Southwest England Travel Information
GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
Tipping in England is a more complicated process than countries like the US or South Africa, where a certain amount is standard. Most upscale or 'nice' restaurants will expect a tip of about 10% for good service, but many Britons will feel no remorse for not tipping bad service. Service gratuities are added occasionally, so check your bill before tipping.
In more casual venues like pubs and bars it is not customary to tip waitstaff, but you may round up the bill if you feel the need to. The same rule applies to bartenders and taxi drivers. Tipping in hotels is not standard practise, but a porter will expect something for carrying your luggage.
Overall, travellers can expect relative safety in England, however there is a very real threat of terrorist attacks, especially in London. The US State Department issued a travel warning for the UK in January 2011, following several attacks on urban public transport systems, particularly subways and railway stations.
Within the major cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, there is a risk of crimes like pickpocketing and muggings, and tourists should take care with their valuables at all times. Incidents of serious violent crime are rare, but common sense should prevail in avoiding isolated areas and parks at night. Rural England is generally quite safe, and law enforcement officials are quick to assist foreign tourists.
The English tend to be more reserved in terms of displays of emotion and answering personal questions, however you may find that younger generations are more open and frank. Stereotypical American bluntness is often frowned upon. It is polite to exchange greetings before asking for assistance. Please, thank you, and sorry are used in abundance. Punctuality is very important, and Britons may take offense if you are late to an appointment. Men and women shake hands in greeting, and only friends will hug or kiss on the cheek. When riding escalators, it is customary to stand on the right side, leaving the left for people who wish to pass. The English are polite and respectful, and often quick to assist a person in trouble.
Become our Southwest England Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Southwest England travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Southwest England or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.