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United Kingdom Vacation Tips

Updated on August 2, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Britain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Traditional thatch roof cottage Isle of WightHistoric city of YorkSaltburn North YorkshireBus event in Hull via museum serviceRobin Hood’s Bay North YorkshureGay Pride Kingston upon Hull 2017. You may envounter a gay pride event in U.K. during the summer months in the U.K.
Traditional thatch roof cottage Isle of Wight
Traditional thatch roof cottage Isle of Wight
Historic city of York
Historic city of York | Source
Saltburn North Yorkshire
Saltburn North Yorkshire
Bus event in Hull via museum service
Bus event in Hull via museum service
Robin Hood’s Bay North Yorkshure
Robin Hood’s Bay North Yorkshure
Gay Pride Kingston upon Hull 2017. You may envounter a gay pride event in U.K. during the summer months in the U.K.
Gay Pride Kingston upon Hull 2017. You may envounter a gay pride event in U.K. during the summer months in the U.K.

Getting there or rather here! Some general points

I live in Yorkshire, England, where I was born and raised.

Following the credit crunch and global economic crisis of 2008 many Brits began taking holidays in the U.K. rather than abroad; taking a so-called stay-cation.

Let’s face it there are some beautiful and interesting destinations on these small lands that make up the United Kingdom.

So whether you live in the U.K. or are planning a visit from abroad here are some tips.

The weather

British weather can be problematic but there is more to a vacation than the weather.

Check out the long range weather forecast and closer to your vacation time check again.

It can be a good idea to pack a range of clothing for a vacation in Britain as even in summer you may experience the whole range of weather in just one day!

Everything you may need will of course be on sale but buying extras can play havoc with your luggage allowance and your budget.

Travel Options

Research your travel options online to find those that represent good value for money and fit your needs.

Northern rail at time of writing has been experiencing some service problems with various trains cancelled. Make sure you are up to date with any such ongoing issues.

In general the U.K. has a reasonable rail service with links all over the country although since privatization different parts of the train service are 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.

Contact the main help-line for Britain's train services and you should get good advice.

Airports

The U.K. 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

There are many airports available across Britain so choose one that is within the region you will be holidaying. For example, if you are taking a vacation in London choose Heathrow or Gatwick. For the Lake District, choose Manchester airport and for Yorkshire go for Leeds Bradford or Humberside airport. The same applies for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Southern Ireland is not a part of the United Kingdom.

If required pick up a hire car at the airport

Hiring a car is relatively simple but remember to check out any differences between the British road system and that in your country. Here we drive on the left and have some essentially peculiar British things such as roundabouts, which have their own rules of the road.

Visiting Britain’s smaller islands.

For non U.K. and U.K. residents who are planning a holiday on islands around the UK, such as the Isle of Man, Isle of Skye, Isle of Wight 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.

Buses

Local buses offer speedy direct links to major cities or you can opt to travel with a coach company which may offer accommodation and escorted tours also.

Taxis

Taxis are reasonably priced but make sure you only use those with licensed plates. Keep your eye on the clock or ask for a price before the journey.

Safety

U.K. residents or travellers from abroad must always be mindful of their safety. In an area 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 not to travel alone.

On the whole the U.K. is as safe a place as anywhere but use your common sense.

Currently there have been reports of an increase in knife crime especially in some London Boroughs.

Stay in well-lit well populated areas.

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks are sadly a fact of life in many parts of the world. Britain has experienced some attacks and in some cases foreign visitors to the country have been killed.

Ahead of your journey get the U.K’s latest travel advice via the Foreign Office directly or online.

British weather

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Unusual hot weather SpringUnexpected cold snap and snow late spring 2018
Unusual hot weather Spring
Unusual hot weather Spring | Source
Unexpected cold snap and snow late spring 2018
Unexpected cold snap and snow late spring 2018 | Source

The Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight. Reach this island by the Red Funnel Ferry line from the U.K. mainland
The Isle of Wight. Reach this island by the Red Funnel Ferry line from the U.K. mainland | Source

Beaches and more around the UK

There are good beaches dotted around the U.K’s coastline. Some get overcrowded in good weather and during school holidays and may be overdeveloped. It all depends what you want.

Britain has busy traditional long established sea-side resorts such as Scarborough in the North and Brighton in the South of England but also smaller undeveloped beaches more off the beaten track.

The south of England

The warmest weather tends to be in the South of the country. 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, the Arthurian legend and much more.

You can opt for small resorts if you prefer to get away from it all.

In the South East of England there are the towns of Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings; again each are different but all have a beach, good weather and plenty of attractions.

Of course between these two regions the middle ground holds Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.

All of these areas have much more to offer 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 nearby Blackpool. I am not a fan of Blackpool but many people are.

The weather in Blackpool can be cold and windy even when it is sunny but Blackpool has a huge Pleasure Beach with a whole host of attractions and much more that is commercial on offer.

Blackpool lies on the North West coast of England and is big, bold and brash with its Pleasure Beach for thrill-seekers and a golden mile along the beach which is lit with dazzling light displays each autumn.

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

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

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, England. However you will need to be cautious and pack a mixture of clothing. Most of Scotland's beaches are not commercialized and therefore tend to be wild and unspoiled.

