Everyday life in the UK

Weather in England

The weather in the UK can be very changeable!  Please bring warm clothes with you as even in the Summer (May to August) it can sometimes be cool, with temperatures ranging from 16 degress celcius to 31 degrees celcius and everything in between.  Rain is very common in England so do make sure that you bring a waterproof coat with you and an umbrella – there is a high chance you will need them. Typically our winter season lasts from end of November until March, it is not uncommon to experience sleet, snow, rain and sunshine in one day during cold snaps.

Public Transport


There are several useful websites to support with planning a journey using public transport

Home | My Journey Southampton plan any journey in and around Southampton – information on buses, trains, ferries and cycling.

Home | My Journey Hampshire plan any journey in and around Hampshire – information on buses, trains, ferries and cycling.

Setting up a Bank Account

Getting a bank account – Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice has guidance on:

•How to open a Bank Account

•The different kinds of Accounts

•Terms and conditions

•How to change bank accounts/building society

Monzo has been recommended as one of the easiest banks to get an account with for International Recruits www.monzo.com  In order to register for a UK bank account with Monzo you must have a smart phone in order to access the App. You must also have a UK address in order to post you your debit card. For further instructions click here: www.monzo.com

Major supermarket chains in the UK

Most supermarkets will have an international section, but  they are more likely to be in the larger sized stores.

 Cheaper Supermarkets

Mid-range Supermarkets


International and Ethnic Supermarkets in Southampton

St Marys Street

Kabul Supermarket – Afghan and Halal, international

Tatra – Polish and Eastern European

Salam Foods- Middle Eastern and international

Rayan Food Centre – South Asian and international

Global Food and Halal Meat Centre

Biltong and Bangers (South African) High Street


Yau Brothers – Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Japanese

Portswood Road
International Foods

Song Oriental Chinese Supermarket – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese

Shirley High Street

Winmar International Food Centre (Mainly Turkish)
Black Sea Supermarket (Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Greek, Bulgarian

Polo Market – Polish

Shirley Warren – Warren Local (African, Carribbean, International

International and Ethnic Supermarkets in Portsmouth

Afro-Carts Food  (Caribbean and African) – Kingston Road

North End International Food Store (Asian, African, European) – Kingston Rd

Mama Lit (African and Caribbean) – Fawcett Road

•Ladya (Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, Latvian)

Eastern Stores (Chinese)

Thai and Asian Food Mart – Fratton Road

Albert Foodstore (International) – Albert Road

Polski Sklep Delicatessen Maya – Fratton Road

Portsmouth International Food Centre – Fratton Road

International and ethnic supermarkets in other areas


Everest Cash and Carry (Nepalese, South Asian and International) Birchett Road

Quality Superstore (Nepalese, South Asian and International) Station Road

China Oriental Supermarket (Chinese and Nepalese)


Rita’s African Caribbean Food Market, Waterloo Court


Surya’s International Foods, Church Street

BNC Ghurka Grocery (Nepalese, South Asian, International) Winchester Road


Sami Swoi (Polish) High Street


Biltong South


Biltong and Bangers

Festivals and Celebrations in the UK


Christmas in the UK is celebrated with the giving of gifts and spending time with loved ones. Christian celebrants recognise the festival as a celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. Many non-religious families celebrate Christmas. Traditional Christmas Dinner is often Roasted Meat (often Turkey in a tradition imported from the US) or Nut Roast with roasted vegetables and gravy. Christmas pudding is a traditional dessert that includes: raisins, currants, suet, brown sugar, breadcrumbs, citron, lemon peel, orange peel, flour, mixed spices, eggs, milk and brandy.


Easter in the UK is celebrated by spending time with loved ones. Christian celebrants recognise the festival as a celebration of the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ. Many non-religious families celebrate Easter and it is associated with new life as it is a time of year where many animals have their young. Daffodils and other spring bulbs are associated with this time of year. Traditionally a roast dinner with Lamb is eaten at Easter. Simnel Cake is a fruitcake widely eaten in the United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries with patterns of migration from them, associated with Lent and Easter. It is distinguished by layers of almond paste or marzipan, typically one in the middle and one on top, and a set of eleven balls made of the same paste.


Halloween in the UK has become a popular holiday and has come from America.  Children and young people dress as, monsters, ghosts and characters and visit houses and collect sweets.  In recent years a tradition has been established of leaving a pumpkin outside your house if you want to be visited.  Children will not visit if there is not a punpkin outside.


Diwali is a Hindu festival that recognises the victory of light over darkness and the return of Rama and Sita to Ayodhya.  To symbolise this victory of good over evil traditional painted clay lamps called diyas are lit, and homes decorated.  Traditional sweets are such as Laddoos, Halwa, Barfi, Peda and Gulab Jamin are made or bought and given as gifts to family and friends. Families gather and celebrate and many let off firoworks. Many of the years biggest Bollywood films will be released during Diwali.


Eid al Adha and Eid al Fitr are two major Islamic festival which are celebrated by Muslims in the UK. Eid al Adha honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.  Eid al Fitr marks the end of a month of fasting (Ramadan). Both festivals are celebrated by attending the mosque in the morning followed by family gatherings and celebrations. Many will wear their new or finest clothes. Generally sweets or sweet foods are eaten and given as gifts, for example Sheer Khurma (South Asian) Baklava (Turkish) and Ma’amoul (Arabic Cultures). Britains Muslims are very diverse and have a wide range of traditions.


Vaisakhi is the most important festival for Sikhs in the UK and normally falls on the 13th or 14th April.  It marks the birth of the Khalsa, created by Guru Gobind Singh who initiated the Khalsa as warriors with a duty to protect the innocent from any form of religious persecution. It also coincides with harvest time in the Punjab and is therefore considered a harvest festival by some.  The Nishan Sahib is raised outside of Gurdwaras (temples) and Nagar Kirtans (processions) are held with drumming and the singing of Kirtan (hymns). Sweets are made or bought and given as gifts and families gather to celebrate.  Some important sweet foods include Rice Kheer, ladoos, rasgulla, barfi and many more.

Passover (Pesah)

Passover is a Jewish festival that marks the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  Traditionally Jews will go to the synagogue on the morning of the first night of Passover.  Families gather and celebrate and on the first night of Passover a traditional meal of a special family meal called the Seder is held. At the Seder, foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation are eaten, and prayers and traditional recitations are performed.  There are also many Passover songs for example “Dayenu” is a Hebrew song that translates as “It Would Have Been Enough”.

Places of Worship

NHS Trusts all have their own Chaplains for people of all faith and none.  They are always available to talk to and to support you.  You can find more information here

There are many places of worship in Hampshire for different faiths.

Southampton Vedic Society (Hindu Mandir)

 BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Havant

Southampton Hebrew Congregation

 Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation – Jewish Small Communities Network (jscn.org.uk)

Christian Places of Worship  

Islamic Places of Worship 

List of Gurdwaras in Hampshire 

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