Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum although I've been browsing for a while. It seems like everyone here has helpful information and a different perspective, and maybe you could help me out a bit.
I am from the USA (NY State), and myself and 2 other college buddies are travelling to the UK in a few months. None of us have been to the UK before but we are all very excited to go for a few weeks. So far, I have gotten my passport, plane tickets, transportation to/from the airport and accomodations with a friend in a city outside London. Also, we all have purchased 2-week BritRail passes that I think will help out a lot with travelling around. We have booked tickets to an FA Premier League game which I think will be great as well. Aside from these things, I would appreciate any suggestions about what else I should: bring with me, be concerned about, where I should travel, etc.
Also, I've had the following questions in my head:
- With all the unfortunate events occuring worldwide, is there any hostility in the UK or surrounding towards Americans?
- What should I wear, or not wear - related to the weather, or not drawing attention to ourselves as tourists, etc.
- Is it usually a problem getting rooms in hostels same-day or do you need to plan on them in advance?
- I've heard FA matches can be quite competetive and sometimes fights break out. I am not a violent person, but anything to suggest so I don't get involved would help.
- Food? I've heard the food can be quite unappealing for Americans, although I usually like anything. Are there any foods to definitely stay away from?
- Where are the best places in London to meet people, nightlife, pubs etc.- We are all approx 22 years old
- right now I am debating taking a large suitcase and small backpack, and checking the suitcase vs. 2 carry-on bags. with the suitcase I could hold more stuff, but risk losing luggage. Any suggestions?
Basically any information at all would be much appreciated. I've travelled all over the US, Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean but this will be the first time I'll be overseas so any info at all would help. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and safe travels to all!
Dont worry about the FA premier matches. No trouble whatsover, all that football hooligan stuff was mainly in the 1980s. I go to watch liverpool regularly and have never seen any trouble (well a bit when we play Man U!).
Try and take a visit up north to both Liverpool and Manchester. Both really great places, plus it's better up north!
I think your safe being an American in England, they might make fun of your accent or something but nothing serious.
About clothing, you won't stand out if you just use common sense. If you feel touristy in the clothes you most likely are... Don't wear clothes with huge flags (American/British)on them.
A suitcase might not be such a good idea if your going to be travelling by train a lot. You'll have to carry it around quickly so if it's heavy it will most likely slow you down. You might want to consider a backpack instead.
Or bring a suitcase to your friend's, and then use your backpack when travelling around. Depends on what you want to use and where, I suppose.
I saw London in a 3-day blur, and didn't experience any "tourist" trouble whatsoever. Dress like you would at home - the styles here and in Britain are pretty similar.
The only complication I encountered was having to carry around my lunch leftovers because I couldn't, for the life of me, find a public garbage can anywhere! And miraculously the city is spotless. What a mystery!
Thanks for the replies so far.
Yes, I agree with you angela and tway: I will not be carrying a suitcase around. I think I'll just have my backpack to bring with me on BritRail, to the FA match, etc. and I'll leave the suitcase at my friends'. I don't plan on wearing anything ridiculous, just khakis/jeans, long sleeve shirt and a jacket.
Fox, glad to hear the FA matches have settled down some, I'll make sure not to wear the opposing teams jersey, ha ha. And I should be able to make it up north on BritRail hopefully.
One more thing I am debating about: I have several jackets and I don't know which to take. I will be going up north for at least a few days, maybe even into Scotland. I could take a winter jacket, a lighter jacket that still has good wind/rain protection, or just a fleece jacket thats very lightweight with no wind/rain protection. Any ideas?
I'm from England originally (now living in Australia)and recommend that you make time to visit some of the "pretty" parts of the country rather than just cities. You should try and see the Lake District if you're heading up north, or Devon and Cornwall if you're heading south. There are also loads of stately homes in the midlands - for example there's Althorp in Northamptonshire where Princess Diana was raised. You should try and fit those in too!! Stonehenge is also one not to miss if you have the time.
I think you are right to decide on taking a backpack - a case would just be too cumbersome.
As far as I know Americans don't experience any problems in England and I'm sure you'll be welcomed by everyone.
Enjoy the footie and have a great trip.
Hi there Tom,
You'll not experience ant hostility here because you're from the US - us Brits generally like Americans and will be keen to know what you've done and seen in the UK and how you're liking it. The fact you're off to see an FA match will endear you to the population as well You might get quizzed about your politics and what you think of Bush (the majority of Brits dont like him or his politics) but it'll be lighthearted fun and not antagonistic.
The food here isnt as bad as it used to be - dont expect the quantity (and maybe variety) you're used to back home but you'll always be able to find something decent to munch on.
