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Weather & Climate of United Kingdom & Scotland

The UK has a benign humid-temperate climate moderated by the North Atlantic current and the country's proximity to the sea. Warm, damp summers and mild winters provide temperatures pleasant enough to engage in outdoor activities all year round. Having said that, the weather in the UK can be changeable and conditions are often windy and wet. British rain is world renowned, but in practice it rarely rains more than two or three hours at a time and often parts of the country stay dry for many weeks at a time, especially in the East. More common are overcast or partly cloudy skies. It is a good idea to be prepared for a change of weather when going out; a jumper and a raincoat usually suffice when it is not winter. In summer temperatures can reach 30º in parts and in winter temperatures may be mild, i.e. 10º in southern Britain and -10º in Scotland.

Because the UK stretches nearly a thousand kilometres from end to end, temperatures can vary quite considerably between north and south. Differences in rainfall are also pronounced between the drier east and wetter west. Scotland and north-western England (particularly the Lake District) are often rainy and cold. Alpine conditions with heavy snowfall are common in the mountains of northern Scotland during the winter. The north-east and Midlands are also cool, though with less rainfall. The south-east and East Anglia are generally warm and dry, and the south-west warm but often wet. Wales and Northern Ireland tend to experience cool to mild temperatures and moderate rainfall, while the hills of Wales occasionally experience heavy snowfall. Even though the highest land in the UK rarely reaches more than 1300 metres, the effect of height on rainfall and temperature is great.

Best time to visit UK

The months from April to October are the traditional time to visit the British Isles. As well as being the warmest time of the year, it is also when British Summer Time extends daylight long into the evenings. It is during this period that visitor attractions are fully operational, and when many social and sporting occasions take place.

During the months from April to June, the countryside bursts into bloom. Wild daffodils and bluebells herald the start of the season when gardens are at their most colourful.

July and August are the hottest months in the year, both in terms of temperature and events! The abundance of thrilling competitions, breathtaking festivals and plenty of other colourful events, some of which are detailed below, cater for all tastes. However, if you fancy a family vacation or a relaxing retreat from everyday life in one of the stunning resorts, there's a great variety to choose from.

During the winter months, days are short and the temperatures are often cold. Many attractions in the countryside close for the season. However, the city museums and sights remain open, and their restaurants and theatres will be in full swing.

Visitors who travel over Christmas or New Year may enjoy these celebrations in the cities. But this is also a time when the country house hotels offer festive programs which make an excellent addition to a city break.

Peak Season – May, June, September, OFF Season – October to March, Tourist season – July, August



As on 23 July 2013 1GBP = 91.70 INR

The currency throughout the UK is the Pound (£) (more properly called the Pound Sterling, but this is not used in everyday speech), divided into 100 pence (p, pronounced 'pee').

Coins appear in 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 (small, thick gold) and £2 (large, thick with silver centre and gold edge) denominations, while Bank of England notes (bills) come in £5 (green/light blue), £10 (orange/brown), £20 (blue (newer design) purple (older design)) and £50 (red), and depict the Queen on one side and famous historical figures on the other. The size increases according to value. It's often best to avoid getting £50 notes. £50 notes are often refused by smaller establishments - they are unpopular because of the risk of forgery, and because of the amount of change one needs to give on receiving one. Banks are also unlikely to change them to smaller notes for you, though a post office or bookmaker might.

However, Scottish and Northern Irish banks issue their own notes in the above denominations, with their own designs. If in doubt, check what you are given for the words "Pounds Sterling". £100 notes and some old £1 notes are also in circulation in Scotland. Bank of England notes circulate freely in the whole of the United Kingdom, and in Scotland and Northern Ireland it is quite common to receive change in a mixture of English and/or Scottish or Northern Irish notes. Welsh banks do not issue their own notes.

Some smaller English or Welsh vendors might refuse to accept notes issued by Scottish or Northern Irish banks mainly due to unfamiliarity. They are under no obligation to do so, so use them at a larger retailer, or change them for Bank of England notes at a bank. There should never be a charge for this - though foreign-exchange dealers at airports or ferry terminals might well try to charge you.

