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Holidaying in the United Kingdom
Well I live in the UK. In fact I live in Yorkshire, England, where I was born and bred. People in the UK had generally, in recent years, spread their wings and embraced foreign travel. Some still opted for the cheap package holiday abroad whilst many more had become more adventurous about their destination and their type of holiday.
Recently this for many has changed. With the credit crunch biting we Brits are looking more and more towards holidaying in the UK. Let's face it there are some beautiful and interesting destinations on these small Islands. In the past the unpredictable weather and cost of holidaying in the UK has deterred many. Now with the Euro strong only some countries such as Tunisia, who have their own currency, would seem a good financial option.
The weather forecasters may predict a long hot Summer in the UK, but English weather can be unpredictable. Of course whether you are travelling to the UK from another country abroad, or are already in the UK, you have to get to your holiday resort. Even if you are holidaying in the same UK country where you live what will be the best way to travel?
Research your options online and look for those travel options that represent good value overall. There are many airports up and down the country, so choose one that is within the area that you will be holidaying. For example, if you are holidaying in London choose Heathrow or Gatwick. For the Lake District, choose Manchester airport and for Yorkshire go for Leeds Bradford or Humberside airport. Of course the UK is not a vast country compared to some but for convenience and value it is best to choose an airport that will be central for you.
For UK residents who are holidaying on Islands around the UK, such as the Isle of Man, the Isle of Ske or even the Channel Islands a cheap flight will probably be the best option. The journey by land and boat can be long and tiring.
The UK has a good rail service with links all over the country. Since privatisation different parts of the train service is owned by different companies. This can make it a little more tricky planning a visit to a destination that is perhaps the length of the country away. However contact the main help-line for Britain's train and you should get helpful advice.
Local buses offer speedy direct links to major cities or you can opt to travel with a coach company who may offer accommodation and escorted tours also. Hiring a car is relatively simple but remember to check up on the differences with the British road system and that in your country. We drive on the left and have some essentially peculiar British things such as roundabouts, which have their own rules of the road
Taxis are reasonably priced but make sure that you only use those with licensed plates. Keep your eye on the clock or ask for a price before the journey.
UK residents or travellers from abroad always be mindful of your safety. In an area that is unfamiliar to you it is all too easy to end up in a "no go" area of town. Ask advice locally, consider your destination and try to have someone with you. On the whole the UK is as safe as anywhere but use your common sense.
Beaches and more around the UK
There are good beaches dotted around the UK's coastline. Some will get overcrowded in good weather and may be overdeveloped. It all depends what you want.
THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND
The warmest weather tends to be in the South. Cornwall, Devon and Somerset have a lot to offer. These Counties are in the South West of England and have beaches, history, scenery, lovely countryside, surfing at some beaches, Glastonbury festival, Stately homes and more. You can opt for small resorts if you prefer to get away from it all.
All of these areas have much more but this will give you a taster of what is on offer and what would maybe make for a great base.
London can offer you just about everything, but no beach of course.
THE NORTH OF ENGLAND
The north of England has the Lake District in the West as well as the City of Manchester and the nearby Blackpool. I am not a fan of Blackpool but many are. The weather here can be cold and windy even when it is sunny. Blackpool has a huge Pleasure beach with a whole host of attractions and much more that is commercial on offer.
In the North East there is Scarborough, Bridlington, Whitby and lots of other smaller and larger seaside resorts.
Visit Historic York for museums and art galleries, Leeds for shopping and Harrogate for a mixture of both.
Wales has coastline on three-sides and all in all this covers around 750 miles. As such it is diverse and at times rugged. There are traditional resorts such as Llandudno but there are also off the beaten track beaches. Cycling is a popular way for tourists to get around in Wales but bear in mind it can be very hilly.
Scotland has beautiful scenery, fascinating cities, Lochs, mountains, tradition and some good beaches into the bargain. Although Scotland is in the far North it does get some good weather. When we visited one October it was better weather in Scotland than in Yorkshire. However you will need to be cautious and pack a mixture of clothing. Most of Scotland's beaches are not commercialised and therefore tend to be wild and unspoilt.
Edinburgh has Castles, Palaces, fine buildings, history, shopping and more.
Has come a long way since the days of the troubles. Its Cities are now well visited by tourists and there is plenty to see in and around Northern Ireland.
Southern Ireland is not part of the UK. It is very green and quieter on the whole than its Northern neighbour. Visit the South for peace and tranquilty with a dash of tradition thrown in.
Caravan with a view
- Bed and Breakfast
- Guest houses
These 5 are the main types of accommodation in the UK
Bed and Breakfast, or B and B will often be in a small guest house, although hotels usually offer this option also. The charge in a B and B will usually be per person for each night with breakfast inclusive. The breakfasts are usually a full traditional English breakfast which will include eggs, bacon, beans, toast and cereal, at the very least. Tea and coffee will be included. These sorts of establishments are not ideal for families. The rooms will usually have a kettle and tea pots with a supply of enough items to make a few drinks each day.
Caravans and camping equipment can be hired. Often such holidaymakers are camped on organised campsites that have shops and entertainment. Hotels can be expensive but it depends on the Star rating. The more stars, the better the hotel and the more expensive the price. Well usually.
If you visit in low season you may get a good deal on your accommodation.
Watch out for when it is the UK's school holidays as tourist resorts will be heaving and more expensive. Try to avoid holidaying from the end of July until early September, Easter time and across Christmas. There are other school holidays but these are only for the odd week.
The UK at Amazon
Many tourists who visit the UK make a bee line for London. Well who can blame them, it does have almost everything. London can be expensive though so do your homework. There are special passes and tickets which can be bought in advance of your holiday and which offer entrance to a whole host of attractions at a knock down price.
If you are exploring the centre of London take a packed lunch and have a picnic in one of its many parks. This will save you a small fortune. Choose your itinerary each day and you can decide depending on the weather. Museums and galleries are perfect for rainy days whilst Zoos and the River are great for sunny days.
London has a great night life but as always watch out for your safety. Stick to familiar, well lit areas where there are plenty of people around. Overall though just have fun.
Research what shows are on and which performers are appearing at places like the Hammersmith Apollo during your visit. Book early as these can still soon get sold out of tickets.
Tower Bridge, at night.
Saving some money
- Avoid shops such as those on campsites. Instead use the local supermarkets.
- Buy Bus and Train travel cards and passes. Most companies offer discounted tickets such as weekly ones.
- Book your holiday in low season. School holidays are the most expensive holiday times.
- Avoid restaurants and bars that are in the centre of town or the tourist areas. Pick ones a little away from the busiest areas and get a better deal.
- Eat seasonal fare.
- If you need to see a doctor you should be able to be seen by a General Practitioner as an emergency patient. The same goes for a dentist. Ring NHS direct for help if needed.
- Remember that the UK, like other countries, does have crime so make sure that you protect yourself by travelling safely.
We Brits are obsessed about the weather. Total strangers will get into lengthy discussions at bus stops about whether the weekend will be dry or not. It is a peculiar British thing. However there is a reason for it.
The UK has a temperate climate but you could see snow in April, Hailstones in July, experience a heatwave in November and torrential rain in June. You get the picture?
If you are holidaying in the UK it as well to bring a small selection of out of season clothes as well as your holiday ones. In Summer pack a brolly, a light jacket and perhaps a mac. The evenings are nearly always cool even after a very hot day, unlike the continent.
Of course you can buy anything that you may need when you are already on holiday. However it could be at a premium price. Holidaying in the UK needs you to be able to have fun and enjoy yourself no matter the weather is doing. Bear that in mind.