England is an amazing country to travel around. While it is an English-speaking nation with ties to countries around the world, it has its own idiosyncrasies making it different to other places with the same native tongue.
England is a very different country than what many Americans believe it to be. There are a lot of differences between the countries and sometimes it feels like the language is the only aspect the two places have in common. In more recent years, Canada even seems to be moving more in the direction of its continental neighbor rather than being like England – the country that colonized it originally.
If you have never been to England, you are in store for an exciting time. You will also notice some very real differences between the country and your homeland. If you plan to book a holiday to Old Blighty in 2021, here are a few England travel tips you should know about.
England Travel Tips: Items to bring with you
Warm clothes and a waterproof
Some of the most important items to bring with you to England are warm clothes and a waterproof. Even in summer, you can experience a cold spell that gets down right chilly. Don’t expect the weather to be as warm in summer as it is in your home country. In addition, rain can occur at any time in England, so have a waterproof with you to stay dry. Read our full post about rain jackets to bring to England.
Pain and/or cold medication
Over the counter medication in England is often not as strong as medication from other countries – such as the United States. The brands are also different, so if you are a Tylenol or Advil taker, you may not find those brands. If you are dedicated to these medications, be sure to bring a bottle or two with you.
Universal charger and adaptor
Appliances in the United Kingdom use a three-pronged wall plug. The sockets also have a switch that controls the power supply. You should purchase an adaptor before heading off to England to ensure you get one for a good price. England uses different voltage than North America. Electrical items use 230 volts. You may need a power adaptor that powers down the voltage. In addition, the UK uses different plug sockets than the rest of Europe, so don’t expect to use chargers and adaptors for both the UK and the rest of Europe.
Reusable water bottle
You can reduce your carbon footprint while traveling by using a reusable water bottle. Every plastic water bottle you buy comes from a factory that likely used fossil fuels to create it. Having a bottle, you can refill over and over again, prevents you from buying new plastic bottles during your trip. England’s cities have good water systems that you can drink safely from.
Even if you bring a waterproof jacket/coat, you still need an umbrella. The rain comes from all angles in England and it can be relentless. Be sure to cover up with a waterproof and an umbrella to stay dry. With rain coming together with wind, regular umbrellas can break quickly. A good tip is to bring an umbrella that is (relatively) storm proof. These wind proof umbrellas are smartly designed. Due to their unique shape and strong design, the wind cannot get hold of the umbrella. They might be slightly more expensive but it will save you from buy multiple umbrellas. Read more.
England Travel Tips: Things to avoid
Don’t get confused about money
The UK uses the pound sterling as its monetary system. It is a common misconception for first-time travelers to believe the pound is one for one when it comes to the exchange rate. The pound is typically worth more than the US dollar, Euro, and other currencies from around the world. If you use your credit card from back home, you will actually be paying more in your home currency than you may realize.
The next tip is a bit of mixed advice. Some love it, some hate it. We could arguably add The Underground to tings to avoid and/or things to do.
If you (really) want to avoid crowds on your trip to London, be sure to avoid the Underground. The city’s tube gets very busy throughout the day and its small train cars can make riders feel claustrophobic. You can get around London in a variety of ways such as bus, tram or Uber. London is the only English city with an Underground.
However! The Tube is often the fastest and cheapest way to get around London. Yes it might get crowded, but this is also the best way to experience ‘the real city’. If you are serious about avoiding crowds, it is not recommended. If you want to have a genuine London experience, we do recommend tacking The Underground.
Talking loudly on public transport or in public places is frowned upon. You should avoid having loud mobile phone conversations. You should speak quietly to friends in public places and be respectful of others.
One of the quirks of England is that one minute you can be in a perfectly good area of a city and the next in one that is a bit dodgy. Be aware of your surroundings when exploring your destination. In addition, don’t go into just any pub. While some may look nice on the outside, you may find it to be less than quaint on the inside. Fortunately, you can use your smartphone to check whether the establishment in front of you is a sound pub or a dodgy watering hole. Simply go on Google and see some of the reviews on Tripadvisor and Google itself.
England Travel Tips: Things to do
Get out of London
While London is a city you must visit at least once in your lifetime, there are some other great destinations to discover around England. Liverpool and Manchester are amazing towns in the northwest with their own distinct charm. In fact, you will notice a major distance between the south and the north. England also has great outdoor areas including Devon, Cornwall and the Lake District.
Visit the museums and art galleries
The majority of museums in England are free to enter. Taxes and donations keep the museums free for patrons to explore. Take advantage of England’s great museums and art galleries. You could spend an entire trip to London visiting the different galleries.
Have afternoon tea
Afternoon tea is a unique experience that tourists have probably never had before. Book into a fancy hotel such as the Ritz for an exclusive afternoon tea that will make you feel like the royal family. You could also visit a local pub that offers afternoon tea for a slightly different vibe.
Go for a hike
If you love the great outdoors, England has a lot to explore. The country is crisscrossed by walking trails and paths. These can be navigated by hikers, walkers, and trail runners. There are even trails that go onto private land that allow people to use as long as they stay on the path.
Hire a bike
Bike shops around England offer rentals allowing you to cycle around the city to explore. Some cities, such as London, offer short-term bike rentals allowing you to hire the bike with a credit card (or via app) to ride from one cycle hub to the next to get around.