You can change cash and traveller's cheques at British Banks, Building Societies, larger Post Offices, Travel Agents, some Tourist Information Centres, American Express, and Bureaux de Change. ATMs are the bets way to change money, they have very little fees rather than travellers checks. ATMs are also connected to the major networks at airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick. You'll usually get a better exchange rate by withdrawing money at an ATM, but take care because your bank may charge a fee for using a foreign ATM. You may also need a different PIN to use overseas ATMs. You will need to call your bank to check and get a new PIN if needed before you go.
The high cost of travelling basics such as transport, accommodation and food means that you will spend at least £50 per day as a budget traveller. This figure climbs higher if you want to use taxis, 3 star hotels, and eat in restaurants.
London and the South East can be up to three times as expensive as other parts of the country.
Although shopping in the UK can be expensive, it is generally regarded as a world-class destination for shoppers both in terms of variety and quality of products, depending on where and what you buy. Fierce competition has brought prices down considerably in the food, clothing and electronic sectors. Prices do vary and it is always worth visiting the various retail stores as bargains can often be found. Avoid buying from the tourist areas and stick to the High Street shops or the many 'out-of-town' retail parks where prices will be considerably cheaper. The retail market in the UK is a very competitive one and many bargains are to be had all year round. In the electronics sector, for example, it is becoming more and more common to ask for a price reduction at time of purchase.
Many restaurants in city centres tend to be a little more expensive than ones in the suburbs, and pubs do tend to be slightly more expensive in the countryside, but generally, a three-course meal without drinks will cost the traveller anywhere between £10 and £15. Chicken tikka masala with rice is sometimes claimed as the UK's most popular dish, though roast beef is a more traditional national dish.
Larger towns have a range of restaurants to suit most tastes and you will find a very broad range of different cuisines, including Indian, Chinese, Thai, French and Italian. Waiters generally expect a 10% tip (but all too often do not get it from the native population) and in some places this is automatically listed on your bill. However, if you are dissatisfied with the service in any way, you are under no obligation to pay the service charge. Generally British people are not great tippers. As a visitor the 10% rule is more than generous and worth sticking to. Visitors from The US and Canada are seen as very generous tippers and even a bit of a soft touch by some.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland In the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous (regional) languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, the UK's official name is as follows:
- Rywvaneth Unys Breten Veur ha Kledhbarth Iwerdhon;
- Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Thuaisceart Éireann;
- Unitit Kinrick o Great Breetain an Northren Irland;
- Ulster-Scots: Unitet Kängdom o Great Brittain an Norlin Airlann ;
- Rìoghachd Aonaichte na Breatainne Mòire is Èireann a Tuath;
- Teyrnas Unedig Prydain Fawr a Gogledd Iwerddon (commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain) is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state — the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea.
The United Kingdom is a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system, with its seat of government in the capital city of London. It is a country in its own right and consists of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are three devolved national administrations, each with varying powers, situated in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh; the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively. Associated with the UK, but not constitutionally part of it, are three Crown Dependencies and fourteen overseas territories. These are remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in 1922, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land surface and was the largest empire in history. British influence can still be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former territories.
The UK is a developed country and has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and seventh-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power with leading economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence. It is a recognised nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks third or fourth in the world. The UK has been a a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946; it is also a member state of the European Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the G20, the OECD, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, and NATO.
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