). However, many weight, height and width signs are now in metric as well

There are no tolls with the exception of a few large bridges and tunnels and one privately financed motorway in the Midlands. There is a congestion charge of £11.50 per day to drive in central London.

Traffic can be very heavy, especially during ‘rush hour’, when commuters are on their way to and from work – typically 07:00-10:00 and 16:00-19:00. Checking local traffic reports on the radio or websites such as Frixo can help if you know you need to travel during busy hours.

Many cities operate a “Park and Ride” scheme, with car parks on the edge of the city and cheap buses or sometimes trams into the city centre. In London it is best to leave your car at home altogether as parking in rail and Tube stations, even in the outer suburbs can be very expensive and if you don’t arrive early enough you won’t find a space. An alternative is to book parking in advance via online platforms such as YourParkingSpace.co.uk or Parkonmydrive.com.

Driving standards are relatively well-maintained in the UK, with the road system being statistically among the safest in Europe. British authorities have access to vehicle registration databases from various other countries, so you shouldn’t try to ignore the rules just because you’re driving a foreign vehicle. Also, British hire car companies will charge traffic fines to your credit card, long after you have left the country. Traffic police patrol the motorways in marked and unmarked cars. Any police officer, regardless of their normal duties, will pursue a vehicle seen driving dangerously.

Don’t drink and drive in the UK. Although the maximum limit is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood (0.08%), Police in the UK will routinely stop any drivers they feel may be under the influence of alcohol especially if their driving is erratic or dangerous regardless. Scotland has a lower limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood.

All drivers and passengers are expected to wear seat belts, and it is illegal for drivers to be using a phone or handheld device while at the wheel. All three infractions are criminal offences, and are treated extremely seriously by police.

For further information on driving in the UK, consult the Highway Code.

BY CAMPERVAN:

Hiring a campervan is one way to explore the UK. Some companies offer airport pickups and dropoffs. It can work out cheaper than travelling between hostels and bed and breakfasts by car or train.

Smaller campers are ideal for parking and enjoying the narrow lanes in the UK.

The Caravan Club has a huge number of caravan and campervan parks all over the country. Most municipal car parks don’t allow overnight camping, though some country pubs may let you use their parking lots for overnight stays if you ask.

BY MOTORCYCLE:

Motorcycling can be good for navigating areas with bad traffic, e.g., in Central London, where motorcyclists do not have to pay the congestion charge that cars have to pay. However, it is important to prioritise your safety – although bikers make up a minority of road users, they make up the vast majority of deaths and serious injuries on British roads.

The rider and pillion passenger on a motorbike are required by law to wear a securely-fastened motorbike helmet that is CE marked. The only people exempt from this law are Sikh men, whose religion requires them to wear a turban. If you wear eye protection, the visor or goggles must be kitemarked. It is illegal to carry more than one pillion passenger. If you wish to carry multiple passengers, use a sidecar. The pillion passenger is required by law to sit astride the motorbike on a proper seat.

It is important to make sure you can be seen both at night and at day, and from the sides as well as the front and rear. Wear a high-visibility jacket or fluorescent strips (during the day) and reflective strips (at night). A good idea is to wear a white or brightly coloured helmet. You can also dip your headlights, even in good daylight, to make you easier to see, but only light them fully at night.

BY BUS AND COACH:

In the UK, coaches are long-distance bus services usually operating intercity or city to airport routes. Local services within and around villages, towns and cities are referred to as buses.

Coach:

Long distance coach travel tends to be slower than train travel, as well as less frequent, although it is comfortable and often much cheaper. Coaches, like trains, will also generally take you right to the centre of town.

The largest coach companies in the UK are:

  • National Express is the largest long distance coach operator in the UK, and services all major destinations on the mainland; they sell tickets online and at coach terminals. Prices start at just £1 one way for promotional ‘funfares’ between major city-pairs, although remain quite expensive on less competitive routes such as those serving airports.
  • Megabus is a service between a limited number of major destinations at cut-throat prices, as low as £1 (plus a 50p booking charge) for some routes if booked well in advance. Understandably, it is very popular with students. To get the cheapest fares you should book a week or two ahead. However, fares are often still good value when booked with less time, e.g. you may pick up London-Manchester for £8 booked only two days in advance. Tickets must be bought online or using the premium rate booking line 0900 160 0900 for at least 60p per minute and cannot be bought from the driver.
  • CityLink services destinations in Scotland. They sell their tickets online, by text, or from the driver, although it is always advised to book your tickets in advance. Some routes also carry Megabus passengers.

