Useful travel information to help you plan your trip to Silverstone this summer for the British Formula 1 Grand Prix.
American, Canadian and Australian nationals don’t need a visa to visit the UK as a tourist. Neither do those from the European Economic area and Switzerland, plus most of the Caribbean, Japan and South America. Travellers from outside these territories should check UK immigration rules, as a short stay visa may be required. Click here to find out if you need a visa to visit the UK, as well as details on how to apply.
The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – also collectively known as Great Britain. The UK has a population in excess of 60m, with more than 80% residing in England. The world’s sixth largest economy, the UK has fourteen British Overseas Territories and is governed by a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The UK is the world’s eighth most popular tourist destination, with almost 30m arrivals each year.
Silverstone is a village on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, 75 miles (120km) North West of London via the M1 motorway (Google Maps link). It is fifty miles to the South East of Birmingham, one of the largest cities in the UK. The track is surrounded by several towns and villages, all of which have accommodation options (which tend to sell out on Grand Prix weekend well in advance). The market town of Buckingham is 6 miles (10km) south of the race track and the small town of Towcester sits just 5 miles (8km) to the North. The larger Milton Keynes is just 15 miles (24km) away, as is Banbury.
Being set in a rural location rather than a city, the British Grand Prix is a relatively safe event to attend, though we always recommend common sense when it comes to keeping an eye on your belongings. This is particularly true if you are camping. There is a reassuringly strong police presence in the UK, though visitors staying in cities or larger towns should behave as they would in any unfamiliar place and avoid walking anywhere alone at night.
The UK’s currency is the pound sterling (GBP or £). One of the world’s stronger currencies, the pound has gained 15% against the EUR over the past 12 months (though it has fallen 10% against the USD in the same period). It’s not necessary to purchase pounds before you travel; cash machines (‘cashpoint’ or ‘hole in the wall’ in the UK) are everywhere and credit cards are widely accepted. Tipping is not necessary, though it is common to reward good service from taxi drivers, at restaurants and in hotels.
July is typically one of the hottest months in the UK, though the weather at the British Grand Prix can be unpredictable. Recent race weekends have had everything from scorching heat to serious downpours. Don’t underestimate the UK’s sun; if the forecast is for warm weather, be sure to come prepared with sunscreen, water and hats. This advice particularly applies if you are in an uncovered grandstand (or in general admission), are camping and/or partaking in a few beers where exposure to the elements is high and dehydration a very real threat. Being an English summer, of course, we’d also recommend that you bring waterproofs and something warm but light for pulling on if it gets a bit breezy at the track.
The UK has a diverse and multicultural population, and London can lay claim to being the most multicultural city in the world. Culturally, the UK is a democratic place where freedom of speech and equality between the sexes is valued highly. It’s a wealthy country overall, though poverty exists and unemployment is a still a prevalent issue in certain pockets of Britian. The legacy left behind by the London 2012 Olympic Games is, among other things, a rejuvenated thirst for British sport and sporting excellence.
All tourists in the UK are entitled to the same emergency care as nationals, and visitors from within the EU can access emergency medical care upon presentation of a valid EHIC card. Fill out an application form at your Post Office or request one online – they’re free. Always ensure you have good travel insurance before you set off. If you are from outside the EU, you will need to claim on your insurance policy for hospitalization and repatriation in the case of an accident or serious illness, so don’t leave anything to chance.
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