Additional Information About Travel to England and Wales
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter England, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the British consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Round-trip flights to England usually arrive or depart through London, but may be arranged through one of England's other international airports, depending on your tour. On-tour transportation is provided primarily by private motor coach, but may include planes, trains, boats, ferries, or other modes. Small towns and villages are both best explored on foot, although buses and taxis are plentiful. In London, you can’t get around without using the legendary, 12-line “tube,” connecting all the districts and attractions. You might want to mix up travel on the tube with some walking and bus travel. It’s fun to explore London on the iconic double-decker buses. Your tour coordinator and tour guide will have suggestions regarding local modes of transportation.
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
England and Wales operate on 240 volts.
There are no major health risks when traveling to England. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health- care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
For traditional English fare at a reasonable price, try a pub meal. Stilton cheese, steak and kidney pie, and Cumberland sausages are specialties. Sip afternoon tea with delicious finger sandwiches and scones at Harrods for the ultimate in English tradition. Modern-day London also boasts an array of ethnic restaurants unmatched by almost any other city in the world. Popular options for the adventurous palate include Indian, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Greek and West African cuisine. Traditional Welsh cooking depends on local ingredients, including fresh vegetables from the abundant gardens, seafood from the vibrant fishing culture, and lamb and beef from the many sheep and cattle farms. Leeks and cabbage are staples, and along with lamb or bacon, they go into the traditional Welsh one-pot meal, cawl, a broth or soup. Fresh fish such as salmon and brown trout are common, as are white crab, lobsters and cockles. Some traditional delicacies include Welsh cakes (small pastries), crempogs (pancakes), laverbread (seaweed) and Welsh rarebit (toast with cheese and butter). Caerphilly, the bestknown Welsh cheese, is a mild, crumbly white cheese that originated in South Wales. And, of course, the Welsh are fond of teatime. Traditional bara brith (bread with currants), teisen lap (a shallow moist fruit cake), teisen carawe (caraway seed cake), tease sinamon (cinnamon cake) and teisen mêl (honey cake) are specialties for the tea table. Last but not least, there are more than 20 vineyards in Wales and several excellent locally produced beers.
The British pound is the currency you will use while in England and Wales. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges and freeze your account.
England and Wales falls on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it’s noon in California, it’s 8 pm in London.