Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

The day I moved to the UK ended up being a minor catastrophy. All went well until I landed in London Heathrow airport and got on the bus to Oxford. Then, nothing worked for me anymore. No matter how hard I tried, I could not understand what the bus driver was saying to me. I tried cooking, but the stove just wouldn't get hot. My bathroom somehow had a European plug, but my toothbrush wouldn't fit it. And don't even get me started on how hard it was to find my way to and back from classes.

Most of it was just due to me being dumb, or having the worst orientation sense in the world. But some things could have been prevented if I had done my research properly. And that's my reason for making a list of all the things you should keep in mind when visiting the UK for the first time (or moving there, like I did):


Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

You have to turn on the plugs


Yep, that's why my food wasn't cooking. Every plug has an on/off switch, and when it's off, you can wait until your gray and old: your food still won't be cooked, but probably rotten...

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there
Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there


There can be special shaver plugs in bathrooms


They look just like European plugs, but they aren't. I found that to be so mean! Like I was literally trying to plug in my stuff for ages and thought that I was just going crazy. And why would you create two sorts of plugs anyway?
In any case, these special shaver plugs mean that not only do you need a special adapter for your foreign devices, you also need an adapter if your device has a normal UK plug! Or just don't use it, which is what I ended up doing - until I accidentally got an epilator with a shaver plug...

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

You have to be careful when you cross the street - cars come from the wrong direction!


This might seem like a no-brainer, but believe me, it's much harder to get used to then you think! And after a while you'll have no idea whatsoever on where to look, and you'll end up checking every possible direction before you cross even the tiniest street... okay, that's probably just me. But be careful still!

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there


Bitish people love their queues. Don't cut them!


At least if you don't want to make the whole entire queue very mad at you. Just stand in line, even if you're just waiting for the bus (especially if you're waiting for the bus) - British bus drivers don't let their vehicles get too full - and if you don't get on, just wait for the next one. Yep, that's normal, and honestly, once you're actually inside that bus and can still breathe, you'll be thankful for this.

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there
Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

Clubs close at 3 am


...at least they do in Oxford and other cities of the same size. And no-one goes to parties at 1 am like they do in other European countries. You get there earlier, you leave earlier, and you can always have an after party at your place. Just keep that in mind when you're going out!

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

Stores and cafes close earlier (outside of London)


Speaking of closing early: stores and cafes do, too - at least outside of London. Don't be surprised if a clothing store isn't open until 8 pm like in other European countries. When I lived in Oxford, stores would generally close at 7 pm during the week and on 5 pm on Sunday. But yes, they're open on Sunday, which I really loved!
As for cafes, I once got thrown out of a Starbucks at 6 pm. I know lots of them are open later, so you'll be fine if you just check beforehand. Like I said, none of this will happen in London though.
The good news is: supermarkets seem to be open late, even in smaller cities, and they too are open on Sundays.

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there
Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

You can get cider in every pub or bar


For me, this was one of the things I loved most about the UK. I don't drink beer (I hate the taste - and yes, I'm a German who doesn't like beer) and having another drink to replace it was great! Let's be honest, it just feels wrong to be drinking wine when everyone is drinking beer...
Cider in the UK (and Ireland, of course) is much stronger than your typical French cider, and it comes in a variety of forms, just like beer. It can be still or sparkling, apple or pear, with or without fruit and toffee flavouring... basically, you're just bound to find a version you like!

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there
Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

It can get super windy and your umbrella will probably die


I  know that some people disagree with this and still use umbrellas in the UK. But for me, a hooded jacket was a far better option: you don't need to hold it up, it doesn't break in the wind, and you can still see what's happening around you. Plus, it rains pretty often, and I'm just more comfortable in a jacket that underneath an umbrella when it rains.
If you want to bring an umbrella, opt for a clear bubble umbrella. They hold up way better in the wind, are more efficient at protecting you, and if they're clear, you can just took through it and see just fine. Primark always has those for a really cheap price.

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

Weather can change 5 times in a day


Everyone says it, and still it's hard to get used to. In France or Germany, the weather usually stays the same during an entire day: if it's hot in the morning, it's very unlikely to get cold later in the same day. In the UK however, you can easily go from "why didn't I put on shorts" to "where is my fleece jacket?" within less than 20 minutes. And don't make the mistake of trusting the weather forecast: it's just as unreliable as a look out the window.
This being said, you'll be fine if you dress in layers. Just don't leave the house without a sweater or jacket, even if it looks sunny outside.

Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there
Weird British things you need to keep in mind when travelling there

2 comments

  1. Oh I love love love this!! It made me smile, particularly on the fact with the queues...:) and also that one photo with the birds all sitting aligned...🌟
    X finja - effcaa.com

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    Replies
    1. Aw thanks! I’m glad you liked it 😊

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