Welcome to the Kingdom of the Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh; The United Kingdom. From the busy London streets to the Scottish highlands, the United Kingdom has something for everyone, if you don’t mind a bit of rain that is. If you have a penchant for Shakespeare stop by his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Love The Beatles? Jump on a train to Liverpool to pay homage. Then there’s the famous Stonehenge, Bath’s Roman spas and Buckingham Palace where you can have a cup of tea with the Queen of England (no, not really) but you can stand outside, in the rain, and take a selfie or shelter from the rain in a red phone box and take that selfie.
UNITED KINGDOM TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
When in the UK, the lively capital city has to be at the top of your bucket list. The city with its rich culture and history has so much to offer that you can spend weeks roaming the streets and still not see it all. Enjoy the parks, (Hyde Park, Regents Park and Holland Park are especially pretty) and local markets such as Borough and Camden Market. Pop over to Covent Garden for the street performers, visit the museums and lose yourself in the city’s street life. Don’t forget the changing of the guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the Clock Tower and to take a ride on the London Eye.
The Snowdonia National Park is in Wales, and the place is quite diverse as it is home to Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and glacial landforms. Along with its breathtaking views, the site is great for hiking enthusiasts. This park is among the top tourist spots in the UK with its excellent trails, beautiful landscapes, and Europe’s longest zip line. Do check out all the outdoor activities available here as they are considered the best in the UK.
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town in the Stratford-on-Avon district, in the county of Warwickshire, England. Here you can visit the house where William Shakespeare was born (in 1564) and where he spent a significant portion of his life. For all of the people with a passion for theatre and literature, this will be an unforgettable experience. Pay homage and get a fascinating glimpse into the life of the world’s most famous writer.
The South of England has an old-fashioned charm and is home to rolling hills, quirky fishing towns in Cornwall where you can sip a cream tea and munch on a Cornish pasty. The busy port cities of Portsmouth and Southampton are worth a day trip at least. Plus the Isle of Wight offers stunning natural landscapes. For unspoiled villages, cathedral cities, and ancient monuments you definitely want to spend a week exploring ‘the south’.
The Lake District
The Lake District National Park is in the northwest of England, in the county of Cumbria. For all outdoor fresh-air enthusiasts, the Lake District is the perfect place to visit for stunning mountains, deep valleys, quaint villages, rugged coastline and picturesque market towns such as Kendal, Ambleside and Keswick on scenic Derwentwater. It’ll be crowded during the summer months due to its popularity as a vacation destination but well worth the trip.
Read more: Top 10 things to do in the United Kingdom
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Run with the bulls in Spain, do a husky safari in Finland or take a dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Europe Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
UNITED KINGDOM TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Travelers from around the world head to Glastonbury town in Somerset to experience the world’s most famous music festival. This festival covers 900 acres of land, has 100 different stages for various top international artists and goes on for 5 days. Prepare to get covered from head to toe in mud because it will rain, probably a lot, but it’s all part of the Glastonbury experience.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Edinburgh fringe festival is a huge art event that takes place in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. Watch performances by top artists from around the world. Edinburgh Fringe Festival also gives a platform to up-and-coming talent. Experience this non-stop and highly entertaining festival which takes place annually during the last three weeks of August.
Great for beach lounging and held in west Cornwall in August. Go to Boardmasters for the music (a mix of rock, indie hip hop and dance) and activities to inspire outdoorsy types such as kayaking, coastal runs and surf lessons. There’s also wellbeing workshops and yoga sessions.
UNITED KINGDOM BASICS
Language: English is the primary language spoken in the United Kingdom however there are some strong regional accents which makes things a little tricky, even if you’re visiting from the USA. The Scottish, Irish and Welsh have strong accents, as do London locals who are referred to as Cockneys and have a Cockney accent. If you can watch the movie Trainspotting without subtitles you might be ok.
Currency: Pound Sterling.
