Water on the brain

We were asked recently about UK water, so thought we would take a moment to answer a few points:

  • UK mains water is totally safe to drink and in fact is very tasty. You do not need to boil it, add chemicals or filter it to make it drinkable. This is mains water that you might get from a kitchen cold tap. However, in hotels the water in your bathroom basin may not be mains. It should still be fine, though once we were in a hotel (not UK) where there was a sign ‘not drinking water’. If in doubt, ask at reception. Some good hotels provide free bottled water for your convenience, so do use it, but check it is free
  • London water is rather hard, and this wrecks kettles and coffee machines. If you are used to softer water, drinks may taste a little different, though not necessarily worse
  • bottled water can be bought. There are the usual suspects, Evian, Perrier, Buxton, San Pellegrino… Dasani is not available in this country because of its links to cancer and all the stuff added to it
  • if you go to a restaurant, you may be offered water or you may not. If you want water, it is fine to ask for tap water and you would not expect to be charged
  • don’t swim in the Thames, at least not in the central London bit. It’s probably not great, possibly illegal, it’s tidal and definitely dangerous
  • TfL recommends carrying a bottle of water in hot weather. We’d go a step further and say actually drink it if you feel dehydrated. Just carrying water will not help. However, remember that tubes, buses, most tube stations, Elizabeth line trains and some commuter services do not have toilets so plan in advance. Here’s a handy guide: https://content.tfl.gov.uk/enhanced-customer-toilet-information.pdf
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