Have you ever considered traveling there? You probably have thought of London, but what about the rest of England? England is the country where football, or soccer in the USA, has its roots. England has little over 51 million citizens with close to 8 million people living in the capital city of London. England is among the top destinations to visit in the whole world. The western European country has a mild sea climate with quite some rainy days during spring, autumn but also not rarely during summer. England is not a country you should visit because of the beaches or sun, but definitely a country you should see at least once in your life.
Flying to London Heathrow is possible from almost any major airport with any airline, including US Airways, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France and many more. It would be best to travel there between June and August, as this will enhance your chances of good weather. London is maybe one of the best travel locations if you’re up for a city trip. It is considered one of the four most important cities in the world alongside New York City, Paris and Tokyo. In Western European terms it’s a big city with lots of tourist attractions.
We all know the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Tower Bridge and the Thames river cutting London in two halves. One of the special things of London that you don’t see in many other cities, is that many neighborhoods are famous and a real great place to visit, just like the city centre itself. Think of the famous West End which is mostly the centre, Westminster, South End, Greenwich, Notting Hill, Chelsea and East End, where Jack the Ripper himself committed his murders. His last victim was regular guest of The Ten Bells pub which is still up and running at Commercial Street. Definitely worth seeing. Traveling through London is not hard as it contains an extensive public transit network including a huge metro network with famous stations like King’s Cross.
Is it only London worth travelling to? Definitely not. Once you leave London, you will be in the middle of rural England in no time. Endless green hills full of sheep and small villages containing at least one old brown pub. If you want to experience England to the fullest, you should visit at least once of these. Where London is true metropolis that’s always in a hurry, the rural areas around England are much calmer.
But don’t think there is nothing to see once you’re outside London. England has many touristic attractions all around. Think of the ancient stones of Stonehenge, the White Cliffs of Dover and the many castles you will stumble across. If you’re into Zoos, make sure you visit Port Lympne. A zoo with a perfect combination between true English gardens and a magnificent zoo. The in wild extinct Barbary Lion from Morocco is still alive and running in this great park. Traveling to London and surrounding areas is definitely worth it.
QUICK FACTS AND INFORMATION
CURRENCY: The British Pound. 100 Pence to the pound. Coins are ½,2,4,5 10,50 Pence. Bills are 1,2,5,10 Pounds.
TEMPERATURE: Summer… seldom above 78. Showers often. Take your umbrella. Winter temperatures from 34 to 54 degrees.
BANK HOURS: M-F 9:30-3:30
SHOP HOURS: M-Sat 9-5. Thur Eve until 7.
THINGS TO BUY: Wedgwood, antiques, books, chocolates, woolen goods.
FOOD: After WW2 cooking became a lost art in London. Typical food may be bland and greasy. Indications are that food preparation has begun to improve. If not, one should eat at the inexpensive chain restaurants.
TIPPING: Hotels and restaurants add 10-15% service. Add 5% more if you were happy with the service. The English are not big on tipping.
TRANSPORTATION: In London, the way to go is the TUBE (Underground). The fare depends on how many zones you cross. The many lines are color coordinated. Simply follow the color of the line you want. Hold on to your ticket. It’s collected at the end of your journey. GO AS YOU PLEASE TICKETS are available for 3,4, or 7 days. CENTRAL LONDON ROVER ticket is available for I day.
BUSES: Red double-decker for inner city and the Green Line for outlying areas. One queues up to board the bus. A sign at each stop tells you which bus stops there and where it goes. Get on the bus and sit down. When the conductor comes around, tell him your destination and he’ll tell you how much the fare is.
TAXI: Drivers are very courteous … can be hailed on the street. Tip 20%.
AIRPORT: Take the PICCADILLY LINE … every 10 minutes … to/from the end of the line, which is HEATHROW AIRPORT. The journey takes about 40 minutes.
TELEPHONES: To operate, pick up receiver, dial your number. When a person answers, you’ll hear rapid beeps. IMMEDIATELY insert 5 pence for local calls of 2 minutes. If you don’t insert the coin, your party cannot hear you. If you hear rapid beeps again, insert more coins. Phones take only 5 and 10 pence.
THEATRE: At least 40 plays and musicals are always running in London. Curtain call is often at 7:30. Tickets can be available up to 5 minutes before curtain. The prices are still reasonable compared to the US. Buy a copy of WHAT’S ON IN LONDON for details of current entertainment attractions.
