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United Kingdom

3,871 bytes added, 11:34, 3 February 2013
Regional specialities
====From [[The Netherlands]]====
Multiple daily connections from Dutch cities are possible via [[Brussels]] and the Eurostar to London. It can be cheaper (and more flexible) to book an 'Any Dutch station' Eurostar ticket that permits connection to/from any Dutch station provided the itinerary doesn't use the more expensive Thalys or ICE services.
Combined train and ferry tickets are available to travellers from stations in the Netherlands to train stations in [[East Anglia]], [[Essex (England)|Essex]] and [[London/East|East London]]. This service may be a useful alternative to Eurostar for travellers from Northern Europe, or for those wishing to travel to [[East Anglia]]. The interchange between the ferry terminal and the train station at both ports is very simple and user friendly. Express trains from [[Harwich International]] are timed to meet the ferry and allow a simple transfer to [[London Liverpool Street]]. The Dutch Flyer website [] gives prices only for tickets purchased in Great Britain; it does, however, give timetable information. Stena's Dutch language website [] allows booking of tickets for journeys starting from the Netherlands.
A car will get you pretty much anywhere in the UK. Parking is a problem in large cities, and especially in London, can be very expensive. Petrol (gasoline) is heavily taxed and therefore expensive, currently at around £1.34 per litre[] ''(around US $2.05 per litre, or $7.76 per gallon)''. The cheapest fuel is usually available at supermarkets. Branches of Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Asda tend to have fuel stations in their car parks, which are often cheaper than the big name fuel stations like Esso/Exxon, Shell and BP.
Like in the U.S. but unlike the rest of the world, the UK continues to use the imperial system (i.e. the old Roman system) but only for road signage though many height and width signage is now in metric as well and all weight signage is in tonnes, plus all motorways now have locator indicators in kilometres situated at intervals of 500 m. Therefore distance signage is indicated in miles, while speed limits are indicated in mph. However, the Although some distances are ''appear'' to based on kilometres - e.g. 1/3 mile is 500 m, 2/3 mile is 1 km, 1/2 mile 330 yds is 800 m300m - the current government has no interest in metricating the roads, meaning that visitors need to gain some understanding of imperial distances and speed limits, or at least a good idea of what they correspond to in metric units.
There are no tolls on any roads with the exception of a few large bridges/tunnels, and one motorway in the Midlands []). There is a levy (congestion charge) of £8 is payable for driving in central London.
Although most if not all visitors will probably visit [[London]] at some point, it is well worth getting out of the capital to get a real taste of the region and important to not forget the diversity one can find in barely 50 miles.
Whether it's the countryside, coastalcoast, historic towns or vibrant cities you are after, there's something for everyone.
For some of the best countryside , head for the National Parks such as the [[Yorkshire Dales]] or [[Dartmoor]], perhaps on a day trip or a longer stay.
For coastal there The coasts are either varied and interesting with pretty beaches at places such as [[St Ives]], traditional fishing towns like [[Whitby]] or seaside resorts such as [[Blackpool]] and [[Bournemouth]].
For historic towns there are a wide range from Many of the cityscapes that were not destroyed by the Luftwaffe have suffered the urban blight of multi-storey car parks and the sort of insensitive shopping mall developments that Prince Charles moans about, but some cities have managed to preserve their heritage relatively intact, such as [[Edinburgh]] and Cardiff and their castles, to [[Chester]], [[Bath]] and [[York]] and their Roman history.
For vibrant cities why not Shoppers looking beyond the capital may want to head to [[LeedsManchester]] in the North for shopping, museums, theatre and day trips to the [[Yorkshire Dales]], [[Bristol]] and [[Exeter]] in the West or [[Glasgow]] in [[Scotland]].
Many restaurants in city centres tend to be a little more expensive than ones in the suburbs, and pubs do tend to be slightly more expensive in the countryside, but generally, a three-course meal without drinks will cost the traveller anywhere between £10 and £25. Chicken tikka masala with rice is sometimes claimed as the UK's most popular dish, though roast beef is a more traditional national dish.
If all else fails decent picnic foods such as sandwiches, cakes, crisps, fresh fruit, cheeses and drinks are readily available at supermarkets. Street markets are a good place to pick up fresh fruit and local cheeses at bargain prices. Bakeries (eg Greggs) and supermarkets ( eg Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda) usually sell a good selection of pre-packed sandwiches, pasties and cakes along with a range of soft drinks, juices and mineral waters. In addition, most chemists and newsagents will have a basic supply of pre-packaged sandwiches and bottled drinks. However, it is worth looking out for independent sandwich bars and bakers, as the quality of the food and value for money that they provide is often far superior to the pre-packaged food stocked by national chains, which is often bland and tasteless.
