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LONDON AIRPORTS
Its a little known fact that while Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted all call themselves a London airport, none are actually within London. Originally London was any area with a London postcode which none of the above have. However in modern times London is taken as any area within the M25 motorway which places Heathrow Airport alone within Greater London.
UK, GB ABBREVIATIONS - EXPLANATION
UK: This is an abbreviation of United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is itself a shortened form of the more correct term United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Only Northern Ireland is part of the UK while Southern Ireland is totally sovereign in its own right.
GB: This is an abbreviation of Great Britain. Great Britain is the three mainland countries of Wales, Scotland and England. Wales and Scotland do not share a border while England shares a border with both Wales and Scotland. The three together form an island entirely surrounded by sea. Northern Ireland is across the Irish Sea and not part of Great Britain, it does not share any borders with Great Britain.
TAXES
Local Taxes in the UK are called VAT. This stands for value added tax and is charged at the rate of 20%. It is charged on most goods and services (including hotel accommodation). This can often be reclaimed on goods if you can show you live, and are taking the goods, abroad.
DRIVING
Don't forget in the UK cars drive on the left with the driver on the right hand side of the car. This is in common with places such as Gibraltar and Australia but out of step with most of the world.
SMOKING
On the 1st of July 2007 the UK brought in a law making it illegal to smoke in a public place or workplace. Many people have been confused as to how this affect hotels. Well the law only applies to the public areas such as lobby, restaurant, bar etc. Hotels still can and do offer smoking and no-smoking rooms. However in response to a desire by many travellers for smoke free hotels more and more hotels are in fact going all no-smoking. This is their choice and nothing to with the change in the law.
DRINKING
On the 1st of June 2008 a ban was introduced to prevent the drinking of alcohol on London public transport system. You may be surprised that this was even allowed in the first place. The ban covers drinking from, or carrying, open containers of alcohol on the Tube, London buses, Docklands Light Railway and tram services.
LONDON BEACHES
Nearest beach resorts to London are at Southend-on-sea and Westcliffe (36.3 miles) in Essex to the South East of England. At Brighton (47 miles) on the South Coast of the UK in Sussex and Clacton-on-sea (60 miles) again to the south east. Their are many smaller beaches but these are the main resorts.
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