WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELLING TO GREAT BRITAIN
• June to August – Summer
• September to October – Autumn
• November to March – Winter
• April to May – Spring
Great Britain is a popular year-round destination with long hot summers and cool winters which brings snow to higher ground. Temperatures and climatic conditions vary from one side of Great Britain to the other and travellers should be prepared for all weather conditions.
WHAT TO PACK
As you plan what to wear, keep in mind the season you are travelling in and pack and wear layers. We suggest layering like this: tank top or t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, jersey and then jacket. Always pack something to protect yourself against rain showers.
Opening hours in Britain are generally Monday-Saturday from 10.00 until 17.30. Outside of London and other main cities, many businesses, and shops still close on Sundays but in the larger cities you can expect most shops to be open. In the big city centres, particularly London shops are often open until 19.00 and seven days a week.
Britain’s national currency is the pound sterling (£), which is sub-divided into 100 pence.
Credit & Debit Cards are widely accepted and ATM’s are very prevalent. Some small establishments may not accept cards or may have a minimum spend so always check in advance of your purchase. Cards that are accepted are usually displayed in the window.
• It is safe to drink mains tap water in Britain.
TIPPING / PORTERAGE
• It is customary to leave 10-15% of the bill when eating out. However, restaurants often add on a service charge so it's worth checking your bill.
• It is polite to tip 10-15% of the taxi fare. If you've had a longer journey and the driver has assisted you with luggage, you may wish to tip a little more, up to £5.
• Only tip hotel staff if they do something special for you. Chambermaids are not usually tipped. You can tip a bellman a pound or two for helping with your bags or a doorman for getting you a taxi.
• At the end of guided walks or guided bus tours give the guide a little something extra—usually 10 to 15% of the cost of the tour. Consider a minimum of £2-5 for a single traveller, £1-£2 per person for a family.
• Appropriate behaviours by travellers helps ensure local communities continue to be hospital and friendly.
• Respect other people’s cultures and avoid imposing your beliefs.
• Adhere to the hotel’s water or energy conservation policies.
• English is the official language of Great Britain.
• South African passport holders require a Visa.
• Great Britain is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During their winter months (November to March) they are 2 hours behind S.A and during their summer months (last Sunday in March to the Last Saturday in October) they are 1 hour behind South Africa
• The voltage in Britain is 220/240 AC, 50 Hz. Electrical plugs have three rectangular pins and take fuses of 3, 5 and 13 amps.
• Most hotels will have two-pronged European-style sockets for shavers only. We recommend the purchase of a South African to Great Britain adaptor.
WHAT THINGS COST
• Meal Inexpensive Restaurant : £8 to £18
• Meal for 2 people, midrange Restaurant 3 Course: £33 to £60
• McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent): £4.50 to £6
• Domestic Beer (0.5 Lt Draught) : £2.80 to £4.50
• Imported Beer (0.33 Lt Bottle) : £2.80 to £4.20
• Cappuccino (Regular) : £2 to £3
• Coke/Pepsi (0.33 Lt Bottle) : £0.75 to £2
• Water (0.33 Lt Bottle) : £0.50 to £1.50
• A lot of public restrooms will charge you a small fee to use them, so just keep some change on hand to pay the fee.
• Lock valuables away while travelling and always be vigilant of your belongings. Never leave them unattended.
• Always be aware of pick pockets irrespective of where you are in the world.