We hope the following information will be useful to you in preparing for and during your trip.
Climate and wearing apparel: England has a temperate maritime climate with mild summers and cold and wet winters due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, it is always a good idea to carry a raincoat or an umbrella. Temperatures do cool down considerably in the evenings. In spring (from March to May) temperatures range from 48F to 58F during the day and there is still possibility of snow. We suggest sweaters, medium-weight wind proof jackets and waterproof shoes. In summer (between June and August), temperatures range from 62F to 77F during the day. We suggest medium-weight apparel during the day and light jackets for the evenings. In fall (from September to November), temperatures range from 50F to 63F during the day. We suggest medium-weight apparel, with sweater and waterproof jacket and shoes. In winter (from December to February), snow is an annual event with quantities ranging over different regions. Temperatures range from 43F to 32F during the day. We suggest heavy-weight apparel, with warm jackets and hats. Scarves and gloves may be useful accessories as well.
Cuisine: English food is known to be hearty, simple and delicious. The influence of foreign invaders as well as colonial outposts in history can be seen by the variety of ingredients commonly used today from cinnamon, saffron, mace, nutmeg to ginger, tea and curry. Best known national dishes are roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and fish and chips. English believe in four meals with emphasis on “English breakfast” constituting of fish, bacon, eggs, toast and marmalade.
Currency: The official currency is pound sterling (£). You will find coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 pence, £1, £2, and paper bills of £5, £10, £20, £50. Please visit Bloomberg’s website for the current exchange rate. Credit cards are accepted at the hotels, stores and restaurants. If you intend to use your bank card, consult with your bank before departure to ensure that your ATM card is internationally compatible.
Dress code: Casual, comfortable and waterproof are keywords especially in footwear as there will be a lot of walking to do. Please note that to be allowed to enter many religious sites, shoulders have to be covered and shorts or skirts are required to cover the knees. A scarf to cover exposed shoulders may be used when entering a church.
Hairdryers/Irons: Please note that the hotels are equipped with hair dryers. Irons/ironing boards are not provided.
Itinerary: Exact departure times can be found on the bulletin board that your tour leader will post each day, at your hotel.
Flights: Enclosed with your final documents, you will find a detailed flight itinerary. Please note that you will not receive an actual flight ticket, but an e-ticket receipt. All flight tickets are electronic, and you will receive your boarding pass after checking in with your passport at the airport. Check-in time varies from carrier to carrier. We suggest to check-in at least two hours prior to departure.
Hotels: You will find the name/address/phone of your hotels, following your tour itinerary, in your final documents. Hotel rooms are available for check-in after 2:00 pm. Check out time is usually at 12:00 pm.
Insurance: England has a universal healthcare system. Anyone requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization will be accepted in public hospitals. We suggest checking personal insurance coverage while traveling abroad.
Linen: General bed and bath linen are provided in your hotels. However, you will not find washcloths, as it is not customary.
Luggage: Baggage allowance on flights is one piece of checked luggage with a maximum weight of 50 lbs. with linear dimensions (W+H+D) not to exceed 62 inches. The carry-on weight limitation is 40 lbs. with linear dimensions not to exceed 45 inches. In addition to the carry-on, you may bring with you a personal item such as a purse, briefcase or laptop computer. Cellular phones may be carried on board. You will find a travel bag included in your final documents of a convenient size for your personal items. For more information about U.S. carry-on baggage restrictions please read the complete details on the U.S. government airport regulations website, www.tsa.gov.
Mail: In England, you can buy stamps not only at the post-office but also at some souvenir kiosks and newspaper shops.
Medical: No special vaccinations are required for travel to Europe. Anyone taking prescription medicine should be careful to bring an adequate supply for the entire trip and should remember not to pack it in check-in luggage. It is advised to leave it in the original container.
Passport and Visa: All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport, with an expiration date of no less than six months from the date of return. A visa is not required to enter England for U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens must check requirements with their respective consulate.
Phones: It is possible to make calls from your hotels with a service charge. Remember when you call the States to dial 001 followed by the area code and phone number you are trying to reach. You can also utilize your calling card. Check with your calling card company to obtain toll-free numbers to call from England and further instructions.
Shopping: The most popular goods in England include China, Royal souvenirs and designer clothing. London is the shopper’s heaven. From the luxury department stores on Knightsbridge such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols, or the ultimate shopping paradise of Oxford Street with 300 shops and restaurants, to the charming, vintage street markets of Notting Hill.
Time difference: England is 5, 6 and 8 hours ahead of Eastern, Central, and Pacific Time, respectively.
Tips: General tips to porters at the hotel and waiters at the restaurants are included. When eating at restaurants on your own, a 10% tip is customary. What is not included is the tip to guides, tour leader and driver. The suggested tip is $1.00 – $2.00 for each half day service for the guide, $2.00-$3.00 per person per day for the driver and $4.00 – $5.00 per person per day for the tour leader.
Transportation: When taking public transportation, please be sure to put anything valuable in a safe place, out of reach of pickpockets that thrive in any large, tourist-filled city. You may wish to make a copy of your passport to have with you and leave the original at the hotel. Only black cabs can be hailed in the street. If the yellow “TAXI” sign is on, the cab is available for hire. Fares are metered and there is a minimum £2.60 charge. All black cabs accept payment by credit card. Minicabs can be a cheaper alternative, however, ask prices before boarding as they are not on a meter. Be sure to book with a licensed minicab with a Transport for London license.
Voltage: The voltage is 240. England also has a distinct plug type. Appliances you bring should have dual voltage and be equipped with the adapter from the two flat prongs to three flat ones. It would be beneficial to purchase this adapter before leaving the U.S