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Everything about Great Britain: cities, interesting places, people, food, travel, communication


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Everything about Great Britain: cities, interesting places, people, food, travel, communication


The UK attracts visitors with vibrant metropolitan areas, stunning countryside, beautiful natural surroundings and a unique history. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland are great destinations in themselves, and travel between these regions reveals a common culture, the differences between them that make the UK special.

  • A little more than 66 million people live here, of which 8 million are in London
  • The local currency is the pound sterling (£), one of the strongest in the world.
  • Car traffic is left-hand, the roads are free, except for several large bridges, tunnels, the M6 toll highway.
  • The flight time from Moscow is about 4 hours, from St. Petersburg - from 3.5 hours.
  • The country has not entered into the Schengen Agreement, so a visa is issued by accredited visa centers located in Moscow , St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk.

Great Britain is a beautiful, rich country with a distinctive culture, traditions, special humor, hooliganism of the fans and boundless love for the queen.

Geography, relief

Great Britain is located on the British Isles, the shores are washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and the English Channel separates it from France. The relief of the country is diverse: plains give way to lowlands, there is mountainous terrain in the northwest, in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, hills in the southwest. The largest river in the country is the Severn, other deep rivers are the Thames, Tay, Bann, the lakes are Lough Ney, Loch Lomond, Windermere, the whole country is crossed by a system of canals created during the industrial revolution.

Forests cover only 10% of the area, more than 50% - farmland and pastures for cows and sheep. In the north, the British Isles have fjord shores with narrow deep bays, a system of sand dunes up to 300 m high has formed on the coast of Barnstaple Bay, in the south there are high, steep, steep headlands of the coast of Dorsetshire and East Devonshire, included in the World Heritage List, wide bays.

Climate

The country has a temperate maritime climate, which has diluted the warm Gulf Stream: there are mild winters (temperatures are usually above zero, but cold and damp), warm summers. There is quite a lot of precipitation per year, but in fact, it rains here in a year less than in Moscow. The weather in Great Britain is famous for its variability: even within 1 hour, the sun can change to rain and back.

The best times to visit the UK are during spring, early summer and autumn. July and August are traditionally months of vacations; more than 1 million tourists walk around the country, which means that you will be greeted by queues to attractions, crowds of people in popular places and high prices. Wales is most enjoyable in summer, while Scotland is most enjoyable in late spring and early autumn.

Administrative division, population

The country is divided into England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, as well as dependent territories - the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The United Kingdom is distinguished by a high population density, large ethnic groups: British, Scots, Welsh, Irish. The official language is English , Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and Cornish are spoken. The most widespread is Protestantism.

The British are conservative, polite, punctual. They don’t ask questions about age, respect queues, respect privacy, don’t criticize the queen, avoid talking about politics and sports with strangers. At the table it is not customary to talk about business, use telephones.

Transport

The United Kingdom has excellent transport accessibility: the main airport of the country is London Heathrow + the country receives tourists at 4 more airports in Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh.

The UK is linked to France and the rest of Europe by a tunnel that runs under the English Channel. The most inexpensive way to get to Great Britain from continental Europe is by bus, high-speed trains and ferries run between London, Paris, Brussels. The ferry also connects the UK and the Netherlands.

  • London is the capital of Great Britain, the largest and most important city in the country, a leading financial center, and the most popular travel destination. The largest metropolis in its long history has concentrated on its territory many attractions, historical monuments: it is the center of politics, finance, trade, art, culture, education, fashion, music.
  • Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, one of the most popular cities in the country with wonderful architecture, streets that have inspired dozens of talented people to live and work here.
  • Bristol is England's oldest port with beautiful Georgian architecture and a seaside city vibe.
  • Glasgow, once a wealthy industrial city, is now known for museums, art galleries, and festivals.
  • Liverpool - the birthplace of the Beatles is famous for music, sports, Irish pubs. It is a center for transatlantic shipping, a trade, university city with a rich history.
  • Manchester is the economic and cultural center of Lancashire, formerly the largest industrial center in Europe, today it has become an entertainment and sports center.
  • Bath is a seaside town with ancient heritage, amusement parks and fairs.

