Travel Feature: United Kingdom

With all the recent talk of #Brexit, we thought it would be timely to highlight the United Kingdom (aka Britain) as our latest travel feature. We hope this guide will be especially helpful for you if you’re planning a trip to the European island this summer.

Weather. The United Kingdom is comprised of four nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Each country has its own distinct customs and cultures, but there is one factor that is common between all: the weather. Many might picture England as being soggy and dreary with residents decked out in their Wellies year-round. However, consider this: without the rain, the rolling hills of Scotland and Northern Ireland would not be quite as verdant as they are. Keep in mind, though, while there’s plenty of rain year round, summer days can reach up to 95°F (while winters can dip to around the 10°F mark), although daily averages stay steady between the 40s-60s. So when packing for a trip, make sure to bring a variety of outfits that you can tailor to the weather as necessary.

Photo Credit: "Underground" by Hernán Piñera © 2013 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: “Underground” by Hernán Piñera © 2013 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Getting around. If you’re planning on driving while across the pond, please remember that they drive on the other side of the road and drivers sit on the other side of the car. Pay attention to different road rules like speed limits, traffic lights, and roundabouts. (Trust us, you don’t want to end up like this guy). Possibly the easiest way to travel in and between countries is via mass transportation such as the train, so it would be a great idea to invest in a rail pass. You can also travel by the Underground Tube (in London), airplane, coach bus, double decker bus, bike, taxi, or even by ferry.

Photo Credit: "221b Sherlock Holmes Museum" by Douglas Neiner © 2012 (CC BY 2.0)

Photo Credit: “221b Sherlock Holmes Museum” by Douglas Neiner © 2012 (CC BY 2.0)

Photo Credit: "The Fruity Folly" by Neil Williamson © 2016 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: “The Fruity Folly” by Neil Williamson © 2016 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Places to visit. There are, of course, many iconic landmarks throughout the British countries, such as Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, and Loch Ness (just to name a few). You can be sure those attractions will always be full of tourists, so if you’re not crazy about dodging the crowds this vacation season, there are some lesser known (but still popular) spots that will still give you the authentic British experience. In London, try checking out some of these landmarks, including the Sherlock Holmes Museum or Holland Park. Outside of England, make sure to check out The Pineapple in Scotland or the Smallest House in Great Britain (located in North Wales).

Photo Credit: "Prince Albert's Road, Regent's Park" by Steve Cadman © 2006 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: “Prince Albert’s Road, Regent’s Park” by Steve Cadman © 2006 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Real Estate. Real Estate plays a significant part in the UK’s economy. London, in particular, is known for its soaring real estate prices (semidetached homes average £602,084), and the city is home to the most ultra high net worth individuals in the world. The market is rife with investors who purchase and subsequently lease their properties for extra income. Britain’s purchase process and online real estate landscape is similar to that of the United States, with multiple portals to conduct home searches. On average, homes cost about £290,000, have 3 bedrooms, and are semidetached properties. Since the UK is made up of four unique countries, you will see a wide range of housing offerings, from small flats in London, to large English estates, to country cottages and farmhouses in Wales, to converted warehouses in Scotland – it all depends on your budget and where you’re looking.

Things to Know Before you Travel. Many things have been called into question since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, such as whether or not British citizens will need to have a visa to travel to other EU countries. While that still remains to be seen, just know that if you are a US citizen, you will need a passport to enter the UK (but not a Visa if you’re staying under 90 days). Also, since sightseeing on foot is a common practice for many tourists, keep in mind that pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way (contrary to here at home), so always be mindful when crossing roads. For more interesting facts you’ll definitely want to know before your visit or your big move, click here.

Have you ever been to the UK? Do you have any tips and tricks for making the most of a British excursion? Opinions on Brexit? Please share in the comments!

Featured Image Photo Credit: “Glasgow Cathedral” by Michel Curi © 2014 (CC BY 2.0)