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Planning a trip to the UK but don’t know when to visit, what to do, or where to stay? Our UK travel guide can help make your holiday planning a whole lot easier.

Friends in London during the best time to visit the UK

Source: Getty

We’re not surprised you want to visit this region of the world – a trip to the United Kingdom (UK) puts you right in the centre of rich history, quaint villages, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant city life.

Whether you're drawn to the timeless charm of London, the serene beauty of the Scottish Highlands, or the historic stone walls of Edinburgh, our UK travel guide can help inspire your trip plans and give you lots of useful information.

From the top sites to see and local customs to know, to transport options to use and tasty local dishes to try, we’re here to help you discover what to do in the UK – and have fun while you’re there.

So, let’s jump into our UK travel guide so you can start planning your incredible British getaway.

“Knowing what you want to do during your trip to the United Kingdom before you start booking can help you schedule visits to tourist spots (so you don’t miss out on any sights!), help you steer clear of popular travel times if you want to (and dodge the large crowds in the process!), and help you really make every moment count.

“Plus, when you have a list of things you want to do while you’re in the United Kingdom, you’ll be able to choose the best time to visit the UK for your trip and gear up for local weather by choosing the right clothes to pack. After all, a little planning, budgeting, and organising now can help ensure your getaway is as smooth as possible."

Rodger Cook, Cover-More’s General Manager of Global Security

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Mother and daughter hiking in the UK

Source: Getty

What do I need to know about the United Kingdom?

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland form the UK, which has a blend of ancient charm and modern attractions. Some travellers will use “United Kingdom” and “Great Britain” (or Britain) interchangeably, but the UK includes Northern Ireland, while Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales only.

Before you take in the Welsh valleys or English countryside, remember these important details about the United Kingdom:


Icon: Languages spoken in the UK


English is the official language across the UK, but you may also hear Welsh in Wales and Gaelic in some areas of Scotland.

Icon: Currency used in the UK


The official currency of the UK is the British Pound (£), however the Euro is used in Northern Ireland. Although credit cards are widely accepted, it's helpful to carry some cash for smaller transactions.

Icon: Getting a visa for the UK

Visa Requirements

Australian citizens generally do not need a visa when travelling to the UK as a tourist for less than six months. For more information, refer to’s United Kingdom information page.

Icon: Drive on the left hand side in the UK 

Driving Side

UK drivers stay on the left side of the road, just like in Australia. If you have a full Australian license, you can drive a car or motorbike for up to 12 months without needing an International Drivers Permit.

Icon: Use a Type G power adapter in the UK 

Electric Plug

You’ll need to pack a Type G power adapter to use your electronic devices in the UK, because the sockets differ significantly from those in Australia.

Icon: The electric voltage in the UK in 230V

Electric Voltage

In the United Kingdom, the electrical voltage is 230 V, like in Australia.

Icon: the dialling code for the UK is +44

Dialling Code

The international dialling code for the UK is +44. Dial the code first, followed by the area code and number for the person or business you’re trying to reach.

Icon: The UK operates on GMT

Time Zone(s)

The UK operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, during daylight saving time, which is from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, it switches to British Summer Time (BST), which is GMT+1.

When’s the best time to visit the UK?

It’s important to time your trip in the right season based on what you plan to do in the United Kingdom – whether you’re dreaming about a ski trip to Glenshee Ski Centre in Scotland or soaking up the sun at Woolacombe Beach in England.

Here’s what you need to know about the United Kingdom’s seasons, so you can choose the best time to visit the UK for your unique getaway:

High Season

Summertime, from June through August, is the busiest season in the UK, so attractions may be crowded with sightseers. It's the best time to visit the UK if you want a lively atmosphere and plan to visit popular beaches like Blackpool Sands, Three Cliffs Bay, and Scarista Beach.

Low Season

There are fewer tourists in the winter months from November through February, which means you can have a more peaceful experience – but only if you visit after the holidays. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to explore British cities without the usual crowds and – sometimes – you might even be able to experience it all at lower prices.

Shoulder Seasons

The transitional spring months from March through May and autumn months from September through October are prime for those seeking milder climes and smaller crowds. These seasons strike a balance, allowing for tranquil exploration with the benefit of good weather and open attractions.

Plan to see the Notting Hill Carnival in the UK

Source: Getty

What to do and see in the UK

From ancient stones and modern artistry to theatrical performances and festive streets, you’ll find a variety of things to see and do in the UK. Here's a roundup of some of the very best.

What to see and do in the UK: 10 best events to attend

The United Kingdom is steeped in tradition with year-round events that attract visitors from around the globe.