Coins are uniform throughout the United Kingdom. Non-English speaking visitors should be aware that the new coin designs (introduced from 2008) no longer show the value in numbers, only words.

You may also hear the slang term quid for pounds. It is both singular and plural; "three quid" means "three pounds". It is likely that people will use the slang "p" when they mean either a penny or pence. Note the singular is penny and the plural pence. Some people still use traditional terms such as a penny, tuppence and thruppence (1p, 2p and 3p). The words "Fiver" and "Tenner" are common slang for £5 and £10, respectively.

In general, shopkeepers and other businesses in the UK are not obliged to accept any particular money or other method of payment. Any offer to purchase can simply be refused; for example if you try to pay with notes or coins they don't recognise. If in doubt, ask someone when you enter the shop. If settling a debt, for example, paying a restaurant or hotel bill, usually any reasonable method of payment will be accepted unless it's been made clear to you in advance how you must pay. Travellers cheques in Sterling may accepted in place of cash but it is best to ask first.

ATMs, which are often known in the UK as Cashpoints, cash machines or informally as 'holes in the wall', are very widely available and usually dispense £10, £20 and sometimes £5 notes. Traveller's cheques can be exchanged at most banks. Be aware: some non-bank ATMs (easily identified, sometimes kiosk-style units, as opposed to fixed units in walls, and often at petrol/gas stations and convenience stores) charge a fixed fee for withdrawing money, and your home bank may as well. On average the cost is about £1.75 per withdrawal, but the machine will always inform you of this and allow you to cancel the transaction.

If a bank card is issued by a foreign bank, some ATMs will ask whether they should perform the conversion to the local currency, instead of debiting the bank account in GBP. This is almost always a worse deal than going with the conversion rate provided by the issuing bank, resulting in surcharges of sometimes over 5% on the withdrawal. It is more prudent to choose the "Without conversion" withdrawal option, whenever this choice is presented.

Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express are accepted by most shops and restaurants, although American Express is sometimes not accepted by smaller independent establishments, and it is worth asking if unsure, especially if there are long queues. Internet purchases from a UK-based merchant with a credit card however usually incurs a 2-2.5% surcharge (this does not apply to a debit card). Since February 14, 2006, Chip and PIN has become nearly compulsory, with few companies still accepting signatures when paying by credit or debit cards. Customers from countries without chips in their credit cards are supposed to be able to sign instead of providing a PIN; however, it is wise to carry enough cash in case the retailer does not comply.

Although most small shops will take cards, there is often a minimum amount you have to spend (usually around £5). Anything under the minimum and they may refuse to accept the card, or charge a fee to process the payment.

Some stores in London accept Euros. This however is usually at an unfavourable exchange rate and should not at all be relied upon.



Pack for unpredictable weather

Like most of Western Europe there is no dress code as such and really anything is acceptable.

  • Black is always a popular colour and smart casual clothes will help you fit right in.
  • In the UK Jeans are worn by everyone - young and old alike and, unless you are visiting more upscale restaurants, they are perfectly acceptable to wear everywhere.
  • Teamed with lighter layers for the summer and warmer ones for the winter, jeans will serve as a versatile base to your wardrobe.
  • Unless you are staying at a hotel with a swimming pool or intend visiting a spa, leave your swimsuit at home - you're unlikely to need it.
  • The weather can be changeable in the UK and it's not unknown to experience all four seasons in one day. Pack a lightweight raincoat and carry an umbrella whatever time of year you visit.
  • Dressing in layers will help you cope with the temperature changes. The winter November – March will be cooler, so pack a warm coat, gloves and a scarf and layer up.
  • The best way to see many of the sites in the UK is to walk and good quality lightweight but smart walking shoes are recommended. Save your killer heels for the evenings.
  • Save on packing and buy your toiletries here. You'll find all the major brands and they are inexpensive.
  • If your trip includes Brighton it's funky, stylish and fun, so attracts the cool, creative groups, but it's equally frequented by families and older couples too. In terms of dress, absolutely anything goes. Just wear whatever you feel most comfortable in and you'll blend into the melting pot that makes up this vibrant town. Of course, it also has the draw of the sea and many people swim here. The beach is rocky, so you'll need some dive boots or creef shoes to protect your feet and it's invariably cold so an all in one suit would be a good idea too, if you're brave enough to give it a try.
  • London is really cosmopolitan and everything goes. However if you plan on visiting smarter restaurants and bars you will find a dress code of sorts, smart casual will be fine. Our advice if you are planning to sight see, walk , use the tube etc is to wear comfortable flat shoes or boots and pack your nice shoes in your handbag to switch when you arrive at your destination, this is what the smart girls do.


