Each month, we’ll look at phrases that will aid you in your travels around the world. This month, we’re focusing on English, so we’ll give you 10 phrases for getting around Great Britain, both for native and non-native English speakers.
Hello! – A universal greeting across Great Britain. In more casual conversation you might also hear Hiya!, which is the British equivalent to “Hey!”
Goodbye! – Said on parting. In the north of England, you might hear Ta-ra!
Cheers! or Thanks very much! – Both are used in Great Britain to mean “thank you.”
I’ll have… – When ordering food off a menu, Brits will say “I’ll have” instead of “I would like.”
Excuse me, could you tell me the way to the tube? or Do you know the way to the nearest tube? – When asking directions, the Brits are extremely polite. Be sure to say “excuse me” whenever asking for directions. The “tube” refers to the station where you can access underground transportation in London, as well as the entire system itself. So you can also say We took the tube up to Camden.
Could you let me know how much this is, please?/Excuse me, how much is this please? – When asking for the price of something, again, the Brits are very polite, and will use “could you let me know” instead of just “how much is this.”
Excuse me, could you tell me the platform for the train to Liverpool? – As with asking for directions to the tube, when asking for the correct train platform, be polite and add “excuse me.”
Trafalgar Square, please. – In a cab, you can simply state your destination with “please” at the end, once you’ve greeted the driver.
Excuse me, I’m a little bit lost here. Could you let me know how to get to… – Used to let someone know you’re lost and would like to find a specific location.
There are many ways to ask the location of the bathroom depending on formality of the place where you’re asking.
Could you tell me where the men’s/ladies’ room is? – formal, in a nice restaurant
Can you tell me where the gents’/ladies’ is? – in a more casual restaurant
Could you tell me where the toilets are? – informal, in a pub
Are the toilets ’round here? – very informal
In different parts of Great Britain they will call the toilets by different names: in the south of England you might hear “W.C.” or “restroom.” Some people might still say loo, but it’s not very common. If you’re in someone’s house, you should ask for the “bathroom.”
Want to learn a language beyond these phrases? Start here with our online courses.