Edinburgh has castles, palaces, fine buildings, history, shopping and more.

Northern Ireland

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

Southern Ireland is not part of the U.K. Its currency is the Euro.

It is very green and quieter on the whole than its Northern neighbour. Visit the south for peace and tranquility with a dash of tradition thrown in.

Beautiful Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Robin Hood’s Bay North Yorkshire
Robin Hood’s Bay North Yorkshire | Source

Accommodation

Bed and Breakfast

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 included. Facilities on offer vary in each establishment. Most now include free WiFi.

The breakfasts usually consists of a full traditional English breakfast which may include fried eggs, bacon, beans, toast and cereal, at the very least. Tea and coffee will be included. Some also offer alternative breakfasts

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 organized campsites that have shops and entertainment. People do still tour with a caravan in tow.

Hotels

Hotels can be expensive but it depends on the star rating. The more stars, the better the hotel and the more expensive the price, usually.

If you visit in low season you may get a good deal on your accommodation.

Advice

Watch out for when it is U.K. school holidays as tourist resorts will be busy and bustling 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 the longest..

Around the U.K.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Saltburn North YorkshireWithernseaModel Village, Isle of WightWhitbyThe Needles Isle of WightHistoric York
Saltburn North Yorkshire
Saltburn North Yorkshire | Source
Withernsea
Withernsea | Source
Model Village, Isle of Wight
Model Village, Isle of Wight | Source
Whitby
Whitby | Source
The Needles Isle of Wight
The Needles Isle of Wight | Source
Historic York
Historic York | Source

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 towns or 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 N.H.S. direct for help if needed
  • If you are visiting from abroad make sure you have travel insurance
  • Currently if you are visiting from a European Union country health-care is reciprocal but that may change post Brexit
  • Remember that the U.K., like other countries, does have crime so make sure that you protect yourself by travelling safely
  • The emergency number for fire, police and ambulance is 999. Remember this is just for real emergencies

Have you taken a vacation in the United Kingdom?

See results

U.K top ten places

All images (c) Eileen Kersey aka Ethel Smith

© 2009 Ethel Smith

Comments

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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      And you Kashmir :)

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi ethel, a very well written hub with lots of great information, tips and advise to make your holiday in the UK a safe and happy one while saving some money. Loved all the photos,the beach photos were very beautiful .

      Vote up and more !!!

      Have a great weekend my friend !

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Rob you are not supposed to add a link but I'll let you off :) Thanks for the visit. Good luck with the summer season

    • profile image

      Rob 

      6 years ago

      Ive lived all over Canada, the UK and South Africa, and eventually settled in Eastbourne (and am building my own tourist site of things to do here, www.EastbourneGuide.com ) Great resource. I hope you dont mind me adding my link, our town is quiet in winter and thrives during the more lucrative summer months as Eastbourne is a great place for a holiday.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Sorry for the late reply travelman. I have been poorly.

      I would pubs, restaurants and the like can be tricky. It is best to check out the tourist information for the area you are visiting.

      They can vary so much around the country as far as safety, price and quality goes.

    • tb67travelman profile image

      tb67travelman 

      8 years ago

      Great information about the UK, I am bookmarking this as one of my travel resources. Question, any recommendations about restaurants or pubs while on holiday?

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you BB and thamks for dropping by

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Lonk added charley, on both hubs etc. THanks for dropping by :)

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Muse Peggy. I must admit what I was reading re conservatives in the USA sounded like they were a bunch of extreme right wing oddities. Margaret Thatcher may have been different but she was not my cup of tea either. I prefer the middle ground.

      Many of our jobs have also gone overseas.

      If and when you decide to visit the UK let me know and I will offer any help I can. Pick the right time and place and you should have a fab time.

    • Muse Peggy profile image

      Muse Peggy 

      9 years ago

      Hi Ethel - thanks for writing this . my husband and I are contemplating a visit your way (although the recession and our house woes will keep us from it for a year or more). I first noticed you on another Hub Page where I was getting my shorts in a jam over a bunch of misrepresented half truths trying to make US Conservatives out to be some kind of Mythical Gods. You asked if Conservatives here are the same as Conservatives there and I think they are opposite actually. I think your "Conservatives" are actually called "Neoliberals". Wasn't Margaret Thatcher a "Neoliberal". Well, anyway, beware of "Conservatives" from the US as their agenda is scary (in my humble opinon). Hopefully we can get to see your beautiful country soon (assuming we have jobs and all - considering the Conservatives are trying to ship every decent job overseas). :)

    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 

      9 years ago from USA

      The UK has some incredible looking beaches. I keep reading about them more and more. Someday I'll get there.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Peggy and KCC. It is so easy to under rate your home country. It is only when I write about the UK I remember it still has a lot going for it. An Engligh Hubby KCC, poor you lol

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      The photos were so pretty. I'd love to visit there someday.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KRC 

      9 years ago from Central Texas

      Dang it, you make me long to go back to the UK! I've been twice and even snagged me a husband from the UK. I love so much about England. My husband was determined NOT to tote me around to the tourist traps. He took me to all the beauty that is England. I absolutely love it there. As soon as my daughter graduates from high school (2 yrs) I would love to live part of the year here (Texas) and part of the year there.

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