Although shopping in the UK can be expensive, it is generally regarded as a world-class destination for shoppers both in terms of variety and quality of products, depending on where and what you buy. Fierce competition has brought prices down considerably in the food, clothing and electronic sectors. Prices do vary and it is always worth visiting the various retail stores as bargains can often be found. Avoid buying from the tourist areas and stick to the High Street shops or the many 'out-of-town' retail parks where prices will be considerably cheaper. The retail market in the UK is a very competitive one and many bargains are to be had all year round. In the electronics sector, for example, it is becoming more and more common to ask for a price reduction at time of purchase.

VAT (Value Added Tax - a mandatory tax on almost all goods and services in the UK) is 20% with reduced rates of 5% and 0% applying to specific categories of goods (food from supermarkets and some books, for example, are taxed at 0%). For most High Street shopping, VAT is included in the sale price. However, for certain larger purchases, especially in the area of computers and electronics, stores may show prices without VAT, however these are clearly marked with "exc VAT" next to the figure. In many of the larger towns and cities, many shops have the blue "Tax-Free Shopping" sticker in the window, meaning that when you leave the European Union (not just the UK), you can claim back the VAT before you leave the country. However, in order to do this, you must keep any receipts you receive from your purchase.

Electronic items such as computers and digital cameras can be cheaper here than many European countries (especially Scandinavian countries), but do shop around. The internet is always a good way to judge the price of a particular item, also you can use this as a bargaining tool when agreeing on a price with some of the larger electronic retail stores. If visiting from the US, there may be duties and taxes charged that make some of these purchases much less of a bargain so shop wisely.

Shopping in London

Shopping in London is, at its best, unrivalled anywhere on earth. Beautiful items are available for all budgets, from the mass-produced fashion item to the most carefully-produced individual handicraft: somewhere, somehow, you can buy it all in London. And no matter what the exchange rate is, you can always find bargains... IF you know to know where to look. Want to avoid the tourist traps and shop like the locals?


High street clothes can be great value and although clothes everywhere these days are so cheap that you're unlikely to save a fortune if you're coming from North America or Australasia, there is a noticeably different fashion vibe here. You may find items you’d just never see at home, especially if you hit London's markets or smaller stores.

Branches of all of these shops below are on Oxford Street – which can sometimes be a heaving mass of humanity bordering on the unpleasant. (tip: for free toilets on Oxford Street, head for the department stores, which also offer perfectly acceptable, if unspectacular, cafes to rest your weary feet from shopping madness). You may find that for the really serious shopper the new Westfield shopping centre (tube: White City/Wood Lane) is a more pleasurable experience - a huge American-style mall, allegedly the biggest in Europe. It's got far fewer people and far more (and better) eating places than Oxford Street.

Absolute basics

For basics it’s hard to think of anywhere where you could buy clothes cheaper than Primark, where jeans cost about £3 and you can get several shirts for less than a fiver; great if you’ve forgotten something but just remember they won’t particularly last. It’s a bit like a British ‘Old Navy’ except that the clothes are fashionable.

