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Why not visit …

The problem page

  • Laughter sometimes helps, but if we have real problems we need real help.

The illusion page

  • for fun with a difference

True stories

  • about what really happened

There are a number of very good booklets published by the British Tourist Authority:

  • BRITAIN' is a 30 page colour booklet, free from the British Tourist Authority. It is a very good guide on where to go, how to travel, and visa and customs rules.
  • 'UK - THE GUIDE'is specially for young people and students.
  • 'TOURIST TICKETS AND DISCOUNT CARDS' gives very important information on travel and special discount tickets for visitors. It also gives advice and warnings about buying theatre tickets.
  • 'LONDON GUIDE' and 'LONDON PLANNER' advise visitors to London, and are available in many languages.

These booklets are available from the British Tourist Authority office in your own country – see the list below. If there is not an office in your country, contact the one nearest to you. We have only given the phone numbers, but the list with full addresses is available on the official BTA website

If there is no office near you, a travel agent in your country may have these booklets. If you cannot obtain them this way, then write to the British Travel Centre, and also say what language booklets you would like.

British Travel Centre
12 Regent Street
Piccadilly Circus
London SW1Y 4PQ
England

The Travel Centre is also open to London visitors seven days a week and offers a big range of maps, travel guides and other information. They can book rail tickets, tours, theatre tickets and accommodation, and also change money.

They can also advise overseas visitors already in the country by phone on 0181 846 9000 - this is a switchboard number – ask to be put through to the Travel Centre. Do not ring in from overseas for advice – you should contact your nearest BTA office, or else write to the London office.

 

LIST OF BTA BOOKLETS AND LANGUAGES AVAILABLE

  • MAIN GUIDE: French Canadian, Dutch, French, Belgium French, Flemish,Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, Latin American,Portuguese, French African, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Turkish and Danish.
  • LONDON GUIDE: French, German, Ducth, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish,Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic, Korean, Czech, Hungarian, Russian and Polish.
  • LONDON MAP: French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic.
  • BRITAIN MAP: French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese and Arabic.
  • BRITISH ARTS FESTIVALS: French and Italian.
  • UK - THE GUIDE: French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • GREAT BRITISH GALLERIES: Italian, German, French and Spanish.
  • GREAT BRITISH HERITAGE FLYER AND PASS: French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch.
  • ARTS CITIES: German.
  • WATERFRONT BRITAIN: French and German.
  • B & B ACCOMMODATION: French, German and Spanish.
  • FARM HOLIDAY LEAFLET: French and German.

The British Tourist Authority has offices in:

  • Argentina (Buenos Aires tel:+ 54 11 4314 6735/8955
  • Australia (Sydney contact our website
  • Belgium (Brussels office is closed to the public.
    All information is available via our website
  • Brazil (Rio de Janeiro tel: + 55 21-2531 1717)
  • China (Beijing tel: + (8610) 6590 6903, Ext 209
  • China (Shanghai tel: + (8621) 6323 0313
  • Canada (Mississauga, On.)tel: +1 905 405 1720
  • Denmark (Copenhagen tel: (+45) 70 21 50 11)
  • France (Paris tel: (0033) 01 58 36 50 50)
  • Germany (Berlin tel: + 49 30 315 719 0)
  • Hong Kong (tel: +(852) 3515 7815)
  • India (Tel: 0091 124 5103281-84)
  • Ireland (Dublin tel: (+353 1) 670 8000)
  • Italy (Milan tel: (+39) 02 880815 1)
  • Japan (Tokyo tel: +81 3 5562 2550)
  • Netherlands (Amsterdam tel: +31 20 607 77 00)
  • New Zealand (Auckland tel: +64 (0)9 309 1899)
  • Norway, (Oslo tel: +47 22 01 20 94)
  • Portugal (managed from Madrid - + 34 (9) 1 3436313)
  • Singapore tel: + (65) 6511 4311)
  • South Africa (Sandton tel: +27 (0)11 325 0591)
  • South Korea (tel: +82 2 3210 5531)
  • Spain (Madrid tel: + 34 (9) 1 3436313)
  • Sweden (Stockholm tel: +46 (0) 8 440 1700)
  • Switzerland - managed from Berlin -+ 49 30 315 719 0
  • UAE (Dubei tel: +971 4 3350088)
  • USA (New York tel: + 1 212 986 1188)
  • USA (Chicago tel: + 1 312 787 0464)
  • USA (Los Angeles tel: +1 310 470 2782)

Thought for the day:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Gospel of John 3:16

For ticket prices and other purchases, please go to the relevant websites

Most "stately homes" and castles are in the hands of several organisations:

The National Trust

The National Trust administers "stately homes" and other historic buildings and gardens in England, Wales and N. Ireland. The National Trust of Scotland care for properties in Scotland.

