Taking a long trip to the United Kingdom can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but before you go, there are a few things you need to go. Beyond checking visa requirements and deciding which airline to take and all the other basic requirements that don't change from trip to trip, there are some things that you should be aware of that are unique to the UK. Here are just a few things you'll need to pay attention to.
What to See
The UK is dense with sites to see, and many of the best ones are small or unknown. The biggest sites are often the most crowded, but sometimes the best are easily overlooked. Whether you're visiting a historical site like the Tower of London or looking for a small local gem of a pub or even barbers Eastbourne, there's plenty to see and no way to see everything. For example, the British Museum has over 100,000 artifacts from Ancient Egypt, but just around the corner is the Petrie Museum, which has 80,000 more, in a smaller space with far fewer tourists. Pick out the things you most want to see but keep a list of backup sites in your pocket, in case you have the time.
How to Get There
There's more to traveling through the UK than just driving on the wrong side of the road. Parking can be expensive or completely impossible, gas -- or rather, petrol -- is much pricier and the roads are often either packed with traffic or terrifyingly narrow. It is sometimes easier and often much less stressful to take a bus or a train than to drive yourself. Look at travel cards and timetables to see how best to get where you want to go. Remember to look at public transportation and parking before you book a hotel or vacation home.
Where to Stay
Odds are, for a longer stay, you'll want to have your own kitchen. There are many options for vacation rentals and many websites where you can check reviews and amenities before booking. Once you've narrowed down locations and checked for public transport and parking options, you can start to really narrow the field. Remember to check for other amenities: dryers and dishwashers are not as common in the UK as they are in the US. When you're looking at a month long stay, you really don't want to be stuck dragging all your laundry to the laundromat, or packing an entire month's worth of clothes.
What to Say (and What Not to Say!)
Perhaps you're thinking about a longer stay in England because you already speak the language. You think it'll be easier, right? Wrong. Aside from the accent, certain words are used differently in the UK than they are in the US. "Gas" and "petrol" were mentioned earlier, but a more embarrassing one is "pants." What Americans call "pants" a Brit would call "trousers." When British people say "pants" they always mean "underwear." Another thing to watch for is the name of the country itself. If you're in Edinburgh, for example, a local person would probably be fine if you called them "British" but if you mistakenly refer to them as "English" prepare to get an earful. People from Edinburgh are Scottish, not English.
Why the UK?
Whether you want to hike through the countryside, visit a historic site, see a museum, go shopping or enjoy the local cuisine, there's something for everyone. If you pick the right spot, you can even get all five within walking distance. You can see everything from Ancient Roman ruins to modern marvels, all in the same city. Know exactly what you want to see and why, or you'll end up overwhelmed.
The United Kingdom is a very popular travel destination, and with good reason. It's got an incredibly long history, and it's always been extremely multicultural. Even if you're there for a whole month, there's no way you'll be able to see everything the UK has to offer.