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They’re all familiar names: Trafalgar, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham, Hyde Park, Big Ben... A weekend might be short to see it all, although London is a great city break. And to come back again and again. Also, the Museum of Natural History, Madame Tussauds and the Tate Modern are not to be missed.
Walk around and blend in
Cinema has transformed Notting Hill and Covent Garden into romantic settings. Also inspiring is the London Eye ferris wheel. And after a shopping spree at King’s Road and Oxford Street, fun and nightlife await in the always buzzing areas of West End, Piccadilly and Leicester Square.
Culture and Business
Make sure you have your identity card or passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, take care of your visa or other necessary documentation ahead of time.
The climate in the UK is temperate maritime. This means that temperatures don’t usually fall much lower than 0°C in winter nor rise much higher than 32°C in the summer. However, it is a humid climate subject to frequent changes.
Geography & politics
The United Kingdom is made up of the island of Great Britain and the northeast of the island of Ireland. In total, there are 4 countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The UK is a constitutional monarchy, with legislative power vested in an elected government and executive power vested in a council of ministers led by the prime minister.
Tipping & paying
The currency of the United Kingdom is the Pound Sterling (GBP). It is common to leave a tip of 10 to 15%. However, sometimes there is already a service charge added to the bill, so it’s best to check first.
Languages & useful phrases
The official language in English, but there are also several other regional languages. In English: “hello” = hello, “please” = please; “thank you” = thank you; “sorry” = sorry.
What you should do
Be on time—British punctuality is essential, especially in business. The English style of communication can be somewhat indirect, so pay attention to tone of voice and facial expressions. British humor is part of every aspect of life and culture. It is present even in a professional context, and is sometimes used as a defense mechanism and irony.
What you shouldn’t do
Although direct eye contact is important when greeting someone, don’t prolong this moment too much as it may make some people uncomfortable. Don’t be intrusive and try to respect personal space.
What to wear
Looks matter, so go for a classic and professional style. Depending on the industry, you may choose a less formal appearance, such as in creative or tech industries.
When meeting someone in for business, greet them with a handshake. It is normal to address colleagues by their first name, reserving formal titles and surnames for higher ranks. If you are invited to someone's house, take a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine as a thank you gesture.