Things Everyone Should Know Before Visiting Britain – A Brief Guide

Are you planning to visit Great Britain? Leisure travel or business, regardless of the reason you have to visit Britain, there are always some basic things everyone should know before visiting Britain.

Great Britain is a place, where people from different places have different accents, different lifestyles, and many other diversities. If you want to blend in, you need to know the destination and its people.

In this article, I will try to cover different aspects of Britain in a brief. Keep this guidebook handy while visiting Britain, it will help you to move around easily.

They say, “when in Rome, be a Roman”, I say, “be a British when you are in Britain, but don’t get confused with being an English person”.

Geographical information on Great Britain

Great Britain, the political segment of the United Kingdom, consists of three islands- England, Scotland, and Wales. So, no matter how tempted you are to call the localities “English people”, refrain from doing so. The Scottish men are proud people from the highlands, whereas, the people from England take pride in being called “English”. You don’t want to mess it up there.

The geography also helps in moving around in the foreign land. Even if you are here on business, you need to take a day or two off and escape to the countryside to enjoy the beauty of nature over here. The geography or location of the attractions helps in planning the tour well.

Climatic conditions at Great Britain

The British people enjoy a temperate climate throughout the year in post its parts. Majorly, summers are wet and warm and the winters are characterized by wet and cool weather. No matter where you go in Britain, the rain will follow you throughout the year. However, the climatic condition is variable here, it can rain any time of the day. The highlands of Scotland are always windy and damp. London on the contrary enjoys dry weather most of the time of the year.

So, a few things you need to remember to carry while you are in Britain to adapt to the weather here-

  • Carry an umbrella at all times, as it can pour any time of the day.
  • If you are in the Scotland area, don’t forget to carry a wind-cheater and raincoat. You will need both over there.
  • Long coats are a mandate in winter or else you can freeze on the road.
  • If you are traveling with a kid to the highlands, always carry thermals. Highlands are cold, breezy, and damp. Kids are likely to catch a cold here.

Travel guide to follow when in Britain

If you are here on business, you might not require all the travel guides. But the Britrail guide helps you to track the train schedules and their prices. Even you purchase the tickets or passes online. Some common travel tips for you that make the journey smoother

  1. Refer to the Britrail website for the train schedules, passes, tickets, and fares
  2. City maps, district-wise destination information, and information on must-visit sites from the British Tourism Board.
  3. When in the metropolitan cities like London or Manchester, know your options for mode of transportation. the traditional London Black Cabs are the cheapest mode of transport here aside from the buses.
  4. Every major city in Britain has Hop-on-Hop-Off bus services. If you are on a city tour, you might want to get a pass for one of these.

That’s the brief of the tourism things everyone should know before visiting Britain. If you want further information, you can always check the Tourism website to understand the destination better.

The people and the cultural things everyone should know before visiting Britain

I mentioned this before that British people are a proud race. though the different region has its own culture, they are proud of it collectively or as an individual. After all, Great Britain has a rich history. The people, their social norms, and cultures are all very unique. If you are clueless about the social norms here, you need to take a step back and learn it all before visiting the country.

A few things about the people here and their gestures that you want to know-

  • British people are highly punctual. If you are late at a party, it is considered rude.
  • Avoid mentioning terms like “English people” to every person you meet. There are Scottish and Welsh people out here as well. They might take it as an offense.
  • British people don’t appreciate skipping lines or queues. Seek permission from the person ahead of you if you have to skip the line.
  • While speaking in the public maintain a distance of one-arm between you and your listener.
  • When you enter a room, make sure to hold out the door to the person you are accompanying, especially if it’s a female.
  • Britishers commonly use phrases like “Thank you”, “Please”, “I am sorry”, or similar while conversing.
  • When you meet known people in Britain, the greetings are never over with a simple handshake. Especially, if you are meeting a lady, you are expected to exchange small kisses, like a peck on the cheek.
  • Britishers respect disabled and elderly people, you might want to follow that.
  • If you are invited to someone’s home at a party, say your office colleague’s dinner, don’t forget to get a gift. It’s mandatory to reciprocate to an invitation with a gift.

The Language that Britishers speak

If you are visiting Britain, normally, you are under the impression that English is the sole language spoken there. True, 98% of the Britishers use English as their mother tongue. But there are other native languages in Britain that have been in use for centuries. While English is the national official language spoken in Britain, these are the native ones-

  • Scot and Gaelic are the languages from Scotland
  • Welsh is the language used in Wales
  • The Cornwall region of England uses the Cornish language

There is a vast linguistic diversity in Britain. Individual areas of Great Britain come with their own accents and dialects. However, tourists needn’t worry much about the language barrier over here. After all, everybody speaks English in the country, even if they have different accents and gestures to express themselves.

Business Etiquettes- one of the major things everyone should know before visiting Britain

As discussed before, the Britishers value their culture and take pride in it. This applies to the business and works field as well. If you are here on business purpose, you need to respect that culture and follow the general etiquettes expected of you-

  1. Punctuality is the primary requirement for every business meeting.
  2. You are expected to be courteous to your colleagues and business partners. Never cut a line and always use polite phrases when at work.
  3. Formality is essential here. You need to be cautious about addressing people according to their hierarchy in the business or with proper titles.
  4. When you go for a business meeting be sure to wear formal and traditional business attire. Britishers are conservative and very particular about having traditional formal clothing and color choices in office. Neutral or dark colors are appreciated at work.
  5. Don’t address people directly without introducing yourself. People expect you to start by cold calling and slowly express your vision.
  6. Practice formal greeting methods at work. Using slang to address people is not appreciated out here.
  7. Honor the personal space of people around you. Nobody likes a nosy person in the office. Also, whenever you shade hands, ensure its firm and short, and never keep eye contact for very long.
  8. You might want to avoid gestures that can cause insult accidentally.

Going around in Britain

We already know the transportation system that is widely used here. There are a few other things that will cross your path while you are in Britain. You need to remember them well to go around-

  • Britishers drive on the left-hand side of the road. You need to stick to the correct side of the road to catch a vehicle here.
  • In England, the metro or subway is called “Tube”. The tube is the easiest and fastest way to get around busy cities like London.
  • The elevator is called the “Lift” out here. So if someone asks you to take the lift, don’t expect a shared car waiting for you.
  • Beware of the floor numbering. In Britain, the ground floor is considered as “floor zero”, unlike the USA, where they consider it as the 1st floor.

British Food

Visiting Britain and not trying the delicacies here is like a crime. The food here is the ultimate blend of all the major cultures of Britain. The names are really odd. You can barely make out the dishes by listening to the names. Some gourmet delights that you must try when you are here on business or leisure-

  • Fish and Chips
  • Yorkshire pudding along with roasted meat
  • Scotch Eggs
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Welsh rarebit

A common food item from Britain that is famous worldwide is the Full English Breakfast, consisting of toasts, has brown, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, black pudding, eggs to order, bakes beans, bacon, and sausages.

Mouth watering, isn’t it?

Things to remember

There are plenty of things everyone should know before visiting Britain. You can’t possibly know all of them in a go.

This article will provide you brief guidance on social norms, gestures, business etiquettes, and food.

All of them combined will make your visit to Britain a pleasant one.