Bus:

A typical bus stop flag will show the name of the stop, the direction travelled and a list of routes served

Local bus services (a categorisation which also includes many medium-haul inter-urban services) cover the entire country, but are of variable quality and cost. Services range from deep-rural village services operating once a week or less, to intensive urban routes operating every few minutes. All communities except the very smallest villages have some kind of bus service. Almost all are “one person operation”, i.e. there is no conductor and you must pay the driver as you board. The vast majority of bus stops are “request stops”, meaning that you must put your arm out as the bus approaches to signal that you want it to stop. Likewise once on the bus, you must ring the bell in advance of the stop you want to get off at. The majority of bus services, especially in urban areas, are fully accessible for disabled travellers, with either low floors or the use of a ramp facilitating access for wheelchair users. On-board there is space for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

London:

In London, the iconic red buses cover the entire city, with most routes running at high frequencies from early morning until late night, and some operate 24/7. Service frequencies are such that timetables are generally unnecessary for daytime travel. Single ticket fares can be relatively expensive, but all-day and longer period tickets (including combined bus, rail and tube options) are available, offering excellent value. Tickets can no longer be bought on board, and you must use an Oyster Card, contactless credit/debit card or a paper ticket or pass bought before boarding. The Transport for London website is incredibly useful with a journey planner, maps, all fares, as well as live updates.

Elsewhere:

Bus services in the UK outside of London are privatised and deregulated, with any licensed operator free to run any route and timetable that they wish. Therefore, co-ordination of services with each other and with rail services can be poor, and tickets bought from one operator often not valid on other services. Return tickets are usually much cheaper than two singles, and most operators offer discounted fares for children. Most operators offer day or longer period tickets valid across their own network which can represent very good value, giving all-day travel for as little as £4, but are of little use if you need to use more than one operator. However, combined day tickets valid across more than one operator’s network are also available in some areas. In large towns and cities, weekday daytime services are as frequent and comprehensive as in London. However, almost universally, service levels reduce sharply in the evenings and on Sundays. In the larger cities, for example Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, an extensive night bus network is available.

In areas with a multitude of operators, obtaining comprehensive map/timetable information for the area can be difficult. It is not uncommon for operators to attempt to pass off their services as being ‘the’ network for the town or area in their publicity material – making no mention of the fact that other routes (or in some cases alternative departure times on the same routes) are available, operated by competitors. Many local authorities do attempt to produce comprehensive timetables and/or maps for all services in their area regardless of who operates them – these are well worth obtaining and are commonly available from tourist information centres. However it is still worth checking with the operator(s) before travelling to ensure that the information is up to date, as timetables can change frequently.

BY PLANE:

Given the short distances involved, flying is rarely the cheapest or most convenient option for domestic travel within the UK with the possible exception of between southern England and Scotland, or where a sea crossing would otherwise be involved, such as between Britain and Northern Ireland or travel to and from many Scottish islands.

The main domestic hubs are London, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, while major airlines include British Airways, Flybe, Eastern Airways. The arrival of budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet has forced fares down considerably. Some peripheral destinations have their own local airline.

To get the best fare, it is advisable to book as far in advance as possible. ‘Screen-scraper’ comparison websites can be a useful way to compare flight costs between airports or even city pairs (suggesting alternative airports, for instance). Beware that some airlines, such as Ryanair, object to being included in these searches, so these sites are not always comprehensive. Ryanair and Easyjet are also notorious for additional fees for anything but one person without checked bags doing online check in, so comparisons to legacy carriers might be complicated if you have luggage or other things legacy carriers typically include in their fares.

Many regional airports are not connected to the national rail network, with connections to the nearest cities served by relatively expensive buses. Photo ID is required before boarding domestic flights in the UK.