At the moment, the best area for nightlife in London is probably around Old Street tube station (in the NE of Zone 1: for info, take exit 8 and walk down Old Street towards Shoreditch High Street, the main and side roads to the south of Old Street are filled with trendy bars, pubs and clubs, many of them with late licenses - an important consideration until the UK relaxes its drinking laws in the Autumn). For a map go to http://www.multimap.co.uk and do a search for Old Street, postcode EC1. Other than that, you have Soho and the whole of the West End (though places around leicester square and picadilly circus are expensive, touristy and pretty low quality stuff), Clerkenwell, Notting Hill...the area to the north of Kings Cross for the best clubs...the list goes on...message me if you want me to send you a list of places.
Another cool town is Brighton on the South coast - 1 hour from London (Victoria train station) which is known for its party atmosphere, bars and pubs (in the North and South Laines) and clubs (down on the beach). It also has some beautiful architecture.
Hope some of this helps and happy travels mate,
charlie - I noted the places you suggest, I should have time to get through to some of the midlands. Also, I didn't really consider stonehenge but I think I'll definitely have to try and make a stop there because it looks so interesting. It's a world wonder isn't it?
toidi - thanks much for suggestions on where to go for nightlife, I'll be having as much fun as I can possibly fit in the time I'm there. Also, glad to hear there won't be hostile attitudes. I'm a pretty social person so I'm sure I'll have fun talking to the natives. We don't have to get into the details, but I am from the NorthEast US; my political views are probably similar to most of the people in the UK. Otherwise, I love soccer (football), Radio One, Formula 1 and motorcycle racing - maybe I was supposed to be born in the UK anyways!
Thanks much for the tips, keep em coming!
With all the unfortunate events occuring worldwide, is there any hostility in the UK or surrounding towards Americans?
What should I wear, or not wear - related to the weather, or not drawing attention to ourselves as tourists, etc?
FA football matches can be quite violent??
I've heard the food can be quite unappealing for Americans, although I usually like anything. Are there any foods to definitely stay away from?
Where are the best places in London to meet people, nightlife, pubs etc.- We are all approx 22 years old
1) From this forum I get the feeling that people in America think that we are anti American and will naturally hate them when they get here. Wrong - This country has got so many foreigners, tourist etc.. you will barely stand out at all in any city, but may be probed in a local pub in a village in the middle of no-where.
2) There will always be some people that want a fight. There are always hundreds of police anyway, but I have been for 10 years now to see my beloved team Watford in a lower leagu and there isnt even any trouble.
3) Who the heck told you foood can be unappealing?? I' not being rude but I bet you'll find nicer food than in many parts in America. There are some of the best chefs in the world over here, and you can find good food anywhere. More you pay the more exclusive you'll get. Its not 3rd world so you dont have to worry about anything, maybe a kebab at 4 in the morning could be dodge but its never stopped me.
4) London and nightlife- of my god. You could go out your whole life and never see all of London's nightlife. So your'e 22 like me. Try Leicester Sqare in the west end for some bars, main clubs that are good that I like. Definately fabric, i like a little club calle Vibe, brick lane, and also try Turnballs near Farringdon.
5) Wear just what you would on a night out at home, the style from over here is quite similar to America, jeans, and smart t shirt, maybe casual shoes...
Honestly, this is a developed country, nothing will happen to you unless you look for a good scrap.
Sorry if I come off a little ignorant asking the questions, I didn't mean any offense. I'm just asking because I've never been overseas before and I have no idea. In response:
- No, I don't think people in the UK are anti-American. I've heard stories here and there, and just wanted to see what people that actually live/travel in the UK said instead of hearsay. I'm happy with what people have told me so far, and I think the UK is gonna be great.
- I guess fighting at FA matches is just a stereotype of years past when it actually was a problem. I'm not looking to get in a fight, I don't get in fights here, and I'm sure it won't be an issue.
- Ha, the food. Well it's always seemed people make fun of how bad British food is, again I wouldn't know. You guys probably think the same of the food in the States? Here's an example though: a friend told me they ordered a ham & cheese sandwich at a restaraunt in the UK and the waitress returned with 1 ham/mayo sandwich and 1 cheese/something sandwich. I find this funny, maybe it's just a little different across the Atlantic, who knows?
- I've heard London's nightlife is unbelievable, can't wait to see it in person. Thanks for the tips of which clubs to go to.
- I'm sure the wardrobe won't be an issue, just wanted some tips because of the weather/temp at night, etc.
More information is better than no information, right? Thanks for the help.