Planning a trip to any foreign country for the first time can be stressful if you don’t have all the information you need in one place. Here is our short guide with tips to keep in mind when traveling to the UK for the first time.
Depending on the country you’re traveling from and the passport you own, you may or may not require a visa to enter the UK.
Citizens from some countries, like the USA, Mexico, and many European countries, won’t need a visa if they visit for tourist purposes and stay in the country for a limited time. However, check the requirements for yourself before embarking on your trip. You can find helpful information on the UK Government website.
Applying for a VISA may seem like a complicated process, but there are instructions online to guide you through the process. You will have to provide documents, like proof of accommodation, a travel itinerary, your passport, proof of financial means, two photographs, biometric information, and tuberculosis test results. Along with this, you have to fill out an application form. If you’re traveling with criminal record, you must provide a criminal record certificate issued by a relevant authority.
Some other documents you may want to have with you are your health insurance information, copies of all your ID documents, air tickets, and hotel reservations.
The UK has a well-developed public transportation system. If you’re staying in London specifically, you will find the Metro is your best way of getting around, even at night.
You can buy a ticket for the famous red double-deckers and commute and sightsee simultaneously.
The rail network is a great way to go city-hopping. Outside of London, trains are the easiest way to get around. Book the tickets in advance to get lower prices.
While many tourist attractions around the UK require you to purchase a ticket, your trip doesn’t have to consist of paid-only visits. In fact, most of the museums and galleries are free to enter. Make the most of this and visit some beautiful places like the National History Museum, the British Museum, or the Scottish National Gallery if your trip allows it. You can find free museums all around the UK.
Once you’ve created your perfect itinerary, it’s time to book the tickets you will need to purchase in advance. You can get better deals and possibly avoid long lines by booking online a few days ahead of time. Some of the most popular attractions, like the London Eye in London or Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, allowing you to buy tickets in advance and skip the line when the day comes.
For a hassle-free trip, it’s best to avoid using cash altogether. You don’t want to spend your time trying to find a way to exchange your currency for the local one. Instead, use your card since most places accept it. If you’re traveling from the US, keep in mind that some places don’t accept AMEX cards, only Visa or Mastercard.
The UK is filled with hidden gems. We don’t blame you if London is your first thought when someone mentions the United Kingdom. But the UK has many more places worth visiting.
With over 30.000 lakes, Scotland is known for its natural beauty. It is home to numerous castles, the most famous of which is Edinburgh Castle.
England is famous for many festivals that happen during the year, so when planning your visit, check if any of them overlap with your trip.
Enjoy your trip fully by immersing yourself in classic British meals such as fish and chips or black pudding (no, it’s not a dessert!). Don’t miss out on going for an afternoon cup of tea with biscuits.
If you’re feeling adventurous, look for traditional Scottish food like haggis or Welsh rarebit.