Travel tips | Traveller tips | Utilities, weights and measures

Utilities, weights and measures

Do I need a plug adaptor?

It can often be confusing when you visit a new country because of the different utility systems and measurements. Knowing which type of plug you need for your hairdryer, or whether you can drink the water, for example, are things we all need to know before we travel.

We've highlighted a few of the things that are good to know before you get here.


The voltage used in Britain is 240 Volts AC at 50HZ. Most power sockets are designed for standard 3-pin square plugs. Electrical appliances in Britain generally use the British standard plug with 3 square pins. Plug socket adaptors and power transformers are widely available, you can buy them at most airports, electrical shops and hardware stores.


The quality of tap water in Britain is very high. You can usually drink from all taps that supply water to kitchen areas. Bottled water is also common and available in all local grocery shops and supermarkets.


Gas is often used in homes for cooking, central heating and to heat water. Some cookers may use both gas and electricity, for example they may use gas for the hob and electricity for the oven.

Car fuel

Most cars in Britain run off petrol, but there are also a large number of cars and lorries that run off diesel. Petrol is usually sold as either Four Star (usually a red pump), or Unleaded (usually a green pump); both types are available for most petrol stations. You will also see an increasing number of electric, or electric-petrol combined and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cars on the road.

Measurements & conversions

Kilometres & miles
1 mile = 1.609 kilometres
1 kilometre = 0.621 miles

Litres & gallons
1 gallon = 4.546 litres
1 litre = 0.220 gallons

Kilos & pounds
1 pound = 0.453 kilos
1 kilo = 2.204 pounds