Skip to content

6. Guide to Everyday Life in the UK

Living in the United Kingdom offers a unique blend of historical tradition and modern convenience. The UK's institutions, infrastructure, and public services play a crucial role in the daily lives of its residents, offering support, education, and healthcare. This guide delves into the practical aspects of navigating everyday life in the UK, from the essential services to the nuances of daily living.

Healthcare Services

  • National Health Service (NHS): The NHS provides comprehensive healthcare services, including doctor's visits, hospital treatments, and emergency care, free at the point of use for residents. Prescription charges apply in England, while prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Accessing Healthcare: Residents register with a local General Practitioner (GP) who serves as the first point of contact for health concerns. GPs can refer patients to specialists and hospitals as needed. Emergency services are accessed through the number 999 or 112.

Educational Opportunities

  • Compulsory Education: Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 18. Primary and secondary education is provided free in state schools, with private schooling available.
  • Higher Education: The UK is home to some of the world's leading universities and colleges, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Tuition fees and student loans are a significant consideration for those pursuing higher education.


  • Finding a Place to Live: The UK housing market includes options for renting and buying, with estate agents and online portals being primary sources for listings. Major cities, especially London, may present a competitive and expensive housing market.
  • Housing Support: Government schemes such as Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, and social housing are available to assist with housing affordability and accessibility.

Family Support

  • Child Benefits and Support: The UK provides various forms of family support, including child benefit payments, tax credits, and access to childcare services. The Sure Start programme offers support to families with young children in some areas.
  • Parental Leave: Parents are entitled to maternity, paternity, and shared parental leave, offering time off work to care for new children with statutory pay for eligible employees.

Daily Life Aspects

  • Public Transportation: The UK has an extensive public transport network, including buses, trains, and the London Underground. Transport for London (TfL) and National Rail Services provide comprehensive services within and between cities.
  • Banking: Opening a bank account in the UK requires proof of address and identification. The UK banking system offers a range of services, including online banking, which is widely used.
  • Shopping and VAT: The UK has a wide range of shopping options, from high street stores to online retailers. Value-added tax (VAT) is included in the price of most goods and services.
  • Cultural Norms: The UK is known for its politeness, with please and thank you being common in everyday interactions. Queuing is a respected practice, and punctuality is valued in social and professional settings.


Life in the UK is characterized by its robust public services, cultural diversity, and the balance between tradition and modernity. Navigating the practicalities of healthcare, education, housing, and daily living requires some adjustment, especially for newcomers, but the UK's infrastructure and support systems are designed to facilitate a high quality of life for its residents. Whether you're moving to the UK or just exploring what life there entails, understanding these aspects provides a solid foundation for making the most of living in this dynamic country.