Visa: Visas are usually not necessary if you’re planning to stay for less than six months. This rule applies to both EU citizens as well as Non-EU. Travelers from Asian countries will need to apply for a visa before arriving and but can stay for up to six months. If you plan to stay in the UK for longer than six months then you will need to apply for a work or student visa. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for the UK is required, which will depend on the country you are from, and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In the United Kingdom the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Great Britain: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN THE UK
Leave the Brits cuisine alone; they’ve got plenty of good grub! Warm and hearty meals are the staple in the United Kingdom, mainly due to the cold and rainy weather endured for about 10 months of each year. Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in United Kingdom are listed below.
Fish and Chips: Visit a chippy on any street corner in the UK to try the deep-fried thick cut potato chips and battered cod, drizzled in vinegar, a sprinkle of salt, wrapped in an old newspaper and handed over the counter. The English saying ‘cheap as chips’ will give you an idea of the price. Not the healthiest meal but quick, warm, filling and very tasty!
Bangers and Mash: Sausages or ‘bangers’ served with mashed potatoes. That’s it! But don’t be fooled, all sorts of fancy things can be done with this dish, a world of sausages you never knew existed awaits and the mashed potatoes, when creamy, are to die for. Posh restaurants and greasy spoons alike serve this traditional British dish.
Full English Breakfast: This king-sized breakfast is the signature breakfast in the UK with a little variation depending on where you are. There’s the Irish, Scottish and Welsh versions too. Expect to get served eggs, sausages, bacon, grilled tomato, mushrooms, baked beans, toast, hash browns, black (or ‘blood’) sausage and more. Wash it down with a big mug of tea. Health-conscious Brits obviously wouldn’t eat this everyday however a Full English is a traditional (and very satisfying) hangover cure best served up in the pub you were at the night before.
Sunday Roast: An age-old tradition in the UK is to have a roast dinner or lunch on Sundays, either cooked at home or at the local pub. A Sunday Roast includes meat such as lamb, chicken, beef or pork usually served with roasted potatoes, vegetables (carrots, broccoli) and Yorkshire pudding (tip: not pudding!) and drizzled in brown gravy. Save some room for a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
Beef Wellington: Beef tenderloin fillet, coated with mustard, mushroom duxelles, ham, wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Enough said!
WHERE TO STAY IN THE UK
The United Kingdom is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in the United Kingdom is super easy because there are so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to the UK affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, the United Kingdom will not disappoint you.
A basic hotel room in the UK can cost less than £100. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool.
Whatever month you choose to visit the United Kingdom, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. The United Kingdom is an extremely popular year-round destination with business travelers. vacationers and backpackers.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in the United Kingdom. However, if you are backpacking in the UK or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in the United Kingdom very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE UNITED KINGDOM
The best time to visit the United Kingdom is between April and October, this is if you want mild and reasonably warm weather. If you want to see the UK with hot weather and blue skies then aim to visit between June and September, still even during these months, good weather can not be guaranteed.
UNITED KINGDOM TRAVEL BUDGET
The United Kingdom is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to the United Kingdom really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between £50 to £100 per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between £100 to £250 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least £250 to £500+ per day.
IS THE UNITED KINGDOM SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Just like all European countries, the United Kingdom is a very safe place to visit. Thefts, robberies, bag snatching and scams are prevalent in big cities so always be mindful. Major cities like London and Manchester are under the constant threat of a terror attack, as with all major cities in Europe, but security measures are in place. I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination is considered to be. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your UK trip.
UK VISA CHECKER
UNITED KINGDOM FLIGHT DEALS
TOP UK TOURS & ACTIVITIES
UK PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to the United Kingdom should be a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to the UK.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
If you’re visiting the United Kingdom during the warmer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. You’ll need to wrap up warm between November and February. So pack a warm sweater, waterproof coat, gloves, scarves and a wooly hat if you’re traveling during winter.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to the United Kingdom include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected. Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.