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  • United Kingdom

    United Kingdom travel guide

    Overview

    It may seem hard to believe that this small, cold, wet island once held dominion over three quarters of the globe. The pomp and circumstance of previous centuries may have dwindled, and the monarchy takes almost daily batterings in the local press, yet the United Kingdom and its people remain fiercely proud, and the beauty and cultural wealth of the country would impress any visitor. The past century has seen a vast transformation as the UK has come to terms with its diminished role on the world stage, from colonial empire to a member of the EU, but the United Kingdom is still a world leader in numerous ways and tops many a travel bucket list.

    The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as some smaller islands, and the geography sweeps from mountainous highlands, to green, pleasant, rolling countryside and vibrant cities. The country is jam-packed with two millennia of heritage, so despite its seemingly small size, holidays in the UK of any length of time feel too short.

    London is the UK's biggest city, a fantastic and frenetic metropolis teeming with people of all races, creeds, and walks of life. Here the old contrasts spectacularly with the new, offering some of the world's most famous sights and an unrivalled nightlife. The medieval cathedral cities, like York and Durham, reveal the rich history of a bygone age, while the industrial cities of Liverpool and Newcastle harbour an exciting nightlife. Edinburgh's International Arts Festival draws talent from around the world to its ancient, picturesque streets.

    The United Kingdom continues to rank as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, steadily attracting more than 32 million foreign visitors every year. This comparatively small island nation packs a touristic punch completely disproportionate to its size and the compact nature of the place, combined with excellent transport networks, makes it easy to get around for travellers.

    For tourists, England remains the most popular country in the UK, and the vast majority of travellers visiting England spend time in London; in fact, nine out of 10 of the United Kingdom's top tourist attractions can be found in the capital. These include the National Gallery, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, Epping Forest, Science Museum and, topping the list, the incomparable British Museum. The only Top 10 UK attraction that isn't in London is Brighton Pier, the landmark feature of the UK's most beloved seaside resort. Other much-visited tourist attractions outside of London include Cornwall's Eden Project, Bath's Roman Baths, Canterbury Cathedral, Warwick Castle, the Lake District's Windermere Lake, and the iconic Stonehenge.

    The UK is blessed with ample natural beauty and is well suited to walking holidays (the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands and Wales are particularly beguiling for hikers), but when the infamous weather is not obliging happy hours can be spent soaking up culture in the world-famous museums, galleries, shops and theatres of the United Kingdom. Another big draw card is the surfeit of grand estates and old castles to be explored, conjuring up the worlds of Jane Austen and Shakespeare. For something more Dickensian, the UK is chock full of wonderful old pubs in which to while away the rainy days.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The United Kingdom is positioned at the convergence between the moist maritime and dry continental air currents, which results in atmospheric instability and extremely unpredictable weather. Many types of weather can be experienced in one day and travellers should go prepared, particularly as in most regions of the UK rain is possible at any time of year. Winters, between December and February, are cold and wet with occasional snow, especially in the high-lying areas. Summers, between June and August, are generally warm with frequent showers. Northern Ireland, Wales and the western regions of England and Scotland enjoy the mildest temperatures, but are the wettest and windiest parts of the UK; the eastern regions of England and Scotland are drier and cooler with more extreme temperatures. Generally speaking, southern regions are more temperate and mild than northern regions. England enjoys the warmest temperatures on average and is generally more sunny and less rainy than the rest of the UK. Scotland has the coldest weather and is also the wettest.

    The peak tourist season in the UK is summer, between June and August, but it is pleasant to visit any time between April and October. The winters are cold and sometimes snowy, but travelling out of season is cheaper and the winter months can be cosy and exciting, particularly over the festive season.

