A lot of people don’t realise how big the UK is or how different British culture is to the rest of the world. You’ll probably get lost in the number of UK travel guides giving differing advice on how to get around or what to pack. If you’re planning a UK tour and aren’t sure where to start planning or what to bring, here are our most helpful tips so you can make the most of your time here.
Let’s face it, you’re not in the UK to enjoy the weather and we’re just as likely to get rain in July as November. Traveling off peak (Oct-Mar) means you are likely to get better rates on flights and accommodation. It also means there are fewer tourists in town, so you’ll get better service and more personalized attention.
If you’re planning a UK tour, flying into low-cost airports will save you a lot of money. Avoid central hotels like London City and Gatwick which are usually very overpriced. Birmingham Airport has all of the usual amenities, restaurants, and shops you would expect but get here on a low-cost airline is much cheaper.
Stay away from large hotel chains and overpriced 5-star hotels. You’re not here to enjoy the inside of the bedroom. Explore alternative options like serviced apartments that offer much better value for money with the same standard of luxury.
Always book direct
Very importantly, if you’re looking for the very best deal on your accommodation, remember to always book directly with the property. Cut out the middleman and use the official website to avail of special offers that aren’t available elsewhere.
What to Pack
Don’t be too optimistic about the weather, even if you’re visiting during the summer months. Bring waterproof shoes, a roll-up raincoat, a couple of warm layers and always carry an umbrella – just in case!
Plugs in the UK and Ireland are different from the rest of Europe so depending on where you’re traveling from, you’ll need to bring a plug adaptor. Get one with a surge protector as our voltage is a lot higher than the US and it could cause damage to your appliances.
You’ll notice throughout your UK travel that most of the museums and galleries in the major cities are free of charge. Check local guides for an idea on what you definitely shouldn’t miss. A favorite of ours is the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery which has a very impressive collection.
Book in advance, ask for discounts
If you have some paid attractions in mind (Cadbury Factory springs to mind!) make sure to book in advance. There are often discounts for booking in advance, as a group or for students & OAPs so make sure to check before you buy.
Take advantage of special offers like student meals and shop around for good early bird offers if you’re on a budget. Restaurants usually offer a limited set menu for a discounted cost if you dine between 4-7pm which will save you a fortune.
If you book alternative accommodation like a serviced apartment in Birmingham, you’ll have access to a fully equipped kitchen. This is ideal for those traveling with families, fussy eaters and those with specific dietary requirements. It also means you have a lot more space to spread out and relax with a dedicated living area as standard.
Try some traditional foods
While our traditional food isn’t very exotic, it’s well-known around the world. Try some fish & chips, a Sunday roast and delicious beef and ale pie while you’re here. Also, did you know chicken tikka was reportedly invented in Glasgow by a Pakistani Chef? Technically we can claim that as one of our own!
Tipping in restaurants is not mandatory but is appreciated. Unlike our US counterparts, our wait staff are paid relatively well and do not rely on tips to supplement their income. 10% of the final bill is the ‘expected’ tip, or more if you feel the service was excellent.
It wouldn’t be a UK Tour without a stop in the land of the Brummies’ and if you’re looking for your ideal Birmingham accommodation, PREMIER SUITES have you covered. Our serviced apartments are in an ideal location in the city and we offer fantastic special offers when you book direct.