BY BOAT:

Ferries link the mainland to the many offshore islands including the Isles of Scilly from Penzance, the Isle of Wight from Southampton and Portsmouth, the Isle of Man from Liverpool and Ireland, the Hebrides from various ports in the Scottish Highlands, the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands from Aberdeen and Scrabster. There are also regular ferry services between Northern Ireland and Scotland and these depart Larne, Belfast, Troon and Cairnryan. There are also routes from Northern Ireland to Birkenhead and Fleetwood (both near Liverpool in England).

BY TAXI:

There are two types of taxis in the United Kingdom: metered (black) cabs that can be hailed in the street and are mostly found in larger towns and cities; and minicabs (private hire taxis) which must be ordered by telephone.

Black cabs:

Also known as Hackney carriages, these are useful for travelling within cities. The name originates from the old 1960s purpose-built Austin FX3 taxis which used to be all painted black, but today are sometimes given custom paint jobs or are even covered in advertisements. Custom-built vehicles which seat five people are commonly used as metered taxis, though regular cars or people-carriers can be used instead. These taxis can be hailed on the street or picked up from a taxi rank, which are usually found near major shopping areas and transport hubs. The ‘Taxi’ sign on the roof is illuminated when a taxi is available.

The rate varies and is set by local government, typically starting at around £3-5 and rising at around £1 a mile, making them fairly expensive, especially so in London. Add night charges, waiting charges, luggage charges for large suitcases, etc., on to the meter as well, and travelling by taxi can be expensive unless you are in a large group.

Minicabs:

More common in suburbs and smaller towns, minicabs can only be ordered by telephone or online and charge fixed prices to different destinations. With the growing success of Uber, some minicab and black cab companies are releasing apps for smartphones, to make ordering easier. Local telephone directories usually advertise taxi companies, and the phone numbers are usually painted in big numbers on the side of their vehicles.

Minicabs are usually much cheaper than black cabs; fares for long journeys can often be negotiated, although you should agree the fare with the phone operator when booking, not with the driver. Most companies have a variety of vehicle sizes from small saloons up to large 12-seater minivans so you can specify the vehicle size. Some minicab firms specialise in serving airports and offer discounted rates for this.

BY BICYCLE:

The UK can be both a cyclist’s dream and nightmare. Cycling is popular as both a sport and a means of transportation, though bikes don’t always get adequate provision on roadways and the relationship between cyclists and motorists can be strained. The National Cycle Network is a web of paved and unpaved cycle tracks covering the whole country, passing through some spectacular scenery on the way. Their website has a comprehensive cycle map and most cycle stores, tourist information centres and youth hostels also sell their maps. Routes are indicated by blue finger posts with the route number in red.

EAT:

Despite the negative reputation it unjustly has, British food is actually very good, with many British people being proud of their native dishes and regional specialities. Restaurants and supermarkets in the middle and upper range have consistently high standards, and the choice of international dishes is among the best in Europe. Unlike their continental neighbours, many Britons still eat to live rather than living to eat, and as a result, food quality is variable at the budget end of the market. Moreover, as the UK is a culturally diverse nation, many different kinds of food are available due to the influence of immigration.

The United Kingdom can be an expensive place to eat out compared to, say, the more southern European countries, but relatively cheap in comparison with countries such as Switzerland and Norway.

Many restaurants in city centres tend to be a little more expensive than ones in the suburbs, and pubs do tend to be slightly more expensive in the countryside, but generally, a three-course meal without drinks will cost anywhere between £10 and £25. Chicken tikka masala with rice is sometimes claimed as the UK’s most popular dish, though roast beef is a more traditional national dish.

Picnics are also fairly popular in the United Kingdom, along with coffee shops. Smoking is not allowed in bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants.

Allergy awareness in the UK is good, with both labelling on shop-bought products and printed menus typically including some kind of message about potential allergens. Most outlets will also be able to advise as to the suitability of specific dishes in relation to a given allergy. Some mid-range and upward restaurants even have specific menus for ‘gluten-free’ diets.

Standards in food safety in the United Kingdom are exceptionally high, a matter of pride for outlets, and the traveller is unlikely to encounter major issues. The Food Standards Agency runs a “Scores on the Doors” scheme where individual outlets can also be checked out online. Retailed food with a clear expiry date, such as meat or fish, is labelled with a ‘use by’ date, but food which may be less appetising but still safe, such as fruit, may be labelled with a ‘best before’ date.

