Please sign in to post.

Water in the U.K.

My daughter and I will be traveling to Ireland, Scotland and down to London. Will there be an issue with drinking water in these countries as we have been use to the U.S. water supply. Also what about beverages ordered with ice in them. Or should we just stick to bottled water.

Posted by
2876 posts

I can hardly wait for Nigel's response to this one.

Posted by
8293 posts

Terry, surely you jest?? If you are serious, may I suggest you NOT say aloud while in the UK that you suspect the safety of the water. It will not endear you to the locals.

Posted by
1834 posts

If you are skeptical about the water I strongly suggest drinking brewed and distilled liquids. A dram will do well when brushing your teeth. Go to bed happy.

Posted by
5669 posts

Terry, for the most part you really only need to worry about water in developing countries. The UK is fine. Just as in the US though, don't drink water that is labeled as non-potable. Pam

Posted by
4694 posts

Unless you see a sign that the water is not potable, the water is safe to drink. There are some homes in the U.K. where the water in the bathroom comes from a storage tank rather than directly from the mains and because of this, people sometimes avoid drinking the water from the bathroom tap.

Posted by
3428 posts

The water (and ice) is fine. You won't see many water fountains, though. Plan on buying a bottle to carry around with you if you like/need to drink a good bit during the day (like I do). If you order water in a restaurant you will most likely get (and be charged for) a bottle of water unless you specifically ask for tap water.

Posted by
149 posts

London water, especially, is clean and sweet with no off taste. I write as one who has generally (other than in London) preferred bottled water on trips elsewhere in Europe and Brita-treated water from my own Seattle tap.

Posted by
237 posts

Terry, you have posted some basic questions about food and water for your trip to the UK. I would suggest getting Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door which has a ton of general travel information and advice from years of traveling. He also has a travel skills DVD but the book has a lot more information in it and you can read it and re-read at your leisure. I think some basic reassurances and information about the UK will put you more at ease and hopefully enjoy your trip more. Have a great trip,
=Tod

Posted by
521 posts

I've been drinking it for almost 50 years, and as far as I know it hasn't done me any harm. In some places it will taste different to what you are used to, but the only place I've ever been where it wasn't very palatable is Jersey in the Channel Islands. London water is excellent, and the standard of tap water everywhere in terms of cleanliness, trace elements etc is (if I may be so bold...) at least as good as anything you will find in the US. We stopped using lead in our plumbing some decades ago. Even cold water in the bathroom is therefore not the issue it used to be, but I still go with my grandmother's advice not to drink it.

Posted by
180 posts

Come on in! The water is fine! Seriously - no issues. My only complaint about the water is how hard it is! I am constantly battling lime scale but that is a whole other issue!

Posted by
31471 posts

Terry, The various parts of the U.K. are modern and industrialized, and have standards for potable water. I doubt that you'll have any issues with the water there, although it may taste different than what you're used to. The situation would be somewhat different if you were in Greece or some of the less-developed countries. I typically buy a 500 mL water bottle at the airport on the way TO Europe, and then just refill it from the tap. Haven't had any problems yet. Happy travels!

Posted by
4689 posts

There is an outside chance of a mineral in a particular area causing a personal issue - but you'd have that travelling around the USA too. As a generality you can draw a line from Middlesbrough to Lyme Regis and the water will be hard south of it and soft north of it, although there are reverse pockets either side of this rough divider.

Posted by
27743 posts

Oh all you do gooders, trying to plaster over the cracks and give the false impression that tourists don't come here and die by the millions from having contact with our putrid liquid passed off as water. Of course it is fatal. Don't try to pretend otherwise. Cholera everywhere. Especially around the contaminated wells next to the sewage pits in central London. There are huge illuminated signs warning of the dangers - the authorities really do want to keep the toll down to under a million annually. I've found it best to use a tea strainer to catch the biggest bits but you can't see the danger lurking within. Oh wait - was that Chicago? I dunno. Must be the water.

Posted by
27743 posts

Hang on hang on hang on. Ice. What's that? Isn't that what forms on your car and drive in the winter and causes you to hit your head? Who'd want that in a drink?

Posted by
521 posts

Who'd want that in a drink? Next they'll be complaining the beer is warm ;-)

Posted by
70 posts

Water here in Bucks is fine too nevr dn mee ni hrm tt I nodise...

Posted by
2987 posts

I generally do the opposite of whatever the Daily Fail says, though.

Posted by
5786 posts

If you are concerned about microbial issues do what the Brits do. Drink beer and hot tea. Or whiskey in Scotland. Kidding aside we toured the UK from urban centers like London and Edinburgh to rural England and Scotland without any gastrointestinal distress. They even have sheep and cattle walking around in rural areas. (US customs inspectors sterilized our boots on reentering.) I did wonder about Keld given that it was historically a lead (Pb) mining centre and rivers ran with tinted water. But only drinking Keld water for a day did not hurt us. (The English river water color was like more likely caused by peat or similar than minerals.) So don't worry, be happy and enjoy a pint or two.

Posted by
2658 posts

Hi Terry, you are worrying way too much. You are worrying about the food and water in the UK. You will be just fine, in all of my trips to the UK, I (we) have never ever gotten sick from either. UK isn't a third world country. With all of your worrying I hope you will enjoy your trip. Before you ask (unless I missed it)London is safe, if you go to the theatre at night you will be safe going back to your hotel, no need to worry about safety. Also, wanted to let you know that the black cabs are safe, before becoming a driver of a black cab the driver has to have a background check (it has to be clean) and all drivers have passed The Knowledge which means they have studied and memorized 25,000 London streets within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross, proving they know the most direct route for your journey. These studies take about 2-4 years so it's rather like them having a university degree in 'London'. Relax and enjoy the greatest city in the world, London. Have a great trip.

Posted by
27 posts

The water's fine - the UK was one of the first countries in the world to build a proper infrastructure for delivering safe drinkable water to the masses. I have a lot of ice in my drinks, and I never have problems with that either. Generally, you can drink water and have ice in just almost any EU country without worrying about health. If you read the Daily Mail article on Ice (which is remarkably short on objective measures), then read this article too: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=tap-drinking-water-contaminants-pollutants So, if you're happy to drink the water in the USA, then be happy to drink it in the UK.

Posted by
30 posts

I've drunk the water in London and in Edingurgh, and not suffered at all. Here at home, we have conditioned ourselves to think, "Bottled is better." Water bottles have even become fashion accessories. But, unless some medical reason exists, a little unbottled here & there won't ruin the trip.