Leisure Time

Restaurants

In addition to the hotel dining rooms, which are usually open to non-residents, London and all the major cities have a wide variety of restaurants, these range from Michelin-starred and very expensive to chains of fast food outlets such as McDonald's, Burger King and KFC. Many pubs and small country restaurants serve excellent food at lunchtime and during the evenings.

Inns and public houses (pubs) in England are no longer subject to local laws covering hours of opening so you will find a variety of opening times from pub to pub.

Licensing laws in Scotland have been relaxed so that opening hours are at the discretion of individual landlords: some stay open all day.

Night-time entertainment

Pubs, wine bars and clubs are popular in Britain and you will find that most will remain open until 23.00 or 24.00, whilst some will stay open until 04:00.

The village pubs are popular with locals as well as tourists who wander off the beaten track. Often their food rivals many restaurants in quality, but finding a seat can be a problem so booking in advance is advisable.

Wine bars have been very trendy in recent years, and often supply anything from a modest house label to premium quality champagne. Wine bars usually serve a good selection of food, although largely this is more salads, cheeses and the odd hot dish.

Nightclubs are usually found in the city centres and offer a variety of music and entertainment. Often they do not liven up until the pubs have closed, and drinks can prove expensive.

Family Fun

The UK has a number of 'Family Fun Parks' with rides and amusements, Country Parks with water sports and walks, Wildlife Centres, Zoos, Parks and Castles.

There are Cinemas in London and all the major cities and many of the provincial towns, most large cinemas provide multi-screen facilities. In addition to the national chains of cinemas such as Cineworld and Vue) there are a variety of independent outlets visit the Brit Info Net website to view availability in your area.

Sightseeing: there is so much to see and do throughout the UK, most towns and cities have museums and local stately homes open to the public. The wealth of architecture includes cathedrals, castles and palaces through to parish churches and listed buildings.

Cycling and walking are popular pastimes in the UK. Visit Transport for London - Cycling or Cycle Route for further information on cycle hire and cycle routes. Alternatively, the Ramblers website contains information on walking groups and routes across the UK.

Culture

All provincial regions have live professional theatres and concerts with companies such as English Opera North based in Leeds, Dorset Opera just outside of Blandford forum and Swansea City Opera.

There are also amateur dramatic and music societies. Scottish Opera, based in Glasgow, and Welsh Opera, based in Cardiff, have a world reputation, and travelling companies of opera, ballet and theatre from London tour the major provincial cities. Local music ranges from madrigals sung by the cathedral choirs to folk and pop in halls and pubs.

Sports

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport although many schools play rugby union (rugger) and rugby league is popular in the North. Cricket is the national sport for summer.

Tennis is widely played outdoors during the summer and there are facilities for indoor tennis, and for badminton and squash. Fitness clubs have grown in popularity and many large companies provide sports and fitness facilities for their employees. Popular participant sports are snooker, pool and billiards, often played in pubs. Horse-racing, motor sports and boxing are popular.

Golf is extremely popular, played on both public and club courses. There are opportunities for every type of activity - shooting, horse riding, archery, and water sports. The variety of terrain gives facilities of mountaineering and walking, gliding and bird watching. Although weather conditions are variable, skiing and winter sports are usually available for part of the winter in Scotland.