sights

  • Stonehenge is the most popular not only English, but also a European mysterious monument 10 km from Salisbury. Built between 3000 and 1500 BC, it consists of huge megalithic boulders. According to archaeologists, this is an ancient cemetery or structure for predicting astronomical phenomena.
  • Iconic London Palace - Buckingham : It was built in 1837 as the main residence of the British royal family.
  • The Tower of London - the most famous and gloomy English prison was founded during the time of William the Conqueror, having managed to visit a prison, palace, treasury and even a menagerie. The legendary Tower Bridge, built in the late 19th century, has become a symbol of London.
  • Big Ben is a tower of Westminster Palace with a giant clock, opened in 1859.
  • Westminster Abbey is a Gothic church founded in the 11th century, which became the place of coronation and burial of members of the royal family.
  • Church of st. Paul's is a baroque church in London.
  • The Roman Baths in the city of Bath are antique baths created about 2000 years ago. Bath is famous for its wonderful Georgian architecture.
  • Canterbury Cathedral is a majestic cathedral, whose architecture combines the styles of different eras, the main Anglican temple of the country, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Lake District is a national park glorified by artists and poets, one of the most beautiful places in Great Britain with 12 large lakes, picturesque landscapes.
  • Windsor Castle is a summer royal residence since 1078, the largest inhabited castle in the world.
  • Loch Ness is a deep lake (Scotland) surrounded by mysterious stories, ruined castle and stunning scenery.
  • Edinburgh Castle was the seat of the Scottish kings until 1603.
  • Glenfinnan is an arched railroad viaduct in Scotland, best known for stills from the Harry Potter films.
  • In the northern part of England is Hadrian 's Wall, a wall that stretches 117 kilometers from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, built by the Romans. Tourists often visit the national trail along the wall.
  • Warwick Castle in the Midlands is one of the main attractions of England, built by William the Conqueror.
  • The Cotswolds is a region in the south-central part of England for everyone who wants to travel back in time: a series of hills, stone villages, historic cities, stately houses will make any visitor feel like he is in a time of fairy tales.

Accommodation

There are many accommodation options in England: hotels, hostels, apartment rentals, apartments, camp sites, campgrounds, even motorhomes.

  • The most inexpensive hotels are Premier Inn, Travelodge.
  • The budget option is B&B ("bed + breakfast" is the same English breakfast with fried sausages, eggs, beans, after which you can safely walk even before dinner).
  • If you want to rent a room / bed in a hostel in central London, book in advance! Major cities in the UK provide many youth hostels. To find the best and cheapest options, you need to search for accommodation in advance.
  • You can rent a private house by requesting self-catering holiday accommodation in the search engine.
  • In England, the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) operates, as well as private hostels - their addresses can be found on the Independent Hostel Guide website.
  • There are many campgrounds throughout the country with varying levels of comfort.
  • Traveling by “campervans” (camper vans equipped with a kitchen, bedroom and toilet) is convenient because there are campgrounds and parking lots for vans throughout the country.
  • There are exotic accommodation options - the houses of the Landmark Trust company: samples of various architecture restored with donations from benefactors.

Please note that the voltage of the electric network is 230V, 50Hz, plugs and sockets with a fuse, different from Russian ones, are used.

Kitchen

Looking for a specific British cuisine with specialties like sweet meat pudding or hearty local favorites? The British eat a lot of meat, including lamb, savory and sweet cakes, fish, and oatmeal dishes. You can eat tasty food in cafes, pubs, restaurants, even on the street, buying food at a popular stall.

  • Fish and chips (usually cod)
  • Black pudding (blood sausage)
  • Cornish Pasty (beef + vegetables in dough)
  • Eccles Cake (puff pastry with raisins)
  • Haggis (a mixture of sheep entrails, minced meat and oatmeal)
  • Lancashire Hotpot (hearty vegetable and meat stew)
  • Laverbread (seaweed puree with bacon)
  • Oatcakes (oat cakes)
  • Pastie (pasta with minced pork, onions, potatoes and spices).
  • Pork pie (pork pie)
  • Potato Bread (potato bread)
  • Local cheeses.

Popular alcoholic drinks: whiskey, ale, beer, cider. The legendary soft drink is tea, which is often served with milk.

Food prices in England vary, with an average cost of £ 29 per day, while dining out is around £ 11 per person. Breakfast prices are slightly lower than lunch or dinner.

Most often, in restaurants, the service charge is included in the invoice, but if you haven't done so, leave 10% of the invoice amount.

