The UK, short for 'United Kingdom', is a small European country, but a major influence on the world. The UK encompasses the countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as quite a few small islands. Our British serviced apartments allow the corporate traveller to live in the UK how they see fit.
Although relatively small in terms of land, the island nation has a population of about 65 million and a vast coastline, the 12th longest in the world. Access is easy, with four bordering bodies of water, the English Channel, North Sea, Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The topography of the British Isles is extremely diverse, with each region defined by individualistic geographical features. For instance, UK’s longest river, the River Severn passes through England and Wales, the largest lake the Lough Neagh is in Northern Island and the highest point is Ben Nevis in Scotland. You can, therefore, expect the climate and terrain to be various from north to south. This is essential though to British tourism and exploration, with nearly forty million overseas explorers spending over twenty billion pounds last year. SITU recognises this and has diverse serviced apartments to accommodate for business travel to anywhere you wish.
The history of the United Kingdom is almost immeasurable, consisting of the past of four, very individual nations. The first people to supposedly inhabit British mainland arrived throughout the Ice Age. Later came centuries of tribal invasion and departure, including the Celtics, Romans, Anglo-Saxon, Vikings and Normans. Their European influences spread across the UK, contributing to territories, place names, settlements and the language integrated into modern-day British society. Monarchical changes persisted into the Middle Ages, and significant events such as the Great Plague and Hundred Years War have defined the territory and demographics of present-day United Kingdom.
Decrees and acts then shaped the Kingdom’s borders, with the sixteenth century Welsh Acts, the Acts of Union in 1603, 1707 and 1800 securing the unification of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With the Republic of Ireland seceding in 1922, only Northern Ireland remains. Through this period of Kingdom transition and influence in global foreign affairs, such as the World Wars, the leadership of iconic monarchs and Prime Ministers such as the current Queen Elizabeth II, Churchill and Thatcher have been integral in creating the global superpower.
The United Kingdom has the fifth largest economy in the world, ranked also the eighth freest on the Ease of Business 2018 Index. London is the capital and financial heart of the UK. Where once much of the UK’s economy was based in manufacturing, it has now moved largely into the service and tourism sector, further centring much of the economy in the capital. Present day is also seeing a transition from the European Union, where the government expect deficiencies to be minimalised and global trade relationships to extend.
Incentives for foreign investments are plentiful in the UK. It has the joint lowest corporation tax rate of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20). A £120 billion infrastructure development plan is well underway, although the UK already has the largest air transport system in Europe and the most improved rail network in the EU. The business environment is friendly and supportive too. There is a great thirty million workforce pool to choose from, overall low labour cost and equal treatment for both foreign and domestic business. The UK offers corporates all the tools necessary to profit from business travel and access to more than five hundred million consumers across Europe makes Britain immensely popular for foreign investment.
Unlike much of Europe, Britain adopted the pound sterling as its independent currency. You will find that when travelling through the major cities, funding your trip is not always cheap. Be sure to bring enough sterling to support your travelling and living. Visit www.xe.com for the current exchange rates of the British pound sterling.
Residents of EEA or EU countries do not require a visa for entry to the UK and can stay for any length of time. British nationals who are not currently citizens of the EU citizens and another fifty-six countries are visa-exempt for stays in the UK and Scotland of up to six months. You can always visit www.gov.uk for definitive clarification. Also worth considering is that UK’s withdrawal from the EU commences in March 2019 which will alter visa requirements.
All European Union driver’s licenses are valid in the UK, and if you wish you can check the validity of your non-GB license with this UK Government’s online test. The minimum of third party insurance is also required. British driving is known to be one of the busiest in Europe. Particularly in London where the traffic is dominated by taxis, buses and commercial vehicles. There is even a congestion charge in place if you drive through the marked ‘central zone’. On the other end of the spectrum is the pleasure of driving through Scottish and Welsh countryside. Whilst certain terrain can be difficult to manoeuvre, travelling along the wonderful coastlines and deep into forested regions is absolutely worthwhile. We only advise that wherever you travel, plan your route ahead and consider the weather!
Supposedly, according to tourist popularity, the top five most visited attractions in the UK are all based in London. Attractions such as Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London and the River Thames collectively contribute to a fantastic day out in the British capital. The British Royal Family, and their homes like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, also attract a following that does not exist anywhere else in the world. British nationalism is unique, and travellers from all over the world appreciate the royal family. Displays of national identity also pour out of the other UK major cities. The capitals Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh all define their nation’s pasts and culture, making them separate travel destinations for international arrivals.
There is more to the UK than the major cities though. Scotland and Wales take great pride in their rugged and beautiful terrain, offering an alternative to British urbanity. Of course, England has some eye-catching destinations such as the Cotswolds, Stonehenge, the Lake District, and several national parks. However, Scotland and Northern Island have distinctive islands, encompassing beautiful landscapes, amazing green spaces and astonishing views looking out onto the North Atlantic Ocean. Much recommended is Skye, connected to northwest Scotland. To summarise, there is so much to explore in the UK and remember, sometimes the best places are not always the most globally recognised. Wherever you visit, SITU’s UK serviced apartments are sure to provide the best assistance for your travel.
There is no place in the world like the UK. Segregated from the rest of Europe, exploring all four states of the United Kingdom is an exclusive experience. Its business climate is also like no other, and foreign corporates are flooding corporate accommodation each year with the hope of bearing the fruits of the British economy.
Across the UK there is a vast range of airports, differing in size, capacity and frequency of flights. The UK’s top five busiest airports are in England, including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, London Stanstead and London Luton. The busiest outside of England are Scottish airports Edinburgh and Glasgow then Belfast airport in Northern Ireland. Cardiff is the busiest airport and twentieth busiest in Wales and the UK respectively.
Transport to-and-from all these international airports are always facilitated, and all provide a large range of domestic and international flights, both inside and outside of the EU.
The British Railway network is the fifth most used worldwide, functioning over 1.7 billion train journeys through more than twenty different train operators and 2,500 train stations. The busiest across the UK is Clapham Junction.
The highest concentration of trains service through southern and central England. There are also connections to Europe too via an undersea rail link over the Channel. Fares are reasonable, but acquiring discount cards, such as a Railcard, make frequent and longer journeys cheaper.
The UK is regarded as the birthplace for metro rapid travel. There are five metro stations in the UK across four cities. London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, Glasgow Subway, Tyne and Wear Metro and Liverpool Merseyrail.
Our serviced apartments are within close vicinity of these metro systems, which enable quick and simple travel across these cities without the hassle of traffic.
The UK has a variety of bus and coach travel services to help enable both short and long-distance travel through rural and urban locations. This is the cheapest mode of public transport but can be more time-consuming compared to the others.
Bus operators vary based on the location, but National Express and Megabus are the main providers of coach travel in the UK. These services enable comfortable multi-country travel at reasonable prices, even better if you book in advance.