    Birmingham Airport
    Location: The airport is situated eight miles (12km) southeast of Birmingham.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The two terminals are within easy walking distance of each other.
    Getting to the city: Buses to the city centre and surrounds can be caught opposite the airport at the Bus and Coach Terminus. Birmingham city centre can also be reached via Birmingham International railway station connected to the airport by a free monorail system called the Air-Rail Link. Trains run from Birmingham International Station to Birmingham New Street Station and vice versa throughout the day but are less frequent in the evenings and on weekends. Uber, and other mobile app based taxi services are also available. For onward travel, Birmingham International Station is connected to over 100 towns in and around the UK.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National. All car hire booking desks are located within the arrivals lounge which can be found easily once through security.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available from outside passenger terminals and take about 15-20 minutes into Birmingham.
    Fascilities: There are banks, bureaux de change, shops, restaurants, business lounges, play areas for kids, baby changing facilities and a tourist information desk in the airport. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
    Parking The airport's 'drop and go' area is adjacent to the departures terminal and is free for the first 30 minutes. Car parks 1, 2 and 3 are best for short and medium-stay parking; they are located beside the terminal building and charge per hour or per day. The long-stay parking garages are located next to the second roundabout along Airport Way, a ten-minute walk from the terminal. There are regular shuttle-buses between the long stay parking lots and the terminal. Long-stay parking is free for the first 15 minutes.
    Bristol International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) southwest of Bristol city centre.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Bristol Airport Flyer Express buses depart for the city centre (including the train station) around the clock, every ten minutes during peak hours, and every 30 minutes off-peak. It costs around £7 for a one-way ticket. Taxis are also available outside the terminal. Uber, and other similar mobile app-based taxi services are also available.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies include Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and National, among others.
    Airport Taxis: Arrow Cars taxis are available all day and night at the airport, located outside the terminal building. Passengers can visit the booking desk where they will be quoted a fixed fare and allocated a taxi. Payment can be made by card at the booking desk, or by cash to the driver.
    Fascilities: Facilities at Bristol Airport include a bureau de change, ATM, bars, restaurants, shops, an executive lounge, and tourist information desk. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs are advised to contact their airline in advance.
    Parking There is short and long-term car parking available. Spaces can be pre-booked via the airport website. The short stay and pick up parking lot costs £1 for the first 20 minutes and £6 for the first hour. The Silver Zone car park is the cheapest long-stay option, if you book online it can cost as little as £3.75 per day.
    Leeds Bradford International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated nine miles (14km) northwest of Leeds.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The bus services run frequently from the airport to Leeds and Bradford city centre bus and rail stations. The bus services link the airport to Leeds City Rail Station, from where connections can be made to all parts of the UK. Taxis and mobile app based taxi services are also available.
    Car Rental: Avis, Europcar and Hertz are represented in International Arrivals.
    Airport Taxis: Arrow Cars are available from the airport taxi rank outside the terminal building.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include banks, ATMs, bureaux de change and a tourist information desk. There are also shops, bars and restaurants. The Yorkshire Premier Lounge on the first floor of the Departure Lounge offers a full bar service, complimentary newspapers, high-speed wifi and telephones. Entry to the lounge is through membership or a once off entry fee of around £25. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
    Parking There is short- and long-term car parking available. Parking can be booked in advance on the airport website. There is a courtesy bus service between the long-stay car park and the terminal building, operating 24 hours a day. Passengers should allow extra time to park and get to the terminal.
    Website: www.lbia.co.uk
    London City Airport
    Location: The airport is situated at the Royal Docks, 10 miles (16km) from the West End.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Docklands Light Railway (DLR) departs from London City Airport every 8-15 minutes to Canning Town, Woolwich Arsenal and Bank. There are regular London buses from the airport to stations throughout London. Nearby National Rail stations are reached via the Jubilee line from Canning Town (a seven-minute DLR journey). Licensed taxis (black cabs) are available outside the terminal building, a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £30. Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor. There are also chauffeur services available from Quay Cars. Mobile app based taxi services, like Uber, are available, as is car sharing through the DriveNow app.
    Car Rental: Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor, rental companies include Avis, Europcar and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis from London City Airport can be hailed outside the Arrivals Hall and a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £30. A taxi to Canary Wharf will cost £14.
    Fascilities: There are shops, bars and a restaurant at City Airport, other facilities include left luggage, a mother and baby room, tourist information and business facilities including Internet and fax. There are also ATMs, a bureau de change and Internet facilities. The disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should ideally inform their airline in advance.
    Parking Parking at London City Airport is located within easy walking distance of the terminal. Short-term parking starts at £3 for the first 10 minutes, £13 for up to an hour, £17 for two hours, £25 for four hours, £53 for up to 12 hours and £61 per day. The long-term car park is £23 for up to four hours and £53 per day. Credit card facilities are available.
