Skip Navigation

USA tourists found visiting UK different to what they expect

Travel Forums North America USA tourists found visiting UK different to what they expect

1. Posted by sl123 (Budding Member 2 posts) 4y

sl123 has indicated that this thread is about North America

Have any USA tourists found visiting UK different to what they expected?

I was born and raised in the UK and I am just doing some research into if there is there a difference of a USA tourists perception of the UK in relation to the reality of their experience of visiting?

If anyone that has visited the UK from the USA could they possibly fill out the questions below, I would be very grateful, also any other experiences you have to share about your time in the UK feel free to tell me all of them!!

Here's just a few questions...

What was your experience like?
What did you do whilst you were there? Where did you go?
How long were you there for?
What time of year did you go?
Was it much different to what you thought it was going to be? If so, what was different?
Would you visit again?

Thanks so much for you help!

2. Posted by sprite0226 (Budding Member 4 posts) 4y

Hi! I'm from Oceanside, CA, which is about a half hour north of San Diego and an hour south of Los Angeles on the Pacific coast. I visited the UK in 2004. Hope this helps your research!

What was your experience like?
It was wonderful, although it was my first trip outside of North America and I didn’t know how to plan trips very well back then, so I learned a lot. Like don’t stay in a hotel near the airport, since the airport is not actually near the things we wanted to see. Taxi rides from the hotel added up quickly. Next time we’ll pick a hotel near a Tube stop to make things easier. Also, we tried to pack too many things into our itinerary so we couldn't do all that we had planned. Things like that. Otherwise, what we did get to do was great!

What did you do whilst you were there? Where did you go?
We did typical tourist things while in London (bus tour of the city, tour out to Leeds Castle, Buckingham Palace for the guard change, Trafalger square, Windsor Castle, etc). Then we flew to Dublin for 2 days, saw the Guiness factory and went on a pub crawl, then flew back to London. Then we decided to rent a car and drove to Conwy, Wales and drove through Bath on our way back to London to catch our flight home.

How long were you there for?
Originally we were only going to be in London for a week, but then we extended our trip when some friends of ours suggested the road trip to Wales. The trip ended up being 10 days total.

What time of year did you go?
May, and it was beautiful. It didn’t rain but one morning for about an hour.

Was it much different to what you thought it was going to be? If so, what was different?
Yes and no. The people were great, the pubs were fun, and for the most part it was what we expected. On the other hand, however, we were thought crazy more than once because of our impromptu drive to Wales. Coming from the US, we’re used to driving everywhere, so it was strange seeing that reaction to our roadtrip. Also, driving was different (and I don’t mean just on the other side). Road signs held a LOT more information than we were used to, so 2 of the 4 of us in the car were dedicated sign readers, one starting from the top and one starting from the bottom, so we didn’t end up on the wrong roads going around the roundabouts. Also, we didn’t expect to see a McDonalds (and Starbucks, Burger King, etc) right next to Windsor Castle. We had thought the royal residences would be removed from that type of commercialism.

Would you visit again?
Most definitely. I just can’t decide what part of the UK to see next!

3. Posted by ashleyelaine (Budding Member 3 posts) 4y

Hi, Im an American from Los Angeles, CA. I've visited the UK (mostly Scotland and a few places in England) several times over the past 2years.

What was your experience like?
The first time I came to the UK, I arrived in Manchester, England on January 1st at night. It was unbelievably cold for me! I knew there would be snow and it would be cold but it a week for my body to adjust.
From Manchester I went to Edinburgh which looked so beautiful covered in snow and parts of town lit up with christmas lights! I stayed at a bed&breakfast which made the best Scottish breakfast every morning! With that meal I was full till nearly dinner time. I spent a lot of time exploring Prince's street and the side roads. I got lost every day despite my best efforts to pay attention to my map. LA is set up on a grid and very easy to navigate; Edinburgh on the other hand had so many winding and twisting streets. I loved how there were little shops lining the streets with apartments above. I was amazed at how many bed&breakfasts there were. The vintage shops were fabulous and I found a couple great internet cafes to relax at.
Also the people were all really nice and helpful when I asked for directions. I found I got asked alot about my opinion on the war in Afghanistan. I was surprised by the number of Chinese and Indian resturants.
The only thing I didn't like was the lack of quantity and quality of fresh fruits and veggies.

