The UK is one of the most popular travel destinations from the UAE, with several flights from Dubai to London daily.
Whether your heart is set on exploring the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, visiting Buckingham Palace in London, or recording the rolling green hills of the English countryside, the UK has something for every traveler.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about visiting the UK in 2023, whether you reside in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or any other Emirate.
- UK visa requirements for UAE residents and citizens
- Best time to visit the UK
- Top places to visit in the UK
- Shopping in the UK
- UK travel tips
- Frequently asked questions
- UK eSIM: stay connected with Airalo
UAE citizens are exempted from requiring a visa for the UK for a stay of up to six months. However, UAE residents from different nationalities might need to apply for a UK visa.
UK Visa Requirements for UAE Nationals in 2023
As a UAE national, you can get an electronic visa waiver (EVW) to visit the UK for up to six months. This applies if your reasons for travel are tourism, business, study, or for medical treatment. You may need to apply for a visa if you're traveling for other reasons.
How To Apply For A UK Visa as a Dubai or UAE Resident
There are two options to apply for a UK visa from the UAE.
- UK Visa Application Centres: Depending on your passport, you may need to secure a UK Tourist Visa through the UK Visa Application Centre in the UAE. You can visit the center if your passport isn't eligible for an e-visa.
- Standard Visitor Visa: This is the most common type of UK visa for tourists, and you can apply for it online.
To apply for a UK visa from UAE, you will need several documents, including a valid passport, proof of accommodation, travel itinerary, proof of financial stability, and your UAE residency, among other supporting documents.
The best times to travel from the UAE to the UK are from April to early June and September to October. During these months, the warm climate is perfect for walking and exploring. They're also not busy with tourists, so it's more relaxed and less costly.
On the other hand, summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in the UK, with long days and various events taking place. This is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities despite being crowded and expensive.
Here's a detailed rundown of the UK's weather all year round.
Spring (March To May)
Spring in the UK brings mild weather and blooming flowers. This is a great time to visit gardens and parks like the Kew Gardens or Hyde Park in London.
Summer (June To August)
The warmest months of the year offer the perfect weather for exploring the UK's picturesque countryside and coastal areas. Major events such as Wimbledon and music festivals like Glastonbury take place during this time.
Autumn (September To November)
This season brings cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage, especially in areas like the Lake District and Scotland's Highlands.
Winter (December To February)
The UK transforms into a winter wonderland, with festive Christmas markets and the opportunity for snow in certain regions. Despite the cold, the vibrant holiday atmosphere and off-peak travel benefits make it an attractive season for some travelers. It's also off-peak season, so you'll find fewer tourists.
Whether you're big on history, love vibrant cities, or even stunning landscapes, the UK's got something for everyone. Here are some of the top places to explore during your trip from the UAE to the UK.
As the capital city, London is a must-visit for travelers. This bustling metropolis is a blend of modernity and history, with world-renowned landmarks, museums, and a lively arts and culture scene. Some key attractions in London include:
- The British Museum: Houses invaluable collections from across the world, encapsulating over two million years of history.
- Tower of London: A historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames, it offers insights into the UK's monarchy and history.
- Buckingham Palace: The London residence of the Queen, it is an iconic symbol.
- The Shard: The tallest building in the UK, offering breathtaking views of London.
- Westminster Abbey: This grand, mostly Gothic abbey church is steeped in more than a thousand years of history.
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is steeped in history and boasts a wealth of historical and cultural sites. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a foodie, you'll love Edinburgh! The city's notable landmarks include:
- Edinburgh Castle: A historic fortress offering panoramic views of the city.
- The Royal Mile: A succession of streets forming the Old Town's main thoroughfare.
- Arthur's Seat: An ancient volcano and hill located in Holyrood Park, offering fantastic city views.
- Scott Monument: A Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
Known for its Roman-built baths, Bath offers a unique blend of rich history and stunning architecture. The city's top attractions include:
- The Roman Baths: A well-preserved Roman site used for public bathing.
- Bath Abbey: A famous parish church renowned for its grand architecture.