    London Gatwick Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 28 miles (45km) south of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The two terminals are linked by the Inter Terminal Transit train that leaves every three minutes.
    Getting to the city: The easiest and quickest way into London from Gatwick is on the Gatwick Express train, which takes 30 minutes to the central Victoria railway station. Local buses call at both terminals and run between Gatwick and key destinations including Crawley, Horley, Redhill and Horsham. Taxis are also available from the airport into town, while coaches take passengers to destinations including Heathrow, central London, Bristol and Brighton (ticket desks are in the North and South Terminals). Car rental companies operate from both terminals. Taxis and mobile app based taxi services, like Uber, are also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz operate from both terminals.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis from Gatwick Airport are available outside the Arrivals Hall and a taxi to London city centre will take roughly an hour to an hour-and-a-half as this road can be very busy. Mobile app based taxi services, like Uber, are also available.
    Fascilities: Both terminals have shops, restaurants, bars, bureaux de change, ATMs, an Internet café, baby changing rooms and children's play areas. There are lounges in both terminals that offer multiple services for both business and leisure, for a fee. In the South Terminal, there is a medical centre offering vaccinations and the Regus Express Business Lounge, featuring meeting rooms, refreshments, showers, a document station, high-speed internet and distraction-free private work spaces. Disabled facilities at the airport are good; those who require special assistance should contact their airline in advance.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking is available and a free shuttle services the parking areas farther away from the terminal building.
    London Heathrow Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 15 miles (24km) west of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals Terminal 1 is no longer in use. Terminals 2 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, with an average walking time of 11 minutes from one end to the other. Terminals 4 and 5 are connected via the free Heathrow Express train. Allow around 15 minutes for the journey time between terminals.
    Getting to the city: The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station, takes 15 minutes, and costs £22 if booked online or at a ticket machine, or £27 on-board, if travelling during off-peak times. Paddington has good connections to the other London railway stations and all parts of London via the London Underground. Heathrow is also on the Piccadilly underground line, which takes passengers into central London in around 50 minutes. The National Express coach service runs to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK.
    Car Rental: Car rental options include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.
    Airport Taxis: London's black taxis service Heathrow Airport; the journey time to central London is around 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Taxis are metered, the fare from Heathrow Airport to Central London will cost around £48-£90. Taxis are available from outside each terminal.
    Fascilities: There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, left luggage facilities, pharmacies and postal services in all terminals. A spa offering massages is located in Terminal 5. There are VIP Lounges in Terminals 2 and 3. There are multi-faith prayer rooms in each terminal and St George's Chapel is located close to the central bus station between Terminals 2 and 3. There are shower facilities located in Terminal 3.
    Parking Short-term parking is available adjacent to the airport. A free shuttle service links the terminals and the long-term and business car parks. Valet parking is also available at all terminals.
    London Luton Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 32 miles (52km) northwest of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Trains leave regularly to Kings Cross, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations. Train journeys to central London take 20-25 minutes with providers such as East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect. Tickets can be bought from the Onward Travel centre at the airport or online. Luton Airport Parkway Train Station is connected to the terminal by a free shuttle bus service. Green Line and National Express buses run daily between the airport and central London. Taxis operate from outside the airport terminal 24-hours a day and car rental is also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, Europcar and National.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis operate from Luton Airport 24-hours a day and can be hailed outside the Arrivals Hall. A taxi to central London will cost around £80 and will take approximately 2 hours.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include shops, bars, restaurants, bureaux de change, ATMs, a children's play area and baby changing rooms. Facilities for the disabled are good; those with special needs are advised to contact their airline or travel agent in advance.
    Parking There is short-term parking next to the terminal. Long-term (valet) parking operates near the terminal - your car will be taken away to another compound while you are away. Passengers who book in advance via the airport website get discounted parking rates.
    London Stansted Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 34 miles (55km) northeast of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Stansted Express rail service operates between London's Liverpool Street station and the airport, taking approximately 45 minutes. There are also bus and coach services to Victoria Coach Station, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, among other London and national destinations. The bus and coach station is opposite the main terminal entrance. Coach tickets are available from the ticket desk in arrivals and at the station; a ticket to Victoria costs around £10. Taxis are available outside the terminal building and car rental is also available. Uber, and other mobile app based taxi services are also available, although there have been licensing issues as of late.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies available at the airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Alamo, National, Enterprise and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Many taxi services are available, the Stansted Airport recommended taxi service is 24x7, a reservation desk is located in the international arrivals concourse. A taxi to central London from Stansted Airport will cost in the region of £100.
