United in name but not necessarily in nature, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (its official name) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are also considered countries in their own right (and are self-governed). Four bewitching cultures with tens of thousands of years of history between them, the UK is a dynamic nation awash with distinct landscapes, a fascinating history and a diverse and multi-cultural society.
United Kingdom Tours & Travel
All our United Kingdom trips
Articles on United Kingdom
How to use your power for Earth Hour
Posted on Wed, 12 Mar 2014 by Jane Crouch
Everyone has power to make real change and impact in the world. Including you. Join in this years Earth Hour on 29 March, and you will be part of the [...]Read more
London by bike
Posted on Thu, 26 Apr 2012 by Sue Elliot
Fortunately for cycling enthusiasts who don't have time to muster up the courage to tear through the streets on two wheels, London has some superb cycling opportunities...Read more
United Kingdom Highlights
About United Kingdom
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- 60.9 million
- English, Welsh, Gaelic
- Time zone:
- (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
- Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type G (Irish/British 3-pin) Type M (see D)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit United Kingdom
The UK shines from June to August, though there’s never any guarantee that their summer is full of sunshine and warmth. The days are long, tourist crowds are abundant and the country wakes up from its dark slumber and celebrates – a lot. Spring and autumn can be cool and wet but with some sunny days, and the days are still long enough to enjoy this country’s diverse and beautiful scenery. But winter – December to February - brings short days, grey skies and sometimes snow, though this is more often in Scotland and England’s northern counties.
History and government
The United Kingdom came into being in 1707 with the political union of England and Scotland (Wales was classed under the Kingdom of England). In 1800, the Act of Union with the Kingdom of Ireland formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The last major change was in 1922, when the Anglo-Irish Treaty saw the Irish Free State form and secede from the UK, and Northern Ireland becoming part of the UK (though it wasn’t until 1927 that the UK formerly changed its name to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). Though united, each country had their own laws, churches and education systems.
The 18th and 19th centuries were notable for the UK’s countless wars with France, colonisation in the Caribbean, the loss of colonies in North America, the gain of Canada, the discovery of Australia, the second wave of the British Empire in India, Asia and Africa, the beginnings of the industrial revolution, the abolishment of slavery and the long and successful reign of Queen Victoria. Needless to say, this is but a snapshot.
The first half of the 20th century was marred by two devastating world wars, which not only devastated the population but the wealth of the country. It also saw the crumbling of the British Empire, with independence being sought and won in Ireland in 1922 and India in 1947, and by the 1980s Britain had withdrawn from all of its colonies. In 1997 devolution was established in Scotland and Wales.
Top 5 British subcultures
Stylish in tailored suits and classy shoes, mods’ hey-day was the early to mid sixties. They rode around on vespas, listened to modern jazz, were attracted to late night cafés and got into rumbles with rockers.
Originally nothing to do with hooligans, racists and fascism, skinheads were born in the 1960s in working class areas of the UK. Skinheads fashioned themselves on Jamaican rude boy style, listened to ska and wore tight jeans, white t-shirts, braces, checked shirts and cherry red docs.
3. Glam rockers
Glam rockers wore high shoes, outrageous clothes, dramatic makeup, lavish hairstyles and plenty of things that glittered. This subculture rose to prominence in the early 1970s and faded out about 5 years later, but went on to influence punk, goths and new romantics. Think David Bowie’s androgynous phase and Garry Glitter.
Though not originating in the UK, when punk hit the UK’s shores in the mid 70s, it was hard to miss. UK punks were on the whole more theatrical than those in the US. Armed with anti-establishment views, mohawks, ripped clothes held together by safety pins (anti-fashion), piercings and thrashing around to punk rock, punk caused a big stir, which died down not long after it exploded.
An offshoot of the post-punk scene, goth became popular in the early 1980s. Although there are many styles of goth, they are characterised by wearing dark clothes, heavy make-up and dark hair.
FAQs on United Kingdom
Simple cafe lunch = £10
Nice meal in a restaurant = £30
Apr 18 Good Friday
Apr 21 Easter Monday (except Scotland)
May 5 May Bank Holiday
May 26 Spring Bank Holiday
Aug 25 Summer Bank Holiday (except Scotland)
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
These are the dates for 2014. Please click here for other years: www.worldtravelguide.net/united-kingdom/public-holidays
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
United Kingdom Travel Tips
Top responsible travel tips for United Kingdom
1. Be considerate of the UK’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive and supports the local community.
5. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
6. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
|Wolf Hall||Hilary Mantel|
|Down and Out in Paris and London||George Orwell|
|Bridget Jones’s Diary||Helen Fielding|
|Pride and Prejudice||Jane Austen|
|Notes from a Small Island||Bill Bryson|