- Royal Crescent: A row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent, one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture.
Known for its influence on the histories of industry and music and its passion for football, Manchester offers something for everyone. The city's key highlights include:
- Old Trafford: Known as "The Theatre of Dreams," it's a must-visit for football (soccer) fans.
- Manchester Cathedral: A medieval, gothic-style cathedral known for its stunning stained glass windows.
- The John Rylands Library: A neo-Gothic building housing an extensive collection of books and manuscripts.
Home to one of the world's top universities, Cambridge is a historic city known for its academia, picturesque views, and punt trips down the river.
Key attractions in Cambridge include:
- King's College Chapel: The iconic symbol of the city, known for its gothic architecture.
- The Fitzwilliam Museum: Houses world-class collections of art and antiquities.
- Punting on the River Cam: Experience the city from a unique perspective.
The capital of Wales, Cardiff, is a vibrant city offering a mix of rich culture, entertainment, sport, and shopping. Key places to visit in Cardiff include:
- Cardiff Castle: A historical complex offering tours through 2,000 years of history.
- Cardiff Bay: Home to the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) and Wales Millennium Centre.
- National Museum Cardiff: Houses national art, geology, and natural history collections.
The UK is renowned worldwide for its shopping experiences. In addition to London, cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds offer a variety of shopping options, from luxury brands to local markets. The most popular places to shop in the UK include:
- Oxford Street, London: Oxford Street is Europe's busiest shopping street and is home to approximately 300 shops, including famous department stores like Selfridges.
- Birmingham Bullring: The Bullring in Birmingham is one of the UK's largest shopping centers, boasting over 200 stores.
- Victoria Quarter, Leeds: In Leeds, the Victoria Quarter offers high-end shopping with a beautiful Victorian backdrop.
Before flying from the UAE to the UK, follow these tips for a smooth trip.
The British pound sterling (GBP) is the UK's currency. While credit cards are widely accepted, some cash may be helpful for smaller stores and markets.
Plugs and Adaptors
The UK uses Type G plugs, which are three-pronged. The country operates on a standard voltage of 230V and a frequency of 50Hz. Since this matches the UAE, your electronic devices should work without an adapter.
Navigating through the UK is generally easy. Public transport, such as taxis and buses, is readily available and reliable. Consider renting a car if you plan to explore more rural or remote areas.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about traveling from the UAE to the UK.
How many hours does it take to fly from Dubai to London?
A direct flight from Dubai to London typically takes 7-8 hours.
What's the time difference between UAE and UK?
The UAE is ahead of the UK by 3 hours during daylight saving time and 4 hours the rest of the year.
Where can I buy a flight ticket to the UK in Dubai?
You can purchase tickets to the UK from various sources, including online travel agencies and websites, airline websites, or a local travel agency in Dubai.
How long does it take to get a UK visa from Dubai?
The processing time can vary. However, the standard processing time for a UK visa is 15 working days. It could take longer if additional documents are required or if you apply via the British embassy during peak periods.
Please note that this information is subject to change, and it's recommended to check the official websites or contact the relevant authorities for the most current information.
Stay connected during your trip to the UK with an eSIM from Airalo. An eSIM is a tiny SIM that's embedded in your device and works 100% digitally. You can download an eSIM for your destination and instantly connect to a mobile network. Save time looking for a SIM card vendor, managing multiple SIMs, or worrying about roaming fees.
Here are some of the benefits of using an eSIM from Airalo on your upcoming trip:
- Instantly connect to a mobile network at your destination.
- Choose from flexible local, regional, and global data plans.
- Say goodbye to expensive roaming charges.
- Store multiple eSIMs on your device.
- Need more data? Top up in the Airalo app.
The UK offers a wealth of attractions, activities, and experiences. Whether you're a history buff, foodie, shopaholic, or nature lover, you're sure to find something that suits your interests. Remember to plan your trip well in advance and make the most of your UK visit!
Are you flying soon? Install a UK eSIM to stay connected throughout your trip!