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Talk:United Kingdom

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Revision as of 14:24, 25 October 2006 by (talk) (The old city problem)
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Have to take issue with "(Note: homosexual displays of affection may be greeted with intolerance, disgust or even individuals' protests in general public, and around children. It is more appropriate in gay-friendly areas, however). "

Whilst that may be true in some rural areas, I think the UK is one of the most tolerant countries in the world in respect of homosexuality - vastly more so than America or many European countries, perhaps due to the lack of religiousity in the country. Seems a perculiar argument. Have removed the comment, as there is no evidence for this whatsoever.

CIA Data

So, I stripped out the CIA World Factbook 2002 import data for the UK, and moved it to Talk:United Kingdom/CIA World Factbook 2002 import. If you need it for reference, it's there. -- Evan 10:16, 3 Dec 2003 (PST)


How best to organise the ferry info I wonder? Sort first by English port? Or perhaps by foreign country? Matthewmayer 17:10, 27 Dec 2003 (PST)

My first impulse is to list them clockwise by the port on Great Britain, but there's one connecting Dublin to Douglas and another one connecting Dublin to Cherbourg, so that won't work. -phma 22:00, 27 Dec 2003 (PST)
Dublin/Cherbourg wouldn't be listed (Ireland/France) and I'd probably put tbe Douglas ferry just in the Isle of Man section. I'm tending towards the 'list by foreign country' method. eg, if I'm in Scandinavia, which ferries will get me to the UK. Matthewmayer 03:48, 28 Dec 2003 (PST)
I wonder if we really need ferry information at this level of detail on the country page. Would it be better to have general information -- name of major ports and major places ferries come from -- with more detailed information on the individual city pages? --Evan 23:36, 3 Jan 2004 (EST)
I think the country pages risk becoming too generic if we don't put any 'hard' information on them. We can have another level of information (approximate ticket costs, location of port) on the city page. But I don't believe that most people sailing to Harwich, for example, are planning on visiting Harwich. They shouldn't have to print out a page about Harwich nightlife and local attractions, in order to find out basic information about ferry services there. Matthewmayer 07:23, 4 Jan 2004 (EST)
So, say, if I want to go to Manchester, and I need info on the country as a whole, I also need to print out ferry schedules from Bergen to Harwich? People who take a ferry to Harwich are, like it or not, going to end up in Harwich. People who go to the UK aren't necessarily going to end up in Harwich. We shouldn't tune the entire page to the needs of Harwich visitors.
There's plenty of "hard" information we can put in about ferries to the UK without having a 2-page table of every single ferry time, duration, etc. on the UK page. The country page is supposed to be somewhat generic -- giving highlights and overview info. That's the whole point. I mean, we don't have every single flight into and out of the UK listed in the "By plane" section -- we give some general info on the best entry points. I don't see why ferries should be all that different. --Evan 12:32, 4 Jan 2004 (EST)
Yes, I can see your point. At this early stage in the project it's worth experimenting with different styles, but I agree there's too much information there to go on the main page. I'll start slimming it down and move the details to the city pages. Matthewmayer 15:20, 4 Jan 2004 (EST)
Wow! I just looked over the "By boat" section after a long while, and I have to say: it looks great! Excellent job, folks. --Evan 22:46, 8 Feb 2004 (EST)

