The official language is English but accents vary sharply by region.

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The United Kingdom’s official currency is the pound, which breaks down into 100 pence. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are easy to find. Banks will give you the best exchange rates, but you can also change money at large hotels and exchange bureaus. Most tourist establishments accept traveler’s checks, but you will be charged extra if they are not in pounds.

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The United Kingdom’s country code is 44. To call another country from the UK, dial 00 – or 048 if you’re in Northern Ireland – followed by the appropriate country code. You can find Internet cafes in major cities and towns, airports and train stations.

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Hotels and restaurants expect a 10 to 15 percent tip, unless a service charge has already been included. Tip taxi drivers at the same rate. Tipping elsewhere is at your discretion.

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The UK is generally safe, but there are often reports of pickpockets in central London.

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Visiting the UK has no specific health risks. It’s safe to consume both food and water. Emergency treatment is free for visitors, but you will be charged more for routine care. Make sure you have health insurance.

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The UK’s electrical current is 240 volts, AC and uses square, three-pinned plugs.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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