Here's our list of 10 must-experience yearly events in the UK:

  1. The Cheltenham Festival (Gloucestershire, England): One of the most well-known horse racing events, this March festival combines high adrenaline with a posh British atmosphere over a span of four days.
  2. Oxford Cambridge Boat Race (London, England): Witness a storied rivalry in April at this historic rowing competition along the Thames River, a true testament to sportsmanship and university pride.
  3. The Chelsea Flower Show (London, England): Hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society in May, this world-renowned flower show delights with cutting-edge garden designs and plant varieties.
  4. Glastonbury Festival (Somerset, England): Arguably the biggest outdoor music festival in the world, Glastonbury is a haven for music lovers in June, offering a mix of famous headliners and eclectic performances.
  5. Wimbledon (London, England): At the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, you can watch the pros play on pristine grass courts in July.
  6. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Edinburgh, Scotland): The Fringe opens a creative pandemonium in August, with thousands of performers taking to stages all over Edinburgh in the world's largest arts festival.
  7. The Notting Hill Carnival (London, England): Europe's biggest street festival dazzles in August with its Caribbean vibes, colorful parades, music, and dance, creating an atmosphere of pure celebration in the streets of London.
  8. Guy Fawkes Night (United Kingdom): Also known as Bonfire Night, this November event lights up the skies across the UK with fireworks commemorating the historic Gunpowder Plot. For a unique experience, visit the towns of Lewes, Robertsbridge, or Hastings in Sussex, England for torchlight processions and bonfires put on by the locals.
  9. The Turner Prize Exhibition (United Kingdom): At various host cities and times of year, this contemporary art award exhibition showcases the vibrant and challenging works of today's leading artists.
  10. The Hogmanay (Edinburgh, Scotland): Bringing in the New Year with Scottish flair in December, Edinburgh's Hogmanay is a festival of music, procession, and fireworks.

What to see and do in the UK: 10 culturally historic places to visit during your trip

  1. The Tower of London (London, England): Explore the rich history of England with a visit to this historic fortress and former royal palace.
  2. The British Museum (London, England): An incomparable collection of world art and artifacts, this museum is a treasure trove for history buffs.
  3. Stonehenge (Wiltshire, England): Marvel at the prehistoric mystery in the Salisbury Plain.
  4. The Roman Baths (Bath, England): Explore ancient Roman public bathing structures and learn about life during the Roman Britain era.
  5. The Giant's Causeway (Bushmills, Northern Ireland): Walk on the unique volcanic formations and discover the myth and geologic wonder.
  6. Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland): Dominating Scotland's capital, this castle offers panoramic views and a deep dive into Scottish history.
  7. The Lake District National Park (Cumbria, England): Its serene lakes and rolling hills make it a sanctuary for nature lovers, poets, and artists.
  8. Stratford-upon-Avon (Warwickshire, England): Visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon.
  9. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland): Stroll through this historic street leading from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.
  10. Eryri/Snowdonia National Park (Gwynedd, Wales): Embark on a hiking or climbing adventure, or simply enjoy the rugged Welsh landscape.
Couple relaxing at Trafalgar Square in the UK

Source: Getty

What to see and do in the UK: 10 experiences to immerse yourself in UK culture

  1. The West End Theatre District (London, England): Experience a world-class performance with a show at one of the famous West End theatres.
  2. The Tate Modern and Tate Britain (London, England): You’ll find contemporary and classic art in these iconic galleries.
  3. Manchester's music scene (Manchester, England): Explore the sites that gave rise to legendary bands and catch live music acts in the city's thriving venues.
  4. Gastronomy in Borough Market (London, England): Savor a variety of food from around the world at one of London's largest and oldest food markets.
  5. Royal Ascot (Berkshire, England): A top event in the racing calendar that falls in June, it’s famed for fashion as much as for the horse racing and presided over by British Royalty.
  6. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Edinburgh, Scotland): Every August, the city comes alive with military performances and fireworks against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
  7. Welsh Eisteddfod (Wales): A week-long celebration of the Welsh culture, language, music and literature, held annually in August in a different Welsh town.
  8. The British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival (London, England): Join film enthusiasts in screenings of both mainstream and independent films in October.
  9. The Shakespeare Festival (United Kingdom): Engage with the work of Shakespeare at performances held across the UK, from traditional stages to the open air.
  10. The Historic Dockyards (United Kingdom): Learn about the UK 's maritime heritage in cities like Portsmouth and Bristol, where ships were once built and now serve as museums.
Older couple tries fish & chips in the UK

Source: Getty

What to eat and drink in the UK: 5 must-try menu items

The United Kingdom's iconic food and beverage scene is packed with both local culture and international influence.

