The electrical current in the UK is 230 volts, 50Hz.
Flat three-pin plugs are standard.
English is the official language, though visitors will be
astonished by the variety of regional accents.
Tips of 10 to 15% are expected in restaurants and upmarket
hotels in the UK if a service charge hasn't been included. Hotel
service staff receive an optional amount. Taxi drivers are usually
given 10 to 15% of the fare. Other services are discretionary.
It is generally safe to travel throughout the UK, although
travellers are advised to take special care of their personal
belongings in central London, where pick-pocketing is often
reported. There is a risk of international terrorism and security
has been increased at transport hubs throughout the country.
Security at all UK airports has been tightened and increased
restrictions on hand luggage have been introduced.
Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone new. Smoking
is banned in all enclosed public spaces, including pubs and
restaurants, and on public transport. The ban is also in effect in
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is a strict etiquette
on escalators - stand on the right, walk on the left. Visitors will
find Londoners more rushed and less friendly than Brits in other
parts of the country, particularly on London transport where
tourists are generally the only people who talk.
The international country dialling code for UK is +44. The
outgoing code is 00, or 048 for Northern Ireland, followed by the
relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States). There are a
wide range of city/area codes in use. Mobile phones work throughout
the country; the network operators use GSM 1800 networks, which may
not be compatible with some dual-band US cell phones. Internet
cafes are available in major towns and cities, train stations and
When arriving from a non-EU country, travellers can bring the
following goods into the UK tax or duty free: 200 cigarettes, 100
cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 4 litres of still table
wine, 16 litres of beer, 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs or 2
litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other alcoholic
beverages of less than 22 per cent volume, £340 worth of all other
goods including perfume and souvenirs. When travelling from another
EU country to the UK visitors do not have to pay tax or duty on
goods purchased in said EU country provided tax was included in the
purchase price, the items are for personal use and have been
transported to the UK by the visitor, and do not exceed 3200
cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, 3 kg of smoking tobacco,
110 litres of beer, 10 litres of spirits, 90 litres of wine and 20
litres of fortified wine. Note that although Gibraltar is part of
the EU, it is outside the Community Customs territory and
allowances for outside the EU therefore apply. In the case of
Cyprus, only goods under the effective control of the Government of
the Republic of Cyprus are treated as EU imports.