The multi-faceted England is regarded as the heartland of Britain. Traditionally, the British Empire had been one of the largest empires. The modern metro city London is the greatest attraction of England. It’s flavoured with a cosmopolitan lifestyle that truly attracts many. It has always been a crowd puller with its greatest historical structures like Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace (former residence of Lt. Princess Diana) amp; Palace of Westminster.
Whether you are new or not to London, you will always be amazed with the creations like the Big Ben, Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and much more.
Just drop into any museums to immerse yourself in the rich and glorious past or check out the simply charismatic wax sculptures at Madame Tussauds. If history does not interest you that much, you might as well take a sip of freshly brewed cappuccino in any of the lounges or coffee shops throughout London.
England is also known to be the treasure-house of castles. The famous Windsor Castle is located a little away from London. You can enjoy his morning breakfast with the warm English hospitality of a cozy bed. The outstanding English beauty of hills amp; landscapes can be captured in Cotswolds and its stone cottages.
If you are an ardent fan of Shakespeare, you must visit his birthplace Stratford-Upon-Avon. Check out the Royal Shakespeare Company performances on Shakespeare’s plays.
Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham are bigger attractions. Hadrian’s Wall near Newcastle and several other places mark the presence of Roman history in Britain. Stonehenge will tell you more on such history.
Sea lovers will find finest coastline and exotic beaches in resort towns. Southend-on-Sea, located in East England, is a well-known seaside resort has the best sea attractions. It’s also recognized for southend pier, three theatres and happening music. The Canterbury’s cathedral boasts of medieval British structure. Dover, the large ferry port, operates ferries to Europe through English Channel.
Oxford, best known for its best universities has beautiful river surroundings. One gets lost in the lively atmosphere with many shopping arcades, restaurants. Cambridge, another university dominant, is also known for streets and architecture.
On the southern coast is Brighton, a lovely seaside town with amazing architecture. The Isle of Wight is ideal to have a composed atmosphere away from the rushing lifestyle. Bournemouth is the biggest resort town located on the Southeast coast with spectacular beaches, gardens and parks.
A delightful England trip can be truly described as an eclectic blend of culture, history and repose.
Out of all the Disney theme parks Epcot has to be my favorite. Although I enjoy doing the rides and shows at Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy, Wonders of Life, Mission Space, Test Tract, The Living Seas, The Land, and Imagination, I have to say that the World Showcase is like traveling from country to country without your feet leaving the ground.
We always head for this area first as most visitors want to check out the rides so we hit it when it is quiet. The World is set around a large lagoon, which makes for a perfect setting.
Saying that I love the United Kingdom biases me but that is where we always head. Disney did a clever job by using the architecture ranging from the 1500 to the 1800’s. What I love to see is the cottage similar to the ones near my daughter in the Stratford-upon-Avon area. They also have other styles including Tudor, which is another of my favorites.
The U.K. shop is exciting and different
You will find really unusual gifts as well as the tourist items. We love to chat to the young British people working there. They come over on a years work visa provided by Disney and are always happy at the beginning and really upset when they only have a couple of weeks left. I tell them that they have had a great adventure and an experience of a lifetime.
Sometimes we time it just right to see the World Showcase Players having fun. This always draws a lot of people and they get volunteers from the crowd to assist them in their play. Then they have the crowd booing or shouting and it can be quiet a riot.
We then tend to go over to the Rose and Crown pub and see if the Pearly Queen (Pam Brody) is playing the piano. It is great to have a sing-a-long and she always plays The Lambeth Walk as Len was born in that area. The pub offers good British beer including Guinness and Bass. You can eat in the bar or the beautiful outside dining area. All my favorites are on the menu including fish’n’chips, bangers and mash, and Sherry Trifle for dessert. To the side of the pub is a counter where you can purchase take out fish’n’chips.
We have been lucky enough to see The British Invasion here
Which is a Beetle’s show on several occasions. As you would expect there are 4 young gentlemen in suits of the 60’s era, with pudding basin hair cuts, singing the great Lennon and McCartney songs. I have to admit that they do a great job of it. We were also there when The British Invasion had Herman’s Hermits on stage. Peter Noone is amazing for 59 and still has personality and a great voice.
There is a the red phone box, which I remember as a child. Now the ones in my hometown are yellow and that is such a shame.
Finally if you want to get lost or just away from the crowd then check out the maze. It isn’t that big for you to really get lost, but you will feel miles away from the crowds, in other parts of Epcot.
Wiltshire is one of my favorite counties in England, and one that holds plenty of history and intrigue for anyone who enjoys driving through a vast green countryside filled with ancient stones and cathedrals.