Old version for reference

  • Arriving from Scandinavia
    • Bergen to Newcastle (Fjord Line/2-3 per week/20-26 h)
    • Haugesund to Newcastle (Fjord Line/2 per week/21 h)
    • Stavanger to Newcastle (Fjord Line/2-3 per week/19-26 h)
    • Kristiansand to Newcastle (DFDS/Mon and Fri/18 h)
    • Gothenburg to Newcastle (DFDS/Mon and Fri/26 h)
    • Esbjerg to Harwich (DFDS/alternate days/17 h)
  • Arriving from Germany
    • Cuxhaven to Harwich (DFDS/alternate days/18.5 h)
  • Arriving from the Netherlands
    • Umuiden to Newcastle (DFDS/daily/15 h)
    • Hook of Holland to Harwich (???)
    • Rotterdam to Hull (P&O/daily overnight/10 h)
  • Arriving from Belgium
    • Zeebrugge to Hull (P&O/daily overnight/12:30 h), to Dover (P&O/up to 6 daily/4:30 h)
    • Ostend to Dover (Hoverspeed/up to 3 daily/2h)
  • Arriving from France
    • Dunkerque to Dover (Norfolkline/up to 10 daily/2h)
    • Calais to Dover (P&O/up to 35 daily/75-90 min, SeaFrance/15 daily/70-90 min, Hoverspeed/up to 15 daily/45 min)
    • Dieppe to Newhaven (Hoverspeed/up to 5 daily/2:15 h-4 h)
    • Le Havre to Portsmouth (P&O/3 daily/5.5 h)
    • Caen to Portsmouth (Britanny/3 daily/6 h)
    • Cherbourg to Portsmouth (P&O/up to 7 daily/2.45-5 h), Poole (Britanny/up to 5 daily/2:15 h-4h:15 h)
    • St Malo to Portsmouth, Weymouth
    • Roscoff to Plymouth
  • Arriving from Spain
    • Bilbao to Portsmouth
    • Santander to Plymouth
  • Arriving from Ireland
    • Cork to Swansea
    • Rosslare to Pembroke, Fishguard
    • Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead
    • Dublin to Holyhead, Mostyn, Liverpool
  • for services to/from the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and Western Isles, see their 'get there' sections.
  • for services between Northern Island and Great Britain, see the 'get around' section below.
  • See

External link: London Theatre Tickets direct?

Is the external link to LondonTheatreTicketsDirect really relevent here? I don't think it is.

I agree - it should be in London, if it should be anywhere at all (I have my doubts...). I have removed it. - sjc196 15:21, 13 Apr 2004 (GMT)

Lists of Cities

Is this the place for a list of cities? The UK is subdivided into its constituent countries, and England at least is further subdivided into regions. I think that lists of cities should be more localised, so that we do not have to wade through three pages of cities to reach the useful information. I don't think we need as many as 20 cities...especially when that list (supposedly of the UK's more notable cities) includes Derby and Milton Keynes.

I propose that this list be specifically for the capital cities of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and then within each of these country articles a slightly longer list is included, and then within regions (if applicable) a more exhaustive list is included. Any thoughts? - sjc196 14:03, 14 Apr 2004 (GMT)

You've hit the nail on the head (or close). In general, cities should only be listed at the most local region level. As an exception, at higher region levels, and at the country level, we list cities that are so popular with travellers that people are going to be impatient having to drill down through other pages to find them. So, the major cities and destinations go at the country level; it's just a "shortcut".
Note that a lot of people are just looking for a place to put their starter link for a city, so they just put the link where they see other links and hope for the best. Don't ascribe malice to their actions; it's great that they're sharing info, and we just need to re-arrange it a little.
Anyways: if you know where to re-locate some of these city links to, please do. Please leave some of the major non-capital cities, though. --Evan 12:02, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Evan - just wanted to make sure before I went off and made someone a lot of work to change it all back again. And don't worry - I didn't think it was malicious!
I'll rearrange it a bit more sensibly and make sure that all the cities are represented somewhere within the UK hierarchy. - sjc196 10:23, 15 Apr 2004 (GMT)

The number of cities listed had gone up to over twenty, so I did some pruning. There are now four cities in England, the two largest urban centers in Scotland and Wales and the capital of Northern Ireland = 9, which conforms with the 7+2 listing rule. WindHorse 2 Feb 05

Added in Leeds - UK Visitor City of the Year and UK's Favourite City - surely very relevant to this page and UK's 3rd city

If you want to add Leeds, you need to also pick one to delete. Nine cities max to keep the list under control. Keep in mind the England article also gets to have nine cities, so it can cover England better. This article needs to spend some the alloted nine of the cities on Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. I'm going to remove Leeds, but feel free to add it back once you've decided which of the nine it is going to replace. -- Colin 18:40, 4 May 2006 (EDT)

Bristol bitten the dust - not a top tourist destination nor top 3 UK city outside London. Why does it have to be 9 - 10 is a round number

The idea is to have just a short list of about 7. "About 7" means 7 plus or minus 2. And really, if you have more destinations than that, maybe it's because someone is overstuffing the top-level region instead of just letting the extras reside in the sub-regions. It's after all just a sampler, and no one gets hurt if some cities are pushed down into England instead of UK. -- Colin 15:21, 7 May 2006 (EDT)

Maybe London should be exluded from the list of cities as it is a capital city rather than a city, and everyone in the world knows that London is in the UK, and it is mentioned elsewhere in the article.