    Fascilities: There are a number of popular restaurants, shops and bars in the terminal, both before and after security. Other facilities include ATMs, a bureau de change and Internet cafe. There is a VIP lounge for travellers in the main departure lounge, which can be booked via the airport's website. There are also shower facilities at both arrivals and departures, with towels and access available for a small fee at the airport information desk. There are multi-faith prayer rooms, accessible after security. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline or travel agent in advance. Stansted is a smoke-free airport, and there are no smoking facilities past security.
    Parking The short-term parking is located next to the terminal building. Long-term parking is further away and is linked to the airport by a free shuttle bus. The mid-stay parking lot is free for the first hour, a five-minute courtesy bus ride from the terminal. The airport also offers valet parking. Travellers who pre-book on the Stansted Airport website receive discounted car parking.
    Manchester International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 10 miles (17km) southwest of Manchester city centre.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The Skylink travellator system links Terminals 1 and 2, while 1 and 3 are linked by an external walkway.
    Getting to the city: There are regular trains between the airport and Manchester Piccadilly railway station, which has connections to destinations throughout the UK. Buses service Manchester city centre as well as other local towns and cities. National Express operates coach services to cities all over the UK. All buses, coaches and trains leave from The Station, the airport's transport interchange that is connected to all terminals by a covered walkway. Taxis are available outside all terminals.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside all terminals. Fares into Manchester are determined by the meter, while other destinations may be charged at a flat rate.
    Fascilities: There are restaurants, shops and bars in all three terminals. Other facilities include ATMs, bureaux de change, and left luggage. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should inform their airline or travel agent in advance.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking at Manchester International Airport is available. It is a good idea to book parking in advance via the airport's website in the peak summer season, as the car park can be full.
    Newcastle International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated six miles (10km) from Newcastle city centre.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Metro system connects the airport to Newcastle Central Station, and other parts of the city, leaving every few minutes. Buses also leave regularly for the Eldon Square Bus Concourse.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies represented at the airport include Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Interrent.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the terminal.
    Fascilities: Newcastle Airport has shops, bars and restaurants. Other facilities include a bank, bureaux de change, ATMs, left luggage, baby care rooms, and a children's play area. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs are advised to inform their airline or travel agent in advance.
    Parking The short-stay and express parking lots are located directly opposite the terminal. The medium-stay lot, just beyond, offers 15 minutes free parking for picking up or dropping off passengers. The long-term lots are located furthest from the terminal and offer the cheapest daily and weekly rates. Discounted rates are available for bookings made via the airport website.
    Aberdeen International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated seven miles (11km) northwest of Aberdeen.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 between last Sunday in March and Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Aberdeen and Inverness train services run from the local station at Dyce, which is just a short taxi ride from the airport. The main station is in Aberdeen city centre and services all parts of Scotland and England. Regular bus services operate from the airport to Aberdeen city centre, and the journey takes roughly 30 minutes. Services are less frequent at weekends than on weekdays.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies represented at the airport include Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Alamo.
    Airport Taxis: Comcab taxis are available outside the terminal, where a taxi marshal will assist you in finding a cab. Taxis can be pre-booked via the Comcab website and arranged at the Comcab booking office to the right upon entry to the terminal. The journey to the city centre takes approximately 25 minutes in light traffic, and costs roughly £15.
    Fascilities: Facilities include left luggage, a bureau de change, bars, a duty-free shop, business facilities, a children's play area, and several restaurants. The Northern Lights Executive Lounge is located on the first floor past security and can be prebooked online. Other airport lounges include the British Airways Terraces Lounge and the Eastern Airways Lounge, which is located near Gate 10. There are several restaurants and cafes around the airport.
    Parking There is short-term parking at Aberdeen International Airport within walking distance of the terminal. Long-term parking at Aberdeen International Airport can be accessed by a free shuttle from the terminal.
    Edinburgh International Airport
    Location: The airport is eight miles (13km) west of Edinburgh.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Airlink 100 buses connect the airport and the city centre every 10 minutes, from early morning until after midnight, and cost around £4.50 one way; the journey takes approximately 30 minutes. There are many alternative buses, including Night Bus N22 and Service 21A, that run to the city centre via a couple of stops en route. Stops for public buses are situated on the terminal forecourt road outside the main entrance.