TOILETS: The W.C. (PUBLIC TOILET). Located all over London. Expect to tip.
FREE MAPS AND INFORMATION: BRITISH TOURIST AUTHORITY, 551 Fifth Ave. Suite 701, New York 10176. (800) G02 BRITAIN).
THE COTSWOLD: Less than 100 miles west of London is the region known as the COTSWOLDS. It encompasses about 450 square miles of rolling limestone upland known as the Cotswold Hills, which are dotted by charming, carefully preserved medieval towns and villages built from the hills’ honey-colored stone. This is what gives the region its character. The countryside is tranquil and picturesque, like a rich tapestry. Much of this land is a great pasture for the famous Cotswold sheep, which, at one time brought great wealth to the area. This is the England of the imagination…rolling hills covered by ancient oaks, country walks, and bird watching. Towns are tied to one another by twisting country lanes that carry farmers, sheepers, postmen, and parsons. The vista from any hill is as likely to include the square tower of a Norman Church, as a field of sheep…and any church is likely to be surrounded by the stone-tiled roofs of the village. One particularly charming village is BROADWAY.
STOW-ON-THE-WOLD: This is an unspoiled Cotswold market town…in spite of the busloads of tourists. It’s the happiest town in the Cotswold’s, built on a hill(Wold) about 800 feet above sea level. In its open market square, one can still see the stocks where offenders in the olden days were jeered at and punished by the townspeople who threw rotten eggs in their faces.
BLADON: The birthplace of Winston Churchill. He is buried in Bladon Churchyard near the PALACE OF BLENHEIM.
OXFORD: A walk down the tong sweep of THE HIGH, one of the most interesting streets in England, a mug of cider in a pub, the sound of choristers singing in Latin from Magdalen Tower, the GREAT TOM bell from TOM TOWER, whose 101 rings traditionally signal the closing of the college gates, towers and spires rising majestically, the barges on the THAMES, nude swimming at Parson’s Pleasure, the roar of a cannon launching the bumping races, a tiny, dusty bookstall where you can pick up a rare first edition. All this is OXFORD, only 57 miles from London and home of one of the greatest Universities in the world. There are many well-known buildings here – RADCLIFFE CAMERA, whose dome competes in a city of spires, CHELDONIAN THEATRE, an early work by Wren, and BODLEIAN LIBRARY, one of the most important in the world. But most people come to see the University, which is, in fact, made up of 28 colleges.
CHRIST CHURCH, known as “The House” was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 and has the largest quad of any college here. TOM TOWER houses GREAT TOM, the 18,000 pound bell which rings nightly at 9:05…101 times. The 16th century GREAT HALL has paintings by Gainsborough and Reynolds.
MAGDALEN COLLEGE was founded in 1458…with bell tower where choir sings in Latin. MERTON COLLEGE, founded in 1264, is noted for its library, oldest in England. UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, founded in 1249, is the oldest at Oxford.
NEW COLLEGE was founded in 1379. In the chapel is a fine E1Greco. In the garden, you can see the remains of the old city wall and the mound.
THERE ARE AREAS WHERE VISITORS ARE NOT ALLOWED. PLEASE ABIDE BY RULES ·
BRISTOL: Bristol is the largest city in the West Country, and is only 10 miles from BATH. This historic port is linked to the sea by seven miles of the AVON RIVER. It’s seafaring traditions go back to the colonization of America.
FLOATING HARBOR: The harbor was formed by damming up the Avon River in 1809. Tour boats depart from here.
S.S. GREAT BRITAIN: This 3000 ton vessel is the world’s first iron steamship and luxury liner. The restored “floating palace” is open 10 – 5 PM.
BRISTOL CATHEDRAL: The Cathedral was begun in the 14th century on the site of a previous Norman Abbey. The main tower was added in 1466. The CHAPTER HOUSE and GATEHOUSE are good examples of late Norman architecture.
COBBLED KING STREET: The street is known for its’ THEATRE ROYAL, the smallest English playhouse and the oldest in continuous operation. In addition, there are many old taverns along the docks, including LLANDOGER TROW, which is reputed to have been the model used in “Treasure Island” by Stevenson.
BRUNEL BRIDGE: This landmark…a suspension bridge over the 250 foot deep Avon Gorge at Clifton, was begun in 1831. There are many fine Georgian buildings in the area.