Conversion rates

So, do we really need the conversion rates for the pound sterling to other currencies to five places past the decimal point? I mean, this isn't a page for currency traders -- it's for travelers.

I think a more general range of conversions over the course of the last couple of years (e.g., 1 pound ~ 1.4 - 1.6 euro) might be more useful. We really don't need the conversion rates for more than mental math ("Lessee... 100 pounds... that's almost 200 dollars! No way I'll buy that!"). --Evan 16:34, 27 Jun 2004 (EDT)

Fair point. Rounded figures to 2 decimal places (eg. dollars&cents). Range would be even better, but not so easy to obtain. Chris j wood 05:35, 28 Jun 2004 (EDT)

List of Cities (reprise)

I have removed Liverpool from the list of cities at UK level (it is still there at the England level) because I don't think it rates inclusion. Specifically the city of liverpool is smaller than Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield, which are not listed. The metro area (normally called Merseyside) is smaller than that of Leeds (West Yorkshire). And in terms of inward tourism visits, Liverpool ranks only 15th in the UK (see

As it now stands, we have the capital cities of the UK, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, together with the largest city in Scotland and what are generally reckoned to be the largest three English cities.

I think that is enough at this level. -- Chris j wood 12:10, 23 Jul 2004 (EDT)

OK, that sounds about right. Remember, though, that the whole point of the "cities" section in the country page and in region pages with sub-regions is to make a short cut for the more common cities that people will be looking for -- not necessarily the biggest cities. --Evan 12:18, 23 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Food Quality

The article seems to conforms to a sterotype of British food from 20 or 30 years ago. Even a quick google will find articles like I think the food section needs a rewrite, while the cost point is certainly accurate the quality is better than is represented.

Stub notice

Why is this still a stub? Has it been left by oversight?

If you feel that the article is complete, plunge forward and remove the stub notice. Many times people are nervous about removing those notices, but provided an article is useful and all sections are filled out there is no reason to keep it. -- Wrh2 17:54, 14 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Well I have gone ahead and destubbed it. I just wanted to make sure that there isn't some obscure guideline I wasn't aware of. -- Sunray Traveller 01:18, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Stay safe nudity/sex

Under the "Stay safe" heading there are a couple of bullets about nudity and sex in public. They were factually incorrect and I have corrected them, but should they really be there at all? Do Wikitravellers really need advice on whether they can be nude or have sex in public in the countries they are visiting? Is this commonplace behaviour for some tourists from some cultures? -- Owl 03:30, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Well, attitudes towards nude beaches might be worth a mention. Covering fornication in public does seem a little excessive. Jpatokal 03:33, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)

'Ridiculous behaviour'

The article says that "Ridiculous as it may be, you may be judged on how you comport yourself at mealtimes". Considering that the website is intended to be read by people of all English speaking nations where this sort of behaviour may be seen as quite normal, is it fair to suggest that this is ridiculous?

Mealtime being such a ritualized behavior in most human cultures, I'm not sure if any exist where you wouldn't be judged by how you comport yourself then. --Evan 16:53, 27 April 2006 (EDT)

Mobile Phone Ownership

Is this really at 97% and growing? where does this information come from? 08:15, 7 April 2006 (EDT)

It's actually possible to have >100% mobile penetration if you just add up all subscriptions (eg. yours truly has 200-500% depending on how you count). However, Oftel estimated 75% actual ownership in 2003. Jpatokal 08:49, 7 April 2006 (EDT)

Help With Phone Numbers

I can't figure out how to write UK phone numbers according to the policy. If the number is 01865 270949 when dialed within the UK, can it be dialed as +44 01865 270949 from outside the UK? I keep seeing that first digit written as (0) and I'm not sure what I'm expected to infer from this since the UK article's Contact section doesn't tell me. I also can't find any examples which include both the country code +44 and the leading 0 which makes me wonder if that's invalid somehow. Argh. -- Colin 16:22, 27 April 2006 (EDT)

