England

POPULATION

The current population of England is 53,012,456.

LOCAL TIME

During the winter months, England is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 10 hours behind Sydney.

From late March until late October, the clocks go forward one hour to British Summer Time (BST).

To check the correct time, contact the Speaking Clock service by dialling 123

LANGUAGE

The official language of England is english. 

RELIGION

Christian 59.4%, Non-religious 24.7%, Islam 5%, Other 7.2%

VISA REQUIREMENTS

You may require a holiday visa to visit England; this will depend on your nationality and why you are visiting.

If you are a US, Canadian or Australian national, you don’t need to apply for a tourist visa. Visas are granted on entry and without charge, providing you have a valid passport and the reason for your visit meets UK immigration rules https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/tourist-short-stay-visas.

The same rules apply to citizens of most, but not all, South American and Caribbean countries as well as Japan.

European Union citizens, non-EU member states of the EEA (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland), Switzerland, and members of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) are exempt from needing a visa to enter the UK.

Please note that visa rules change regularly. To check if you require a visa, please visit the official UK government website https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.

CURRENCY

England’s currency is the pound sterling (£), which is divided into 100 pence (p).

Although Britain is in the EU, it has not adopted the Euro currency and Euros won’t be accepted as legal tender.

Scotland has its own pound sterling notes. These represent the same value as an English note and can be used elsewhere in Britain, although it is usually with reluctance. The Scottish £1 note is not accepted outside Scotland.

There are lots of bureaux de change in Britain – often located inside banks, travel agents or Post Offices, as well as at airports and major train stations. It's worth shopping around to get the best deal and remember to ask how much commission is charged.

ELECTRICAL CURRENT

The voltage in Britain is 220/240 AC, 50 Hz. Electrical plugs have three rectangular pins and take fuses of 3, 5 and 13 amps.

Visitors from abroad will need an adaptor for appliances that have been brought from home, such as portable computers, hairdryers and phone chargers.

Most hotels will have two-pronged European-style sockets for shavers only.

WEATHER

England has mild temperatures, not much lower than 0° C in winter and not much higher than 32° C in summer. The coldest months are January and February while July is normally the warmest. The weather is frequently damp and rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year. For up-to-date forecasts, check weather.com.

GETTING TO England

Since England is on an island, it is not possible to drive directly into England from outside Great Britain. Motorists have two choices to enter England from outside Great Britain, by various car ferry routes, or the Channel Tunnel.

GETTING AROUND BY PLANE

England has various airports the Largest airport in the UK and third busiest in the world is Heathrow Airport in London

SHOPPING

What is VAT?

VAT is a 20% sales tax charged on most goods and services sold in Britain – exceptions are food, books and children’s clothes.

How does tax-free shopping work?

When shopping, ask the retailer for a VAT 407 form. It’s important to note not all shops will participate in the scheme and some may have a minimum purchase price (often around £75). They may ask for proof you are eligible so bring a passport or national identity card.

To get your money back, show the VAT form, the goods and your receipts to customs at the point when you depart. Customs will approve your form if everything is in order. You then take the approved form to get paid.

What cards can I use in the UK?

Credit cards, debit cards and contactless payment types are widely used throughout Britain. Visa and Mastercard are the most common type of cards, while American Express and Diners Club cards are less commonly accepted.

Does everywhere accept credit cards?

Some small shops, guesthouses, markets and cafés may not accept cards or may have a minimum spend (usually around £5), so always check in advance of your purchase. Cards that are accepted are usually displayed in the windows.

Britain uses the “chip and pin” system more often than a signature. For purchases under £20 contactless forms of payment may be accepted.

Can I get cash out with my credit or debit card?

A credit or debit card allows you to obtain cash advances up to your credit limit at any bank and cash dispenser displaying the appropriate card sign. You will probably also incur a currency exchange fee.

Opening Hours

Outside of London and other main cities, many businesses and shops still close on Sundays, even though trading is legal. During the week, opening hours are generally from 9 or 10am until 5 or 5:30pm. Shop hours may include a late opening one evening a week, usually Thursday. In big city centers, particularly London, shops are generally open longer – often until 7pm and seven days a week.

Museums in London tend to operate late opening hours one day a week, while those outside the capital may have shorter hours, sometimes closing in the morning or for one day a week, often on Mondays.

On public holidays, also known as bank holidays in Britain, banks, offices and some shops, restaurants and attractions close, and transport networks may run a limited number of services.

Tipping

In England it is normal to tip taxi drivers and waiting staff in restaurants. Between 10 and 15 per cent is standard.

Many restaurants automatically add a service charge to the bill, so do check before leaving a tip.

It is not customary to leave a tip when buying a drink in a pub or bar.

TELEPHONE

Mobile phones are widespread in Britain, and every high street has at least one mobile-phone shop, the most common being Vodafone, O2, Carphone Warehouse and EE. The UK network uses the 900 or 1800 GSM system, so visitors from the United States (where the system is 800 or 1900 MHz band) will need to acquire a tri- or quad-band set. Contact your service provider for details.

You may need to inform your network operator in advance of your trip, so that the “roaming” facility can be enabled. When abroad, you will be charged for the calls you receive, as well as for the calls you make; in addition, you have to pay a substantial premium for the international leg of the call.

It is easier and cheaper to purchase a SIM card locally and top it up with credit. This will allow you to use the local mobile-phone networks, though you can only do this if your handset is not locked to a specific network.

Alternatively, you could buy a brand new phone and top up with a pay-as-you-go card. Make sure the phone you buy can accept international calls. Check that your insurance policy covers you in case your phone gets stolen, and keep your network operator’s helpline number handy for emergencies.

Calling North America: Dial 001 and your 10 digit number

Emergency numbers in England: Medical: 15; Police: 17; Fire: 18.

Weights & Measures

Britain is officially metric, in line with the rest of Europe. However, imperial measures are still in use, especially for road distances, which are measured in miles. Imperial pints and gallons are 20 per cent larger than US measures.

Imperial to Metric

1 inch = 2.5 centimetres
1 foot = 30 centimetres
1 mile = 1.6 kilometres
1 ounce = 28 grams
1 pound = 454 grams
1 pint = 0.6 litres
1 gallon = 4.6 litres

Metric to Imperial

1 millimetre = 0.04 inch
1 centimetre = 0.4 inch
1 metre = 3 feet 3 inches
1 kilometre = 0.6 mile
1 gram = 0.04 ounce
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

THE NAME england

The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea.

LOCATION, AREA AND FRONTIERS

England can be divided most generally into three sections, with deep historical and linguistic roots for each of them. These can be further divided into regions, which in turn consist of counties (most of which also have long histories, but have been revised in many cases for administrative reasons).

Information courtesy of Visit Britian.

For more information: www.visitbritain.com

 

 

 

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