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Visiting the UK Soon?
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May 23, 2019 07:03:13   #
johneccles
 
I would like to offer some advice to any UHH members who intend to visit the UK soon.

When travelling by car allow ample time to reach your destination, due to terrible traffic conditions in most of the UK especially in the Southern half, calculate your travel time at 30mph, this may seem very slow to our US friends but believe me, it's a good way to estimate the time needed for a journey. The farther North you go the better conditions becomes, by North I mean above Manchester.

If you are considering a visit to Wales do not forget that the Welsh language is universally used, so try to learn a few words, and allow plenty of time to read road signs which are very long due to Welsh words being much longer. Some Welsh words are almost identical to English but not that many. One word you might like to remember is "Heddlu" the Welsh for Police. some knowledge of French can help, but not much, "Eglwys" is Welsh for Church for example.

Everybody speaks English of course but with quite a distinct accent.

I attach a couple of photographs which show what you could have to cope with:
Translate this !
Translate this !...
(Download)
Welsh and English side by side
Welsh and English side by side...
(Download)

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May 23, 2019 07:06:46   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
Thanks for that. We were in Wales years ago, and we were impressed by the universal use of the Welsh language.

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May 23, 2019 07:56:15   #
DougS
 
We met a couple from Wales several years ago, while at Yellowstone. All we could do to (mostly) understand them. Very thick accent! Nice, friendly folks!

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May 23, 2019 11:19:41   #
BB4A
 
At risk of “piling on” here, but I can’t resist. 😉

1. Unless you are supremely confident in your ambidextrous abilities, NEVER rent a stick shift in the UK... always fun to watch the looks on my American Clients faces, when they realize that sitting on the “wrong side” of the car... also means that they will have to change gear with the “wrong hand”... 🤣😂
2. In the South of England, particularly in Summertime, at any city tourist trap areas, BEWARE downtown parking lots. Two reasons for this, (a) parking spaces will seem impossibly small for those not used to them, and (b) you may end up waiting a LONG time in a mini-traffic jam, just trying to get into / out of a parking lot. If in any doubt, park in the outskirts of town and be prepared to walk (yes that’s right, your legs are not only just for emergencies), or take a bus into the town center. Helps if you know / practice how to tightly parallel park... on the “wrong” side of the street, of course.
3. NEVER, EVER leave your rental car unlocked, or with anything remotely valuable in view within... it’s not a question of whether you might get robbed; it’s just a matter of time (this advice also holds true for anywhere in Europe, too).
4. Have fun, enjoy your time interacting with the friendly people, the “changeable” weather (= all those lovely parks & flower gardens), eat great Pub Food & don’t complain about Real Ale not being icy cold, and capture plenty of memories of that 4,000+ years of history all around you in this wonderful little island group. 👍

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May 23, 2019 11:48:37   #
happy sailor
 
[quote=johneccles]I would like to offer some advice to any UHH members who intend to visit the UK soon.

When travelling by car allow ample time to reach your destination, due to terrible traffic conditions in most of the UK especially in the Southern half, calculate your travel time at 30mph, this may seem very slow to our US friends but believe me, it's a good way to estimate the time needed for a journey. The farther North you go the better conditions becomes, by North I mean above Manchester.

If you are considering a visit to Wales do not forget that the Welsh language is universally used, so try to learn a few words, and allow plenty of time to read road signs which are very long due to Welsh words being much longer. Some Welsh words are almost identical to English but not that many. One word you might like to remember is "Heddlu" the Welsh for Police. some knowledge of French can help, but not much, "Eglwys" is Welsh for Church for example.

Thanks John, I had no idea about the Welsh signs, hopefully all the road signs are in English as well. I am headed there this September and the first week of October. We have rented a car and are planning to go to Brighton, Hever Castle, Stonehenge, Bristol, Thornbury, Cardiff and then the Cotswolds, Liverpool and then up to Glasgow, Lochness, Inverness, Edinburgh, the Durham, York, then back to down to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, then back to Gatwick and fly home. Looking forward to an interesting trip. My wife is including everything she has ever heard about and then we are stripping down the list to something that is doable.

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May 23, 2019 11:51:26   #
happy sailor
 
BB4A wrote:
At risk of “piling on” here, but I can’t resist. 😉

1. Unless you are supremely confident in your ambidextrous abilities, NEVER rent a stick shift in the UK... always fun to watch the looks on my American Clients faces, when they realize that sitting on the “wrong side” of the car... also means that they will have to change gear with the “wrong hand”... 🤣😂
2. In the South of England, particularly in Summertime, at any city tourist trap areas, BEWARE downtown parking lots. Two reasons for this, (a) parking spaces will seem impossibly small for those not used to them, and (b) you may end up waiting a LONG time in a mini-traffic jam, just trying to get into / out of a parking lot. If in any doubt, park in the outskirts of town and be prepared to walk (yes that’s right, your legs are not only just for emergencies), or take a bus into the town center. Helps if you know / practice how to tightly parallel park... on the “wrong” side of the street, of course.
3. NEVER, EVER leave your rental car unlocked, or with anything remotely valuable in view within... it’s not a question of whether you might get robbed; it’s just a matter of time (this advice also holds true for anywhere in Europe, too).
4. Have fun, enjoy your time interacting with the friendly people, the “changeable” weather (= all those lovely parks & flower gardens), eat great Pub Food & don’t complain about Real Ale not being icy cold, and capture plenty of memories of that 4,000+ years of history all around you in this wonderful little island group. 👍
At risk of “piling on” here, but I can’t resist. ?... (show quote)