Bump. -- Colin 19:17, 28 April 2006 (EDT)
Yeah, I have no idea on this one, either. Maybe we should look over the Wikipedia article UK telephone numbering plan... I think the "0" is just a long-distance prefix, but I'm not sure how to reformat with the full international numbering. --Evan 07:22, 29 April 2006 (EDT)
OK, according to Wikipedia:Telephone_numbering_plan#United_Kingdom, you drop the leading zero and prefix with the country code. --Evan 07:27, 29 April 2006 (EDT)
Well, at least that matches what I was afraid of. We write the +44 format in our guide; travelers converting to local will remove the +44 and add the leading 0. -- Colin 13:05, 30 April 2006 (EDT)

Which nine cities?

We try to keep the number of cities/country to nine. This seems to work pretty well (if it doesn't, please try to change the policy on the appropriate page). The text of this article says we have "four in England, two each for Scotland and Wales and one in Northern Ireland". I think that's a pretty good breakdown -- but I just had to trim the six English cities back down to four. Maybe these aren't the right four...but please discuss that here, rather than just editing the page w/o comment. The current four are:

The two I deleted are:

If you think these are of more interest to the travel(l)er, please explain why, and which of the four above (hint: not London) should be excised to make room. -- Jonboy 11:41, 30 April 2006 (EDT) Added Leeds - UK's 3rd city, Uk's favourite city and UK visitor city of the year

  • Maybe Birmingham as the UK's second city is a better choice than Bristol, though it is a tough decision as the latter definitely has more attractions.
  • The north of England is already represented by Manchester and York, so I think Leeds, as interesting as it is, should be represented at the England page level, rather than at the UK level. WindHorse 15 May 06
  • Why Leeds rather than Manchester? Liverpool is more of a tourist destination in the NW than Manchester...
Swansea seems an odd inclusion to me, especially when there could be, say, Bristol, Liverpool or Newcastle in its stead. Also, I've (I hope!) improved the wording the cities section, removing an inaccuracy (Manchester's not yet the UK's second city, despite the apparent collective Mancunian chip on the shoulder about this - refer to any objective reputable source and it will still be using Birmingham as the second city, though also stating that Manchester is encroaching upon this position), and adding in a bit of detail (e.g., Glasgow is Scotland's largest city and former European Capital of Culture). 07:56, 23 July 2006 (EDT)
The Gower Peninsular, the UK's first designated area of natural beauty and home to two of Britain's top ten beaches/coastal views, is in Swansea. The city is also home to the National Waterfont Museum, a car ferry port and in addition hosts many festivals for tourists. While there are many cities that undoubtably have the credentials to be listed on the front page, unfortunately only nine can be. As a major tourist center in Wales (and one of only two places in Wales listed), I believe that the inclusion of Swansea is both valid and useful to travelers. WindHorse 2 Aug 06


Why is Newcastle not listed its the most important city in the northeast, its also roughly the half way point between Machester (which is strictly upper-midlands) and Edinburgh. Why has the true north of england been neglected, by excluding the a northeastern city are you giving the impression that there's nothing to do there? Newcastle is THE only ferry terminal on the north english coast, I think its worthy of being listed as one of the nine cities. Afterall, when asked to name a city from the north I'm confident that around 4 out of 10 would say Newcastle (accoutning for those likely to see Leeds, Manchester etc. and 4 out of 10 therefore being majoritive).

I suggest therefore, that either Leeds or Manchester be swapped for Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

I thought Hull was also a major ferry port?

Electricity/Plug Information

I think it is worth mentioning to travellers the type of plugs that are used in the UK. The Israel page details that a two or three pronged plug may be used depending on regions, I think it is worth mentioning somewhere that the UK uses a three pronged plug (unlike the majority of the world).

The Map

I think the map used for this page tells the user very little. Where is York? Birmingham? Bath? Leeds? Surely this is better or atleast a map with a few more cities on it:

  • I have added Birmingham to the list. It is Englands second city and deserves to be on there.
  • Deserves to be on there because a lot of people live there? I've added Leeds - voted UK's favourite city, visitor city of the year, voted best city for clubbing, close to Yorkshire Dales and Moors etc etc

Warning box?