    Car Rental: There is a car rental centre located next to the parking area, connected to the terminal by a covered walkway. Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Europcar, Budget, Thrifty, Hertz, and National.
    Airport Taxis: The taxi ranks for airport taxis and city black cabs are outside the east end of the airport terminal. The drive to the city centre takes approximately 25 minutes.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include ATMs, a bureau de change, shops, a pharmacy, wifi, a children's play area, baby change rooms, restaurants and bars. The Aspire Lounge is available to departing passengers on the first floor past security; bookings can be made online via the airport's website.
    Parking A multilevel car park is located just across from the terminal building. The long-term car park is a few minutes away; a courtesy bus ferries passengers to the terminal.
    Glasgow Airport
    Location: The airport is located 11 miles (18km) west of Glasgow.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals A covered walkway connects the terminals.
    Getting to the city: Buses leave regularly for Glasgow, stopping off at the main railway and bus stations. The journey to the city centre takes 15 to 20 minutes. There are also eight trains per hour from Paisley Gilmour Street Station to Glasgow Central Station, which is one mile (2km) from the airport and can be reached by taxi or by regular bus services.
    Car Rental: Car hire options at the airport include Avis, Europcar, National, Alamo, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, and Dollar/Thrifty.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available 24 hours a day at the taxi rank opposite the main terminal. They are obligated to meter the journey.
    Fascilities: Facilities at Glasgow Airport include ATMs, a bureau de change, a post office, and many shops, bars and restaurants. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs are advised to inform their airline or travel agent in advance. There is also a multi-faith prayer room.
    Parking Short-term parking is located near the terminal, charging roughly £2 for ten minutes or £3 for twenty minutes. Long-term parking is also available. Parking can be booked in advance via the airport website.
    Rhoose Cardiff International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 12 miles (19km) southwest of Cardiff city centre.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Cardiff Aiport Express bus service runs every 30 minutes during the day, seven days a week. Journey time to Cardiff from the airport is approximately 35 minutes and the bus fare is approximately £5 one way. A rail link also connects Cardiff International Airport to Cardiff Central and Bridgend. Trains run each direction every hour daily (every two hours on Sunday) with onward connections to other destinations on the rail network. A shuttle connects the airport to the nearby train station in 10 minutes, costing about £1.
    Car Rental: Enterprise, Europcar and Hertz are represented at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Passengers can book a private taxi transfer with FlightLink Wales to and from Cardiff Airport.
    Fascilities: Facilities include a bureau de change, ATMs, baby changing facilities, faxing and photocopying, game zones, duty-free shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. There are also facilities for disabled passengers.
    Parking Short-term parking is right outside the terminal building and long-term parking is farther away from the terminal but is serviced by a free shuttle. There is pre-booking available.
    Belfast International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 14 miles (22km) northwest of Belfast.
    Time: Local time is GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Airport Express operates between the airport and the city centre every 10 minutes from outside the terminal building, 24 hours a day. The International Airport Taxi Company offer taxis outside the right hand door of the airport exit lobby with a list of fares displayed in the exit hall of the terminal. The journey takes around 25 minutes.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National and can be found in the Arrivals hall.
    Airport Taxis: International Airport Taxi Company offer taxis outside the right hand door of the airport exit lobby with a list of fares displayed in the exit hall of the terminal. The journey takes around 25 minutes.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include bureaux de changes, ATMs, wifi, duty-free shopping, travel agent, business lounge, information desk, and a variety of shops and restaurants. Passengers with disabilities are well catered for.
    Parking There are three parking options at Belfast International Airport: short-stay parking, the main car park, and long-stay parking. The pick-up and drop-off zones are also charged for, costing about £1 for a 10-minute stay.
    Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
    Location: The airport is conveniently located about five miles (8km) from downtown Birmingham.
    Time: GMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: Several shuttle companies, including Meteors Shuttle and Birmingham Door to Door, operate between the airport and the city, but reservations must be made prior to arrival. Taxi services are available 24 hours a day at ground level outside the baggage claim area.
    Car Rental: Rental car counters are located at ground level near the section 1B. Vendors include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, National, and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxi services at Birmingham International are available throughout the day and evening on the ground level outside the baggage claim area. Birmingham is serviced by the following taxi-cab companies: Ambassador Cab Company, American Cab Company, Award Cab Company, Birmingham Metro Cab Company, King Cab LLC, Progress House Taxi Cab, Silver Cab Company and Yellow Cab. Uber, and other app-based taxi services, are also available.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include restaurants, bars, shops, currency exchange, wireless internet, kidzone play areas and tourist information. ATMs are available throughout the airport. Skycap services are available to assist disabled passengers.
    Parking The airport provides short-term parking at a rate of $1 per hour and $24 per day; medium-stay parking at a rate of $1 per hour and $12 per day; and long-term parking at a rate of $1 per hour and $10 per day.
    Money:

