UK flight bookings qualify to earn exclusive SouthAfrica.TO travel vouchers - email a writeup of your flight to cheapflights@southafrica.to and we'll send you vouchers.

Travel tip :Never queue jump in the United Kingdom.

Cheap Flights to the UK

There are direct flights to London Heathrow from Johannesburg and Cape Town. You want to get on the cheapest flight from South Africa to the UK (United Kingdom). The way to make sure that you book a cheap flight is by typing your travel details into the flight price comparison and bookings tool on the left, contrasting airfares & booking the cheapest flight (the comparison will show you low cost airlines like Emirates, as well as direct flights with South African Airways, British Airways & Virgin Atlantic).

If you're still stuck, click here to ask for assistance - our travel agents are itching to find you the best flight deal to the UK.

Visa requirements

New requirements for Children applying for UK Visa

30 Jul 2014 : Kids under the age of 5 are now required to appear at the Visa Application Centre when they submit their visa application for the UK. Children under five will have are also required to have their picture taken as part of the visa application process, but they do not have to provide the authorities with their fingerprints. An appointment must be booked at the visa applications centre by the parents of the children after they have completed their online application on the Visa4UK website.

In March 2014 Teleperformance were appointed to operate UK Visa Services.

Since 2008 South Africans have been required to obtain a visa in order to enter the UK. Navigate to apply for a UK visa. Requirements are:

  • If you are going to the UK for more than 6 months you must prove that you are free of tubercolosis and have been for more than 6 months before applying for a visa (no tubercolosis test is required if you are going to the United Kingkom for less than 6 months).

  • Payment of the fee. At the time of writing the fee for a general visitors visa (up to 6 months) was R1320 - note that there are strict rules against conducting business whilst visiting on a visitors visa. Navigate to UK visa fees for South Africans to check latest fees.

  • Completed visa application

  • Valid Passport

  • Recent passport photo which complies with the requirements

  • Previous passports to demonstrate where you have travelled

  • Proof of marital status

  • Letter from employer showing your salary, length of employment and dates for which leave has been given. Letter must be on paper with the company's letterhead. Payslips over the previous 6 months.

  • Six months of bank statements, and present account balance (this matter a lot - read this story of a South African denied a UK visa).

  • Last tax return.

  • Return flight tickets

  • Itinerary

  • Hotel bookings, supporting letters from occupants of where you are going to stay

If you are planning on visiting the UK regularly, then apply for a multiple entry visa (2, 5 or 10 year) - but these cost more, so only do it if you really need it. The above is a summary of the requirements and it is possible they have changed - check current requirements with the British High Commission in Pretoria, by phoning 011-399-6373 or by emailing media.pretoria@fco.gov.uk. Their physical address in South Africa is at 255 Hill Street, Arcadia, Pretoria. Note that the High Commission is closed on UK public holidays.

Visa application centres are at:

  • 6 Gwen Lane, Sandton (3rd floor of 24 Central)

  • First Floor on the corner of Atterbury Rd & Lois Ave.

  • Media Quarter Building, Corner of de Smidt and Somerset Road, De Waterkant, Cape Town.

  • 430 Peter Mokaba Rd, Durban (3rd floor of the Office Tower)

When you leave the UK, you do not necessarily have to return to South Africa, you could go to other countries (for purposes of visas, the UK is just concerned that you leave!

There are special rules for UK transit visas.

If you need to stay in the UK longer than your visa allows it's important that you sort out a new visa before your existing one expires. If ou overstay your visa you will have to leave the United Kingdom, return home and reapply.

Reader feedback on applying for UK visa

"Have applied at the UK embassy too. Same kind of papers as for German visa, also stuff you have to have organized before you fly anyway. Not as fast but also easy to get. Took a week. Just more expensive." Jessica

South African High Commission in UK
  • Physical address: South Africa House, 9 Duncannon Street, Trafalgar Square, London

  • Email : london.general@dirco.gov.za

  • Phone number : +44-20-7451-7299

 

News

  • 20 Nov 2013 : Temperatures are set to drop, with ice-cold winds and snowfall of up to 6 inches. Roads may change into ice-skating rinks!

  • 25 Oct 2013 : The UK is preparing for "the worst storm of the year" over the weekend.

Visit Historic Buildings

Although it doesn't have anywhere near the historic length of history of mankind being there that South Africa does, the UK's recorded history over the last few thousand years is remarkable, and the country is packed with historic buildings and monuments. Here's the Walter Scott Memorial in Edinburgh:

Walter Scott Memorial in Edinburgh

Write to us about your trip to the UK and we will give you a travel voucher

Personal accounts

Castles, Tattoo & St Andrews

My favourite holiday was Scotland. As I got off the plane at Edinburgh airport the first feeling of difference after travelling from Australia was the cold..so surreal..the imagery surrounding me with it's natural beauty made the cold feel non-existent. Could not wait o see the castles, visit the Tattoo a major event, St Andrews golf-courses, the churches with there antique majestic organs, Dolly the cloned sheep in Edinburgh, Ullapool fishing village, eating haggis, wearing a kilt, the sound of the bagpipes, the highland games. There was so much Scotland had to offer but most of all a feeling of having no cares in the world, just to relax and enjoy a totally different culture which our forefathers left behind so many years ago. Other places I also enjoyed was travelling to the Czech Republic, Gibraltar, Spain, Ireland and all around Australia.

