Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century.
- England and Wales united in 1284
- England and Scotland joined as Great Britain in 1707.
- Britain and Ireland agreed to a legislative union in 1801.
For centuries the most powerful nation on earth, through the ingenuity and tenacity of the English people and the strength of the Royal Navy, Britannia ruled the waves. Though the Empire has gone, England’s influence is still strong around the world. The English language is spoken around the globe, and democracy abounds in many great nations. This is the land of Magna Carta and the mother of parliaments, of Oliver Cromwell, and of Winston Churchill.
England’s heritage is indelibly bound with the Royal Family, including Boudicca (Boadicea), William the Conqueror, Henry VIII, and Queen Victoria; treasures and reminders of the monarchs are everywhere and still today, the splendor and display of royalty stirs patriotic pride and thrills visitors.
London, England’s capital, is the largest city in Europe and one of the most exciting places in the world with many famous sites and experiences, such as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the beautiful River Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben. A night out in London’s great West End theater district is not to be missed as you experience this wonderful city.
Away from the big city, England moves at a slower pace, and glorious scenery abounds—from the gentle, rolling countryside of the Cotswold hills and patchwork quilt fields of Devon’s rich farmland to the rugged Cornish coast. In the country that gave the world Chaucer as well as Hardy and Dickens, land and literature have intertwined: Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Wordsworth’s beloved Lake District, the Brontes’ Yorkshire Moors, the tales of James Herriot, and the mists and mires of Dartmoor that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles. You can even visit Alnwick Castle, the film setting for Hogwarts, where Harry Potter was schooled in magic and quidditch. Ancient structures and amazing monuments survive from Hadrian’s Wall in the far north to Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. See the magnificent Roman spa and Georgian architecture in the glorious city of Bath, the famous university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, and the extravagant Regency of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Stately homes such as Warwick Castle, Blenheim Palace, and Leeds Castle grace the countryside. Some of Europe’s finest churches were built in England, including Canterbury Cathedral, the mighty York Minster, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Christianity came early to these shores, and legend has it that the Holy Grail itself lies buried at Glastonbury.
For the British Isles, the sea is its lifeline. Feel this pulse as you stand on the Mayflower steps at Plymouth, where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the new world, and face the southwesters at Land’s End, where the Atlantic roars into the English Channel.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Visas to England are not required for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to England. All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room.
It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for England (United Kingdom) is 44. When calling to England from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada) followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in England are usually 10 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 44## #### ####.
Throughout Britain the currency is the Pound Sterling or also known as the British Pound (GBP).
Bank hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some branches are open Saturday mornings.
1 POUND (£) STERLING = 100 Pence (p)
- Banknote denominations: £5, £10, £20, £50
- Coin denominations: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Credit cards are widely accepted (mostly Visa and MasterCard), and you should have no issues using them. However, smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is £3.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately £8.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately £25.
Shopping specialties: fine quality china, sterling silverware.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available; be aware that under local law transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them home may result in confiscation and fines.
Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is included on price tags. To obtain VAT refunds (which may take up to three months to process) special forms usually have to be stamped by Customs; please ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion. Customs import charges on items shipped home are not included in purchase prices.
Tipping is common in the United Kingdom. At restaurants, it is best to leave the tip in cash to ensure it goes to the wait staff and not the restaurant itself. A tip of 10% is usually acceptable. Tipping in pubs for drinks ordered at the bar is not customary.
Round up taxi fares.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 240V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. British facilities have 3-prong outlets with two flat prongs in line and one perpendicular, which look like:
British weather is unpredictable, and can be windy/rainy and quite cool year-round. Pack for all eventualities; light weight clothes in the summer and warmer, windproof layers in winter. To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for England.
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, and afternoon cream teas.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
Elevator: Lift, Apartment: Flat, Yard: Garden, Trunk: Boot, Truck: Lorry, Bartender: Barman, Cell phone: Mobile, Check: Bill, Bill: Bank note, Trash can: Bin, Sidewalk: Pavement, Drugstore: Chemist, Band-Aid: Plaster, Bathroom/Washroom/Restroom: Toilet/WC/loo, Highway: Motorway, Subway: Tube/ underground, Taxi: Cab, Traffic circle: Roundabout, Crosswalk: Pedestrian crossing, Movie theater: Cinema, Orchestra seats: Stalls, Sweater: Jumper, Pants/slacks: Trousers, Pantyhose: Tights, Sneakers: Trainers, Line: Queue, Mail: Post, Napkin: Serviette, Fries: Chips, Potato chips: Crisps, Eggplant: Aubergine, Dessert: Pudding, Jelly: Jam, Cookie: Biscuit, Liquor: Spirits, Dark ale: Bitter, Beer: Lager, Emergency room: Casualty, Washcloth: Flannel, Wallet: Purse, Purse: Handbag.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.