What did you do whilst you were there? Where did you go?
The first time I went, I went to see my boyfriend. Since he worked during the day, I spent a lot of time exploring on my own. We went out to dinner all over town every night and hit up a few clubs as well. We also visited the castle (AMAZING), the museum inside and a photography museum on the Royal Mile.

How long were you there for?
The first time I went I was there for a little over 2 weeks. I spend 4 or 5 days in Manchester and the rest in Edinburgh.

What time of year did you go?
I went in January 2011 the first time. I been back twice to Edinburgh (April 2011, March 2012) and once to England (August 2011).

Was it much different to what you thought it was going to be? If so, what was different?
I was surprised by the ethnic diversity; I hadn't realized som many people had immigrated to the UK. I had a hard time understanding some of the accents; I guess I was expecting everyone to sound like Hugh Grant.

Would you visit again?
I'm moving to Scotland in 6 months!! I could not be more excited!

4. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 4y

Here's just a few questions...

What was your experience like?
I've enjoyed all 5 of my trips to the UK. The first time was with my parents and sister when I was about 19, the last four times were in the 2006-2007 time period when traveled to Wales (Newport) as part of my work.

What did you do whilst you were there? Where did you go?
First time, visited London, Bath, Plymouth, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sherwood Forest, Moors, north to Scotland and Inverness (visiting a woolen fabric factory and looking for the Loch Ness monster), Lake District, Liverpool, then crossed over to Ireland, and then back to London and on to Paris, Nice, Monaco, and Barcelona. Second through 5th times, went to Newport, then took side trips to London, Nottingham, the Gloucester area, Bristol, Bath, woods of Wales, Manchester, Milton Keynes, and one time went to Sweden and Norway. In London, first time did normal tourist stuff (Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, etc.). Last times back spent more time going to west end theater productions, shopping in Picadilly Circus area, hanging out at Covent Garden, going to nice restaurants, visiting the British Museum, seeing the Sherlock Holmes museum, and attending a football (soccer) game at Wembley.

How long were you there for?
First time, three weeks. 2nd through 5th times, usually one week to week and one half.

What time of year did you go?
First time, summer. 2nd time, May. 3rd time September. 4th time, early to mid-December. 5th time, May.

Was it much different to what you thought it was going to be?
First time, pretty much as expected, but the Moors area was very unexpected and we really enjoyed it as it seemed so much different than other areas. Some of the total "ruralness" of Scotland was also surprising.

If so, what was different?
See above.

Would you visit again?
Well, as stated, I have been there 5 times already--and yes, I'm ready to go anytime I can work out the logistics and balance it against shorter trips that are easier to take (because of limited vacation time)--and the need to have some medical procedures performed first.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Mar-2012, at 21:28 by Calcruzer ]

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 4y

I should also mention that when I went in mid-December (early December), I attended the Christmas market in Lincoln--in the East Midlands area. Kind of tough to get to, but worth the trip.

7. Posted by Scott A. R. (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y

Going for my 3rd visit to the UK (England) in a few days.

Last one was in 2012. My overwhelming thought is always how much it's like California where I live. Just a LOT more crowded.

Very friendly people just like in California.

I had a rental car and drove from London (3 days there) to Birmingham (3 days there) to Liverpool (2 days there) to Leeds (2 days there) and back to London (last 2 days).

The freeways and roads are CROWDED with a capital C. Driving on the opposite side presented no problems other than an occasional missed shift.

I was there in July of 2012 and it rained almost every minute.

I had been there 30 years earlier as a teenager. Just over 50 now. It was as I expected it to be except for the traffic.

Going back for the last 2 weeks in July 2015 and hopefully a lot more now that my house is in an exchange program for other homeowners in the UK.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Jul-2015, at 13:18 by Scott A. R. ]

8. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 653 posts) 1y

I think you found among the most crowded routes in the country, travelling between those cities! :-)

Head north of that Liverpool-Leeds line and it gets a lot quieter.