Wiltshire is located in the Southwestern part of England and is considered a “ceremonial county.” It covers an area of 858,931 acres and shares its borders with Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Gloucestershire.
The county of Wiltshire was originally known as Wiltonshire or Wiltunscir and gets its name from the river Wylye
People that live in Wiltshire have been given the affectionate nickname of “moonrakers.” The humorous story behind this nickname is as follows: There were once some men from Wiltshire that were smack dab in the middle of an operation of smuggling brandy when they were caught abruptly one night. These men had hidden the alcohol inside of a barrel and then stored it in a nearby pond for safekeeping afterwards.
After returning for the contraband late one night, the men were caught trying to rake the barrel containing the alcohol inside of it back to land. Even though the authorities had caught them in the middle of the act, all the authorities saw were men raking in a barrel. The men pointed to the reflection of a large moon that was reflected in the pond, and informed the authorities that all they were doing was simply trying to rake in some cheese. The authorities probably laughed, thinking these men were very simple people indeed, and left the men to their cheese raking. Needless to say, the moonrakers had the last laugh!
Wiltshire is rife with history from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze age. Early settlers living in England built their settlements here and Avebury and Stonehenge are probably the most well known Neolithic sites in all of England.
Things to See in Wiltshire
Stonehenge Stonehenge probably needs very little introduction, but I still feel it is my duty to write a little bit about it while humming the Spinal Tap song to myself.
The name Stonehenge is derived from the words “stan” which mean stone, and “hencg” which means hinge. Stonehenge is estimated to date back to 3100 B.C. and archaeologists believe that the stones were first erected around the year 2200 B.C. Stonehenge has been a World Heritage Site since 1986 and is managed by English Heritage, with the land surrounding it owned by the National Trust.
Building Stonehenge was an exercise that took a good 3,000 years, or possibly even longer. Mesolithic postholes dating back to 8000 B.C. have been found by archaeologists underneath a carpark.
The last time that Stonehenge is believed to have been used for ritualistic purposes was during the Iron Age due to the the large number of Roman coins and prehistoric pottery artifacts that have been discovered at the site, as well as the skeleton of a man.
A man named Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge in 1915 for the sum total of £6,000 and gave it to his wife as a gift. It was given to country of England 3 years later.
Unfortunately for visitors to Stonehenge, tourists are no longer allowed to roam freely amongst the standing stones and must walk along a pathway on the outside of it. It is still an amazing sight to see nevertheless, and shouldn’t be missed if you are in Wiltshire.
If you’re interested in getting close to standing stones, Avebury is just the place for you. At Avebury you are able to walk amongst the large rocks that date back to 5,000 years ago.
A good portion of the standing stones were destroyed during the 14th century and up in order to provide building materials for local builders in the area. Some people also feared the pagan rituals that took place on the site, which gave them more incentive to destroy the stones and use them for other purposes.
There are only 17 stones in the Outer Circle that have survived through the centuries, and many of these were re-erected in the 1930s.
The Salisbury Cathedral
I still remember the first time that I saw the Salisbury Cathedral. It was late at night, and the moon had just risen in the dark sky and was particularly large and red that night. The moon appeared directly over the top of the cathedral and almost seemed to be touching it, so close to the earth did it look. Since then, I have always loved the Salisbury Cathedral.
Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in England and even more importantly, one of the four still surviving copies of the Magna Carta — but more on that later.
In 1220, building began on the Salisbury Cathedral and was completed just 38 years later. Because it was constructed so quickly, it has only one architectural style as an Early English Gothic building.
Since the cathedral’s tower and spire added on 6,397 tons to the church, buttresses, iron ties and bracing arches have had to be added over the centuries to stop a possible collapse. Salisbury Cathedral now has the tallest spire in the world that was built before 1400.
The Magna Carta
Perhaps the most important document in the world that changed the way that common law was practiced and influenced the future Constitution and Bill of Rights is the great Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta is located inside of the chapter house at the Salisbury Cathedral, and is a treat to look at. Out of the 4 remaining copies of the Magna Carta, this is without a doubt the finest surviving copy. There is a copy of another version of the Magna Carta that hangs inside of the chapter house so you can compare the one that the Salisbury Cathedral has with this other version. It was clear to me immediately from looking at it that the Salisbury Cathedral did in fact house the greatest Magna Carta of them all. There is a lovely gentleman who is willing to discuss the Magna Carta with anyone who is interested in it, and I really recommend that people see this important historical and political document whenever they get the chance to.