all good tips too, thanks for those. The right hand drive and left hand shifting is no problem, did that in Ireland a few years ago, hopefully the parking is better in September, always lock the car and valuables in the trunk, and can't wait to meet the friendly people.

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May 23, 2019 12:59:16   #
johneccles
 
The road signs are in English but the Welsh Version is usually at the top part of the sign with the English in the bottom half. There can be so much information on these signs it can be difficult to absorb the information, especially when moving at some speed. Try to remember the English is at the bottom, or slow down if possible so you can absorb the details.

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May 23, 2019 13:48:52   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
BB4A wrote:
1. Unless you are supremely confident in your ambidextrous abilities, NEVER rent a stick shift in the UK.


Te only thing I had a problem with was remembering which door was the driver's door. Toward the end of the second week, it became second nature.

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May 24, 2019 05:41:24   #
johneccles
 
Thanks John, I had no idea about the Welsh signs, hopefully all the road signs are in English as well. I am headed there this September and the first week of October. We have rented a car and are planning to go to Brighton, Hever Castle, Stonehenge, Bristol, Thornbury, Cardiff and then the Cotswolds, Liverpool and then up to Glasgow, Lochness, Inverness, Edinburgh, the Durham, York, then back to down to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, then back to Gatwick and fly home. Looking forward to an interesting trip. My wife is including everything she has ever heard about and then we are stripping down the list to something that is doable.[/quote]

That's quite a trip you are planning, I hope you have allowed plenty of time. All the places on your list are worth a visit, although I would give the Isle of Wight a miss if time runs out.
When you enter Wales, Cardiff is spelt "Caerdydd", dd in Welsh is pronounced "ff".
If you need any advice please let me know.

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May 24, 2019 06:15:11   #
Canonuser
 
Whilst in Wales, I hope you don’t have to ask directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
It’s the UKs longest place name by far.

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May 24, 2019 06:21:12   #
John N (a regular here)
 
When doing the big cities check the Park and Ride schemes. All day parking and a bus ride into and back out of the city. Many smaller towns use this as well.

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May 24, 2019 06:21:29   #
John N (a regular here)
 
When doing the big cities check the Park and Ride schemes. All day parking and a bus ride into and back out of the city. Many smaller towns use this as well.

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May 24, 2019 07:49:24   #
pilgrim1951
 
1. Unless you are supremely confident in your ambidextrous abilities, NEVER rent a stick shift in the UK... always fun to watch the looks on my American Clients faces, when they realize that sitting on the “wrong side” of the car... also means that they will have to change gear with the “wrong hand”... 🤣😂


I learned to drive on English sports cars, albeit Ameican fitted with the driver on the left side. I drove tractor trailers for ten years and I have had police/security driver training for my current employment. AND, I will never again save a few pounds by renting a stick-shift. Ain't worth the anxiety.

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May 24, 2019 07:54:39   #
home brewer
 
I had no problem with stick shift in the UK the many times I have been there. The advice about the stick may apply to most people. The first car I drove in 1966 was a stick. I always rent sticks in Europe except the one time a got a pathetic Toyota Hybrid that was under powered for high way speeds But; then I use tools such as electric hand drills, hammers, saws, paint brushes and screw drivers with either hand. I prefer to do things right handed. My left hand writing is nearly as good as my crappy right hand writing. I am right eye dominant so my accuracy with a hand gun with my right hand is better than with my left.

Once you realize and remember that the driver is always against the center line it is easy most of the time. Take care when pulling out of a parking lot; it is easy to turn into the wrong lane if there is no traffic. I did not have issues with roundabouts as long as there was other traffic to lead the way.

The GPS will over estimate your speed on the narrow back country roads. Sometimes you can see the next blind turn. Ity would take a F1 to make the speeds the GPS thinks you can do. It maybe faster to stay on the main highway and drive the longer distance. Get a good map.

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May 24, 2019 09:55:34   #
wrangler5
 
Was last in Wales in 1966, driving a rented Morris 1000 - we'd had a Morris Minor for years, so it was all familiar except for everything being backwards. Do they still turn off the headlights (leaving only the parking lights on) when approaching another car at night on a 2-lane road? Other drivers got VERY indignant (flashing the high beams) when I didn't do this.

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