“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England” – wrote the bard in his play King Richard II. It is not only the English who love their land. England – the blessed country with its rich historical past, bustling cities, beautiful countryside and long stretch of coastline is a popular tourist destination attracting visitors from all over the globe. It has nine distinct regions, each with its unique landscape and culture. From ancient Stonehenge to modern London, England has something of interest for every tourist.
The English weather is famous for its unpredictability, as the British island is surrounded by the sea. In general, the English climate may be classified as temperate maritime with warm summers and cool winters, and mild climate overall.
- Summer – June – August (70 °F average),
- Autumn – September – November
- Winter – January and February (51 °F)
- Spring – March – May
- Rainfall – Rainfall varies; Lake District is the wettest region with 130 inches of rain annually, west coast gets 40 inches and east coast gets 20 inches of annual rainfall on an average.
- Sunshine – South coast is sunniest with around 1750 hours of sunshine; mountain areas get less than 1000 hours of sunshine.
- Best time to visit England – There are different attractions throughout the year but generally speaking, April to September is the best time to go.
London – This vibrant capital city gets 30 million international visitors annually. Top destinations in London include Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, British Museum, London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square. For a taste of the English way of life, have the famous ‘afternoon tea’, or a pint and a good time at the local pub. For retail therapy, head to the upscale Harrods or Selfridges. If you love a bargain, the high streets are your happy hunting grounds.
Stonehenge – One of the most intriguing spots to visit, Stonehenge is a pre-historic site near Salisbury. Believed to date back to 3000 BC it has inspired several theories about its purpose ranging from burial to astronomical purposes. Meanwhile the awe-inspiring large stones stand in circular splendour and mysterious silence.
Bath – Reminiscent of Jane Austen novels, this World Heritage City is famous for its Roman baths and Thermae Bath Spa. The haunt of the rich since the 18th century, it still attracts tourists who marvel at the Georgian architecture, the Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and the Pump rooms.
Hampton Court Palace – This imposing royal palace, once the home of Henry VIII, embodies Tudor grandeur at its best. It stands on the Thames in the Middlesex County. Some of the attractions here are the huge Henry VIII kitchens, The Great Hall, the beautiful 60-acre gardens and the world famous Maze.
Brighton – This sea side city has the beach to offer of course, but it also has other must-see spots. They include the Royal Pavilion, the Palace Pier, the Lanes and the West Pier. You can taste fresh seafood here, admire the marine life at Brighton Sealife Centre and shop, eat and have fun at the Brighton Marina. Do not miss the vivacious nightlife here, complete with music and pubs.
Oxford and Cambridge – These beautiful university towns are famous for their colleges, museums and beautiful buildings. Oxford is the oldest university in England and some of the attractions include the Ashmolean Museum, the Oxford Botanic Gardens and the Oxford Castle. Cambridge attractions include the famous university, the Fitzwilliam museum and the Scott Polar Institute. Both places have shopping, attractive restaurants and an active nightlife.
Cornwall – Cornwall is famous for its lovely beaches and ruggedly beautiful coastal scenery. If you want some time away from beaches, visit the world’s largest greenhouse in the Eden Project; visit Tintagel Castle, St Michael’s Mount and wind up your day with local seafood, clotted cream or pasties washed down with your favourite brew.
Cotswolds – This lovely rural area on the Cotswold Hills has rightly been given the official designation of ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Apart from its quaint and scenic villages, tourist attractions include the Forest of Dean, Blenheim Palace, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.
Lake District – This famous region in North West England has been immortalised by the Romantic poets. Located in Cumbria County it is renowned for its beautiful lakes and mountain scenery. Go walking, hiking or mountain climbing, visit Hadrian’s Wall, explore Carlisle Castle or art galleries, take guided tours or relax with drinks and music in the pubs.
Traditionally English cuisine is simple and hearty with wide use of natural produce. Traditional favourites include roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and mashed potatoes. In recent times, however, Indian curries, Chinese, Italian and American fast food are also getting popular. Cheese is popular with Cheddar topping the list. The ritual of the afternoon tea, very dear to the English, is worth a mention. Traditionally sandwiches, scones, muffins, crumpets and a variety of cakes are served along with the tea. Other popular drinks include apple cider, ale, stout, porter beer, punch and grog.
- Area Code: 44 (England); 020 (London)
- Electricity: 240 volts
- Emergency Number: 999
- Time: GMT (EST+5 hours)
- Currency: Pound
Some helpful tips
- The weather can be unpredictable so plan accordingly. Be prepared with rain-proof wear and layered clothes.
- Watch out for pickpockets, do not walk alone in parks at night and do not show off your wallet, jewellery etc.
- Driving is on the left side of the road.
- Bed and Breakfast accommodations are cheap and easily available.
- Politeness is important; use ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’.
Getting there and around…
There are many options to go to England. Heathrow Airport, London is the main airport handling international flights followed by Gatwick Airport. Eurolines, National Express (bus), the Eurostar (train) and Eurotunnel (car) are popular options for land travel. Various ferry operators ply from mainland Europe and Ireland to England.
While in England, car is a good travel option. Alternatively, you can use public transport. Traveline offers great travel solutions by bus, coach, taxi or train.
England is a fascinating holiday destination. It is a complete package where you can shop, dance and eat at its glittering cities or watch a beautiful sunset from a country cottage. Catch the latest music festival or explore ancient castles. Whatever you are looking for on a vacation, England has it all. England is beckoning, are you responding?