Travel Tips For Visiting The UK From A Local

The UK is an incredibly popular travel destination for families, couples and solo travellers.  We receive over 37 million visitors a year and that’s pretty much set to grow no matter what they tell you about Brexit and the economy.  A large proportion of those visitors come to the UK for their holiday from France, Germany and the USA and a staggering 77% of visitors are return visitors* proving that the UK still has a lot to offer.

Spending 24hrs in London Regents Street London Regents Street London

I have to admit I love the UK, despite it’s grey damp winters and very unpredictable summers.  It’s a country brimming with historic sites, fantastic coastline and incredible countryside.  Tourists visiting the UK want to immerse themselves in the variety that our small island has to offer and of course sample a traditional sunday lunch with an authentic Yorkshire pudding in a real British pub.

Seeing as I live in the UK and have had the great pleasure of taking many types of holidays here I wanted to share with you my tips for making your visit easier and hopefully save on your travel money too.

Holiday Tips For Visiting The UK

Don’t Just Visit London

London Bridge

London is a fantastic city and I’m lucky enough to be able to visit it fairly regularly.  There are lots of amazing landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London that are really popular with first time visitors, but you won’t get a real feel for what it’s really like in the UK if you stay in the city.  It’s incredibly easy to take day trips from London to places like Brighton or travel to other parts of the country so that you get to experience our incredible countryside or a traditional English village.

Buy Petrol at Supermarkets

If you are planning to hire a car during your visit to the UK it’s worth knowing where the best places to buy petrol are.  Use the sat nav to find local supermarkets with petrol stations as these are by far the cheapest option.  Avoid buying petrol at motorway service stations as these are a lot more expensive.

Shop for Groceries at Supermarkets

While you are getting your petrol don’t forget to pick up your supplies from there as well.  Plan well ahead when it comes to drinks, snacks and essential items.  If you buy food and supplies on the go it can be very expensive.

family in restaurant

Eat at Supermarket Cafe’s

A lot of large supermarkets have cafe’s and you can buy reasonably priced food and drinks in them.  They often have offers like ‘kids eat free’ or ‘add a pudding for £1’.  We eat at our local supermarket regularly and meals and drinks for a family of 4 costs just £12.  It’s a good option if you want to eat out but don’t want to go to a restaurant and spend 4 or 5 times as much.

Look Out For Independent Restaurants and Cafe’s

There are so many global chains these days that it can be easy to visit a place you are familiar with like Starbucks or McDonalds.  I think you will have a much better and friendlier experience if you look for independently owned cafe’s and restaurants.  Here you are likely to find home cooked food, freshly brewed coffee and a passionate small business owner that is willing to talk to you about the local area.

Sign Up To Websites For Deals

roman baths UK

If you are planning your trip in advance, signing up to websites for deals and offers could save you big on visiting attractions in the UK.  Set yourself up an email account just for travel discounts and sign up to places like Groupon, Wowcher and Living Social for the area you want to visit.  If there are particular attractions you want to visit, sign up for their newsletter so that you hear about deals and special events that might help you plan your trip.

Go on a Bus Tour

Most of the UK cities offer a bus tour and they are a great way of finding out about the local landmarks and history.  They are perfect for children too, as sitting on an open top bus seems to keep them happy and they enjoy seeing the sights while not having to walk everywhere.  Bus tours are also a great option for making the most of a short city break.

Do Not Jump The Queue, Under Any Circumstances

Everyone says the British like to queue and I’m afraid to admit they are right.  We are incredibly precious about everyone waiting their turn and queue jumpers are often scowled at, if not confronted.

Go For Afternoon Tea

We are incredibly fond of afternoon tea in the UK and it’s something that I feel every visitor should try.  It’s a bit of a ritual and a lovely way to spend time with your travelling friends.  You will be faced with delicately cut sandwiches and more cakes than you can shake a stick at so I very much doubt that you’ll regret it.

cakes and scones afternoon tea

Be Prepared For Rain

No matter what time of year you visit, be prepared for some rain during your stay.  Sadly we rarely experience weeks upon end of wall to wall sunshine and it can be incredibly frustrating to us Brits as well as anyone visiting the UK.  Fortunately the country has a lot to offer which makes up for our slightly temperamental weather.