    The currency is the British Pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in almost all towns and Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks.

    Language:

    English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

    Electricity:

    The electrical current in the UK is 230 volts, 50Hz. Flat, three-pin plugs are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US travellers must hold a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay; a visa is not required for stays of up to six months.

    Passports must be valid for at least the expected duration of the stay. No visa is required for stays of six months or less.

    Passports must be valid for at least six months after the departure date. No visa is required for stays of six months or less.

    South Africans require a valid passport and a visa for entry or transit through the UK. South African temporary passports are not recognised.

    Under the Common Travel Area agreement, citizens from the UK and Ireland are not required to pass through passport control. They can travel between both countries without a valid passport if they can prove they are a valid UK or Irish national.

    US travellers must hold a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay; a visa is not required for stays of up to six months.

    New Zealand nationals must hold a valid passport, but no visa is required for stays of up to 6 months.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    If a visa is not required, travellers should hold a return or onward ticket, or proof of funds for the duration of stay. Passports must be valid for the period of intended stay in the UK; nationals of the EU require a passport valid on arrival. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources. For visitors who are visa exempt up to a maximum stay of 6 months, the period of stay will be determined by the Immigration Officer on arrival.

    Travel Health:

    There are no specific health risks associated with travel to the UK and food and water can be considered safe. The British National Health Service is excellent. A number of countries have reciprocal health agreements with the UK including Australia, New Zealand, and EU countries. Visitors from other countries (including Canada, South Africa, and the US) are advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance.

    Tipping:

    Tips of 10 to 15 percent are expected in restaurants and upmarket hotels in the UK if a service charge hasn't been included. Hotel service staff receive an optional amount. Taxi drivers are usually given 10 to 15 percent of the fare. Tipping for other services is discretionary.