Takeaways:

A ‘takeaway’ is either a shop supplying prepared meals for people to eat elsewhere, or the meal itself. A very British takeaway is the fish and chip shop; the sandwich shop is a popular choice at lunchtimes; they often also sell pies and cakes. Alternatively, most towns and many main routes have a selection of fast-food chains. Various types of takeaways are present in nearly all towns, ranging from fish and chips to “Indian”, which can often be operated by non-Indians like Bangladeshis, and Chinese shops. Thai and Indonesian takeaways are becoming quite common, and lots of others in bigger towns. Generally the standard of takeaways is good, but the best guide is, as always, to observe what the locals are doing.

In towns and cities these places tend to open late (sometimes until about 01:00) to cater for the so-called after-the-pub crowd. At this time they tend to be busy and rowdy so, to avoid the queues the best time for a takeaway may be 19:00-23:00: after the teatime rush but before the supper crowds. Takeaways in larger city centres may stay open until 03:00 or 04:00 to cater for people coming out of nightclubs; typically these will be independent kebab shops and chippies, as well as some fast food chains such as Domino’s and Subway. This isn’t to be expected outside large cities.

Food in pubs:

Most pubs serve food, so these will be your next best option for sampling British cuisine. Even if you are against drinking alcohol, you may find a more traditional and full menu than a cafe or chippy. Some more comments on pubs will be found under the Drink heading.

However, the opening hours, times food is served, prices and booking requirements (especially for groups) can vary considerably. Contacting a specific venue in advance or seeking local advice if you have particular requirements or standards, is recommended . Do not sit at a table in a pub expecting a waiter to take your order for food or drinks: pubs nearly always work on a “queue at the bar for drinks: order at the bar for food” basis. You go to the bar to request and pay for drinks and food. To avoid annoying customers behind them, groups usually order as one, and “settle up” between themselves later (see elsewhere for “buying rounds”). You normally order your “starters” and “mains” together (food-oriented places have numbers screwed to the tables for you to quote, or will give you a number to take to your table). There is an etiquette that if you see another patron at the bar, you should invite them to order first. You then wait for your drinks to be poured and carry them to the table. When your meal is ready, it is either brought to you or, less commonly now, announced when it is ready for you to collect. The person who tidies away your main course may ask you what dessert you would like, or you may have to order at the bar again.

Restaurants:

Larger towns have a range of restaurants to suit most tastes and on top of places specialising in British food, you will find a very broad range of international cuisines, including Indian, Chinese, Thai, French and Italian. Waiters generally expect a 10% tip (but all too often do not get it from the native population) and in some places this is automatically listed on your bill. However, if you are dissatisfied with the service in any way, you are under no obligation to pay the service charge. Generally British people are not great tippers. As a visitor the 10% rule is more than generous and worth sticking to. Visitors from The U.S. and Canada are seen as very generous tippers and even a bit of a soft touch by some.

The usual fast-food restaurants (McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway and local chain Wimpy) are widespread in larger towns and cities but uncommon in smaller towns. They are typically in major shopping areas, in or around major train stations, in out-of-town retail parks and in motorway service stations and airports (the latter 2 are usually more expensive). Prices are average – a burger, chips and drink meal will cost about £4-5. Most are open 7AM-10PM although some in large cities are 24-hours. Fast-food restaurants in out-of-town locations offer drive-through service. Delivery service is widely offered.

Chinese cuisine in the UK is generally of the Westernised takeaway variety. That said, good, authentic Chinese food can be found in London, Manchester, and Sheffield, which have large Chinese communities.

Indian cuisine:

One of the most popular types of restaurant in the UK is the Indian restaurant. They can be found in every city and most towns, large and small. There are now more and more upmarket Indian restaurants in the larger urban centres.