Many large shops, especially department stores, will have a coffee shop or restaurant. British tolerance for poor quality coffee has lowered significantly in recent years, and it is not hard to find good quality coffee these days.
Smoking is now banned in ''all'' restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs - there are no exceptions. However some establishments have provided 'smoking areas' and smoking is allowed in the gardens/terraces outside pubs and restaurants unless otherwise stated.
Hotel breakfasts may reinforce the stereotype about The British cooking-one London's establishment's idea breakfast generally consists of a morning meal was either cereal and toast with preserves or a fried breakfast of egg served with asparagus!, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread. The latter is known as a "full English/Scottish/Welsh breakfast", depending on where you are, or simply a "fry-up". In Northern Ireland it may be referred to as an "Ulster Fry". The Scottish variant may include haggis, and black or white pudding is sometimes included especially in the North. Larger hotels may also offer croissants, pastries, porridge or kippers for breakfast. Some very large hotels will also provide an international selection including cold meat, cheese, boiled eggs and a variety of different kinds of bread.
===Fish and chips===
Children are not necessarily allowed in all pubs and restaurants unless a lounge area is provided, and high chairs are not always available. British pubs and restaurants are subject to complex licensing laws and it is illegal for children under 16 to enter licenced premises unless accompanied by an adult. Under 18s may not purchase or consume alcohol, and it is an offence for them to do so. It is also an offence to serve them or for an adult to buy drinks for a minor. An exception is that 16-17 year olds may consume beer, wine or cider with a meal. Licensees have discretion as to whether or not to allow children into their premises. Most pubs that serve food will accept children, and it is usually easy to distinguish those that do. The general rule is that children cannot sit or stand about in the area where drinks are being served; so . So if the pub has only one small room, they are often not allowed.  Children are permitted in most drinks-only pubs, especially those with gardens, but again, they are not supposed to come near the bar. To be safe, ask an employee or telephone the place in advance.
===Regional specialities===
*'''Laverbread''' - a puree made from seaweed, rolled in oatmeal, lightly fried and generally served with bacon rashers, though can be prepared as a vegetarian dish. Available in [[Swansea]] and [[Wales|West Wales]].
*'''Oatcakes''' - this speciality of [[Stoke-on-Trent]], North [[Staffordshire]] and [[Derbyshire]] is a large, floppy, oat-based pancake, eaten hot, in place of bread at breakfast time, or with a savoury filling. Not to be confused with the Scottish oatcake, a sort of biscuit.
*'''Pastie''' - recipes vary, but generally a pasty is minced pork with onions, potato and spices, shaped into a thick disc, covered with batter and deep fried. Pasties are unique to Northern Ireland and well worth trying from a Fish & Chip shop. Around [[Kingston_upon_Hull]], a slice of potato battered and fried.
*'''Pork pie''' - a pie made of pork, with an outer of a particularly crispy sort of pastry. Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire is their spiritual home but they are available across the country. They are served cold or room temperature as part of a cold meal.
*'''Potato Bread''' - a mixture of potatoes, salt, butter and flour. A speciality of [[Northern Ireland]] which, alongside Sodabread forms one of the main ingredients of an 'Ulster Fry'. Similar to, but not quite the same as potato bread, are '''Potato Cakes''' as sold in [[England]] and '''Tattie Scones''' in [[Scotland]].
Across the whole of the United Kingdom there is now a blanket ban on smoking inside pubs and restaurants, though many pubs have areas outside, often known as "beer gardens", where smoking is (usually, but not always) permissible. However if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to be able to stay after the formal closing hours this is called a "lock-in" and smoking may be ok if the pub landlord allows it. This will often occur only in the later hours after 11PM and these lock-ins can last any amount of time. As they are classed as a private party, they happen in only a few pubs, and often only pubs with more regular customers, although this is not always the case. Once at a lock-in, you cannot leave and come back in again.
British '''real ales''', championed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) [], are amongst the best in the world - though people used to colder, blander, fizzier beers may find that the taste needs to be acquired. People looking for real ale will need to select the right pubs, because although a wide range of pubs serve one or two real ales, only a "real ale pub" will have a wide selection. British ale has a limited shelf life compared to most foreign beers, and as some pubs have only a "token" cask with low turnover, it's often well past its prime and has a strange vinegary taste: often, unfortunately, people's first and understandably only experience with "real ale". If you do receive an 'off' pint, ask for a replacement at the bar, which will usually be forthcoming.
