A Quick Guide to Visiting the UK

Just across the sea is one of our beloved neighbors, England. Though the country may be small, its packed full of quirks, strange road rules, and a drinking culture that puts America to shame. Check out this quick guide to visiting the UK to make sure you’re prepared.

Making Sure You’re Passport & Visa Ready

Guide to Visiting the UKPIN IT!Did you know that if you’re from an English speaking country that you don’t need a visa in the UK? You can even stay up to 6 months before having to acquire one. As long as your passport doesn’t expire until after you return(even safer if it doesn’t expire for 6+months after) and you have one blank page for the entry stamp, you are good to go.

Getting Your Money in Order

Guide to Visiting the UKAs most people know, if you plan to carry cash then you need to exchange your moneyPIN IT! for the correct currency. The UK never conformed to using the euro so you will need to have your money exchanged for British pounds. Though cash is nice for exploring little shops and areas, a debit/credit card is the fastest and easy way to handle money. Due to adding chips in our cards here in the USA finally, all you need to do is inform your bank of your travel plans and you’re set. However, forgetting to do this can flag your card and cause a ton of pain to reactivate its use.

Grab a Burner Phone

Unless you enjoy racking up hundreds of dollars in international roaming fees, then you better grab a burner phone. A burner phone is a cheap, no frills cell phone you can grab when you arrive. If you can’t find one when you arrive just ask your hotel or a tour guide to lead you in the right direction.

Book Your Accommodations

Guide to Visiting the UKYes, you can cross your fingers and hope that you find a place to sleep via couch surfing but the safest route is to book your accommodations in advance. Though its not common, there have been many horror stories out there of traveler’s couch surfing and not living to see the light of day again. Play it safe and save some money by booking your accommodations with a discountPIN IT! instead of becoming a headliner in the morning.

Learn the Rules of the Road

Though in the UK they drive on the left side of the road, their signs are in miles per hour and miles for distance like the USA. If you aren’t use to everything being backwards in your car or if you’re having trouble figuring it out then opt for other means of transportation.

If having everything on the left side is no problem for you then start planning your UK road trip with these thoughts in mind.

  • There is no such thing as right on red of left on red.
  • Roundabouts are very common so make sure you are in the correct lane before entering.
  • It is illegal to stop in box junctions unless your exit is clear of you’re turing right.
  • Between the hours of 11:30 pm and 7:00 am, you must not use your horn unless absolutely necessary.
  • Diesel fueled cars a heavily used so make sure you are filling up with the right fuel or face heavy fines!
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is strictly forbidden.

Drinking Tips

Guide to Visiting the UKPIN IT!In the UK the legal drinking age is 18 so don’t be alarmed when you see a younger crowded enjoying themselves to a brew. Drinking a huge past time and pubs can become so crowded that they spill over into the streets which is totally legal here. The UK has a vibrant nightlife so feel free to get out there an enjoy! Oh and yes, the tap water is safe to drink!

Be Camera Ready

While your hopping on ferries and enjoying the open road don’t forget to have your camera ready. The UK is full of beautiful spots you’ll want to pull over and capture. The photo ops are endless so make sure to take advantage of the gorgeous scenery while you can.


  • Alli Smith

    I’ve never been to the UK, but I have been to several Brittish territory islands in the Caribbean so I’m used to the driving on the left side part. I don’t do it, but I’m used to it. A burner phone is the way to go when traveling overseas.

  • Jenn

    Love your photos. I would love to return to the UK. It’s been so long for me. I’m going to bookmark this one!

  • jennifer

    Never visited the UK, but would love to. Ah, a burner phone would be helpful traveling internationally!

  • Jacqui - @TradesofJacqui

    My daughter went to London last year and loved it. It’s one of the countries on my bucket list 🙂 Great post!

  • Paula Schuck

    It seem s to me that learning how to drive in England would be the hardest part. I would have to really study before I started trying to drive on the “wrong” side of the roads.

  • Pam Wattenbarger

    Those driving tips are great to know when traveling to the UK! All of these tips are very useful for travelers.

  • Amanda Love

    This would apply to any country that you’re visiting. It would be great to do some research especially if you’re not familiar with the country that you’re going to. It’s important to have your passports and important documents with you at all times! I really appreciate these guidelines.

  • Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    I would love to visit the UK. It is on my list of places I’d like to visit in the next few years. I’d love to see Big Ben and the Palace!

  • lisa

    I loved visiting England. I had such a great trip. These are all great tips for this trip!

  • Jeanette

    I have never been to the UK. What are these days I will get there and I cannot wait. One of the things that I do instead of a burner phone is just buy a Sim card when I get there.

  • Nicole

    I’d take a driving refresher course before going. The standard expected of drivers is much higher than in the USA. You will need to concentrate hard when driving to avoid unpleasant encounters, not just with other drivers, but with the police, too. As a foreigner, they will arrest you for matters that would be treated with a fine for local drivers.

  • Sarah

    This is a really great quick guide to visiting the UK. I think you nailed it, really. I can’t think of anything to add.

  • Vera Sweeney

    Great guide of to visiting to the UK!! I love to travel the world, the UK has so many amazing things to visit!

  • Liz Mays

    Ah, this is a helpful guide. I do want to visit! I went when I was in school but that was a long time ago.

  • Nancy @ whispered inspirations

    UK is so on my bucket list! This is a helpful guide that will help me when the time comes! Thanks!

  • michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies

    I have some family that lived over in the UK so I’d love to be able to visit there someday when we have the chance. There’s so many things to do and see in the UK and I’m sure will be an awesome adventure!

  • Terri Beavers

    I’ve been dying to visit the UK. It’s earned the top spot on my bucket list. Your post is going to be so helpful when I make it there.

  • CourTneYlynne

    Great tips!!!!! I always exchange my money before going on any trip. So many people wait until they get to the destination but I’m such a planner so I make sure it’s donee ahead of time

  • Robin Rue

    I would love to take a trip to the UK! So many great tips if I ever do get to go.