North American members of the Royal Oak Foundation also have free entry to all National Trust sites in UK. The Royal Oak Foundation is a US affilate of the National Trust - for more details US residents should ring (212)480-2889 toll free in the lower 48 is 1-800-913-6565,, or write: 26 Broadway, #950, New York, NY 10004-1715

English Heritage

English Heritage cares for Castles and other ancient building and sites in England.

Cadw

Castles and historic sites in Wales are in the hands of Cadw.

Historic Houses Association

Many privately-owned houses are included in this grouping.

If you wish to visit even a few of these historic buildings, it is much cheaper to buy a visitor pass.

Visitor Passes

1) The Great British Heritage Pass

This gives free entry to all properties belonging to the National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland, English Heritage, Cadw, and privately owned houses: Blenheim Palace, Beaulieu, Broadlands, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood House, Woburn Abbey, Hampton Court Palace and houses in the Historic Houses Association, Historic Scotland group. It includes Stonehenge and Shakespeare's birthplace too. Exceptions are the Tower of London, Warwick Castle and Windsor Castle, the Queens Gallery (London and Edinburgh) and the Royal Mews.

This pass is available only to overseas visitors showing a passport. It is available for 7, or 15 days, or 1 month. Buy from: British Travel Centre London, or larger Tourist Information Centres, or from addresses overseas listed in the Tourist tickets and discount cards booklet from the British Tourist Authority.

If you are interested in old buildings, this is a real money-saver!

2) English Heritage Overseas Visitors Pass

This gives free entry to English Heritage sites only. It does not cover sites belonging to any other groups. It is available from larger English Heritage sites as a 7 day or 14 day ticket.

The 7-day tickets are only slightly cheaper than a 14 day ticket:

It is also possible to join English Heritage for a year, giving free access for one year from the date of joining to their sites.

English Heritage PO Box 9010, London W1A OJA England

3) Cadw - historic heritage in Wales

The Explorer Pass is ideal for visitors and covers 3 days or 7 days, for an adult, couple, or a family. This only covers Cadw sites in Wales - including all the main castles such as Caernarfon, Conway, Beaumaris, Harlech, etc.

It is also possible to join Cadw for a year, and get free entry all year round to all their properties, plus half price entry to English Heritage sites.

Available from all main Cadw sites, and some Welsh Tourist Information Offices.
Details from:

Cadw, Welsh Historic Monuments, Crown Building, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF2 1 IUY Wales

4) Friends of the Historic Houses Association

Year membership gives free entry to historic houses and gardens which are privately owned. But NOT National Trust or English Heritage houses.

Details from:

Historic Houses Association, PO Box 21, Letchworth, Herts SG6 2JF England

5) National Trust of Scotland

As well as year membership, they offer a touring ticket valid for 7 or 14 days, giving free entry to all their properties.

This ticket also gives free admission to National Trust properties in England, Wales, and N. Ireland, and so makes a very cheap way of seeing all National Trust sites.

Available from:

National Trust for Scotland, 5 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DU Scotland

and also some Scottish Area Tourist Boards and Tourist Information Centres.

6) National Trust of England and Wales

They offer a year membership giving free access to all their properties in England, Wales and N. Ireland (plus those in the National Trust of Scotland)

However, the 7 or 14-day touring ticket offered by the National Trust for Scotland (see above) does also cover National Trust Properties in England, Wales, and N. Ireland, and so is a very good way of visiting many National Trust sites. But it does not cover the other sites which are covered by the Great British Heritage Pass, which is the best deal if you want the biggest choice at the best price!

The National Trust have a website.

National Trust 36 Queen Annes Gate, London SW1, England

7) Royal Oak Foundation

Members of the Royal Oak Foundation also have free entry to all National Trust sites in UK. The Royal Oak Foundation is a US affilate of the National Trust - for more details, US residents should ring (212)480-2889 toll free in the lower 48 is 1-800-913-6565

or write:

Royal Oak Foundation, 26 Broadway, #950, New York, NY 10004-1715, USA.