British ale has a limited shelf life compared to most foreign beers, and as some pubs have only a "token" cask with low turnover, it's often well past its prime and has a strange vinegary taste: often, unfortunately, people's first and understandably only experience with "real ale". If you do receive an 'off' pint, ask for a replacement at the bar, which will usually be forthcoming. The phrase "free house" was usually the main indicator for people looking for a good choice of beer, because this indicated that the pub was not owned by a particular brewery and served whatever beer its landlord thought would appeal to their customers. However, this is no longer a significant factor, because most national pub chains are now owned by large conglomerates who deal centrally with brewers and serve the same mass-market brands in all their pubs: these conglomerates (not being breweries) can still call their pubs "free houses".  If you want to be certain of the quality of the real ale in a pub, look out for a "Cask Marque" plaque outside the pub. This is a stringent quality standard, and you can be sure that any pub displaying this plaque will serve good quality ale. Pubs serving a wide variety of real ales will usually be willing to pour small quantities for you to try before you decide to buy, so feel free to ask if you can taste the beer first. '''Cider''' is available in most pubs, and is usually clear and sparkling. In the West Country, especially Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, a still, cloudy cider known as "scrumpy" is often available. Proper scrumpy will come from a wooden barrel, rather than the metal kegs used to serve the more common variation.  Scrumpy is often exceedingly strong, but is deceptively easy to drink. Thus it is easy to inadvertently consume large quantities of scrumpy, which can quickly rob the unwary of the power of speech and interfere with co-ordination, balance and fine motor skills. It should be approached with extreme caution. Scrumpy can also be bought very cheaply direct from cider farms, so if you are travelling in the West Country, look out for signs advertising cider or scrumpy for sale. The person selling you the scrumpy may be difficult to understand, because of their regional accent and due to the effects of long-term scrumpy consumption. But don't worry - most British people can't understand them either.
British people usually follow a kind of unwritten code of conduct when in pubs, though types of venue can vary dramatically, ranging from a 'local' pub, usually a quiet place consisting of one or two rooms, to a chain pub such as J.D. Wetherspoons which are very large rooms capable of holding hundreds of people.
Many pubs are very old and have traditional names, such as the "Red Lion" or "King's Arms"; before widespread literacy, pubs would be identified by most customers solely by their signs. Recently there has been a trend, strongly resisted in some quarters, towards chain-pubs such as the Hogshead, Slug and Lettuce and those owned by the JD Wetherspoon company. Another recent trend is the '''''gastro pub''''', a smartened-up traditional pub with a selection of high-quality food (nearly at restaurant prices).
Beer and cider in pubs is served in '''pint''' and '''half-pint''' measures, or in bottles. A pint is slightly more than half a litre (568ml to be precise). Simply ordering a beer on tap will be interpreted as a request for a pint, e.g. 'a lager, please'. Alternatively 'half a lager, please' will get you a half-pint. If you ask for a "half-pint of lager" in a noisy pub, you will almost certainly get a pint, because no-one asks for a "half-pint" and the bar person will have thought you said "I'll have a pint of lager, please". Prices vary widely based on the city, the pub and the beer, but generally pints will be in the range £3 to £4.
Spirits and shorts are normally 25 ml although some pubs use a standard 35ml measure, in all cases it will be clearly indicated on the optic, in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, the standard measure is a 35ml measure. A ''dram'' in Scotland was traditionally a quarter of a gill measure now 25ml.
Clubs are often cheaper during the week (Mon-Thu) as many of these nights are designed to cater for students; however, you usually have to pay an entrance fee. For a club in a small town (capacity 250-300) this will usually be £1-£2 on week night, £2-£3 on weekends, and seldom more than £5 on special occasions. Conventional clubs in bigger towns and alternative clubs in cities will cost anywhere between £5 and £10. Large clubs, especially those in cities, that cater for a "dance" crowd will almost certainly cost over £10, though seldom more than £15. For towns with a large student population, it is often much cheaper to go clubbing during week nights (Monday-Thursday), as many clubs advertise towards students on these nights, offering discounted drinks and cheaper entry.
===Non alcoholic===
The British drink a lot of tea, the main type of tea drunk is black tea, usually served with either milk and/or sugar.
