Do I need a visa? Is it safe? How do I get around? We cover the essentials so you can travel like a pro, and relax while you do!
Tourists, and American tourists in particular, too often put their ignorance about geography on full display by using the names England, Great Britain, and the UK (United Kingdom) interchangeably. These names have very different meanings, defining things such as sovereign states, countries, and even simply geographical areas, and getting them wrong is not only embarrassing but can be quite insulting depending on who you’re talking to. Don’t commit this rude mistake, and make sure you can keep all of your travel partners inline too!
The big cities are great, but you can’t truly experience a culture or a place without getting out into the countryside. This is especially true of London compared to the rest of England, or the whole of the UK. To do that, it is best to rent a car. Driving in the UK, however, is vastly different due to one major complication: driving on the left side of the road, while sitting on the right side of the car. Complicating things further are the narrow country roads with ancient stone walls or hedges creeping ever closer, and an oncoming tour bus taking up two-thirds of the road. What do you do? Here are a few tips to help you hit the road confidently. Follow these, and you’ll be driving like a local in no time.
It is impossible to see all of London in one trip. Don't even try, it will leave you stressed. Instead, focus on a few must-see sights, and then leave time to wander in-between. We've found it is the in-between times that are the most magical. Sip afternoon tea. Stop in to your local pub. Stroll through Hyde Park. Some cities pull you in to their style and pace whether you're ready or not. London follows the the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you keep it at a distance, it will stay there. If you dive in, it will swallow you whole. If you take it slow, it will respond in kind with warmth and friendliness.
This would be our first trip with a newborn, 8 months old, to be precise, and we were taking every precaution. If it were to go well, it might offer a glimmer of hope that we can still be adventurous, even with a fragile new life to love and care for. So we booked a direct flight to Europe, to an English speaking country, for a week in the most tranquil, relaxing places we could find: the Cotswolds.