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Welcome to England


The lifeblood of the British Empire, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, or whatever you choose to call it, has always been England. A tiny country in comparison to the United States or even France, it's had a huge impact on the history of the world.

All the regions of England are easily accessible from the invigorating capital city, London, famous for its history, culture and pageantry. In England's North Country lakes, mountains, castles and craggy coastlines create a scenic splendour while further south the medieval city of York contrasts with lively Liverpool and Manchester, both famous for their football teams and exhausting nightlife.

Visitors travelling south will discover a quieter England, where a tranquil air blows through country lanes or across shimmering fens, while the gleaming spires of Oxford stand proud above a University city that's changed little over the centuries. South of London the 'Garden of England' stretches out with bountiful farmlands to the coast, where visitors will find charming seaside resorts and fishing villages. From the Cotswolds to the craggy coast of Cornwall, the West Country presents an idyllic pastoral existence, with charming thatched cottages and winding roads through lush, green fields.

With its pomp and pageantry, wonderful idiosyncrasies and vibrant diversity, today's England is friendly, welcoming, fascinating and fun.

Information & Facts


England weather is very changeable and unpredictable, but generally summers are warm and winters are cold, and temperatures are milder than those on the continent. Temperatures do not usually drop below 32°F (0°C) in winter, and in summer they hardly reach 90°F (32°C). July and August are the warmest months, although they are also the wettest, while January and February is the coldest time of year. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, but late winter/early spring (February to March) is the driest period. The Lake District is England's wettest region.


The English tend to be more reserved in terms of displays of emotion and answering personal questions, however you may find that younger generations are more open and frank. Stereotypical American bluntness is often frowned upon. It is polite to exchange greetings before asking for assistance. Please, thank you, and sorry are used in abundance. Punctuality is very important, and Britons may take offense if you are late to an appointment. Men and women shake hands in greeting, and only friends will hug or kiss on the cheek. When riding escalators, it is customary to stand on the right side, leaving the left for people who wish to pass. The English are polite and respectful, and often quick to assist a person in trouble.

Getting Around

England has one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the world. Rail lines radiate outwards from London, connecting nearly every city in the country, and even extending to Wales and Scotland. There are over twenty companies operating rail services, but a fairly comprehensive map can be found at the National Rail Enquiries website.

Coach buses are a cheaper option than rail, but are generally much slower. While local city buses are referred to as buses, long-distance buses are called coaches and are often served by different stations, so make certain you know which one you need! The coaches serve all the major cities in England, and you can buy explorer passes that offer unlimited travel for between 7, 14, or 28 days.

Local flights serve many destinations and most major cities in England, but are not much faster than trains when factoring in airport downtime, although bargains can sometimes be found on British budget carriers like Ryanair, bmi and easyJet.

There are nearly unlimited options for hiring a car in England, but it is considerably more expensive than most countries. There are disadvantages to driving in England, like high parking fees and heavy traffic in the cities, but driving across the country can be a very pleasant way to see as much as possible. Just remember to stay on the left side of the road!

English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.


Overall, travellers can expect relative safety in England, however there is a very real threat of terrorist attacks, especially in London. The US State Department issued a travel warning for the UK in January 2011, following several attacks on urban public transport systems, particularly subways and railway stations.

Within the major cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, there is a risk of crimes like pickpocketing and muggings, and tourists should take care with their valuables at all times. Incidents of serious violent crime are rare, but common sense should prevail in avoiding isolated areas and parks at night. Rural England is generally quite safe, and law enforcement officials are quick to assist foreign tourists.

GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).

Tipping in England is a more complicated process than countries like the US or South Africa, where a certain amount is standard. Most upscale or 'nice' restaurants will expect a tip of about 10% for good service, but many Britons will feel no remorse for not tipping bad service. Service gratuities are added occasionally, so check your bill before tipping.

In more casual venues like pubs and bars it is not customary to tip waitstaff, but you may round up the bill if you feel the need to. The same rule applies to bartenders and taxi drivers. Tipping in hotels is not standard practise, but a porter will expect something for carrying your luggage.

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