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Useful little things for the trip

The currency in the UK is the pound sterling (£). There are 100 pence in a pound. Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own banknotes, which are valid everywhere in the UK. However, shops and businesses do not have to accept them.


England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have a national saint and each saint has a special day:

  • 1 March: St David's Day, Wales
  • 17 March: St Patrick's Day, Northern Ireland
  • 23 April: St George's Day, England
  • 30 November: St Andrew's Day, Scotland

Only Scotland and Northern Ireland have their patron saint's day as an official holiday. 


There are Bank Holidays, when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. These are of no religious significance. They are at the beginning of May, in late May or early June, and in August. 


The UK is historically a Christian country. Christmas day on 25th December celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a public holiday. Boxing day is the day after Christmas Day and is also a public holiday. 

New Year on 1st January is a public holiday. In Scotland, 31 December is called Hogmanay and 2nd January is also a public holiday.

April Fool's Day on 1st April is when people play jokes on each other until midday. The television and newspapers often have stories that are April Fool jokes!

Halloween on 31st October is an ancient festival marking the beginning of winter and is celebrated across the UK still. Young people often dress up in frightening costumes to play 'trick or treat'. People give them treats to stop them playing tricks on them. A lot of people carve lanterns out of pumpkins and put candles inside. 

Bonfire Night - 5th November, is an occasion when people in Britain set off fireworks at home or in special displays. It celebrates the day in 1605 when a group of Catholics led by Guy Fawkes failed in their plan to kill the Protestant king with a bomb in the Houses of Parliament. 

Remembrance Day on 11th November commemorates those who died fighting in the First World War. People wear red poppies and at 11.00 am there is a two-minute silence. 

You may get confused with some names of traditional foods:

  • Yorkshire pudding (England) - batter that is baked in the oven
  • Welsh cakes - snack made from flour, dried fruits and spices
  • Haggis (Scotland) - a sheep's stomach stuffed with offal, suet, onions and oatmeal
  • Ulster fry (Northern Ireland) - a fried meal with bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, white pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, soda bread and potato bread.

Do not miss an opportunity to try!