Here are our top menu items for you to try in the UK:

  1. Fish and chips: This quintessentially British dish is a must-have for any foodie visiting the UK The meal comes with fried fish in crispy batter paired with golden chips, and it’s often served with a side of mushy peas and tartare sauce.
  2. Full English breakfast: Kick-start your day with a hearty full English breakfast. The plate is piled with bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, black pudding, mushrooms, and toast.
  3. Sunday roast: Sundays in the UK call for a classic roast. This main meal features succulent roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, and an assortment of vegetables, all drenched in rich gravy.
  4. Cornish pasty: Discover the flavors of Cornwall with a traditional pasty. This baked pastry has a golden crust stuffed with beef, onion, potato, and swede (rutabaga), seasoned with salt and pepper.
  5. Afternoon tea: No culinary tour of the UK is complete without experiencing afternoon tea. Enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries, and cakes, accompanied by a pot of freshly brewed tea. For those who are heading to Cornwall and Devon and love a scone, be sure to try out the ‘Devon method’ (clotted cream first; jam second) and the ‘Cornish method’ (jam first; clotted cream second) to discover which one you love best!

Most popular UK airports to fly into from Australia

Whether you choose the bustling cosmopolitan cities of London and Manchester, the medieval allure of Edinburgh, or the central locale of Birmingham, your journey can start smoother at any of these top-tier airports.

Here are the top UK airports that serve as major hubs for transatlantic flights:

  1. Heathrow Airport (London, England): Heathrow is the most significant gateway into the UK. With a bunch of direct flights from hubs like Singapore and Dubai, it’s the go-to for many travellers from the Asia Pacific region seeking both convenience and connectivity.
  2. Gatwick Airport (London, England): As London’s second-busiest airport, Gatwick offers excellent links to the south of England. With a straightforward train service to central London, it’s an efficient alternative to Heathrow.
  3. Manchester Airport (Manchester, England): Manchester Airport is a northern England hub that offers direct flights to and from several key hubs in Asia and the Middle East, making it a good option for Aussie travellers. It’s the perfect landing spot if you want to explore the North, from the Lake District to the Scottish borders.
  4. Edinburgh Airport (Edinburgh, Scotland): If you’re looking for immediate access to the charm of Scotland, flying into Edinburgh Airport is a smart choice. This airport will give you a warm Scottish welcome and it’s only a short trip from the historic city center.
  5. Birmingham Airport (Birmingham, England): Located in the heart of England, Birmingham Airport is a solid choice for visitors looking to experience the Midlands or venture into Wales.
Public transport is an easy way to get around the UK

Source: Getty

How to get around in the United Kingdom: best transport options

Getting around in the United Kingdom offers an adventure of its own, with a variety of transportation options available to suit different preferences and budgets.

Here are some details on the most popular modes of transportation in the UK:

Icon: bicycling is a great way to sightsee while in the UK 


Want to help the environment and be more active while traveling? Exploring the UKby bicycle lets you enjoy scenic routes and get exercise. Major cities like London, Manchester, and Edinburgh feature dedicated cycle lanes, and bike-sharing systems – like Santander Cycles in London – make it easy to hop on a bike and go.

Icon: catching public transport is very easy in the UK

Public Transport

Public transport is the backbone of UK travel, with extensive bus and train networks connecting cities, towns, and picturesque countryside locations. Buses are an economical choice for local commutes and are also quite reliable. The famed London Underground, commonly referred to as the Tube, and London Overground are efficient ways to navigate the capital. For longer distances, the rail system offers a comfortable and scenic journey, with services like National Rail covering even remote areas.

Icon: Catching a taxi can be a more direct way to get to your destination in the UK

Taxis and Ride Apps

If you want a more private and direct route to your destination, you can hail a traditional black cab on the streets of UK cities. Ride-hailing apps like Uber are convenient and cashless options, with the additional benefit of real-time tracking and fare estimates. Both taxis and ride apps are ideal for late-night travel or when carrying heavy luggage.

Where to stay in the United Kingdom: top neighbourhoods for travellers

From bustling city life to tranquil green spaces, the right UK neighbourhood for your trip awaits.