8) Scottish Explorer Ticket for Historic Scotland

Gives unlimlited access to more than 60 of Scotland's best ancient buildings, including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Dallas Dhu Distillery and the Border Abbeys. Available from Historic Scotland properties and main Scottish Tourist Information Centres.

9) Other discount offers

Some towns offer a visitor pass covering different attractions in the town. These may give free entry, or reduced prices.

Available are:

  • "York for less"
  • "Bath for less"
  • "Edinburgh for less"

These are available from Tourist Information Offices in each town.

Also available is the Countdown Discount Card, giving discounts to many destinations, not only in Britain but other countries. It is available for a period of 3 months and is on sale at many travel agents and tourist authority offices around the world.

Full details in VisitBritain - also available on-line - VisitBritain Tourist tickets and discount cards booklet.

You may also find other discount schemes for different towns, or different groups of museums.

Smart Save

offers the user 20% off entrance to attractions throughout the UK and London restaurants without any cost or need for registration. all the user need do is print out the voucher take it to the attraction/restaurant and redeem for 20% off for up to 6 people.

Latest Discount Vouchers

offer discounts for restaurants, online stores, theme parks and more

A final word

There are many ways of saving money. So:

  • Obtain the VisitBritain booklet - also available online - VisitBritain Tourist tickets and discount cards.
  • If you are a student, always ask if there is cheaper entry. Always carry your ISIC card.
  • Go to the British Travel Centre in London, or the local Tourist Information Office, to find details of special offers.
  • Always ask at any tourist attraction, what special offers or discounts may be available.
  • If you are visiting in a group, cheaper group tickets are often available.

 Thought for the day:

Think of the birds. They do not plant, cut or keep any food. Yet God feeds them. You are worth much more than the birds! Luke12:24

Box Offices

To book tickets for a live performance at a theatre or concert hall, you will need to contact a booking office or 'box office', or a theatre agent.

Many box offices will give cheap standby tickets to students and other adults with proper identification. Sometimes for a sold-out show, returned tickets may be available just before the show from the box office. And previews and afternoon performances may be cheaper. Ask at the box office.

London is known internationally for the range and quality of performing arts. Daily newspapers such as the 'Daily Telegraph, The Times, and London Evening Standard', and weekly magazines 'Time Out' and 'What's On in London', carry listings of performances. Other large cities in Britain have fine performances too, but far less theatres.

Many shows are sold out, and so tickets may be difficult to find. It is possible to book in advance from another country through ticket agencies. If there is a British Tourist Authority office in your country, they may give you more advice.

The British Tourist Authority leaflet Theatre tickets - a buyers guide gives helpful information. It is available from the BTA office in your country, or nearest to your country. Or else by post from the BTA - see our page 'How to find more information'.

Ticket and theatre information websites are also included on our main page.

Official Theatre lists up to date London theatre box office phone numbers and official websites plus current show and booking dates.

Seat plan gives full seating information for all West End theatres, and allows users to give their reviews of their seats after they see a show.

Theatre People contains a lot of useful tourist information regarding London and West End theatre.

Best of Theatre offers London theatre tickets and respects the rules set by the Society Of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR).

Box office London theatre guide general London theatre guide from the box office.

What's on Stage A national performing arts listing, news and ticket service.

UK rock & pop gig and venue guide with online ticket service.

Dreamboats and Petticoats Tickets Rock and roll, memories and summer love combine in Dreamboats and Petticoats, the smash hit jukebox musical that is presently showing at the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End.

The Lion King tickets at the Lyceum Theatre Book tickets for The Lion King in London.

Theatre Tokens is the only UK national theatre voucher. It is accepted at over 230 theatres throughout the UK, including all of London's West End. With no expiry date, they're convenient and give the recipient the magic of theatre and the gift of choice.

Cheap tickets

Tkts, Half price ticket booths in Leicester Square and Brent Cross Shopping Centre, London sell theatre tickets at discounts of up to 50%. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the performance and up to a week in advance. As it's run by the Society of London Theatre and is a member of STAR, customers can be confident they're getting a fair deal.

Cheap Theatre Tickets Cheap Theatre tickets for London musicals and plays.

 From the box office offers tickets for London.

Warning

Many agents sell tickets, at a higher price than the theatre sell them for. If you buy tickets from an agent, they must tell you the original theatre price, or let you see the tickets. You may have to pay an agents fee of up to 30%. Ask the agent where the seats are in the theatre, and whether they give a poor view. If you are not sure if the agent is being honest with you, go somewhere else.