Motorway service areas:

Motorway service areas in the United Kingdom are of variable quality, even if the majority are required to provide certain services 24 hours a day by law. All offer up to 2 hours’ free parking, but beyond this point charge an expensive hourly rate. Some service areas have a notorious reputation as being expensive. Most contain fast-food outlets, chain coffee shops and indoor and outdoor seating; the latter are ostensibly provided for picnickers, but are often occupied by people smoking cigarettes. All have free toilets, some of which you will notice have “best loo of the year” industry awards proudly displayed. The range of hot and cold food in some services is limited overnight, although most keep a selection available. With some exceptions, service areas are not necessarily the place to find inexpensive dining options or food which is not reflective of chain outlets. For more choice the traveller can typically find better options within a few miles of a junction.

Vegetarian/vegan:

Vegetarianism has become more widespread in the UK over the last few decades. If you are staying as a guest in a British home it would be considered courteous to inform your host beforehand as to any dietary requirements, but this will not be considered rude or even particularly unusual. If you are staying in a B&B, let the owner know when you arrive, and you’ll often find that they will cook up a special vegetarian breakfast for you.

Even if you call yourself vegetarian some people will assume you eat fish, so if you don’t, then tell them so. Nowadays, it is rare to find a pub or restaurant with no vegetarian options, and most have a selection.

If you are a vegan, be prepared to explain precisely what you do and don’t eat on a fairly frequent basis. Outside of specialist restaurants, most places probably won’t have a vegan-friendly main meal, so be prepared to hunt around, order bits and bobs, or in a pub make do with the ubiquitous bowl of chips and tomato ketchup and even then it would be wise to check whether the chips have been cooked in animal fat, a practice quickly falling out of fashion. Recognition of veganism and vegan options at food outlets is slowly getting better, however.

In general, the best places for vegetarian and vegan food are specialist veggie restaurants and Indian, Chinese and South-East Asian restaurants. Most major cities and towns will have at least one. Expensive upscale restaurants may have more limited vegetarian options, and sometimes none at all. If you’re fortunate enough to be dining in such a place, it may be worth ringing ahead.

DRINK:

The legal age to buy alcohol or consume it in a pub is 18, and there are consequences for the bar staff if they serve under-age customers. If you are having a meal in a restaurant, you nominally only have to be 16 to order alcohol (for consumption with the meal), and although this is also technically applicable in a pub if you are having a table meal (typical bar snacks like crisps or nuts don’t count), it’s often at the discretion of the venue or staff. Some venues (pubs and restaurants) apply a strict “Over 18 only” policy regardless.

Nevertheless, if you’re over 18 but lucky enough to look younger, expect to be asked to prove your age when purchasing alcohol (also, in certain places if you look under 21 or 25, you have to prove you’re over 18, known as “Challenge 21(25)”), especially in popular city spots. Do not be confused into thinking the drinking age is actually raised to 21 or 25 in these establishments, it is simply a ‘safety net’ system to ensure more young people get positively ID’d as being over 18. Some premises will require proof of age for all drinks after a certain time of night due to restrictions on the age of people who can be on the premises. The most trustworthy form of ID is a passport or EU driving licence which shows both your photograph and date of birth. ID cards are likely to be accepted (providing there is a photograph), as will proof of age cards which are available, but must be applied for by post and take several weeks to issue. Any other form of ID will not be accepted. In private residences the minimum age to drink alcohol is 5 years old, although it is likely that if a 5- or 6-year-old, etc. were getting drunk, the matter would be brought before the courts as child neglect.

Whilst getting drunk is often the objective of a party or some social gatherings, and is often considered socially acceptable amongst close friends, the police take a dim view on those causing alcohol-related trouble, or using it is as justification for anti-social acts, irrespective of social standing. In regions where there is a legacy of active temperance traditions (notably in rural parts of Wales and Yorkshire), local attitudes to drunkenness may be less favourable than the UK as a whole but the traveller is unlikely to encounter strong views, if they drink sensibly. Nevertheless, most Britons have a great sense of humour and everything is forgotten after a hangover, at least until the next time. Drinking is an important part of the British culture and, even though it is frequently complained about, it is as popular as ever.

Although being drunk is (of itself) not illegal, many venues and retail premises will stop (or will refuse to continue) serving those starting to show the signs of obvious drunkenness. This is because in the UK, the person serving the drinks has certain legal obligations as a condition of them being allowed to operate the venue or premises.

Urinating in public is illegal, anti-social and quite difficult to explain when applying for a visa. You should try to use the facilities where you are drinking.