Young fashion

If you’re a teen or twenty something and want stylish but affordable copies of the latest catwalk creations, head over to TopShop and Zara on Oxford Street. Give French Connection and New Look a try too. If you’re here in the January or July sales, steel yourself for a spectacle most reminiscent of feeding time in a piranha tank, as London’s youth scrambles for the latest ‘must have’ items. I find that visiting Oxford Street at that time of year (or indeed, just before Christmas), it helps if you’ve had a nice pint of beer beforehand or if you keep reminding yourself that you’re just an observer to the madness, much as an explorer might knowingly observe a long-lost South American tribe without condoning cannibalism or the wandering around without any clothes on. Still, girls of most ages seem to love it.

Good value older fashion

For the more grown-up, Marks and Spencers is the epitome of everyday British style; the clothes are more expensive but far better quality – they really last, so could be worth the extra. Marks, as it's affectionately known, used to have a reputation as being rather dowdy, though in the last five years or so they've really been focussed on fashion for those in their thirties and above. Every branch also has a food hall full of tasty items. Similarly upmarket Monsoon sells its own more unusual hippie chic fashions, or you could pick up fancy lingerie at La Senza.

For the more exclusive (mainly women’s) clothes then a trip down Regent Street is probably in order; though to save time and get a flavour of prices and styles then a visit to the department stores John Lewis or Debenhams on Oxford street is probably just as good: each contains small outlets from British designers, large and small. Selfridges is more exclusive – and more expensive – and consequently more fun to browse. It’s like Harrods, but less bling and somewhere Londoners actually shop in. Likewise Liberties just off Regent Street is fun to rummage through, a large department store in a reconstructed half-timbered buildings. You can marvel at the prices – several thousand
pounds for a chair of dubious taste, £85 for a paper diary – though there is some more affordable stuff too. It's all lovely quality and has many original designs too.

Less mainstream stores

Sadly, now the universe is globalised, much fashion is the same in all the major Western countries - on the high street at any rate. If you want something more individual, you're going to have to find a smaller, boutique store.

The more boutique stores are less clustered together, and located away from Oxford Street’s stratospheric rents; if you want a great place to browse, head over to the Covent Garden/Soho area where there are quite a few; Islington has a good range too, though they’re a bit harder to find. Try a wander up Upper Street, where there are places to eat by the bucketload as well as lots of small boutiques.

Marylebone village also has a few lovely boutique stores, though you have to pay through the nose to get anything nice. If you’re seriously in to your shopping or are desperately after more unusual items (from antiques to aviaries) you’d probably do well to grab a copy of the excellent Time Out shopping guide

Souvenirs / Gifts

Museum shops have quirky, fun and unusual gifts and souvenirs. The British Museum has several gift shops within the museum ranging from one selling cheap pens, pencils and postcards to full-scale replicas of some of its more notable artefacts. The shop at Tate Modern has not only modern art related items but a host of other ‘cool’ things too, including amusingly-designed crockery and nice jewellery.

If you’ve got children to buy for, or even just a slightly childish streak, you may not be able to resist some cool present or other from the Science Museum or Natural History Museum shops; Hamley’s toy shop on Regent Street also has some wonderful presents for children, though it's not particularly cheap. And remember: all these museums are free to enter but cost real money to run; buying something in the shop is a good way of supporting them.

For the ‘London’ branded stuff, beefeaters, Big Ben and all that jazz then there are plenty of shops in the main touristy areas. Fancy that is one of the market leaders, though frankly lots of its offerings are of dubious taste, Crest of London have classier things and are generally a better bet. They also ship internationally, though (as always) the delivery charges to North America push the final price up. They have stores all over the place and online as well.

Charity Shops

Rummaging through charity shops is almost an institution in Britain: there’s a lot of junk but just sometimes you can pick up amazing designer clothes or jewellery for a song; all the items have been donated and any profits the shop makes go to charity. There are good ones in Marylebone High Street (Cancer Research), Victoria (Red Cross Shop on Ebury Street) and Kensington (Trinity Hospice, on Kensington Church Street), but to be honest it’s worth five minutes looking round any one you see – who knows what Versace labels may lie within?