Too fat to fit in the Plane

"My son was getting married in Glasgow Scotland and my wife and I were going to attend the wedding. This however posed a number of problems. We did not have the funds to fly to the UK let alone do some sight seeing. Anyway,the 1st part of our dream came true when our holiday was sponsored. How amazing was that? My wife was born in Scotland but has been in SA for 40 years. She has been back once about 6 years ago on her own as I was to fat to fly with her. So now we had this big day ahead of us and our trip was being paid for, BUT I was still to fat to fit in the plane. Long story short I lost 50kg and made the journey. What a wonderful time we had seeing where my wife grew up and meeting all her family after all these years. Being lost in our paradise,because we could probably never do this again story comes from what happened in London. We came back from seeing the sites in London and after getting off the underground train we had to take a bus to our hotel. On the way to the hotel the bus driver informs us that there has been a accident on the road to our hotel and roads are blocked but he will try to get us close(yeah right). Rounding a corner in a truly no go zone he brings the bus to a stop and tells us this is the best he can do ,and drops us off. We get out the bus and are all of a sudden astoundingly aware that we have been dropped off in the pathway of a Boeing 747 coming in to land(or that's how it felt ) as the plane crosses what felt like a few feet over our heads with us scampering for cover. On recovering from the shock we realize that we have been dropped of at the back of Heathrow nect to the fence just in front of the runway. Relief is however short lived as we can see the top of our hotel about 5 km away, but have no clue as how to get ther as there is fences barbed wire and what seems to be endless rows of rental cars all around us with locked gates prohibiting entry. To top it all my lovely wife now needs the loo,and I don't know how to get us to the hotel. After walking what felt like 20 miles and transgressing many no entry signs, we finally find a road with one or two cars on but none that are willing to stop for this fatty and his highly pressurized wife by this time. Anyway at last I find the road leading to the hotel and then start giggling from relief for some reason which wants to make my wife laugh and has her getting angry,because you cannot laugh and keep your punchers closed at the same time!!! So we ended up at our hotel with me in trouble and wifey having wet her pants,and having to sneak in the back way to avoid being seen. Although it was strenuous at the time we now look back at it with laughter and joy and will never forget getting lost on our holiday of a life time." Deon 

Visiting The Lake District in Cumbria

Among many wonderful places there are to explore on the platters of Earth, one in particular place reached in to the depths of my soul - my journey to The Lake District in Cumbria, United Kingdom. As a young girl searching for answers with my careless self, taking on the world with uncombed hair and a backpack, a mere encounter with a stranger sent me in the direction of The Lake District in 2010. Little did I know, that this paradise would soon engrave a permanent spot in my heart.
As the train journey revealed the lush green lands of Lakeland, I come to a stop at Windermere station. I have all the time in the world and my feet take me in the direction of somewhere- nowhere in particular. I find myself wondering around the quirky lakeside shops and as the host of the Great North swim I am astounded by the tranquil surroundings of Lake Windermere. A sandwich on the pier welcomes me to The Lake District. I find my way to the Elterwater backpackers where I am met with Elle- an instant friend. The village consists of 200 people and any interaction is real and more welcoming than the next. Earlier acquaintances invite me to an open music evening at The Old Dungeon Ghyll. With a combination of local brewed ales and dancing the night away, on the cheerful tunes of the violin, the locals soon accept me as a friend. The night at The Old Dungeon Ghyll leads to an extreme adventure of climbing the Langdale pikes. What started out as a lovely summer’s day ends with ice on the mountain and slippery situations to allow a bit of adrenalin rush. A well deserved pint of “Dizzy Blonde” goes down well after conquering the pikes, in the lovely village of Ambleside- home to Beatrice Potter. A visit to William Wordsworth’s house inspires one to see the beauty which the poet speaks of in his work. Grasmere village is indeed rich with beautiful nature and a certain “old” feel projected throughout the architecture and landscapes. A short holiday to The Lake District left me with memories to last a life time. I recommend heading in the direction of The Lake District to anyone who would appreciate sincere English culture. “...We two have had such happy hours together, That my heart melts in me to think of it.” – William Wordsworth

Airlines

The main airlines operating flights from the South Africa to the UK are:

Airline

British Airways

Air France UK

Emirates UK

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Qatar Airways

South African Airways

Etihad Airways

Lufthansa

Virgin

 

Main SA-UK flight routes

UK map

 

In the UK

While in the UK, why not visit some of its seaside resorts:

  • Blackpool has enhanced its seaside experience by adding "Spanish steps". Visit Pleasure Beach, which has 145 rides.

  • Dunoon is a seaside resort town in Scotland, which is a little tricky to get to, and therefore not as touristy as other spots. Visit Benmore Botanic Gardens and walk along Treasure Trails.

  • Llandudno is the largest seaside resort town in North Wales, lying between 2 headlands. Take the cable car to the summit of Great Orme, ride on the traditional tram and visit the Happy Valley artificial ski slope.

  • Margate is a seaside town in Kent - visit its contemporary art museum as well as the Dreamland Amusement Park.

  • Torquay is in Devon - visit Kents Cavern (a Stone Age site), Living Coasts and the Babbacombe Model Village.

  • Whitstable is a small harbour town in Kent, famous for its oysters. Amble through harbour street, and visit Whitstable Castle.

Public holidays in the UK

They call public holidays "bank holidays" in the UK. You may want to avoid the extra expense of travelling around them (or may want to time your visit to join in the festivities):

  • 1 January

  • 25 December

  • 26 December

Floating dates:

  • Early May bank holiday

  • Spring bank holiday

  • summer bank holiday

  • Good Friday

  • Easter Monday

Where public holidays are on weekends, the following Monday usually becomes a public holiday.

Cruises to England

It's possible to cruise from South Africa to England. The MSC Opera is scheduled to cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, leaving on the 28th April 2014.