Drink driving is illegal, and whilst (as of 2016) the maximum limits are 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.05%) in Scotland, and 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.08%) in England and Wales, most advice is that there is no ‘safe’ level. It’s easier to get a taxi home than an ambulance!

Recreational boaters under the influence can also face prosecution, as can drunk cyclists and horse-riders, especially if they are seen to be endangering others. The legal upper limit for persons in charge of a boat is 25 mg.

Pub:

The pub (or public house) is the most popular place to get a drink in the UK, though types of pubs can vary dramatically. They range from ‘local’ pubs, usually quiet places consisting of one or two rooms, to chain pubs such as J.D. Wetherspoons, which are very large rooms capable of holding hundreds of people. Even small villages will often have a pub, serving spirits, wines, beers, cider, ‘alcopops’ and non-alcoholic drinks, accompanied by crisps, nuts and pork scratchings. Many serve snacks or meals. The greater volume of drinks served are various kinds of beer, mainly lagers, bitters, and porter/stout (i.e. Guinness). People not looking to drink real ale are free to choose a pub just on the basis of location and character, because most national “smooth” bitters or TV-advertised lagers are available in any non-real-ale pub; however, even non-real-ale drinkers often find that they prefer the types of pubs with a range of real ales, because they tend to be more “traditional”, with a more individual character and less oriented to juke boxes, games machines, fruit machines and large crowds.

Across the whole of the UK there is a blanket ban on smoking inside pubs and restaurants, though many pubs have areas outside, often known as “beer gardens”, where smoking is usually permissible. However if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to be able to stay after the formal closing hours this is called a “lock-in” and smoking may be ok if the pub landlord allows it. This will often occur only in the later hours after 23:00 and these lock-ins can last any amount of time. As they are classed as a private party, they happen in only a few pubs, and often only pubs with more regular customers, although this is not always the case. Once at a lock-in, you cannot leave and come back in again.

British real ales, championed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), are among the best in the world – though people used to colder, fizzier beers may find that the taste needs to be acquired. People looking for real ale will need to select the right pubs, because although a wide range of pubs serve one or two real ales, only a “real ale pub” will have a wide selection. British ale has a limited shelf life compared to most foreign beers, and as some pubs have only a “token” cask with low turnover, it’s often well past its prime and has a strange vinegary taste. If you do receive an ‘off’ pint, ask for a replacement at the bar, which will usually be forthcoming.

The phrase “free house” was usually the main indicator for people looking for a good choice of beer, because this indicated that the pub was not owned by a particular brewery and served whatever beer its landlord thought would appeal to their customers. However, this is no longer a significant factor, because most national pub chains are now owned by large conglomerates who deal centrally with brewers and serve the same mass-market brands in all their pubs: these conglomerates (not being breweries) can still call their pubs “free houses”.

Many pubs are very old and have traditional names, such as the “Red Lion” or “King’s Arms”; before widespread literacy, pubs would be identified by most customers solely by their signs. There has been a trend, strongly resisted in some quarters, towards chain-pubs such as the Hogshead, Slug and Lettuce and those owned by the JD Wetherspoon company. Another trend is the gastro pub, a smartened-up traditional pub with a selection of high-quality food (often at restaurant prices).

Beer in pubs is served in pint and half-pint measures, or in bottles. A pint is 568 ml. Simply ordering a beer on tap (‘draught beer’) will be interpreted as a request for a pint, e.g. ‘a lager, please’. Alternatively ‘half a lager, please’ will get you a half-pint. If you ask for a “half-pint of lager” in a noisy pub, you will almost certainly get a pint, because no-one asks for a “half-pint” and the bar person will have thought you said “I’ll have a pint of lager, please”. Prices vary widely based on the city, the pub and the beer, but generally pints will be £3-4. Bottled beers often cost almost the same, although they hold much less than a pint (330 ml being standard).

Spirits and shorts are normally 25 ml although some pubs use a standard 35 ml measure; in all cases it will be clearly indicated on the optic, in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, the standard measure is a 35 ml measure. A dram in Scotland was traditionally a quarter of a gill measure now 25 ml.