MARY REDCLIFFE: This has been called the “fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England”. It was built in the 14th century and has been carefully restored.
RUNNYMEDE: Located 2 miles outside Windsor is the meadow on the south side of the THAMES, in SURREY, where King John put his seal on the Great Charter… THE MAGNA CARTA. Today, Runnymede is also the site of the John F. Kennedy Memorial.
DARTMOOR: The huge rock formations of this granite mass sometimes soar to a height of 2000 feet. The National Park here is a patchwork quilt of mood changes…purple heather…Dartmoor pony’s…gorges with rushing water.
MORETON HAMPSTEAD: This peaceful little town is perched on the edge of Dartmoor. It contains much that is old, including a market cross and several 17th c. colonnaded almshouses.
PLYMOUTH: The historic seaport of Plymouth was almost totally destroyed in World War II, but has been entirely rebuilt. For the really old sections, one must visit the Elizabethan section known as BARBICAN. Here, walk along the quays where Sir Francis Drake walked…and set sail on his round the world voyage. More famous still is that voyage in 1620 when the Pilgrim Fathers left England for the New World. There is a plaque to commemorate this event. Here you will find the MEMORIAL GATEWAY from where the Pilgrims embarked on the Mayflower. Here too, is the BLACKFRIARS REFECTORY ROOM, dating from 1536, which is Plymouth’s oldest building. In this interesting area are a maze of narrow streets, old houses, and seaside shops. Fishing boats still unload their catch at the wharves. Interesting area!
MICHEL’S MOUNT: Located 3 miles east of PENZANCE, St. Michael’s Mount is reached at low tide by a causeway. It rises 250 feet from the sea and is topped by a partially medieval, partially 17th century castle. At high tide the mount becomes an island. A Benedictine monastery stood on this spot in the 11th century. Today the castle is a museum with a collection of armor and antique furniture…open, weather and tide permitting…Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri. It is only possible to go over when the causeway is dry.
IVES: This north coast fishing village is England’s most famous art colony…lO miles from PENZANCE. It’s a village of narrow streets and well-kept cottages. The artists settled many years ago and have completely integrated with the fishermen. Expect to find many galleries selling the products of the natives (AUGUST IS VERY CROWDED). One stop not to be missed by art lovers is the former home of Barbara Hepworth. It has become a museum of her sculpture from 1929 until her death in 1975. Closed Sunday.
BODMIN MOOR: The Moors of Bodmin contain many interesting formations… mounds of granite blocks…steep rocky tablelands. In addition, there are various Roman ruins scattered about, and the area is prominent in the legend of King Arthur.
CORNWALL: Cornwall is the extreme southwestern part of England, and is often called “the toe”. It is almost an island, encircled by coastline, abounding with rugged cliffs, hidden bays, fishing villages, beaches, sheltered coves, and cottages clinging to the hillside. The people will appear generally darker and shorter than the English. To them the legend of King Arthur was very real…the knights really existed, and lived in TINTAGEL CASTLE. The castle, 300 feet above sea level, is now in ruins. Today, the men, like the Welsh, are great miners (tin and copper), and it’s difficult to tell whether or not they’re “putting you on”.
TINTAGEL: These Norman ruins are popularly known as “King Arthur’s Castle” and stand 300 feet above the sea on a rocky cliff. To climb up, there are 100 rock-cut steps. It is known that the ruins date from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s time and what remains of the castle was built on the foundations of a Celtic monastery from the 6th century.
EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK: As one approaches Exmoor, the rising granite and slate hills are a grand sight. Within the park are numerous resorts for hunting and fishing, along with some early ruins.
LYNTON and LYNMOUTH: These twin resorts lie within Exmoor National Park.
The village of Lynton is 500 feet high, and the valley just west of it offers the most spectacular scenery. Lynmouth is below where the East and West Rivers meet. Well worth a visit.
SOMERSET: Located in the Somerset area are some of nature’s most masterly scenic touches…limestone hills and valleys, with beautiful wildflowers in the spring. Somerset also lies within the heather-clad EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK, and is associated with the King Arthur legend. The area opens onto the BRISTOL CHANNEL, and its’ villages are noted for their tall towers and their parish churches. Of the many Norman castles erected here, the most important is DUNSTER CASTLE, 3 miles from MINEHEAD in the village of DUNSTER. If you are able to visit the area you’ll be rewarded with terraced walks and gardens, which command great views of EXMOOR, the QUANTOCK HILLS, and BRISTOL CHANNEL. Today, Somerset is characterized by a quiet, unspoiled life.
