Q: When is the best time of year to visit England?
A: This depends on what sort of holiday you want. Although the weather is gradually becoming more and more unpredictable, it can generally be established that winters are cold and wet and summers are warm. July and August are the warmest, driest months. March and May are warm and sunny with the odd shower, and September and October often experience balmy, humid days. Snow is most common during November and February. In terms of activities, summer is the best time in which to visit England as everything is generally open and available.
Q: What are the top 10 things I absolutely have to see and do in England?
A: While London itself is brimming with tourist attractions, the whole of England offers amazing things to see and do. Some of these include:
1. Buckingham Palace
2. Madame Tussauds
3. The London Dungeon
5. Shopping - Oxford, Regent and Bond streets
6. Westminster Abbey
7. Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament
8. Leicester Square
9. The Tower of London
10. The Lake District
Nelsons Column, Trafalgar Square, London.
Q: How do the tubes work?
A: The tubes (an underground railway system) provide extensive transportation and access. You are able to buy individual tickets from the ticketing office at the time, or an Oyster Card, which has a specific value. You may swipe the card until you have reached the value of its monetary contents. There are various timetables available on the internet as well as booklets available at the stations. There is also clear signage, so that you are able to ascertain which train to take to reach a specific destination. Hefty fines are incurred if you are found on the tubes without a valid ticket.
Q: What should I tip?
A: At most restaurants, a 10% tip is considered normal. In more up-market establishments, this should be increased to 12 or 15%, depending on the level of the service. However, if your service was unsatisfactory, it is well within your rights to refuse to tip, even if it has been added to the bill when you receive it. Bar staff (in a pub, bar or club, for example) do not expect tips, while taxi drivers usually receive about 10%.
Q: Do I need to get any vaccinations before going to England?
A: No, vaccinations are not necessary. However, insect repellent may be required in more rural areas (for mosquitoes, etc...).
Q: Is travel insurance really that important?
A: Yes, this type of insurance is highly recommended. This will put your mind at ease and is a small price to pay for medical care in case of an emergency.
Q: Why is Mary I called 'Bloody Mary'?
A: During the reign of Queen Mary I, hundreds of Protestants were burned as heretics (persons holding their own religious views despite fierce opposition). All this bloodshed earned her the name 'Bloody Mary'.
Q: Where are the best places to go shopping in London?
A: The following places offer visitors and locals a fabulous variety:
• Oxford Street – home to some of the largest department stores and the head offices of popular chain stores.
• Regent Street
• Bond Street
• Camden Market – definitely more bearable during the week than on weekends.
• Clerkenwell, Shoreditch & Spitalfields – London’s trendiest spot for shopaholics, ideal for those looking for unique items.
• Covent Garden – hip fashion and modern chain stores converge. Be sure to explore all the side streets for possible bargains.
• High Street Kensington
• King’s Road – brimming with household pieces.
• Knightsbridge – boasting Harrods and Harvey Nichols, amongst other must-sees.
• Marylebone High Street – some of the best foods in the country are available for sampling here.
Q: Can I visit England on a budget?
A: England is an expensive destination. It is especially the tourist-related industries that hike their costs (such as accommodation, transport and attractions). However, with planning, forethought and, possibly, some England-based contacts, there are certainly opportunities to cut costs. Keep your eyes and ears open for special offers, discounts, coupons and competitions. London is particularly expensive, while areas further afield tend to be cheaper.
Q: Is England safe?
A: Although the centre of London may not be the safest place, particularly at night, the rest of England is particularly safe. However, this does not mean that caution should not be exercised. Try to stay within or near large groups of people, do not go to remote areas alone, do not give lifts to people you do not know, watch your luggage at all times and be alert to the goings on around you.