flights · money
· calling home · visa & passports
One of the most frequently asked questions
is how best to travel from the various airports. We consider five of the
main airports here:
Heathrow is now served by the Heathrow Express every fifteen minutes into
Paddington Station for a cost of around £14 single, £22 return. It is quick
(15 minutes into London) and easy, just follow the signs irrespective of
which terminal you are in.
When you arrive at Paddington station, if your bags are light, the tube
will take you wherever you need to go in London relatively efficiently
or on to other onward rail stations. If you have heavy bags, hail a cab
outside the station. It will cost a few pounds for a journey in Central
London. The cost of a taxi between the airport and London is a possibility.
It will cost around £40 and will take up to five people.
Manchester is increasing capacity significantly and has a rail station
at the airport. This serves many destinations such as Yorkshire and the
Lake District directly, many more by a simple change. It is two and a
half hours from London.
Unless you are going in the small hours, a taxi will get caught up in traffic
from London Gatwick. An hour would be quick, we know people who took two
hours to make the journey. It will cost around £70 to make the journey.
Take the Gatwick Express from the airport to London Victoria. There you
take a cab to your destination or next station. If your bags are light,
try the tube.
This airport on the outskirts of Britain's second-largest city has a station
on the mainline, is an hour/ hour and a half from London and has good
connections to the rest of the country.
Edinburgh: There is no train here, but an airport bus takes you directly
to the city and its station in less than half an hour. If your bags are
heavy, ask for a cab. It will cost more but the journey is only twelve miles.
The currency used in the U.K. is Pounds Sterling. Each pound is divided
into 100 pence.
Banks are available in towns from 9.30 until 3.30, many however are now
open until 5.00 or 5.30 depending on the branch. Some branches (but not
all) are open Saturday mornings.
Many travelers to this country rely on travelers' checks for security reasons.
All major issuers (AmEX, Visa, etc) are widely accepted by banks. PLEASE
NOTE: Travelers cheques are rarely accepted in shops, restaurants and so
on for payment of goods. You will need a bank to change your travelers'
checks (some hotels also do this) and are therefore often limited to banking
hours to get money.
We recommend highly bringing part of your personal expenditure as debit/credit
cards. Credit cards are accepted widely in the U.K. ATMs can be found much
more frequently than banks and offer good rates of exchange. In addition,
Visa, Cirrus, Plus and MasterCard are widely accepted by ATMs.
The most common notes or bills (£5, £10, £20 and £50) are issued by the
Bank of England. The Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the
Clydesdale Bank all print their own banknotes( including £100). The Bank
of Ulster in Northern Ireland also prints banknotes. All notes are legal
tender throughout the United Kingdom, they are all Sterling, there is no
exchange rate between them.
For our guests coming on a LancasterAuthentic vacation, we suggest the following:
Some local currency (not a great amount but enough for a day or two), also
a credit card and one or two debit cards of the type mentioned above. In
rural areas we will not be coming across banks very often and exchanging
travelers checks can cause problems.
Phone boxes in the U.K. take coins and phonecards (available from many newsagents,
post offices and stores). The minimum cost of a call is 20 pence. To call
home to countries outside the U.K. directly, dial 00, followed by your country
code (e.g. 1 for the U.S., 49 for Germany) followed by the area code and
number. If your area code starts with a zero, omit this.
BT(British Telecom) phone cards work by inserting them into the phonebox
and dialing directly. Other phonecards available can offer greater savings
but require dialing a Freephone (Toll free) number THEN a pin number before
making a call.
You can reach USA operators without cost by dialing (AT&T, USA Direct) 0800
89 0011 (MCI, Call USA) 0800 89 0222 Phoning from hotel rooms can be very
expensive as additional costs apply. These vary from hotel to hotel, so
check before using.
When traveling in the U.K., you need a valid passport, a round trip ticket
and spending money! For U.S. citizens a visa is not required. Non U.S. citizens
should contact their nearest British Consulate. Further information can
be found on the web at http://www.britain-info.org/.
Generally, shops are open from 9.00 to 5.30, every day except Sunday. Some
major stores may extent opening hours, especially in major towns and places
of touristic interest. This is dependant on the store. Some stores open
on Sundays for a maximum of six hours. Again, this is often dependant on
place and store.
Many privately-owned stores and village shops observe "half day closing",
typically on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons and will also close on Saturday
afternoon until Monday morning.