    Safety Information:

    It is generally safe to travel throughout the UK, although travellers are advised to take special care of their personal belongings in central London, where pick-pocketing is often reported and muggings are fairly common. Northern Ireland still occasionally experiences unrest in the form of protests and riots, but tourists are not targeted and so long as political marches are avoided there should be no risk.

    There is some risk of international terrorism in the UK and security has been increased at transport hubs throughout the country; airports in particular have seen a serious heightening of security measures over recent years.

    Local Customs:

    Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone new. Smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces, including pubs and restaurants, and on public transport. The ban is also in effect in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is strict etiquette on escalators: stand on the right, walk on the left. Visitors may find Londoners more rushed and less friendly than Brits in other parts of the country, particularly on London transport, where tourists are generally the only people who talk.

    Business:

    The four countries of the United Kingdom, although culturally and historically different, generally keep to the same practices in business. Politeness and punctuality are key to good business relations, and initial meetings are often conducted formally and impersonally, becoming more open and social as things progress. Business cards are exchanged at introductions. Dress is formal, with dark suits preferred. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.

    The communication style can be difficult to adjust to: the British people respect politeness to a point that often obscures their ability to say exactly what they mean. As a result, travelling businessmen may need to learn to 'read between the lines' and to take cues from tone of voice and facial expression. Humour is also an integral part of the British system of communication, and is used to diffuse a tense situation and to cultivate relationships. Never assume that an attempt at humour undermines a person's ability to do their job, or discredits the importance they attach to a deal or negotiation. Furthermore, don't be fooled into thinking that the British propensity for irony and sarcasm equates with an informal work environment.

    During meetings, be tactful, avoid becoming emotional, and illustrate your experience with the subject at-hand. Performance and initiative are looked upon favourably, whereas academic pretension is given far less credence. Meetings are often used as platforms for debate, rather than moments of confirmation, so don't be surprised if not much progress is made. Be sure to respect and appeal to all parties involved, as the British have recently begun to take a far flatter approach to management and the responsibility of decision-making. And if things go well, purchase a pint or two for your clients or colleagues; though gifts are borderline inappropriate, a round of drinks will rarely be refused.

    Communications:

    The international country dialling code for the UK is +44. Mobile phone coverage is extensive. Internet cafes are available in all major towns and cities, train stations, and airports. Wifi is also widely available.

    Duty Free:

    When arriving from a non-EU country, travellers can bring the following goods into the UK tax or duty free: 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 4 litres of still table wine, 16 litres of beer, 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other alcoholic beverages of less than 22 per cent volume, £340 worth of all other goods including perfume and souvenirs.

    When travelling from another EU country to the UK visitors do not have to pay tax or duty on goods purchased in said EU country provided tax was included in the purchase price, the items are for personal use and have been transported to the UK by the visitor, and do not exceed 3,200 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, 3kg of smoking tobacco, 110 litres of beer, 10 litres of spirits, 90 litres of wine and 20 litres of fortified wine. Note that although Gibraltar is part of the EU, it is outside the Community Customs territory and allowances for outside the EU therefore apply. In the case of Cyprus, only goods under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus are treated as EU imports.

    Useful Contacts:

    United Kingdom Tourism Website: www.visitbritain.com

    United Kingdom Embassies:

    British Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 588 6500.

    British High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 1530.

    British High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 421 7500.

    British High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 6666.

    British Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 205 3700.

    British High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 924 2888.

    Foreign Embassies in United Kingdom :

    United States Embassy, London: +44 20 7499 9000.

    Canadian High Commission, London: +44 20 7004 6000.

    South African High Commission, London: +44 20 7451 7299.

    Australian High Commission, London: +44 20 7379 4334.

    Irish Embassy, London: +44 20 7235 2171.

    New Zealand High Commission, London: +44 20 7930 8422.

    United Kingdom Emergency Numbers : 999/112 (General)
    United Kingdom