Language: English, Welsh, Scots

Climate: England is famous for its rain and the lush green of its countryside. Average annual rainfall in the north is more than 1,600mm, but central and southern England receive an average of less than 800mm per year. The coldest months are December, January and February, when the temperature is usually between 3-6°C. In July and August, the temperature averages between 16-21°C. Rain falls throughout the year, and the weather in England can sometimes change very quickly. Especially in fall and winter strong Atlantic low-pressure systems can bring gales and uncomfortable weather with heavy rain, showers or even thunderstorms.

Time Zone: BT — British Time

International phone code: 44

Currency: Pound Sterling (£)

Capital: London

Transportation: When flying to the UK, you are most likely to arrive at one of London's five airports, the two most popular being Heathrow and Gatwick. High-speed trains run between London Ebbsfleet and Ashford through the Channel Tunnel to Paris, Lille, Calais and Brussels. There are also many ferries to the UK from continental Europe, with Dover being one of the most popular passenger ports. Given the short distances involved, flying is rarely the cheapest or most convenient option for domestic travel within the UK. The UK operates two railway networks. In England, Scotland and Wales the extensive National Rail network covers some 34,000km, covering most of Great Britain. The UK drives on the left. Most cars in the UK are manual transmission, and car rental companies will allocate you a manual transmission car unless you specifically ask for an automatic.

Gay United Kingdom

Queer citizens here have most of the same rights as heterosexual citizens. Discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in housing, employment and the provision of goods and services, and Her Majesty's Armed Forces allows LGBT individuals to serve openly.

Same-sex couples have had the right to adopt since 2002 and to enter into civil partnerships since 2005. The Gender Recognition Act also gave transsexuals the right to change their legal gender.

Vibrant queer scenes can be found in all the capital cities of the UK — London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast — as well as in other large urban centres such as Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton and Bournemouth. But, much like in North America, acceptance can fade outside urban areas, and there are parts of every city where tolerance is low or absent. Remember, this is the land that invented hooliganism. A little caution can go a long way towards ensuring a carefree holiday.