In any '''emergency''' call '''999''' or '''112''' (free of charge from any phone, including mobiles) and ask for Ambulance, Fire and Rescue Service, Police, Coast Guard or Mountain And Cave Rescue when connected. The United Kingdom has this one,unified number for all the different emergency services.
Late at night it is not uncommon to find rowdy groups of drunk people, especially young men, on the street, but unless you go out of your way to provoke trouble you are unlikely to experience any problems. Drinking alcohol in public (except outside a bar or pub) is not permitted in some towns and areas of cities. The police have fairly wide ranging powers to fine or arrest people who are causing a disturbance, and although they can be heavier-handed in major cities they are generally tolerant. Drinking alcohol in public (except outside a bar or pub) If you are stopped by the police, avoid arguing and be sure to appear respectful. Do not try to reason with them, and above all, do not swear, because although it has been ruled that swearing is not permitted in some towns and areas of citiesa crime, police will often arrest people who swear at them.
Jay walking is common and is not something the police usually bother about, but always try and cross at designated pedestrian crossings. Most operate a "Push the button and wait for the green man" system, but Zebra Crossings are also widespread, particularly outside of city centres - identified by white stripes on the road and yellow flashing spherical lights - pedestrians have right of way but it is advisable to make eye contact with the driver before stepping into the road. Unlike in many other countries British drivers tend to be very respectful of the laws around zebra crossings.
For more details on unwritten rules concerning greetings, addressing others, small-talk etc, read ''Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour'' by Kate Fox.
The Scottish are Scottish, the Welsh are Welsh, and the English are English. Referring to all of them as "English" will probably offend. It's a potential minefield but "British" will always be safer than "EnglisgEnglish". Remember, too, most Northern Ireland Unionists would not want to be called Irish. (In contrast, most of the Nationalists in Northern Ireland will identify as Irish and register accordingly as Irish citizens and carry Irish passports, which all people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to do if they wish). You may also find that, even though all the people of the United Kingdom are legally classed as British, peoples preferences are based upon which country in the United Kingdom they were born in, rather than using the collective term British. It is also common to meet someone who might say " I am half Welsh, half-English" or "my parents are Scottish and I am English".
Avoid referring to the Falklands as being Argentinian: over 250 British soldiers died fighting to defend these islands from Argentinian invasion and occupation in the early 1980s. The Falklands remain a British Overseas Territory to this day. The same goes for Gibraltar; despite the Spanish claim, UN supervised plebiscites register more than 98% local support for remaining British.
In case of emergency, call '''999''' or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need ('''police''', '''fire''', '''ambulance''', '''coastguard''' or '''mountain rescue'''). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming or even any SIM card inserted. It is a '''very''' serious offence to call this number without due cause.
Non-urgent calls to the police should be made on '''101''' if you are in England or Wales and are charged at 15 pence per call. If you need non-urgent medical help call '''111''' (This number is gradually replacing 0845 46 47).
When calling the UK from overseas, dial your international access code (00 from most of Europe, 011 from the US and Canada or '+' from any mobile phone) followed by the UK's country code ('''44''') and then the UK area code and subscriber number. If the number you are calling is shown with a leading 0 at the beginning of the area code, the 0 must be omitted when calling from abroad.
<td>Free call from most landlines and public payphones. Often very expensive ; 10p to call 25p/min from a mobile mobiles. *</td>
<td>Call to a pager. These are usually expensive.</td>
<td>0800, 0808</td>
<td>Free call from most landlines and public payphones. Often very expensive ; 10p to call 25p/min from a mobile mobiles. *</td>
<td>0844, 0843, 0842</td>
<td>Variable rate from 1p to 5p15p/minfrom landlines; 20p to 45p/min from mobiles.</td>
<td>Call at From 3p per minute daytimes and 1ppm at all other times + VATto 10p/min from landlines; 15p to 35p/min from mobiles.</td>
<td>Call at 6.73p per minute day-times, 3.36ppm evening and night-times and 1.7ppm at weekends + VATFrom 5p to 15p/min from landlines (usable in inclusive minutes with some providers); 15p to 35p/min from mobiles.</td>
<td>0871, 0872, 0873</td>
<td>Premium rate number. Variable rate from 6p 10p to 20p/min from landlines; 25p to 10p45p/minfrom mobiles.</td>
The above prices are typical when called from Where a BT landline. Other landline providers may charge more. Calls call is chargeable, calling from a mobile telephone will usually cost more than calling the same number from a lot morelandline.
<nowiki>*</nowiki> These freephone charges can be avoided by using landline dial-around services like 0800Buster [].
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