British people place considerable value on punctuality. If you agree to meet friends at three o'clock, you can bet that they'll be there just after three. Since Britons are so time conscious, the pace of life may seem very rushed. In Britain, people make great effort to arrive on time. It is often considered impolite to arrive even a few minutes late. If you are unable to keep an appointment, it is expected that you call the person you are meeting. Some general tips follow.
You should arrive:
- At the exact time specified – for dinner, lunch, or appointments with professors, doctors, and other professionals.
- Any time during the hours specified for teas, receptions, and cocktail parties.
- A few minutes early: for public meetings, plays, concerts, movies, sporting events, classes, church services, and weddings.
If you are invited to someone's house for dinner at half past seven, they will expect you to be there on the dot. An invitation might state "7.30 for 8", in which case you should arrive no later than 7.50. However, if an invitation says "sharp", you must arrive in plenty of time.