Is it your first time trip to the UK? You are in for a great treat, then!
Centuries of history, some of the finest scenery in the world and vibrant cities – the UK has plenty of appeal for visitors.
Get set to experience extraordinary royal palaces, magnificent scenery and mystical pagan monuments. So if you’re about to visit England for the first time, here are 7 essential tips for your trip.
The UK’s climate is notoriously changeable so carry an umbrella and dress in layers, including rain jacket, so you can wrap up or strip off as necessary. And don’t ever worry about being lost for conversation with the locals. Simply mention the weather and you’re set.
The UK’s capital is a global city and a world financial centre but what draws visitors are its royal palaces, extraordinary historical attractions such as the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament, outstanding shopping on Oxford Street and in renowned department stores such as Harrods and magnificent museums and art galleries. If your time here is short, take the tour bus that will whisk you around the main attractions and let you hop on and off where you want to spend more time.
In the north, there are the former industrial powerhouses of Manchester and Liverpool, now reinvented as cultural hotspots; across the Pennines is York where the mighty medieval cathedral of York Minster inspires awe. Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is known as the Athens of the North and its unique landscape – medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town – is a delight, while the Edinburgh Festival is the world’s biggest arts festival, held every August. Wales’s historic capital, Cardiff, is a great blend of old and new with a compact city center ripe for exploring.
How and why the standing stones came to be in this tranquil part of Wiltshire remains a mystery but the sight of Stonehenge never fails to fascinate. For mysticism of a more musical kind, head an hour west of Stonehenge to Glastonbury, the famous farm where the world’s greatest bands and musicians gather every two years for a weekend festival.
British food was once dismissed as stodgy school dinners but UK chefs are now rightly lauded as being among the world’s leading chefs. From the inventive cuisine of Heston Blumenthal – snail porridge anyone? – to French classics from Michel Roux Jr, from the explosive creations of Gordon Ramsay to understated style of Tom Kerridge, you can dine like a king wherever you’re staying when you visit the UK.
Football – or soccer as some might have it – is the UK’s national sport and obsession. The two Manchester clubs, City and United, are fierce rivals for the Premiership title, challenged strongly by the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal. And if football isn’t your game, why not try cricket? A game of bat and ball that bears no resemblance to baseball, the game that it inspired, cricket is a slow, gentlemanly sport played out where everyone, friend or foe, applauds every move.
The Tate Modern with its main gallery in London but satellites around the UK, is manna from heaven for culture vultures, while the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet in Covent Garden are essentials for any serious student of those disciplines. And for sheer exuberance, fun and drama, London’s West End is rivalled only by Broadway for its breadth of entertainment.
Whatever kind of vacation you have in mind, the UK has everything you need to make your trip a memorable one.