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 Study in UK

STUDY IN UK - Living in UK


Social Scene   |   Customs and Culture   |   Transportation

Accommodation   |   Health Care   |   Emergency Contacts


Social Scene


Each of the countries of the United Kingdom has its own particular national dishes and drinks, festivals and other events of interest, its own attractions for shoppers and its own nightlife and other entertainments. Details may be found by consulting the individual country sections.

Social Conventions

The monarchy, though now only symbolic, is a powerful and often subconscious unifying force. Members of the Royal Family are the subject of unceasing fascination, with their every move avidly followed and reported by the popular press, both in Britain and abroad. Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone for the first time. Normal social courtesies should be observed when visiting someone’s home and a small present such as flowers or chocolates is appreciated. It is not customary to start eating until everyone is served. Clothing: A tie, trousers and shoes (as opposed to jeans and trainers) are necessary for entry to some nightclubs and restaurants, otherwise casual wear is widely acceptable. Use of public places: Topless sunbathing is allowed on certain beaches and tolerated in some parks. Smoking or non-smoking areas will usually be clearly marked. Cigarettes should not legally be sold to children under 16 years of age. Tipping: In hotels, a service charge of 10 to 12 per cent is usual, which may be added to the bill. 10 to 15 per cent is usual for restaurants and it too is often added to the bill, in which case a further tip is not required. 10 to 15 per cent is also usual for taxi drivers and hairdressers but this is not included in the bill. There is no legal requirement to pay service charges that have been added to bills and if the service has been unsatisfactory, it may be deducted by the customer. Travellers should remember, however, that in the UK wage levels for catering staff are set at a deliberately low level in the expectation that tips will make up the difference.


Local Customs & Culture


The United Kingdom has two of the world's most famous universities in its borders, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, and has brought forth great scientists and engineers such as Isaac Newton, James Watt, Charles Darwin, and Alexander Fleming.

Playwright William Shakespeare is arguably the most famous writer in the world; other well-known writers include the Bronte sisters, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and J. R. R. Tolkien. Important poets include Robert Burns, Thomas Hardy, John Milton, Alfred Tennyson, Dylan Thomas and William Wordsworth.

Composers William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, John Taverner, John Blow, Henry Purcell, Edward Elgar, Arthur Sullivan, William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett have made major contributions to British music, and are known internationally. Living composers include John Tavener, Harrison Birtwistle and Oliver Knussen.

Britain has been described as a land without music, but it supports a number of major orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and its several music colleges have helped to teach many well known musicians. Because of its location and other economic factors London is one of the most important cities for music in the world, and has several important concert halls and is also home to the Royal Opera House, one of the world's leading opera houses. British traditional music has also been very influential abroad.

The UK has also produced the famous Rock and roll bands The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, Oasis, and Radiohead. It has also pioneered in various forms of electronic dance music such as acid house, drum and bass and trip hop, which were in whole or part developed in the United Kingdom and have spawned various internationally known acts such as Underworld, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers and Portishead. The United Kingdom is one of three countries which have a profitable recorded music industry, based mostly on popular music, the others being the United States and Sweden. (see main article: Music of the United Kingdom).

Visual artists from the United Kingdom include such luminaries as John Constable, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, William Blake and J.M.W. Turner. In the 20th century, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, and the pop artists Richard Hamilton and Peter Blake are of note. More recently still, the so-called Young British Artists have gained some notoriety, particularly Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

The United Kingdom also has a vibrant tradition of theatre, and London has many theatres which put on plays and musicals, including the National Theatre.





Black cabs are a famous symbol of London (not all Black cabs are black - many of them are covered by colourful ads). Drivers are usually very reliable and are extremely knowledgeable about London’s streets (they have to pass an exam call The Knowledge - some spent 2-3 years to know every street in London and how to get A to B). By law black cabs must be licensed and carry a meter. Fares are higher after midnigh and weekends. Add 10% for tips.

Minicabs are usually cheaper than black cabs. especially in the night or over weekends. But minicabs are unlicensed and are not allowed pick up customers in the street. Check Yellow Pages or ask hotel front desk for local minicab firms. If you going to train station or airport in odd hours (midnigh or early morning), you should book a minicab in advance. Minicabs usually charge a fixed price for most destination so ask the price when you book them.

Cycling is still popular in the UK. In some small cities with large student population, such as Cambridge and Oxford, bicycles are the main transport. In London, some roads are specially marked "Bicycle Lane". But if you are not an experienced cyclist, it may not be a good idea to try cycling in London. When you park your bicycle, always make sure that you lock both the frame and the wheels to a secure object.

In most cities, you can hire bicycles for one or several days for £2-8 per day. The Bikepark in central London offer comprehensive services to cyclists (bike hire, repair, left luggage, bicycle route maps, accessories, even a shower!).

14 Stukeley Street
Covent Garden
London WC2
Tel: 0171-430 0083




HOTELS: These tend to be much more expensive in large cities, especially London. Different classification schemes are used by the various countries; see the relevant country sections for details. More information is also available from the British Hospitality Association, Queens House, 55-56 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BH (tel: (020) 7404 7744; fax: (020) 7404 7799; and a selection of some of the finest hotels in the United Kingdom is available online (website:

GUEST HOUSES: There are guest houses and bed & breakfast facilities throughout the country.

SELF-CATERING: Cottages can be rented in many areas. For information, contact the local tourist board, or consult the relevant section in local and national papers.

CAMPING AND CARAVANNING: There are camping and caravan sites throughout the UK, for short and long stays. Some sites hire out tents or caravans to those without their own equipment. Most sites offer basic facilities, while some have playgrounds, clubs, shops, phones and sports areas.

HOLIDAY CAMPS: These offer accommodation, food and a full range of leisure activities generally at an all-inclusive price. They provide good holidays for families, and some run babysitting and children’s clubs.

YOUTH HOSTELS: There are more than 240 youth hostels in England and Wales. Standards vary greatly, from very basic night-time accommodation for hikers and cyclists, to modern hostels and motels which are often used by families and groups. Prices are very reasonable.

For information, contact the Youth Hostel Association of England and Wales, Trevelyan House, Dimple Road, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3YH (tel: (01629) 592 600; fax: (01629) 592 702; e-mail: website:


Health Care


The National Health Service (NHS) provides free health care for UK residents, and visitors from an EC/Commonwealth country, or a country which has recipreocal arrangements (Austrialia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Findland and Iceland).

If you are not covered by the NHS, it is important that you have adquate health insurnace before entering the UK.

In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.


Emergency Contacts

Police Fire Ambulance
999 999 999

Telephone Operator : 100

Directory Enquiries : 142 for London and 192 anywhere else

Lost Credit Cards : Access 01702 352255, Visa 01604 230230, Amex: 01273 696933

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