Bit of a no, no, this for the North American visitor – voltages and plugs are different so you could end up with a ‘bargain’ which turns out to be anything but, once you’ve returned home, plugged it in and blown up your garage. That said a lot of digital camera equipment IS internationally transferable. It’s not particularly worth splashing out on in the UK but if you need a few bits and bobs or have forgotten something then the shops along Tottenham Court Road are the places to head. Could be good for EU or Australasian visitors though.

Final tip: Remember anywhere where you can hear the loud babble of foreign tourists is likely to be a hotspot for poor quality and expensive things. Leicester Square, the area round Victoria, right by the Tower of London: these are all central tourist spots, with higher prices and lower quality.


Frequently Asked Questions

Medical insurance

You are strongly advised to take out adequate insurance before travelling to Britain. Your travel agent will be able to suggest a suitable policy.

Bringing medicine into the UK

If you want to bring medicine into the UK, first check that it is licensed for use. Always carry medicines in a correctly labelled container as issued by the pharmacist. Otherwise, bring a letter from your doctor or a personal health record card giving details of the drug prescribed, in case it is queried by customs or you require additional supplies. Remember that some medicines available over-the-counter in other countries may be controlled in Britain, and vice versa.
For further information please contact HM Customs and Excise Advice Centre, Tel: +44 (0)20 8929 0152.

Pharmacies & chemists

In Britain you can obtain prescription, and over-the-counter (non-prescription), medications as well as expert medical advice at pharmacies – often called chemists. We recommend you carry a letter from your doctor stating your prescription and dosage if you are taking any medication. 

Pharmacy opening hours

Pharmacies are usually open from 09:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays and limited availability on Sundays. However, in larger cities you will find a number of pharmacies open late during the week and on the weekend. For more information and to find a pharmacy near you, visit the National Health Service pharmacy information website.

Vaccinations & inoculations

You do not require an International Certificate of Vaccination when travelling to the UK, but you should check if one is needed on re-entry into your own country.

Food & water

The level of food hygiene in Britain is very high, so you should simply observe the normal precautions when consuming food products, i.e. ensure it is thoroughly cooked, or that it is within the expiry date. The standard of water cleanliness is also very high, and in general kitchen water supplies, tap water in restaurants and ice cubes are safe drinking water. You can find bottled water in most shops and supermarkets.

For before leave and during your trip

If you have special medical needs, or in case you become unwell or require medical assistance during your trip, here is some advice and information for before you leave and during your stay.

Emergency treatment

If you become ill while visiting Britain, you are eligible for free emergency treatment in the Accident and Emergency departments of National Health Service hospitals. However, if you are admitted to hospital as an in-patient, even from the accident and emergency department, or referred to an out-patient clinic, you will be asked to pay unless:

  • You are in receipt of a UK state retirement pension.
  • You are a national or resident of the European Economic Area.
  • You are a refugee or stateless person living in the European Economic Area or the dependant or survivor of such a person, regardless of your own nationality. 
  • You are a national or resident of countries which have reciprocal health care agreements with the UK. The following countries have such agreements in place: Bulgaria, Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Malta, New Zealand, Russia, former Soviet Union states - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, former Yugoslavia - Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and residents of Anguilla, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Channel Islands, Falkland Islands, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Poland, Romania, St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Exemption from charges applies only to treatment needed during the visit. You are strongly advised to take out adequate insurance before travelling to Britain. Your travel agent will be able to suggest a suitable policy.

Obtaining treatment

If you are unwell during your visit to Britain, first consult a pharmacist – also known as chemists. They will advise on treatments available over-the-counter (for example: available without a doctor's prescription). Chains of pharmacists include Boots and Superdrug.


Medicentres are walk-in private medical centres based in London. No appointment is necessary and you will normally be seen within 20 minutes. New and repeat prescriptions may be issued.

NHS walk-in centres

NHS walk-in centres offer healthcare advice, information and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. No appointment is needed and assessments are carried out by experienced NHS nurses. They are open and available to anyone who can normally access NHS services. They are located throughout England, with 8 centres in London.

Note: NHS walk-in centres are open to overseas visitors but a charge may be made.

Keep a written record with you at all times of any medical condition affecting you and the generic names (not just the trade names) of any medication you are taking.