Wine in pubs generally comes in 125 ml (small) or 175 ml (large) measures, although unless the pub specialises in wine, it’s often low quality.

Food in pubs can range from nothing except crisps and nuts, through basic ‘pub food’ (normally with chips) to restaurant-standard and beyond (a few pubs even have Michelin stars). Pubs that specialise in food often have a separate area set aside for eating. Food service often stops well before the pub closes, however.

When applying for a licence, pubs can specify any opening times they wish; this can be challenged by neighbours, etc. Closing times are typically the ‘last order’ time – the pub can sell drinks before this and customers have to drink up and leave within 20 minutes of the licensing hours. The staff will normally call out 10 minutes before last orders and again when the bar closes.

Closing times used to be 23:00 and 22:30 on a Sunday by law, and this is still quite common. The most common closing times at the weekends in towns are between midnight and 01:00 and some larger pubs may apply for a licence until 02:00 and clubs 03:00 or 04:00. It is not unheard-of that some bars have licences until the early hours (06:00) although this is rare as many who are out until this time are likely to go to nightclubs and then home. Theoretically, a pub can ask for a 24-hour licence, though few have done so.

Wine bars:

In cities, as well as traditional pubs, there are more modern wine-bars and café-bars (often known simply as bars), though the variable weather means that there is not as much of a ‘street scene’ as in other European cities. However, depending on the weather, there are more and more pavement cafés in the UK than in the past. Parts of London, Manchester and other up-and-coming cities are good examples of this change of scene.

Prices in bars tend to be higher than in pubs, with less focus on beer, and more on wine, spirits and cocktails. Customers are often younger than those of traditional pubs, though there is much crossover and some bars are more “pubby” than others.

Clubbing:

Clubbing is popular in most large towns and cities, and many have world-renowned venues as well as many alternative venues. Great clubs can be found in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Brighton and other places. Prices in clubs tend to be considerably higher than those charged in pubs, and opening hours may not be the attraction they once were, as pubs can now open late too. Most clubs will not admit anyone under 18. ID may be asked for at the door, but ID checks at bars are less common. Dress codes are sometimes applied by doormen or bouncers before entry, sometimes none-too-consistently. Common dress codes are simply to dress smartly and avoid wearing sports wear, including trainers. However “fashion” trainers, especially dark coloured ones are increasingly accepted when part of smart attire. That said, some upmarket clubs will still insist on shoes and if in doubt, wear shoes to avoid being turned away.

Clubs are often cheaper during the week (M-Th) as many of these nights are designed to cater for students; however, you usually have to pay an entrance fee. For a club in a small town (capacity 250-300) this will usually be £1-2 on week night, £2-3 on weekends, and seldom more than £5 on special occasions. Conventional clubs in bigger towns and alternative clubs in cities will cost £5-10. Large clubs, especially those in cities, that cater for a “dance” crowd will almost certainly cost over £10, though seldom more than £15. For towns with a large student population, it is often much cheaper to go clubbing during week nights (Monday-Thursday), as many clubs advertise towards students on these nights, offering discounted drinks and cheaper entry.

Non-alcoholic drinks:

Tea is widely drunk in the UK, most British people drink black tea with milk and/or sugar. Tea drinking is common in the UK because India, which is one country where tea trees are found, was a British territory until 1947. Whilst most budget to mid-range venues will offer a generic brand, more upmarket (and higher priced) venues, will have a selection, Earl Grey being a well known blend, but by no means the only one. Herbal teas are also available from specialists, lemon may also be offered as an alternative to milk.

Coffee is also popular in the UK, and in some popularity polls it has beaten tea. Starbucks has a number of branches in the UK, although it has strong competition from other chains like Costa, and numerous independent coffee shops.

An unusual ‘drink’ more akin to soup is Bovril, a kind of reconstituted beef broth. Offered by a small number of independent outlets. It’s a tradition in the UK for spectators at cold-weather sporting events to bring a flask of Bovril.

In Scotland, Irn-Bru is highly regarded and has near legendary status. It is a fizzy, caffeinated drink of a vivid orange colour, with a unique taste widely regarded as indescribable, some calling it metallic, fruity, bubblegum flavoured or even medicine-like. Whilst anywhere selling drinks in Scotland is highly likely to have Irn-Bru, it is much less common in the rest of the UK, though it can be found in larger shops and supermarkets.

