Buzzing cities, rich history, vibrant cultures and drop-dead gorgeous scenery; England is packed with contrasts and adventures at every turn.
In England, you’re never too far from stunning patchworks of green countryside, enchanting forests, idyllic rivers and medieval market towns. Our local guides will help you discover England beyond the clichés of fish and chips, endless cups of tea and pints in the pub (although there’ll be plenty of time for that!). From starting the day with sun salutations on the Cornish coast or zipping through the Lake District on a bicycle, to exploring fairytale-like villages in the Cotswolds or going punting on the River Thames – this is England, the Intrepid way.
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|Time zone:||(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London|
|Electricity:||Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type G (Irish/British 3-pin) Type M (see D)|
The culture of England might appear to be much the same as Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. But ask folk from each of these countries and they’ll tell you a different story. Sure, there are many similarities, but England has a unique culture that differs from its neighbours.
For a start, English culture is extremely diverse with many sub-cultures, dialects, accents and traditions. In fact, there are some pretty stark differences between the north and the south. Northerners are known for their warmth and friendliness, things generally tend to be more expensive in the south, and gravy (which is welcomed on everything in the north) isn't a massive thing down south. That being said, some common cultural ground people share across England include good manners, small talk about the weather and humour that verges on the sarcastic side.
England (and the UK in general) is very multicultural and you’ll find every cuisine from Indian to Lebanese to American. London in particular is a thriving hotspot for foodies with pop-up food villages, quirky converted eateries and over 60 Michelin-stared restaurants. The term “meat and three veg” was coined in England, and while English cuisine doesn’t have a global reputation like French or Italian, the food is simple, hearty and comforting. If you’re looking to try some classic English food, here are some dishes to try.
Fish and chips
A flaky piece of battered fish served on a mound of salty chips, lashings of vinegar and a side of mushy peas. This is as English as it gets. Up north they smother their chips in thick brown gravy or curry sauce. Other popular condiments include tartare sauce and pickled onions or eggs. You’ll find the best fish and chips by the coast in places like Blackpool, Devon or Cornwall.
Bangers and mash
A ‘banger’ is a sausage in the UK. Why? Well, after WWI when food was still rationed, sausages were plumped up with so much fat that they exploded when cooked. ‘Mash’ refers to creamy mashed potato traditionally made with butter and milk. Et voila, you have bangers and mash - one of Britain’s most beloved dinners. Served with peas and lashings of onion gravy, it’s a hearty and filling dish that goes down particularly well on a cold winter’s night.
Ask an English person what they think is the most loved national dish, and they’ll probably say a Sunday roast. This age-old tradition isn’t just a lunch eaten on Sunday afternoons, but an opportunity for the whole family or group of friends to spend quality time and enjoy a nice meal together. It’s essentially a centrepiece of roasted meat (usually chicken, beef, pork or lamb) served with crispy roast potatoes, seasonal roasted vegetables and lashings of gravy. It might also be served with a Yorkshire pudding depending on where you are. It's usually served with mint sauce (for lamb), horseradish sauce (for beef), or bread sauce and redcurrant jelly (for chicken). You can get a roast dinner in most pubs every Sunday.
Full English breakfast
Also known as a fry up, this hearty breakfast consists of eggs (usually fried but you can also get scrambled or poached), bacon, sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms and hot buttered toast. It’s typically served with a mug of tea or coffee. The carb and fat-rich foods also make it a go-to hangover cure for many Brits, and cafes usually serve it as an all-day dish. You’ll find slightly different versions of a fry up in Cornwall, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Glastonbury is the crown jewel of the British music festival calendar. This five-day festival draws in about 200,000 people and is the size of 500 football pitches. You’ll find everything from world-class music acts, rising stars, comedy, dance, wellness villages, permaculture workshops, cabaret, secret bars, circus and so much more. It’s an eclectic, vibrant, random and truly wonderful festival – even when it’s pouring with rain.
The Notting Hill Carnival is a vibrant Caribbean festival that takes place every August on the streets of Notting Hill in Kensington, London. The streets come alive with sound systems, DJs, live steel bands, costumed dancers, Caribbean flavours and smells, and spirited party goers. Thousands of people join the streets to enjoy the carnival vibes and party late into the night. Stemming from the Trinidad Carnival, Notting Hill Carnival began in 1966 and has remained a key part of London’s festival calendar.
World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD)
WOMAD is a gathering of 40,000 people at a beautiful site in Charlton Park to celebrate music, art, dance and culture from around the world. Spend your days exploring different music stages and grooving in the sunshine (or rain!), take part in one of the 80+ workshops, travel around the globe vicariously through your tastebuds at the food village, or perch yourself on the ground with a cold drink to simply take it all in.
Diwali – the Indian festival of lights that is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains – in Leicester is one of the world’s biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India. People travel from all over the UK and beyond to see the “Golden Mile” – illuminated temples and firework displays that symbolise the triumph of light over darkness, evil over light and knowledge over ignorance. The cultural program in Leicester includes music, dance, fire performers, religious ceremonies, delicious street food and funfair rides.
The UK experiences the best weather from June to August, though there’s never any guarantee that summer is full of sunshine and warmth. The crowds might be bigger, but this is because the country wakes up from a dark winter slumber and celebrates – a lot. Outdoor dining is in full swing, pubs and bars are pumping and festivals flood the events calendar. Spring and autumn can be cool and wet but with some sunny days, and the days are still long enough to enjoy the country’s diverse and picturesque scenery. Winter (December to February) brings short days, grey skies and sometimes snow, though this is more often in England’s northern counties or places are higher elevations. Top advice: always have a rain jacket and a brolly at the bottom of your bag.
Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage.
All travellers are required to produce:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
- If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in most parts of England, but it might be patchy in more remote areas. Ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive if travelling from overseas.
Tipping isn’t expected but if you’re happy with a meal or service, a tip is always appreciated. Rounding up a taxi fare to the nearest pound is common.
“Alright?” = Hello, how are you?
“Cuppa” = a cup of tea
“Bloody” = a term used to emphasize something, e.g. “That was bloody sad” or “It’s bloody cold outside”
“Brolly” = umbrella
“Chuffed” = a term used to express you are very happy or pleased about something, e.g. "I'm chuffed with my new haircut"
“Cream crackered” = Cockney rhyming slang for “knackered" (meaning extremely tired)
“Quid” = a slan terms for pounds, e.g. “ten quid” means £10
“Pudding” = dessert
“Tea” = dinner (used more in northern England)
Internet access is good in England, with internet cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots easily found in most cities and major towns.
Cup of coffee = £2.50
Pint of beer = £4
Glass of wine = £4.00
Simple cafe lunch = £10
Nice meal in a restaurant = £30
Drinking tap water is safe in England unless otherwise marked. We recommend bringing a refillable bottle with you to avoid buying single-use plastic bottles to do your bit for the environment.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in shops and hotels in England. Smaller shops may not accept credit cards, so it’s never a bad idea to carry some cash for smaller items such as a coffee, or if you’re splitting bills with your group.
ATMs are called cash machines or cashpoints in the UK. You’ll see plenty of them on main streets and shopping centres. You can use Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Plus, Amex and Cirrus at most English cash machines, as well as international bank cash machines in bigger towns and cities.
100%. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every trip.
Please speak to your Adventure Consultant at the time of booking if you need assistance arranging insurance. Learn more about travel insurance.
England is an LGBTQI+ friendly destination and there are many social meeting places for the LGBTQI+ in big towns and cities like London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, etc. Brighton is known as the LGBTQI+ capital of England with some of the best LGBTQI+ bars, hotels and clubs in the country.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
How we’re giving back
In England, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.