Here’s our inspiration for where to stay in the United Kingdom:

  • Kensington (London, England): Known for its grand Victorian architecture and prestigious museums, such as the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington is full of elegance and cultural richness.
  • The Royal Mile (Edinburgh, Scotland): This historic stretch leads you from the glorious Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace, surrounded by medieval charm and Scotch Whisky Experience tours.
  • The Northern Quarter (Manchester, England): With its indie boutiques, vibrant street art, and eclectic dining scene, the Northern Quarter is Manchester’s hippest spot, appealing to creatives and foodies alike.
  • The Georgian Quarter (Liverpool, England): This neighbourhood boasts beautiful Georgian architecture and is home to cultural staples like the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Everyman Theatre.
  • Clifton (Bristol, England): Offering panoramic views of the Avon Gorge and Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton is an affluent suburb with green spaces, stylish boutiques, and quaint cafes.
  • Brindleyplace (Birmingham, England): Modern and sleek, Brindleyplace provides an array of restaurants, bars, and galleries, alongside peaceful canal walks. It's also near the National Sea Life Centre and the Arena Birmingham.
  • The Lanes (Brighton, England): This maze of narrow streets offers everything from vintage clothing shops to seafood restaurants, showcasing the bohemian spirit of Brighton.
  • The Baltic Triangle (Liverpool, England): A trendy, rejuvenated area known for contemporary art spaces, live music venues, and street food markets, it’s a hub for Liverpool’s creative scene.
  • Belfast (Belfast, Northern Ireland): Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, boasts a vibrant history and culture that attracts visitors from around the globe. It's home to the Titanic Belfast Museum, an iconic tribute to the city's maritime heritage where the famous RMS Titanic was built.
  • Merchant City (Glasgow, Scotland): Merchant City is the heart of Glasgow’s cultural, fashion, and food scenes, with a historical backdrop that serves as a reminder of the city’s rich mercantile past. 

    Source: Getty

What do I need to travel to the United Kingdom? Your UK packing list

Wondering what to pack for your getaway to the UK? To navigate the United Kingdom's unpredictable weather and stay comfortable throughout your travels, here are some items you should consider packing:

  • Layered apparel: Dress in layers with versatile pieces like t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, and a lightweight, waterproof jacket.
  • All-purpose footwear: Comfortable walking shoes are a must, and for those wetter days, consider packing waterproof boots.
  • Accessories: Pack a foldable umbrella, scarves, and a warm hat to adjust to sudden weather changes.
  • Power adapter: Remember the UK uses Type G sockets, so an adapter is necessary to charge your Australian devices.
  • Portable charger: Stay powered up on the go, ensuring your smartphone and camera are ready to capture every moment.
  • Travel-sized essentials: Pack your travel-sized toiletries, keeping in mind the liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage. You can bring a quart-sized bag containing 3.4-ounce containers of liquids on the airplane.
  • Prescription medications: Ensure you have an adequate supply of any prescription medications, accompanied by the prescription itself, for ease through customs.
  • Passport: An obvious essential, but always double-check the expiration date as you’ll need at least six months validity on your passport to enter the UK.
  • Credit cards and pound sterling: While many places accept credit cards, having some local currency on hand for small purchases is advisable.
  • Travel guide: While digital resources are great, a physical travel guide can be a reliable source when Wi-Fi is unavailable.
  • Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated while reducing plastic waste as you explore.
  • Travel insurance: Help protect your trip from unexpected costs that come up from lost baggage, delayed flights, and more with travel insurance. When you purchase Cover-More travel insurance, you’ll also get access to a handy travel companion – our app. Once you download it and register your detail, you’ll have your policy in your pocket at all times, as well as access to travel alerts, emergency assistance and more.

Public holidays to keep in mind when planning your UK trip

When you travel from Australia to the UK, being aware of public holidays, or "bank holidays" as they're locally known, can be helpful. These days can affect opening hours of shops, tourist attractions, and public transport schedules.

Here are some significant public holidays in the UK to mark on your calendar:

New Year's Day: 1 January  

Like in Australia,, the New Year is celebrated enthusiastically across the UK. Expect some festivities to carry on from New Year's Eve and look out for reduced transportation services.

Good Friday and Easter Monday: March or April

This four-day weekend is a time when many Brits travel or visit family, potentially making certain destinations busier than usual.

Early May Bank Holiday: first Monday in May

This holiday marks the beginning of spring, and you'll find numerous local festivals and events. It's an excellent opportunity to experience British culture and community spirit.

Spring Bank Holiday: last Monday in May

Originally known as Whitsun, Spring Bank Holiday activities may include agricultural shows and cultural festivals. It's another vibrant time for local celebrations.

Summer Bank Holiday: last Monday in August

The end of August sees another long weekend, with this holiday giving workers a last chance to enjoy summer.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day:  25 and 26 December

The UK is particularly charming during the Christmas season with numerous festive markets, events, and, of course, the traditional Christmas Day lunch. The following day, Boxing Day, is also a public holiday with popular sporting events and the start of the post-Christmas sales.

Source: Getty

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Any advice is general advice only. Please consider your financial situation, needs, and objectives and read the Combined FSG/PDS before deciding to buy this insurance. For information on the Target Market and Target Market Determinations visit Cover-More TMD.