Hi, here's what I think but I might be wrong. There are people on here who might be able to provide better answers. I don't think there are any differences from a long term returns perspective. I guess people investing for the long term choose ETFs over index funds for several reasons. It could be that their provider only offers ETFs in the funds they are interested in, and they don't want to incur more costs by switching providers. It could also be that they just want the flexibility that comes with ETFs.
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The first thing that comes to mind after reading your question is the transaction fees you might incur depending on the broker you choose. If you are a new investor, I'd recommend starting with 4 - 6 ETFs and see how things develop from there? When choosing a broker it might be best to look for a zero-commission or fixed fee broker, so you save on transaction fees. check out Interactive Investor, Freetrade and Trading 212
No it's not possible in the UK. There are many platforms that give access to the broader market - Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell, Interactive Investor, Fidelity, etc.