Bring Good Footwear

If you are planning on exploring the UK having some good footwear in your luggage is essential.  Some cities, like Nottingham for example are very hilly and there are lots of places still with cobbled streets.  Be kind to your feet and prepare them for walking on uneven, sometimes wet and maybe muddy surfaces if your visiting the countryside.

child hackfall woods

Use Park and Rides

Driving in UK cities can be incredibly daunting, even for us locals.  A great way to get into a city without the stress of driving through a difficult one way system or struggling to find a space to park is to use the local park and ride.  These are large carparks usually on the edge of the city where you leave your car.  A bus service is provided that will get you into the city centre quickly and easily.

Make Sure You Carry Cash

It is always worth carrying some local currency, but it’s especially important if you are visiting a rural area.  Some places still don’t have card machines and the nearest cash dispenser can be quite a drive away if you are in the countryside.

Check Out Local Events

kids boots for festival

There are lots of free events across the UK all year round so it’s worth looking at the local ‘What’s On’ pages before you visit.  You might find something quirky like a cheese rolling race or a fantastic farmer’s market to discover local produce.

Free Museums, Galleries and Parks

All over the country you will find free museums and parks to visit during your holiday.  London has some fantastic museums and galleries that are free to enter, but it’s pretty much the same across the country so make sure you do your research before your visit.

Make Wetherspoons Your Back Up Plan

Wetherspoons is a chain of pubs that you will pretty much find anywhere across the UK.  They serve food all day including breakfast and the drinks are the cheapest you’ll find anywhere.  If you are planning on staying in a hotel, see if you can find a Wetherspoon’s nearby as it might be cheaper to have breakfast here than at the hotel.  If you want to eat out, but don’t want to spend a fortune, a Wetherspoon’s pub is a good option.

Have you been on holiday in the UK?  What tips would you share with first time visitors?

* Travel statistics for the UK from https://www.visitbritain.org/

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Travel Tips and advice For Visiting The UK From A Local

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20 Comments

  1. Kayleigh Watkins
    November 23, 2017 / 5:58 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, the UK does have a lot to offer, I’m not surprised tourists return, these are great tips especially the be prepared for rain lol xxx

  2. Margaret Gallagher
    November 24, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    So much going on – as always good old WEATHERSPOONS ! There is always one everywhere we go

  3. Sidrah Ahmed
    November 25, 2017 / 12:47 am

    Lovely post a good read for anybody travelling to the UK

  4. November 25, 2017 / 11:03 am

    This is so funny (and accurate) to read as a Brit! “Do not jump the queue under any circumstances”- THE most important piece of advice! And I’d never actually clocked that I always bought petrol from supermarkets, it was just second nature. There are so many awesome places (we love Dorset) apart from London, they all deserve to be visited!

  5. November 30, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    There’s nothing worse than a queue jumper! Or those people who stand right behind you in a queue, that really bugs me, total invasion of my personal space!
    Clare recently posted…Christmas Gift Guide for HimMy Profile

  6. December 1, 2017 / 7:11 am

    Indeed such great compilations on what to do. Very well discussed and details were explained very well. Signing up on websites for deals for me is a great saving idea.
    Anosa recently posted…{Monthly Series} December 2017 GoalsMy Profile

  7. Jason Tolliss
    December 1, 2017 / 7:29 am

    Some great ideas, particularly the Wetherspoons one, we do have some great and beautiful places to go here in the UK.

  8. December 1, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    Ah, as a Brit, I loved reading this. It reminded me of all the things I love about my home country (especially as I don’t actually live in it!). Great tips!

  9. December 2, 2017 / 12:21 am

    Great ideas! Would have never thought about weatherspoons!

  10. December 7, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    LOVE this guide Zena and completely agree re not just visiting London. I used to say this to my American friends all the time. They would say they had ‘travelled around Europe’ when in fact all thay had done was visit London and taken a short visit to other popular cities in Europe -Rome, Venice etc. My number one tip would be to buy a good brolly!
    Lisa (Travel Loving Family) recently posted…Christmas gift ideas for kids who love to travelMy Profile

  11. December 8, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    Loved this list. Quite relevant to me as well as we have been away for so long! 😀 We went to Bury St Edmunds recently, and found the most beautiful pub in an old corn exchange. The roof was so gorgeous. Turned out to be a Wetherspoons! 😀

  12. December 10, 2017 / 9:39 pm

    Great selection of tips. Supermarket petrol stations are definitely much more reasonably priced and we love heading to the free museums in London too.

  13. December 10, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    This post makes me realise what lovely places we have to visit, see and do in the UK. Definitely agree with the footwear one, and the weather! Signing up to websites is definitely great for saving pennies and finding those deals.

  14. December 11, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Yes London us totally awesome but you’re right there is so much more to the U.K.!

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