WELLS: Located within the SOMERSET AREA is the village of WELLS. The town is a medieval gem, and was originally a vital link in England long before the arrival of William the Conqueror. It’s Cathedral was a very important religious center, which was eventually toppled by the rival city of BATH. The resulting lack of prestige, has, however paid off handsomely, because much of the old look remains. WELLS CATHEDRAL dates from the 12th century and is a well-preserved example of the early English style. There are over 6 tons of statues here, and the west front of the structure is without peer in England. The landmark central tower was erected in the 14th century. Be sure to 1ook for the medieval ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK with knights in armor jousting. Also walk along the cloisters to the moated BISHOP’S PALACE. The swans in the moat here ring a bell when summoned to eat. Lastly, visit the small street/lane VICARS CLOSE that is one of the most beautifully preserved streets in Europe. Nice Town.
GLASTONBURY: Also located within the SOMERSET area, GLASTONBURY ABBEY was once one of the most prestigious monasteries in England. It’s no more than a ruin today, but claims great historical prominence, linking such figures as Joseph of Arimathea, King Arthur, Guinevere, and St. Patrick. It is said that Joseph arrived here with the Holy Grail in his possession. When he buried this relic on a nearby conical shaped hill, a stream of blood burst forth from the hill. In 1191, monks dug up the skeletons of two bodies said to be those of King Arthur and Guinevere. These remains were transferred to a black marble tomb in the choir in 1278. Both spots are marked with plaques today. The village of GLASTONBURY is one of the oldest inhabited sites in Britain. After the destruction of its’ once great Abbey, the village lost its prestige. The best-preserved building you’ll find is the octagonal ABBOT’S KITCHEN, which dates from the 14th century. Here, whole oxen were roasted to feed the wealthier of the pilgrims. The modern-day pilgrim can visit the ruins of the LADY CHAPEL, linked by an early English “Galilee” to the nave of the Abbey. There’s also the ancient GATEHOUSE entrance to the Abbey, which is now a museum. On High Street is the village’s main museum, containing relics excavated, which reveal Iron Age villages once stood here. Today, Glastonbury is a quiet market town. The “ruins” are excellent.
LIVERPOOL…with its famous waterfront on the MERSEY RIVER is a great shipping port and industrial center. King John launched it on the road to glory when he granted it a charter in 1207. But the musical group “The Beatles” really brought Liverpool international acclaim.
METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE KING…contains more stained glass than any other…25,000 square feet in 300 shades. Consecrated in 1967, this church took only 4 years to build.
CATHDRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST…is the main attraction most visitors head for. Begun in 1903, it was completed 74 years later. Located on a rocky bluff overlooking the Mersey River, this church might possibly be the last Gothic-style to be built on earth, and is the largest in England. It’s vaulting, under the tower, is 175 feet high, the highest in the world. Its length is second to St. Peter’s in Rome.
CAVERN MECCA…located on Mathew Street, this is the Beatles old stomping grounds. The “Mecca” is now the BEATLES MUSEUM, information center, and souvenir shop.
GEORGE HALL…is among Liverpool’s most historic buildings. It was completed in 1854 and has been called “England’s finest public Building”. It contains law courts and a pleasant garden in the rear.
PEAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK…heather-clad moors…fields…stone walls.
STOKE-ON-TRENT…for a visit to the WEDGEWOOD VISITOUR CENTER. See how the entire process is accomplished. The young people who demonstrate are all apprentices. Excellent Museum. Prices same as everywhere else.
BUXTON…an English “spa town”.
CHESTER…is an ancient town, founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. It was a bustling port on the Dee River, but lost this claim when the river gradually silted-up. This writer found Chester to be one of the most interesting towns in England.
FORTIFIED CITY WALLS…two miles remaining at the cities edge.
THE ROWS…are double-decker layers of shops, one tier on the street level and the other stacked on top, connected by a footway. Truly outstanding and extremely photogenic.
CITY CROSS/TOWN CRIER: If you’re near City Cross at noon or 3 PM, listen for the champion Town Crier to call out the news.