Money & Currency

Let's talk money

Before you visit anywhere new, it's a good idea to find out about the currency and exchange rate, and how you can get hold of cash or use your credit card while you are away. Here you'll find some useful information about currency and making money transactions in the UK to help make your...

Currency & exchanging money

Britain’s unit of currency is the Great British Pound (sterling) – GBP. The symbol for the pound sterling is £. For more information on British currency check the Bank of England website.

The British monetary system

British money is based on the decimal system – there are one hundred pence to each pound. Coins have the values of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2. Notes have the values of £5, £10, £20 and £50. Scottish £1 notes are still in circulation in Scotland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have some different coins and notes from the mainland but the monetary system is the same.

Bringing money to the UK

If you are an EU citizen and travelling from within the EU you can bring in and take out bank notes, travellers' cheques, letters of credit etc. in any currency and up to any amount.
Please note that from 15 June 2007, if you are travelling to or from a country outside the European Union (EU), you will need to declare any sums of cash of 10,000 Euro or more (or the equivalent in another currency) to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Changing money & exchange rates

Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, post offices, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres. 

Bank opening hours

Banks are generally open from 09:30 to 16:30 Monday to Friday. However, opening hours are can differ considerably from branch to branch. All banks are closed on public holidays and some banks in Scotland close for an hour at lunchtime. Many banks have 24-hour banking lobbies where you can access a range of services via machines. Visitors from overseas should check with their own bank whether they will be able to gain access to these facilities.

Obtaining money when banks are closed

Some banks are open on Saturdays and a few are open for a few hours on Sundays. If you need British currency when the banks are closed, you can obtain it at larger high-street travel agents, in exchange offices in large department stores, at counter desks in larger hotels or at one of the many independent Bureau de Change. Regulations require all Bureau de Change to clearly display all exchange rates and full details of any fees and rates of commission.

ATMs (cash machines)

You’ll find Automated Teller Machines (ATM), or cash machines, as we often call them, at most banks, high streets and shopping centres. You can use international credit cards, debit cards and bank cards at ATMs providing they have a four-digit PIN encoded. As a general rule, any cash machine that displays the Visa badge can be used by Plus cardholders and those displaying the MasterCard badge can be used by Cirrus cardholders.

credit card

All credit cards that bear the Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo are widely accepted in Britain. If your card does not bear one of these logos, you should ask the retailer in advance if you can use it, or check if your card’s logo is displayed at the payment area. You should be aware that retailers can charge more for goods and services bought by credit card, but they must display a clear indication if any price increase applies.

Emergency situations

In an emergency that requires ambulance, police or fire services dial 999 from any telephone. In the case of a non-emergency crime you should contact your local police station.


We strongly advise that you take out adequate insurance before you leave to cover you for any health and medical issues, and also for theft or damage to your belongings.

Tips to help you stay safe

Using public transport & taxis

  • Avoid waiting alone at bus stops and on train platforms.
  • On a double-decker bus, sit downstairs where the driver can see you.
  • Avoid sitting in an empty carriage on trains and the Underground.
  • Check the time of the last train, bus or tube back to your accommodation.
  • Walking near railway lines can be very dangerous; never touch them.
  • Always use a licensed taxi – check the back of the taxi to ensure it carries an official licence plate.
  • Minicabs that stop in the street may be cheaper, but they are not as safe as those you arrange over the phone.
  • If you need immediate assistance when travelling on a bus or train you can call the British Transport Police free on 0800 40 50 40.

Be safe on the streets

  • Stay on the pavement walking towards oncoming traffic.
  • Look both ways when you cross the street – remember cars drive on the left in Britain.
  • Never carry large amounts of money with you, but always make sure you have enough for a phone call and a bus or taxi home.
  • Keep your handbag and belongings close to your body and wear them in front of you.
  • Avoid using cash machines at night or in isolated places, and always be aware of people around you.
  • Try not to display expensive items like laptops, mobile phones and jewellery.
  • Avoid confrontation – if you are harassed, try to remove yourself from the situation.
  • If you think you are being followed, find the nearest public place and ask for assistance.

