The United Kingdom is a state made up of the historic countries of England, Wales and Scotland, as well as Northern Ireland.
65,648,100 estimated inhabitants in year 2016 (ranked 22th)
242,495 km2 (ranked 78th)
The local currency is called Pound Sterling (GBP, £). One Pound Sterling equals (depending of the fluctuating exchange rate) 1.14 Euros. The standard rate of VAT (Value Added Tax) increased to 20% in 2011 (from 17.5%). Some goods are exempt from VAT, e.g postage stamps, financial and property transactions.
The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with frequent showers during the year. Temperatures vary according to the seasons but they do not go below -11 degrees or exceed 35 degrees very rarely. The prevailing wind comes from the Southwest and regularly brings fresh and wet breezes from the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic currents make winters mild especially in the West where winters are wet. The hottest summers are in South East England, from July to August as it is the closest region of the continent. The North of the United Kingdom is cooler. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter or early spring.
The climate in Britain is very temperate, so there is no dry, wet season and extreme temperatures are exceptional. The 4 seasons are spring, summer, autumn and winter. They are obviously distinct but are quite similar which avoids abrupt climate changes.
The best times for going to the UK
The best months to visit the UK are in May, June, September and October. These months generally have the most pleasant temperatures and less rain. Furthermore, there are less tourists during the period and the prices of Accommodation and free time activities drop. July and August are the warmest months, but they usually have frequent rainfalls. The sunniest parts of the UK are along the south coast of England.
Touristic Seasons in the UK:
- Low Season in the UK: January, February, October, November, December.
- High Season in the UK: March to May
- Very high Season in the UK: June to September
For many tourists especially, the following events are a must-see and highly recommended:
1. Wimbledon. As the oldest tennis tournament in the world Wimbledon has become quite famous and still attracts thousands of tourists during the two-week long event in July.
2. Notting Hill Carnival: The, by the Caribbean carnival inspired, festival during the last August week brings a bit of Latin Culture to the UK and lures many tourists onto the streets of Notting Hill.
3. London Pride Parada: The Pride Parade in London takes place in the first week of July and is one of the more unique events in the UK. Hereby, the annual Parade ends in a party in the Trafalgar Square and should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting the UK.
Phone and Internet
Britain operates on a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network. This means that, if you are coming from a European country your mobile will probably work in the UK. Your phone will either as a roaming service or through using a UK SIM card. The five main mobile phone providers are Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Orange and Three. The mobile data can easily be topped up through calling the number of the Operator (for example Vodafone) or charging it in one of the many convenience stores.
For international calls:
– From the UK to Germany: 00 + 49 + city code + number of the correspondent.
– From Germany to the UK: 00 + 44 + number of the correspondent.
For number for emergencies in the UK is 999. The number allows you to contact police, firefighters, ambulances, coastguards, mountain rescue etc. Please note, that this number is solely for emergencies and is therefore free of charge and can be dialed from a locked mobile phone.
The Hotspots in the UK which you cannot miss
Discover all the must-see Travel destinations in the UK
Entry Requirements for the UK
Before you leave for the UK you need to make sure which documents you will need in order to enter. If you are from an EU or EEA Country, you can easily enter the UK with either you valid Passport or with the valid national identification card of your country (ID). Please note, that if your document (ID or Passport must be valid for the whole duration of your stay). If your Passport or ID expires soon and you plan to carry out an internship or study abroad in the UK, you should apply for a new one as this process can easily take a few weeks.
If you are neither from an EU country nor citizen of an EEA country you will need a Visa in order to enter and to work in the UK. If you are already a student in the UK and have a student Visa, you are allowed to carry out an internship during the duration of your student Visa.
More information about entering the UK can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control. Moreover, you can easily check on this website whether you need a Visa or not. Note, if you are not a European/EEA citizen, you might need a Visa if you have a layover or transit in the UK.
Due to the Brexit the UK will undergo changes within the next year. However, until then there will be no changes to the rights of EU nationals living/working/studying in the UK.
Information about the Embassy of your home country can be found on “The London Diplomatic List” which contains the addresses and contact details of all embassies and High Commissions in the UK. The London Diplomatic List also provides the following information:
- a list of Heads of Mission in order of precedence, including the date of appointment and details of the role
- a list of Consular Offices outside London in cities such as Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website informs travelers about possible dangerous areas. Moreover, it offers advice in terms of security and the formalities of entry and stay.
Stay tuned about exhibitions, concerts and events in the UK thanks to the Website Visit England.
More events and student budget friendly festivals, concerts not to be missed in the UK can be found on the Local Government Association Website and the Website Time Out.