Pronunciation of ‘Leicester’
Learn to fit in like a local
Pronunciation of ‘Leicester’
Oxford University founded
Time in the UK
Spring is a gorgeous, hopeful time for the UK, with temperatures in the teens and twenties. Expect days of sun and occasional April showers. Delve into woodland to see carpets of bluebells in April and May. Order Jersey royal potatoes, asparagus and Welsh lamb when you see them on the menu. Stay in Ireland, or at least make it to an Irish pub, for St Patrick’s day in March. In May the two bank holidays add to the happy atmosphere, with May Day traditions a-plenty. However, some roads can get busy on these weekends. Visit the Lake District whilst it’s still quiet, and the Scottish Highlands before the midges descend.
A good summer in Britain can be the best summer on earth. The temperature remains in the twenties and thirties, and outdoor life is in full force. There’s the Edinburgh festival, Glastonbury, tennis at Wimbledon, the Goodwood Vintage festival, and surfing in Cornwall and off the Irish coast. Go punting in Cambridge. Play croquet on a country house lawn. Head to the Welsh coast or hike in Snowdonia and the Peak District. Visit Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice, or spend Bloomsday (16 June) in Dublin.
During Autumn, the bracken on the hills turns ember-orange, deer in the parks of Stately Homes shed their antler-felt; pheasants cry across the countryside. After the ‘glorious twelfth’ of August, UK is in game season – whether that means you tuck in to seasonal pigeon, venison or pheasant, or prefer the other ‘game season’: the start of the Premier League. Watch a football match in any city, or spend the night in an Irish haunted castle over Halloween. Join in with local bonfire night celebrations on 5 November, when England celebrates a botched 17th century attempt to blow up parliament. For nature’s fireworks, head to the Scottish borders and Loch Lomond for Phoenix-fabulous displays of autumn leaves.
Britain's winters are mild compared to some of continental Europe. There’s snow, yes, but it settles on the hills and mountains in the north. The south might have just a few frosty mornings. Still, when the weather outside is frightful, there are always cosy pub with wood-stocked fires and Christmas celebrations are taken very seriously from the first of December (and even earlier). Visit Scotland for Burns night to celebrate the country’s beloved poet, and don’t miss carols in an ancient cathedral – like Durham, Ely or York. Do a spot of Christmas shopping in Manchester’s Selfridges, Bicester Village, or Birmingham’s Bull Ring; otherwise, bide your time and hit the sales in January.
Despite the recent referendum vote for the UK to leave the European Union, visa-free travel is still in place for citizens of the EU to and from the UK. The Republic of Ireland remains part of the European Union and visa-free travel still applies.
Those arriving from some countries outside the EU may need to apply for a visa. To check if one is required, and for information on how to apply, please visit the UK Border Agency website.
For flights within the UK, including Northern Ireland, you will still need to carry photographic identification.
If you are a national of some countries (including Australia and the USA) you can join the ‘Registered Traveller’ scheme and enjoy faster entry into the UK, as long as you have a biometric passport. Read the full list of eligible countries and conditions on the ‘Registered Traveller’ website.
Learn more about UK and Ireland visa requirements
Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you have the right visa and documents to be allowed entry into the UK and Ireland.
British Airways flies to many major UK cities from London. Travel to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Jersey or the Isle of Man. With journeys lasting just a couple of hours between cities it’s easy to hop on a plane and hop off on the other side of the Irish sea.
If you’re used to long empty highways and days behind the wheel, driving in the UK and Ireland will be a pleasant surprise. It’s never more than a day’s driving to reach anywhere. The road network is good and safe. However, traffic is a problem, especially around cities and there are more cars than ever on the roads. Travel early and avoid driving during rush hour. Hire a car to explore by yourself. You’ll soon find yourself rolling down high-sided lanes in the country. Remember, you’re in the UK, so drive on the left.
Britain has a comprehensive (if expensive) rail network, but rail tickets are far cheaper if you book them online in advance. Some rail journeys are holidays in themselves. Take the sleeper train along the east coast of Britain from London to Edinburgh and alight to the sound of bagpipes, or ride the Ffestiniog Railway up the side of Snowdon. You can reach Wales easily from London using First Great Western railway, and even book your train ticket alongside your British Airways plane ticket.
Biking is popular in the UK with cities becoming more bike-friendly. You’ll see rows of sturdy, colourful bicycles that anyone can use, thanks to town bike share programs; and there are more and more cycle paths criss-crossing the cities as the country goes green. Brigades of road bikes populate the countryside ascycle cafes crop up for passing pelotons: these are where the lycra-clad converge for coffee.
Call 999 in an emergency for the ambulance, police or fire brigade.
020 7499 9000
Emergency contact number for U.S. citizens in England and Wales