Studies on utilization of hospital services by South Asian patients in the United Kingdom have consistently demonstrated levels of dissatisfaction with care in relation to meeting religious and cultural needs, although there are few studies on minority ethnic patients' utilization of acute hospital services. This study aimed to describe and interpret from the consumer's view the 'lived experience' of acute hospital care from the perspectives of South Asian patients and their family carers. The purposive sample of 10 patients and six carers consisted of 13 females and three males (five Hindus, six Muslims and five Sikhs) who were interviewed at home 2 to 3 weeks after discharge from hospital. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews that were tape recorded and transcribed. A phenomenological approach was used, and data were analysed using the principles of Heideggerian hermeneutics. Five themes were identified, ranging from feelings of satisfaction with care, unhappy about the service, fitting-in strategies and post-discharge coping mechanisms. Patients seemed to want to cause as little disruption as possible to the ward environment and tried to fit in to what they refer to as an 'English place'. The findings, although not generalizable, offer important insights into how South Asian patients survive their journey through their hospital stay and have implications for the provision of nursing care for minority ethnic patients.