Yes, there are direct flights available that connect Jeddah with the United Kingdom. Saudi Arabian Airlines provide a direct flight service to Jeddah from the London Heathrow and Manchester airports. Both of these direct flights take about six and a half hours to reach their destinations.
The best time to visit Jeddah is the month of January and early February. Saudi Arabia is famously dry and a hot country. This is not untrue for Jeddah as well. The temperatures in the summer can soar beyond 40°C, which could be a bit uncomfortable. However, coming to Jeddah in January is very pleasant as the temperature hardly ever goes beyond 28°C during this entire month. Point to note is that since Jeddah has a typical “desert climate”, the nights are a lot chillier than the daytimes. During the winters the night temperature may fall as low as 17°C.
The cheapest month to get a ticket to Jeddah is in August. August is the hottest month of the year in Jeddah. The sun is bearing down hard on the sun-scorched city, which keeps most of the travellers at bay, making the air tickets and accommodation prices low. Most do not realize that Jeddah is a very modern city. The malls, hotels, restaurants and even the buses and taxi that move in between these towering futuristic buildings are air-conditioned. Apart from the short walk in and out of the car, you would not feel a thing. So if you are an indoor games person, coming to Jeddah in August could be a cost-effective time to enjoy the city.
About 19 kilometres north of Jeddah is the King Abdulaziz International Airport, which is a key airport in Saudi Arabia. The airport is the busiest in the country and is the third largest airport with respect to land area. King Abdulaziz International receives the Muslim pilgrims that make the journey to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, as Mecca is quite near to the Jeddah city. In 2017, the airport received in an excess of 30 million passengers.
A British traveller requires a visa to visit Jeddah. Please visit the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London to obtain the visa. Also please make sure that your passport is not due to expire within six months of your intended entry in Saudi Arabia. Please also note that during the Hajj pilgrimage season, British Muslims who do not have a Hajj visa might be denied entry and would not be allowed to board a flight to Jeddah. Non-Muslim British travellers might be asked to state their purpose of visit to Jeddah during the Hajj. These checks are placed to manage the flux of people in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season.
Jeddah is often called by its locals as “Jeddah Ghair” or “Jeddah is different”. It is the most liberal city in Saudi Arabia and is a place where most Saudis visit on their off days. The city has invested heavily in entertainment parks and landmarks to pacify the insatiable desire of the ‘Jeddawis’ to experience the new.
- King Fahd’s Fountain is a jet-fountain off the coast of this amazing city. Even though the fountain was built in the early ‘80s, it is still the tallest fountain of its kind. The fountain squirts the water of the Red Sea into the air, approximately 300 meters high. At any given moment there is at least 16 tons of water shooting towards the sky. The mist from the fountain that scatters at the apex is illuminated by an army of spotlights. This water-based aurora borealis can be seen from every corner of Jeddah.
- Al Shallal Theme Park has been a focal point of fun for the thousands that head to the city in the vacations. Al Shallal Theme Park is a place where the fear of heights turns to the joy of adventure. The 60,000 square meter park is covered with joy rides, roller coaster ride, an ice skating rink and a mini Amazon jungle. Apart from that, there are several gaming arcades and party halls that are usually packed with children celebrating birthdays. Come to Al Shallal Theme Park and have a family bonding vacation.
- The Al-Balad is the Old Town of Jeddah. Before the oil boom the residents used to live in this town, but with the influx of new oil money, most residents moved to the north to posh residences. These residential buildings are the last remains of Arabia before it had extra money to spare. The government had allocated a budget to maintain this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visiting the old town, the tourist can see the old water well, homey apartment building and mosques that are now used extensively by the new inhabitants of the town.
Saudi Arabia has a rich Islamic culture and tradition. The religion of the country intertwines the community and brings them closer together. Needless to say, most festivals in Jeddah are celebrated in accordance with religion. Islam follows the lunar calendar, so the celebrations do not have a defined date in the solar calendar followed here in the West. The Milad al-Nabi Festival is the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Sweets are distributed between relatives and strangers alike and children are seen on rooftops, dropping down lines of fairy lights. The Jeddah Festival is conducted at the end of June. Fireworks, delicious traditional cuisine and local handicrafts wait to mesmerize the tourist coming to this festival. The Eid ul Fitr celebrations come after the month-long fasting in Ramadan. Delicious date delights and halwa are made especially for those who had been patient the entire month. The celebration of Eid ul Adha can be smelled in the air, as the entire city begins to BBQ the sacrificial meat. The meats are succulent and just fall of the bone, doused in sweet and savoury sauces. Join in to have this finger licking experience.
In Saudi Arabia, the cost of petrol is around USD $ 0.40 per litre, which makes travelling around the city very cheap. The white taxis are registered, metered and safe in Jeddah. Other than that, if the traveller has access to the internet, apps like Uber are now widely used in the city. Not only are these cars air-conditioned, but also connected to Google maps so you and your driver would never be lost in the city.
With the riches from the Saudi mineral resources, businesses in Jeddah have been investing in other sectors of the economy especially in the hotel and tourism industry. Expect to be pampered with gold foil facial therapy and five-course meals at these luxury hotels below.
- Bay La Sun Hotel & Marina
- Ascott Tahlia Jeddah
- Sheraton Jeddah Hotel
- Bhadur Resort Jeddah
- Rosewood Jeddah