It’s funny how when you have always lived somewhere, you just take some things for granted. Like the fact that I grew up around the corner from a thousand year old Cathedral…no big deal! Or the fact that in the UK, we just don’t really tip.

Now that I have been living away for 15 years (wow – that time has flown by!) and I have a Canadian husband, I can truly appreciate the nuances of the UK.

Here are my top 10 tips for when you visit the UK! 

  1. The railway network is a fab way to see the UK, relatively inexpensive if you travel off-peak, kids under 5 are free, and it goes almost everywhere. Also, save even more money by purchasing  rail pass.
  2. Don’t forget that cars drive on the left side of the road, so look RIGHT before you step off the curb 😉 
  3. Sidewalks are called the pavement or street, the street is called the road.
  4. If you hold a US or Canadian driver’s license, you don’t need to get an international drivers license to drive in the UK
  5. It’s pretty tough to find an automatic car, and you’ll probably pay more. 
  6. Bathrooms are bathrooms, I.e. with a bath or a shower 😉 If you ask where the bathroom is in a restaurant or pub, you might get some weird looks! Look for signs for the toilet, WC or loo.
  7. Tax is included in purchases already, makes it much easier when you’re budgeting your pounds in the shop!
  8. Electric voltage is 240v (US is 120v), and is tri-prong. You’ll need a special adapter, and be cautious about using electrical items that don’t have a built in converter (laptops are usually fine). Things I have blown up in the UK….hair driers, sound machines, breast pumps…learn from my mistakes 😉 
  9. If you want an inexpensive but delicious lunch, try local bakeries, delis, meat markets, green grocers etc. A lot of the chain shops also have meal deals – sandwich, crisps (chips) and a drink for £3. Bargain!
  10. Cars take priority in the UK, so when you’re crossing the road, they will rarely stop for you, unless you’re on a zebra crossing (crosswalk) or at traffic lights with a green man (walk sign). Cross elsewhere at your own risk!

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