Whether you’re hoping to rub elbows with royals or immerse yourself in rich history, the United Kingdom will captivate even the pickiest globetrotter.
Comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visitors will experience a multitude of cultural customs, historical landmarks and striking scenery. From rocky coastlines and rolling hillsides to ancient architecture and modern cityscapes, the vast array of tourist attractions enable travellers to craft experiences tailored to their specific travel tastes.
Authorities have raised the U.K. threat level of international terrorism to severe in the past. Visitors should take the necessary precautions. Make sure you organise a quality travel insurance and register your travel and contact details with the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
This way they can contact you in an emergency, and you’ll have added peace of mind.
See the Scottish countryside, relax oceanside in Wales, visit the royal monuments in England or enjoy the breathtaking vistas of Northern Ireland. Here’s what you need to know to turn your United Kingdom holiday into a momentous affair.
Quick Travel Notes
Etiquette & Customs: Comprised of four constituent ‘home nations,’ including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the british rules of etiquette are as diverse as their vast geography. customs tend to differ depending which part of the four home nations you are in, however, ‘Brits’ are known for tolerance and don’t get easily offend easily. Simply be polite. Locals are welcoming but hate a bad attitude.
Ecotourism: England boasts ample natural flora that make for its notoriously beautiful landscapes. According to Frommers, more than three dozen districts of England have been designated as areas of natural beauty. In addition, England boasts 10 national parks, 12 national trails, and a protected coastline that stretches for miles and miles, including around the entire peninsula of Cornwall, giving eco-conscious travellers plenty to enjoy.
Transportation: Multiple options for public transportation including bus, train, taxi and tube, provides a unique travel experience. With options so diverse and memorable, we’ve dedicated a section covering UK modes of transport below.
Temperature & Weather: When it comes to climate, the U.K. is highly unpredictable. Not only is each home nation diverse in climate, they are also equally haphazard in seasonal temps. To pack accordingly, pack a little bit of everything.
Do, See & Explore
High-end jet-setters, low-key backpackers and every type of traveller in between will find themselves in good company among the friendly Brits. Figuring out where to go is half the battle. Use this breakdown to select your destinations:
- Mingle with the Monarchs: Get acquainted with the lap of luxury by visiting the Queen’s official residence. Buckingham Palace in London is used to receiving and entertaining guests on state business and ceremonial affairs for the Royal Family. Originally built in 1705 for the Duke of Buckingham, the palace still serves as the administrative headquarters of the monarch. Daily tours through its interior as well as its stunning gardens give visitors a peek at Britain’s royal lifestyle.
- See On-Screen Scenery: For “Game of Thrones” fans, a visit to Northern Ireland’scoastline is a must. Even if you’ve never seen the show, you can’t go wrong with a tour of the show’s breathtaking backdrop. Iconic filming locations include Downhill Beach, where the coastline scenes for Dragonstone are filmed, and Tollymore Forest Park, which serves as the Haunted Forest. Whether you opt for a guided tour or a self-driven expedition through the Causeway Coast, the natural splendour is sure to enthrall outdoor enthusiasts.
- Raise Your Glass: Scotland’s Malt Whisky Trail is a haven for whisky connoisseurs. As the only trail of its kind in the world, travellers have a unique opportunity to visit the region’s most renowned distilleries. Your road trip will take you through the green rolling hills from Inverness to Aberdeen, and you’ll arrive upon the world’s best distilleries to sample varietals of Scotland’s best whisky.
- Escape to Wales: Looking for a reprieve from the bustling tourist hot spots? Catch the scenic rail to Wales. Just a short distance from London, Wales is more than worth the trip. Home to 641 ancient castles, miles of pristine coastline (including the Gower Peninsula) and towering mountaintops (such as Brecon Beacons), there’s plenty to appease history buffs, leisure lovers and hiking enthusiasts.
Health & Safety
Though public transportation is often the preferred mode of touring the country, travellers should be aware of potential scams. To help ensure your safety when out and about, heed this advice:
- Only use licensed taxis and minicabs. Robberies have occurred in unlicensed minicabs. Unlicensed taxis and minicabs are illegal and often target high-traffic locales such as airports, train stations, theatres and nightclubs, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Only take a pre-booked minicab or, if hailing a taxi, make sure it’s a black cab—only black cabs are licensed to pick up passengers on the street.
- Get travel insurance. As an added precaution, make sure to secure travel protection prior to your trip. Certain levels of insurance coverage will cover up to $7500 in lost/stolen luggage and personal effects. In addition, the right travel insurance can help you get back on your feet should you need to replace your personal identification or bank cards.
Getting Around in the UK
Trekking across the U.K. is an event in itself. With multiple options for public transportation including bus, train, taxi and tube, each provides its own unique travel experience.
- Jump on the Tube: London’s renowned transport system, known as the Tube, comprises 270 stations and 12 lines that take guests to and from anywhere within Greater London. The Tube is easy to navigate and fairly reasonable in price, but do some planning and research before you head to the station.
- Ride the famous red double-deckers: For a thorough introduction to Greater London, jump aboard one of the big red double-decker buses. A tourist trap, perhaps, but an experience every visitor must have at least once. London’s famed double-deckers give newbies a comprehensive tour of the city, with the option to hop on and off at various hot spots. A double-decker provides the most efficient way to see important landmarks in a short period of time.
UK Cultural Etiquette
Travelling to the U.K. is a welcoming experience complete with excellent public transportation, friendly locals, a diverse range of tourist attractions and endless options for dining and entertainment. Whether you’re visiting Buckingham Palace in London, touring ancient castles in Northern Ireland or going surfing off the coast of Wales, prepare for your trip by focusing on safety first. Secure your self & your family with a comprehensive travel insurance then get ready to embark on memorable travels.
Annual rainfall and average temperatures representative of statistics gathered from World Bank for the host country or a continental sample; temperatures and rainfall gathered from a 20-year period between 1980 and 1999. Clock time does not take into account DST for other countries.