Time zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), British Summer Time (BST)
Emergency #: 999
Vaccinations required: No
The US Center For Disease Control maintains an updated list of medical advice for those traveling to the UK.
The CDC recommends being up to date with all your regular shots. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot
They also suggest be vaccinated for hepatitis A. There is also some advice about protection for hepatitis B and rabies. Rabies is present in bats in the United Kingdom. However, it is not a major risk to most travelers.
The standards for patient care and medical services in the UK may differ from your home country. All regions in the UK share one public health system: the National Health Service (NHS). A small private sector also exists. The quality of care meets international standards but access to health services may vary by region due to the autonomy of each. The UK has a lower-than-average number of physicians and a declining number of nurses, which may lead to long wait times for services.
In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in the UK typically require upfront payment in cash or credit card, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in the UK.
Pharmacies and online pharmacies are widely available. Prescriptions for medications must be obtained from a doctor and prescription drugs cannot be purchased without one (online or in-person). Pharmacists are trained and licensed.
If you are travelling with medication, check with the UK’s embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. If your medication is a psychotropic or narcotic, you can review the UK’s regulations on the International Narcotics Control Board. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.
Food and water standards in the United Kingdom are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. However, travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.
Here is a link to the US State Department Travel Advisory for the United Kingdom for the latest information on traveling to the UK.
Remember the emergency number in UK is 999. It works from any phone.
The United Kingdom is one of the safest European countries to visit. There is little serious crime. A visitor to the United Kingdom should know that there is some pickpocket theft in the metros of the big cities and in crowded places that are frequented by tourists.
At night you should not walk on a street where you are the only one. It is safe when there are many others on the street.
Use ATM machines in a bank and not the ones on sidewalks. This is to prevent youngsters from rushing to you in a group and grabbing the money as it comes out of the machine. Also some ATM machines on the street may have had their keyboards tampered with and will transmit your card number and code to someone who will try to empty your account. This is called card skimming.
Roads are generally very well maintained, but unclassified roads in rural regions may be unpaved. Old and narrow roads, as well as wandering wildlife in some areas, may pose a challenge for drivers. Seat belts must be worn by all occupants of a vehicle. Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle drivers and passengers at all times.