Entertainment

In addition to visiting many sights, museums, churches, trips to palaces, houses of nobility (still inhabited), walks through the literary places of London and Edinburgh, in England you can get a powerful musical and sports charge.

  1. Legendary British clubs are located in London, but popular ones are in Manchester, Bournemouth, Brighton, Leeds and Sheffield. Prices in clubs are higher than in pubs: entrance - 1-2 pounds on weekdays, 2-3 pounds on weekends, up to 5 pounds during special events, for the largest popular ones - up to 15 pounds. Do not forget your passport confirming that you are over 18 years old.
  2. Surfing - There are several major surfing communities and surfing resorts in the country: Irish Bundoran, British Newquay. There are surf schools for beginners, there are places for those who have already mastered the bigger wave - Tullan Beach. On the coast of Ireland, there are several not very crowded places for surfers - Fistral Beach, Watergate Bay (the best time is September-October).

Getting around the country

Traveling around England is convenient by train: it is one of the oldest and most extensive rail systems in the world. Highways are also good if you are willing to drive on the left. The choice of transport depends on the route. The car will be an advantage for visiting Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Cheddar Gorge, and inconvenient when moving through the narrow streets of Oxford and Brighton. Windsor, Oxford, Stratford, Brighton are easy day trips from London, so you can get there by train or sightseeing bus. You can book a car after exploring the next city to travel long distances, to explore natural attractions, the countryside, and visit Ireland.

Taxi fares in England are higher than public transport, with an average £ 19 per person per day for local transport.

A system of low-cost air transportation within the country has been developed.

Shopping and expenses

England is an expensive country with a stable currency: even everyday items cost a lot. Tourists spend £ 40-50 per day avoiding restaurants and hotels above 3 *. The cheapest place to live is in the north of England, the most expensive is to live in the southeast and in the capital.

Great Britain stores are expensive and are considered some of the best in the world due to the variety and high quality of products. Avoid shopping in tourist areas, shopping in main streets or in suburban shopping malls. Sometimes shops indicate the price without VAT (15%): you will have to pay more at the checkout, but the VAT amount can be refunded upon return to Russia. Where to go if only for the sake of cultural interest: Selfridges department stores, local farmers, flea markets.

Money

The currency of Great Britain is the pound sterling (£), there are 100 pence in it, 1,2-pence, 5 and 10-pence coins, 20 and 50 pence are in circulation. The words quid are used to denote a pound, pea, penny - a penny or pence. Pounds have the same division - 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 pounds. The latter are difficult to change: in the UK, it is generally not very good with the exchange for foreigners - there is a change of money without a commission in some post offices.

It is more convenient to use credit cards or debit cards for purchases over £ 100. ATMs are ubiquitous and issue £ 10 and £ 20 bills. Visa, MasterCard, Maestro cards are accepted by most shops, restaurants, English shops mostly accept chip cards. A person unfamiliar with British currencies (pounds of Scotland, Northern Ireland) is better off using Bank of England banknotes.

Communication

  • Emergency telephone numbers - 999 or 112 from any telephone.
  • The UK calling code is 44.
  • To call Russia from the UK, dial: 00-7-xxx-xxx-xx-xx.
  • If you call from a cell phone, you just dial + 44-xxx-xxx-xx-xx.

Payphones accept cash (from 30p), new payphones accept credit and debit cards, allow you to send an email, use the Internet.

The main mobile operators are EE, Three Vodafone, O2. UK mobile phone rates range from £ 1 to £ 30, depending on the service package. You can buy a SIM card at retail stores or buy it online.

There are virtual operators in the UK market:

  • GiffGaff is a subsidiary of the mobile operator O2 UK
  • Virgin Mobile is the virtual operator of the EE operator
  • Tesco Mobile - virtual operator O2
  • ASDA Mobile is the virtual operator of Vodafone, Tesco Mobile's biggest competitor
  • Lebara Mobile is the leading UK provider from Vodafone
  • Lycamobile is the O2 virtual operator, Lebara Mobile's main competitor.

How to optimize costs: buy a transport card at one of the stations (marked with a railway, this is a prerequisite!), Which will make it possible to buy tickets to almost all museums according to the formula "2 for the price of 1". And this is a significant savings, since the cost of entry is up to 20-30 pounds per person. There are completely free attractions.

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management).
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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