CHESTER CATHEDRAL…was founded in 1092 as an Abbey and became a church in 1541. Notable features include the cloisters and the refectory, chapter house and the carvings in the quire.
CHESTERHERITAGE CENTER…housed in the former St. Michael’s Church on
Bridge Street…all related to the preservation and history of Chester.
NORTHUMBERLAND NATIONAL PARK: Because this area lies so close to Scotland, it was the scene of many a skirmish. Today there are a number of fortified castles still around which saw action in those battles.
HADRIAN’S WALL: As the name implies, the Romans originally built this wall as defense against the northern tribes. It extends across the north of England for 73 miles from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. Only the lower parts of the wall are preserved intact. The rest were constructed in the 19th century from the original stones. From several vantage points along the wall, you have great views north and south.
YORK: Few cities in England are as rich in history as York. It is still enclosed by its 13th/14th century city walls, with four gates. One of these gates (MICKLEGATE) once grimly greeted visitors coming up from the south with the heads of traitors. In earlier times, there was a Roman York, a Saxon York, a Danish York, a Norman York, a Medieval York, a Georgian York, and a Victorian York. A surprising amount of 18th century York remains.
YORK MINSTER is one of the great cathedrals of the world…tracing its origins back to the early 7th century. The present building dates mainly from the 13th century. The distinguishing characteristic of this cathedral is its stained glass from the Middle Ages.
A WALKING TOUR: The TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE offers a 1 1/2 hour guided walking tour of the city, revealing its history and lore through numerous intriguing stories…no charge.
THE SHAMBLES: This was once the meat-butchering center of York, dating back to the Norman Conquest. Today, it is an ancient street filled with jewelry stores, cafes, and buildings that huddle so closely together that one can practically stand in the middle and reach out and touch the houses on both sides.
YORK CASTLE MUSEUM on Tower Street, is one of the finest folk museums in the country. Its unique feature is the shop-flanked KIRKGATE, the recreation of a cobbled street, with authentic facades moved to the site
HARROGATE was a fashionable spa in the 19th century. Most of its town center is surrounded by a 200-acre lawn called “THE STRAY”. Boutiques and antique shops, which Queen Mary used to frequent, make Harrogate a shopping center of excellence. It’s called England’s “floral resort”, deserving such a reputation because of its gardens. This is the village that Agatha Christie hid out in during her mysterious disappearance (still unexplained) in the 1920’s.
SHERWOOD FOREST: Drive along the outskirts of the area associated with Robin Hood.
COVENTRY: This city, today, is mainly industrial, but it is famous for the legend of Lady Godiva. It’s the ancient market town she’s supposed to have made her famous “nude ride” through, in protest of high taxes. Also, one should see the controversial, modern COVENTRY CATHEDRAL here, dating from 1962. Other than the old Cathedral ruin, Coventry is very modern.
THE LAKE DISTRICT: Even though it’s only 30 miles across in any direction, there is a special intensity in the beauty of the LAKE DISTRICT…as if nature were offering a unique reward for the squalor of Britain’s Industrial Belt. No part of the country is so universally loved by the Britons…for the purity of its clear mountain lakes, its almost vertical fields filled with grazing sheep, the stone walls that separate the farms, the sharp rock peaks, and the thousands of tiny lakes fed by innumerable waterfalls and streams.
It is incredible that such beauty can take less than one hour to drive thru. This area is strongly associated with major poets…Wordsworth, Coleridge, Ruskin, and De Quincey.
WINDERMERE LAKE: The grandest of the lakes is Windermere, and the largest in England. Its shores wash up against the towns of BOWNESS and WINDERMERE, which are resort towns. From either town one can climb up ORREST HEAD in less than an hour for a panoramic view. The best way to see the area is to take one of the regular cruises that operate between LAKESIDE in the south and BOWNESS/WATERHEAD at the north. There are several islands in Windermere, on which one (belle isle), stands a magnificent 18th century mansion. The western shore of Windermere has all the lure of territory that has been undiscovered.
GRASMERE and GRASMERE LAKE: Located on the lake that bears its name, the village of GRASMERE was the home of Wordsworth from 1799-1808. His home, DOVE COTTAGE is now a museum. Wordsworth is buried in the graveyard of the village church at GRASMERE. GRASMERE LAKE is very complete…with one emerald green island in its center.
GRETNA GREEN…a village where the blacksmith used to wed run-a-way couples. It is also the entry from England to SCOTLAND.