At your accommodation

  • Avoid leaving valuables in your room.
  • Make sure your room door is locked when you leave.
  • All paid-for accommodation has to have a working smoke detector and alarm.
  • Make sure you turn off all gas and electrical appliances (except the refrigerator) when you go out.
  • When you arrive at your accommodation, familiarise yourself with the fire exits, assembly points and the location of fire extinguishers.
  • Make sure your accommodation provider supplies you with information about the procedures for emergency evacuation.

General product price guide

Here is a general price guide for a few common items:

  • A hotel breakfast  £5-£15
  • Dinner (3-course, no wine) £15-£45
  • Lunch snack/sandwich £2-£4
  • Cafe lunch £4-£7
  • A postcard stamp to anywhere abroad 50p
  • Hamburger £2.50
  • Cappuccino £1-£3
  • Kodak Film, 36 exposures £4-£5
  • Can of Coke 40p-£1
  • Pint of beer in a pub £2-£4
  • Glass of wine in a pub £2-£5
  • Single cash bus ticket £2
  • Single Oyster bus ticket £1
  • Single cash underground ticket £4
  • Single Oyster underground ticket (zones 1-2) £2

Tipping & service charges

Tipping is not always appropriate in the UK. If you feel the service was good and you want to show your appreciation, here is a guide to customary practice:

Most hotel bills include a service charge, usually 10-12%. Where a service charge is not included in a hotel restaurant, it is customary to give 10-15% of the restaurant bill. For rooms, you can leave an optional amount to room staff.

Many restaurant bills include a service charge; make sure you check the bill to avoid tipping twice. Where a service charge is not included, it is customary to leave a tip of 10-15% of the bill. Some restaurants now include a suggested tip in the bill total.

10-15% of the fare


Know your GMT from your BST and May Day from Good Friday...
* 29 October – 26 March: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
* 26 March – 29 October: UTC + 1

British summer time
British summer time starts on the last Sunday in March when clocks go forward 1 hour at 01:00, and ends on the last Sunday in October when they go back 1 hour at 01:00. The time for the rest of the year is Coordinated Universal Time.

  • 2010 – Starts: 00:01, 28 March. Ends: 00:01, 31 October
  • 2011 – Starts: 00:01, 27 March. Ends: 00:01, 30 October


Opening Time of Services

General opening and closing times in the UK
Opening times for businesses and services can vary hugely. Use this guide as a very general outline for what to expect, but for exact opening times you should contact the organisation directly. Also note, most British businesses do not close for lunch.

Banks and Buliding Socities

09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday
09:00-12:30 Saturday (limited branches)


Clinics & doctors' surgeries

08:30-18:00* Monday-Friday
*Many surgeries and clinics only see patients during certain hours. Some offer out-of-hours and weekend services. 
If you have a medical emergency you should go to the Accident and Emergency department of the nearest hospital – Emergency services can be called free on 999.

Emergency services - hospitals, police and fire stations

24 hours a day
You can call emergency services free on 999

High street shops

10:00-18:30* Monday-Saturday
11:00-17:00* Sunday
*Larger shopping areas and centres may stay open later, sometimes up to 22:00, especially in busy periods like Christmas.

Museums & galleries

10:00-17:30* Monday-Saturday
Around lunchtime – 17:30* Sunday
*Times vary and some museums and galleries may close one day during the week.


*Nightclub closing times can vary greatly, some close around 02:00, while some stay open all night.

Post offices

09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday
09:00-12:30 Saturday (main offices only)


11:00-23:00* Monday-Saturday
11:00-22:30* Sunday
*Pubs in Britain have had the right to apply for a 24-hour drinking licence, so you will frequently find pubs open well after 23:00.


*Again, opening times can vary


09:00-22:00 Monday-Sunday

Taxi stations

24 hours a day

Tourist information centres

09:00-18:00* Monday-Friday
09:00-17:00* Weekends

Opening time vary, especially weekends. Some centres may close on Sundays



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