The UK time zone is GMT+0, but during the “summer” (March-October) the clocks go forward one hour (British Summer Time).
The power supply operates on 230V, 50 Hz AC. Visitors to countries such as the United States and Canada, where the power supply is 110 V 60 Hz, may need a voltage converter (available at most electronics shops). Many devices needed when travelling (e.g. laptop chargers, shavers and others) are designed to operate on both voltages.
British plugs and sockets, made to British Standard 1363, have three flat rectangular pins forming a triangle. These sockets are the same as those used in Ireland, Cyprus, Malta and some other former British colonies. It is possible to insert a thin Euro plug (without an earth pin) into the socket, but this is not recommended for obvious reasons. Most shops sell plug adapters, but do not buy them from unreliable sources. Using plug adapters from such sources can cause a fire or electric shock hazard. There is also a 2-pin shaver plug (BS 4573). Outdoor sockets (most commonly used for caravans) are based on a European standard (IEC 60309), with the mains voltage type used in the UK coloured ‘blue’.
All TV sets are digital today, thanks to the free terrestrial system “Freeview” (DVB-T), the free satellite system “Freesat”, the subscription satellite (usually “Sky”) or cable.
Please note that over the Christmas and New Year holidays, much of the country closes its doors. In the week before Christmas, people travel to their hometowns to visit their families, which means that traffic on the motorways can be very heavy and trains are much busier. In addition, many people rush to the shopping centres to stock up on food and drinks and buy last-minute gifts. On Christmas Day, Boxing Day (26 December) and New Year’s Day, most shops will be closed (including supermarkets), but most restaurants and bars will remain open, although they are likely to be very busy as many people book their Christmas meals a little in advance. If you want to eat out during this time, expect most places to either be full or have a long wait for a table. Larger hotels also stay open. If you need to buy food, drinks or cigarettes on these days, most convenience stores at petrol stations will still be open, but almost everything else will be closed, and on Boxing Day itself many of them will even be closed. Many department stores will be open (and extremely busy) on Boxing Day, but you may be able to find substantial discounts in department stores as Christmas sales usually start at this time. If you don’t have a car, avoid travelling on these days, as in many areas the only available transport is taxis, which charge up to three times the normal price. If you have a car, it is much better as the roads are almost empty on Christmas Day and parking is often free. However, many petrol stations are closed on Christmas Day (with the exception of motorway petrol stations, which must be open by law), so plan your journey carefully if you need to fill up. In many areas, bus and train services end much earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and do not run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Buses also do not usually run on New Year’s Day outside the major cities. In the week between Christmas and New Year, many transport operators have changed timetables and it is advisable to check with the operators.