Welcome to Britain! We at Adeo Travel are chuffed to hear you’ve got your bespoke holiday sorted.
Didn’t understand that? Let me translate for you – what I meant was ‘We are happy to hear you’ve got your custom-made vacation organised.’ Congratulations, you’ve just had your first lesson in British slang!
That’s right, even though we may speak English, there can often be a language barrier in every day conversation during your stay in Britain – this blog will aim to make you an expert in British slang!
Below is a list of our 20 favourite British slang words and their definitions:
Biscuit – Cookie
Bloody – Damn
Blimey – My Goodness
Chap – Man
Chips – French Fries
Dodgy – Suspicious
Fancy – Like
Fortnight – Two Weeks
Fiver – £5
Fit – Attractive
Knackered – Tired
Loo – Toilet
Lorry – Truck
Mate – Friend
Mobile Phone – Cell Phone
Motorway – Freeway
Nicked – Stolen
Pants – Underwear
Petrol – Gasoline
Plastered – Drunk
Quid – Pounds Sterling (£)
Rubbish – Garbage
Shambles – Disaster
Telly – TV
Tenner – £10
As you can see this is quite an elaborate list and these are only our favourites! Of course, we are exaggerating slightly – conversation with British folk will be a breeze. British people are renowned for being welcoming and polite individuals so there is no need to worry!
The British economy has weathered the international downturn fairly well, and in recent years has shown some promising signs of recovery. Whilst this was great for us Brits as we headed off abroad on our holidays with a strong pound (£) buying lots in other currencies, exchange rates have not always been so great for people coming here. Whilst the value of holidaying in Britain has never been in question, it now looks like this year it is only set to get better! As other economies catch up with the UK, for the first time in several years, exchange rates with the US and Australian dollars (amongst others) have swung distinctly in favour of visitors to Britain. Indeed in 2015 our international guests are now going to get, to coin a classic American phrase, “even more bang for their buck!”.
Experts in British business and in the British travel industry in particular have said that the recent relative decline in the pound sterling is sure to have a great impact on people’s holiday plans and will certainly make the UK an even more attractive destination for international tourism. The appeal to the international visitor is enhanced by the fact that some of Britain’s main attractions include enjoyment of the low-cost, natural environments of England, Scotland and Wales. Visiting Britain’s areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the stunning coastlines of Devon and Cornwall or South West Wales, driving through the Cotswolds, hiking in the Scottish Highlands or enjoying walks in the English Lake District can be experienced at little financial outlay. And service experienced on tours, at attractions and amongst hoteliers is said to be exceptionally high following several years of local competition driving up standards.
In addition to the improvement in exchange rate, the cost of a barrel of oil has also tumbled which has, of course, had a significant knock-on effect to the price of petrol/gas at the pumps. In fact the price of petrol here in Britain currently stands at its lowest price in six years which makes touring the UK on a self-drive tour and getting around between all the sights even more cost effective. Likewise, the competitive cost of fuel has seen escorted coach tours in Britain remain keenly priced for 2015. The savings are enhanced if you choose to cover greater distances on your trip to reach the hidden corners of Britain in the north of Scotland or the South West of England. The price of fuel is set to remain at this recent low throughout the Summer touring season and well in to the Autumn.
So with the exchange rate improved, prices of touring coming down and service at its very best, it seems there is no better time to plan and book your trip to Britain!
London should be on everyone’s bucket list but you could easily spend a couple of weeks in the city and still not see everything it has to offer. On your England trip, we understand that your time and budget in the English Capital may be limited so here are our own tips to make the very most of your visit to London!
Travel like a Londoner – Buy an Oyster Card.
With one of these in your back pocket you’ll travel London like a true local. But “what is an Oyster Card?” I hear you say – basically it is a travel card which is valid for use on all of central London’s public transport networks, namely the busses, some over ground trains and of course the famous tube (underground rail network). The card itself costs only a couple of pounds and then you pre-load it with credit which is deducted each time you use it. The card is easily charged at any ticket office and is easy to use by simply swiping it at the barriers in the tube stations or at the dedicated pads on board a bus. And the best thing is that it will always charge you the best fares possible so if you’re using it all day it automatically stops charging you once you hit the rate of a normal full-day ticket!
Enjoy the free Museums!
They say that the best things in life are free and that’s certainly true when it comes to London’s museums. Whilst London can be an expensive city, all of London’s publicly owned major art galleries and museums are totally free to enter. So whatever your interests – whether it’s the faces of English Kings and Queens in the National Portrait Gallery, the ancient artefacts of the British and Natural History Museums, the latest gadgets in the Science Museum or the newly revamped Imperial War Museum make the most of this and explore some truly fascinating and world-class exhibitions!
Shop at the Markets.
There’s nothing quite like a London market – whether you’re in to vintage clothes, music, arts & crafts, gifts and souvenirs or simply to pick up something tasty for dinner that evening there’s a London market perfect for your purchase. The atmosphere of the London street market is entirely unique, a bustle of activity with the local stall holders calling their prices and conversing in cockney rhyming slang. They are a part of London life that’s fantastic to behold – and of course, they are the best place to pick up a bargain or two.
See the Skyline of the City.