An acquired taste, but worth it, is ginger beer, which despite its name is not typically alcoholic, and in its commercially available form is a pleasant ginger flavoured soda.

Mineral waters are also on sale in most mid-range restaurants, with supermarkets also selling a range. The range can vary from expensive imported brands such as Perrier, through locally bottled waters such as Highland Spring, Buxton Water, amongst others, down to budget “sparkling table water”‘s sold by supermarket under their own-brand.

The UK offers a wide variety of hotels rated on a scale of stars, from 5-star luxury (and beyond!) to 1-star basic. There is also a vast number of privately run bed and breakfast establishments (abbreviated as “B&B”), offering rooms with usually a fried ‘full English breakfast’. Alternatively you can rent a private house which is let as a holiday home; many such holiday homes advertise on a wide variety of free websites or advertise on their own websites. Good deals can usually be found by using a search engine for “self-catering holiday accommodation”.

The two most prominent budget (limited-service, and deliberately not star rated) hotel chains in the country are Travelodge (which is wholly separate from the US chain of the same name) and Premier Inn – there is typically one of either or both of these in most major towns and multiple in large cities such as London and Manchester. While they are often more expensive than a bed and breakfast (ranging between £20 and £110 a night depending on time before booking, flexibility of rate and location) they are usually conveniently located, are full hotels that usually offer a hot breakfast (at a cost, usually less than £10) and a restaurant for evening meals and have a relatively consistent standard of service and furnishing across their portfolio. Travelodge is typically the cheaper but more basic and spartan of the two, whereas Premier Inn is slightly more expensive (by around £10-20 a night) but aims to be a budget approximation of a full-service hotel. Either one represents a reasonably comfortable and very prevalent budget option for a hotel – other less common budget chains are Ibis Express, Ibis Budget, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn/Garden Inn from Hilton.

There are also many camp sites, with widely varying levels of facilities. Not all of them welcome backpackers: Ordnance Survey maps indicate those that definitely do with a blue tent symbol rather than a caravan. “Wild camping” on private land outside recognised camp sites is a legal right in Scotland (but only well away from roads and inhabited buildings), elsewhere it may be awkward outside remote areas, though one-night camping stops may be feasible if undertaken discreetly, or landowners may give permission to wild-camp for free, or for a small fee, if asked. An unwritten rule permits high-altitude wild camping in Snowdonia in north Wales, but not by legal right. Wild campers anywhere are expected to move on after two or three nights in the same spot, not least to allow the ground to regenerate. Fires are usually discouraged (at best).

Some travellers to the United Kingdom decide on a campervan or caravan holiday, whereby your accommodation travels with you. Most parts of the country have a good range of camping and caravan parks available.

If you are smart enough you can hire a camper, and park in remote pub parking spaces [ask first] and really enjoy the country side atmosphere and unique tiny pubs.

Couchsurfing is a good way to get to know the people as well as the place. There are a large number of members around the country and it is worth trying to use the service as part of a trip for the insider knowledge it provides.

As a more quirky (though sometimes expensive) option, the Landmark Trust is a charitable organisation that buys up historic buildings, follies and other unusual examples of architecture – especially those in danger of destruction – and renovates them in order to rent them out to holidaymakers. For bookings, tel +44 1628 825925, mailto:bookings@landmarktrust.org.uk

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom
TOP ATTRACTIONS
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Name: Tower Bridge
Location: London, UK
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London. As a result, it is sometimes confused with London Bridge, about half a mile (0.8 km) upstream. Tower Bridge is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. It is the only one of the trust's bridges not to connect the City of London directly to the Southwark bank, as its northern landfall is in Tower Hamlets.

The bridge consists of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal tension forces imposed by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical components of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge deck is freely accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians, whereas the bridge's twin towers, high-level walkways and Victorian engine rooms form part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, for which an admission charge is made.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_Bridge
Name: Stonehenge
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred tumuli (burial mounds).

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

One of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882, when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge
Name: Buckingham Palace
Location: London, UK
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality.

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds. A German bomb destroyed the palace chapel during World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Palace
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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