Should there be an info/warning box regarding the special travel restrictions for flights departing from the UK? Maj 23:29, 12 August 2006 (EDT)

The old city problem

Sorry for bringing up this old chestnut but it there's some oddities in the list of cities on here. It seems that the list was arrived at essentially on the basis of the national capitals plus whichever cities people argued for the most (that's the only possible reason I can think of for listing Swansea as one of the 9 most important cities for travellers; no disrespect to Swansea but I doubt the vast majority of visitors to the UK have even heard of it much less visited it). Leeds ahead of Birmingham, Liverpool or Newcastle is another oddity. Anyway, to get to the point it seems the problem is that everyone has different ideas of what makes an important city (often influenced by what city they're from). It might be an idea, then, to rely on objective rather than subjective criteria. To that end I found a page listing the most popular destinations of overseas tourists from 2000-2004 [1]. Taking only those cities that appear in all 4 years the total number of visitors from 2000-2004 breaks down as follows:

City Visitors (thousands)
London 47900
Edinburgh 3380
Manchester 2440
Birmingham 2360
Glasgow 1650
Oxford 1520
Cambridge 1220
Cardiff 1020
Brighton/Hove 1000
York 990
Bristol 946
Bath 930
Newcastle-upon-Tyne 800
Liverpool 780
Nottingham 740
Inverness 730

On that basis it would seem that after taking out the 4 capitals (London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast) the 5 most visited cities are Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton. Personally I'd be tempted to either lump Oxford and Cambridge together or drop one of them (as it doesn't really make sense to have two cities which offer pretty much exactly the same kinds of attractions) and make room for York. That list of cities covers a lot of bases and the cities are all pretty much what you'd expect, with the exception of Brighton (whose high ranking I must admit came as a surprise to me, but at least it gives a seaside option). Does anyone have any real objections to changing the list to London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford/Cambridge, Brighton and York? --Paul. 08:02, 12 October 2006 (EDT)

Well argued! I like it. -- Jonboy 08:44, 12 October 2006 (EDT)

The only figures I can find regarding tourists visiting Swansea were from a government panel established to determine the best places to locate regional casinos. Here's the result: The latest available data estimates that in 2004 there were 3,187,000 tourists spending 5,869,000 tourist days in Swansea and generating revenue of £192 million. This represents a 5 year growth of 12.7% in the number of tourists, 5.4% in tourist days and 9.2% in revenue.

I cannot say how many of these tourists were from overseas, but from my knowledge, the Gower Peninisular, which is part of Swansea, is certainly very popular with domestic tourists. However, as Paul points out, the peninsular and city are probably less well known overseas.

Brighton is another town that attracts a lot of native British tourists, especially from London. In fact, I think when I was in the UK I heard it jokingly referred to as 'London on Sea'. So, its position in the above list would probably be even higher if British tourists were factored in.

I would guess that due to Robin Hood fame, Nottingham probably gets relatively more overseas visitors than domestic. Liverpool maybe in the same position, due to the international fame of the Beatles. Therefore, they would probably rank lower on an complete list taking into account all visitors.

Anyway, I have no objections to changing the list as suggested, though as York is already listed on the 'Other destinations' section, maybe somewhere else (possibly Bristol as that is the next popular city on the 'Star UK' list) could take its place. WindHorse 12:53, 12 October 2006 (EDT)

Sounds good, and if we're going to keep York in "Other destinations" it might be an idea to move Oxford, Cambridge and Bath there too (on the basis of size) and add Newcastle to the cities list. --Paul. 17:13, 12 October 2006 (EDT)
HI Paul, Bath is actually already listed in "Other destinations". However, places listed in this section are there in respect to a landmark building, not as towns within their own right. Please take a look. So, Oxford and Cambridge could be added to this list if they have (a) landmark building(s) that are considered worthy tourist attractions - I guess possibly the university buildings themselves or the dreamy spires (is that Oxford?) would meet this criteria. Sorry, I'm really not very familar with these towns, so I am afraid that I'll have to leave that up to you. Apologies. WindHorse 20:54, 12 October 2006 (EDT)
Oxford and Cambridge are indeed similar, but I'm not sure you could exclude one in favour of the other on that basis. They certainly have tourist attractions as the relevant pages show.