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Guide to Life in the UK

General politeness and good manners
• British people are generally quiet, polite and reserved in manner.
• Always use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when asking for something.
• Shaking hands is the universal greeting, especially in work or formal situations.

Queuing and seating etiquette
• Always join the back of a queue and await your turn.
• If you are on a bus or a train, it’s commonly seen as polite for men to give up their seats to women or older people.

Going out
• Pubs and bars open at least 11am to 11pm, some open 24 hours
• Many coffee shops are also open late
• Pubs and bars sell non-alcoholic drinks and often food as well

• Smoking banned in virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces, including buses, trains, taxis, pubs,

cinemas, nightclubs and restaurants.
• Always check if smoking is permitted, penalty fines can be very expensive.

Buying food and drink
• Supermarkets are open long hours, and sell a wide variety of foods and other products.
• Fresh fruit and vegetables may be cheaper when bought from a specialist grocer.
• ‘Off-licences’ specialise in selling alcohol, as well as tobacco and soft drinks.
• Many specialist world food shops can be found in the Normanton area of Derby. This area also has a lot of Asian restaurants, takeaways and kebab shops etc.

Buying clothes
• All kinds of clothing available in city shops, at a wide range of prices. Many supermarkets now sell particularly cheap clothing.

Enjoying Derby
• Visit the Tourist Information Centre in the city marketplace for information about things to do and see.

Television and radio
• Five main free TV channels, many more available through digital or satellite TV.
• Wide variety of radio stations available catering to all tastes.

TV licence
• If you have a TV, then it’s likely that you’ll need a licence. Make sure you find out, as the fine for being caught without one can be very expensive.

Postal services
• Postage stamps are available from Post Offices and many other shops.
• If you want to send a parcel you need to visit a Post Office to have it weighed.

Telephone services
• Public pay phones are common in all towns and cities.
• Home telephone packages available from many different suppliers.
• Mobile phones are widely available, as are the different packages.

• British electricity supply is 240 volts or 50 hertz, so you may need an adaptor.

• Coins up to and including £1, notes above this amount.
• Currency exchange available at all banks and Post Offices.

Bicycles, Cars, Scooters and Motorcycles
• Always ride or drive carefully, and make sure you read and obey the UK Highway Code.
• Make sure your driving licence is valid.
• Keep your bicycle or vehicle well maintained, and fully taxed and insured.
• On bicycles and motorbikes, always wear a helmet and protective clothing.
• Never ride or drive any bicycle or vehicle when under the influence of alcohol.

Pedestrian Road Safety
• Cross roads at proper places, such as traffic lights, or zebra and pelican crossings.
• Green light means you can cross, do not cross if light is flashing amber or red.
• Always check that traffic has stopped before you begin to cross.

Buses and taxis
• Buy bus tickets from the driver when you board.
• Only use proper licensed taxi services.

Personal safety
• Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unlit areas like parks.
• Don’t accept drinks from strangers, or leave your drink unattended.
• Don’t display your valuables in public.
• Make sure your home and property are secure.

Sexual relationships
• Legal age of consent is 16 for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.
• Be aware of contraception and how to avoid STDs before starting a relationship.

• Treat others with the respect and tolerance you’d expect yourself.
• Report any incidents you suspect to be racially-motivated.

• It is illegal to possess, sell or supply drugs such as marijuana, LSD, heroin, opium, cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamine sulphate in the UK. Penalties can be very severe, including large fines and prison sentences.
• Never attempt to bring any kind of illegal drug or similar substance into the UK from abroad. Drug trafficking can lead to very long prison sentences.

Reporting Crimes in Progress, Accidents or Fires
• Emergency services include Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance
• Emergency services number is 999 – but only use it in a genuine emergency.

The Police
• To report a crime after it has occurred visit a police station or dial 0845 123 33 33.
• The Police are there to help and protect you, don’t be afraid to approach them.
• If you are arrested for any reason, stay calm, ask why you are being arrested and ask to be allowed to contact a lawyer, a responsible friend. Ask to be made aware of your rights. Do not resist arrest, do not try to run away, do not try to bribe a Police Officer.


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