Thought for the day: Jesus said 'I am the way, I am the truth. I give life. No one can come to my Father unless I take him there. John Chap.15v6

Driving licenses

If you have a driving license issued any where except Great Britain you will need to check to see if you can drive a motor vehicle on British roads.

Check the UK government website here to see if your license is valid for driving in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence

The Highway Code

The rules for driving safely on British roads can be found in the "Highway Code" - it contains all of the important rules and ways of driving safely both for yourself and for those around you.  British Police expect that you will have read these rules and that you will obey them at all times.

Here is a link to a web page showing  the current "Highway Code": https://www.gov.uk/highway-code

Documents you will need

As well as a driving license you must have the following documents.

  1. A Valid Driving License (see above)
  2. A valid "Tax disc" showing that the vehicle tax has been paid for the vehicle you are driving.
  3. A valid insurance policy which is effective for both you as driver and the vehicle you are driving.
  4. A test certificate (locally known as an "MOT") verifying that  the vehicle has been tested and found safe (most vehicles need one each year)

Driving is expensive

Though buying a used car in the UK can be very cheap, there may be much higher costs for you to consider.

  • Visitors to Britain may find that a one year insurance to drive may cost several thousand pounds - each year.
  • If a car is old it may not pass the "MOT" safety checks - and repairs may prove very expensive.
  • Fuel in Britain is much more expensive than in some countries because it has a very high tax.

Hiring a Car

Another alternative to owning a car is to hire (rent) one.  https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=UK+car+hire

Why not use public transport?

Britain has very good public transport - and some of it is very inexpensive.   Check here: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-coach-train-ticket-deals

If you are travelling, you will need a map! For driving, road maps should be a scale of 3 miles per inch/ 2 kilometres per cm.

  • The A-Z series of town maps cover almost every town in the country, and vary in price according to size.
  • Ordnance Survey maps are the best if you need to find footpaths, and other details not shown on road maps. They produce three series of maps:
  • LANDRANGER series 1 inch to 1 mile/2cms to 1km, 1:50,000 scale. These cover every part of Britain.
  • OUTDOOR LEISURE series 2 inch to 1 mile/4cm to 1km, 1:25,000 scale. These cover certain popular tourist areas, at a larger scale. More detail of, for example, footpaths, is shown.
  • PATHFINDER SERIES 2 inch to 1 mile/4cm to 1km, 1:25,000 scale. These cover the whole country, giving details of footpaths etc. Each map is covers a smaller area than the OUTDOOR LEISURE series, but to the same scale. They are mainly for walking and footpaths.

All these maps are widely available in bookshops, Tourist Advice Centres, and many other places.

You may have difficulty buying maps in your own country. Try the nearest British Tourist Authority office to you. If you have a small map to plan your trip, you can buy a better map when you arrive.

There are town road maps available on the web, we list a few below

UK Street map

MapQuest City maps for UK and other countries

British Motorway network, and the roads into London.

Roads into London

Map of London underground 'tube' train routes

Multi Media Mapping A complete interactive atlas of Great Britain on the Web.
Just enter the name of a British city, town or village, street name (London only) or postcode to get a detailed map. You can then zoom in on any part of that map, just by clicking on the area you wish to see in more detail.

UK Traveline Maps and travel information.

Other resources

There is a bookshop in London, which is claimed to be the "world's largest map shop". They claim to stock 30,000 maps and books, including travel guides, and books on mountaineering, walking and sea travel:

Stanfords, 12 Long Acre, London WC2. tel: +44 (0)171 434 4744

Two other travel bookshops in London are:

Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High St, London W1, tel: +44 (0)171 224 2295
They stock 25,000 new and second-hand titles.

The Travel Bookshop, 12 Blenheim Crescent, London W11, tel: +44 (0)171 229 5260
Apparently a landmark in West London: "like an old-fashioned country-house library".

*if dialling from outside UK, use the '44' UK country-code, don't dial the '0'.

CD Maps

If you want to view Ordnance Survey maps of UK (and 4200 tourist attractions and 900 hotel and restaurant listings) on your computer (and have a CD drive), then a little software company run by a Mr Bill Gates has just the CD for you.

AutoRoute Express Great Britain

But it's expensive, and unless you have a laptop computer which you really want to carry around on your holidays, maybe you'd be better with a real paper map!

Thought for the day:

Jesus said 'I am the way, I am the truth. I give life. No one can come to my Father unless I take him there. John chap 15 verse 6

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