London is great from the ground but for some truly magnificent views of the vast cityscape in all its glory it is good to get above the rooftops. And it’s easier than you might think – the London Eye which was originally built as a temporary structure to celebrate the turning of the Millennium remains the tallest observation wheel in Britain offering romantic views over the city from its enviable position on the South Bank of the river Thames directly opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. And if that’s not high enough why not head over to the East of the city to the city’s most recent addition at the architectural masterpiece of the Shard, now Europe’s tallest building with a viewing platform some 800 feet above the ground.
Do the Open-Top Bus Tour
Like many major visitor destinations, there is an open-top bus tour operating in London. And as in most cities the tour offers excellent value and a convenient way in which to see the major sites. However in London the value is amplified – all of the major operators have combined to offer one ticket which includes three separate tour routes around this vast city, not to mention a complementary River Cruise on the Thames and various themed walking tours. The tickets are valid for a 24 or 48hr period from the point of validation meaning your exploration can span two or more calendar days and the tours are overwhelmingly manned by live-guides in the main season ensuring you gain real personal insight on board.
The British invented the steam locomotive, constructed the first subway system in London and just recently we announced plans for a massive new high-speed line connecting the North and South of England. Due to this long railing history, it’s little wonder that train-spotting is a popular past time and that we have a wealth of picturesque rail routes around our little island, not least in Scotland where the journeys have been rated amongst the most scenic in the world!
The West Highland Line
Awarded “World’s Best Rail Journey” by the Wanderlust Travel Awards in 2009, the West Highland Railway Line in Scotland is undoubtedly one of the most scenic railway journeys in Britain. Running from Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, to Fort William and then to harbour town Mallaig the train ride takes you from a cosmopolitan cityscape to the stark contrast of some of Britain’s most remote and untamed landscapes in the Scottish Highlands. With work commencing on the line almost 125 years ago and with little money behind the project to build expensive bridges and tunnels, the line winds its way around sharp turns and along steep gradients as it navigates the dramatic Highland terrain. The result today is a relaxing ride of awe-inspiring vistas.
The North Highland Line
Another of Scotland’s stunning rail journeys is the North Highland line between Inverness, capital of the Highlands, and the coastal port of the Kyle of Lochalsh. This line passes even further north through Scotland’s Highland wilderness and has been likened to a three part orchestra passing firstly through gentle, pastoral hills near Inverness, then through the mountain scenery of Achnasheen with views of the Torridon Peaks before dropping to the seascapes of Lochcarron and its coastal villages and ports. Whilst taking in the scenery keep an eye out for the array of birdlife circling overhead and herds of wild deer which can often be seen from the train.
Fortunately, enjoying rail travel in Britain and these scenic rail routes of Scotland couldn’t be easier for overseas visitors who have access to a range of inclusive rail passes via the excellent Britrail system. The Explore Scotland by Rail itinerary also takes you along both of the majestic rail journeys mentioned above. The new high-speed line through England will reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour but is not predicted to be ready to open for another 20 years so in the meantime why not sit back and enjoy the scenery at a more leisurely pace on one these scenic rail journeys!
We are often asked by our guests for some hints and tips for travel in Britain, especially for self-drive tours where you have lots of independence and flexibility. I jotted down a few of these that came up in conversation this week with some our guests who are travelling this Summer and thought I would share them with you…
1. Bring your Own GPS and buy a map.
It may sound obvious but buy a map! Request one and we can stick one in with your vacation documents or you can pick up a good British road atlas when you get here at most service stations and book shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales. It’s worth the investment and will help when planning your daily route and act as a back-up if your GPS battery dies. A sat-nav or GPS system is useful in each town/city especially when finding your specific hotel or B&B as you can punch in the exact post-code/zip code. If you own one already then I would recommend bringing it with you; you can usually download overseas maps/programs in advance and most modern GPS systems are small and can be easily packed. Bringing yourown will not only save you money on renting one here in Britain but can also save time as new and unfamiliar systems can be confusing – you don’t want to spend half an hour each morning working out how to program it!
2. Enjoy the Scenic Routes.
We know you want to get to your destination and a GPS will send you the most direct route, but we advise that you get off the beaten track. Avoid the commuter traffic on the boring highways and get on the back roads where you can take in the scenery and where you’re more likely to stumble upon quaint villages and towns and sights that you weren’t expecting to find. Particlularly in Scotland, scenic routes to certain destinations are well sign-posted. Remember, when you’re on your holidays the journey should be just as enjoyable as the destination itself!
3. Look out for the brown road signs.
Here in the Britain all of our visitor attractions, heritage sites and historic buildings are clearly signposted from major routes by road-signs with a brown background. Knowing this can help you reach the sites you plan to visit but can also highlight places you didn’t even know existed but will be glad that you didn’t miss.
4. Fill up the car at a supermarket.
Gas (or petrol) prices in Britain are generally higher than many other countries so it’s a good idea to fill up in the most economical way possible. Large supermarkets generally have gas stations and often provide the best priced fuel in the area. If you spot one fill up there rather than at a highway service station and you’ll save several pence per litre of fuel – it may not seem like much but over the course of your trip you’ll make some savings.
5. Park and ride in to town.
Most of Britain’s major cities offer park and ride schemes whereby you can park in an out of town car-park (parking lot) and take a short bus ride in to the city centre. This saves the high cost of city-centre parking and the stress of driving in city centre traffic. Most towns and cities can then be explored on foot or by hopping on the local open-top bus tour which will take you to the major places of interest within the town.
If you have any of your own travel tips or things that you have found useful to know when driving in Britain why not leave a comment below?
A blog about all things British, brought to you by adeo Travel, your Britain travel experts!