United Kingdom: Travel Information
England and Scotland
England, for a small area of land, is packed with so much variety that it takes time to discover the amazing and varied attractions the country has to offer. England can generally be divided into three regions, the South, the Midlands and the North each with its own characteristics and with deep historical and linguistic roots. These can be further divided into counties most of which also have long histories.
England is probably best known for its ‘Royal” aspects which express themselves physically through the palaces and other residences of the royal family. This aspect is one of the biggest attraction for visitors. However, other very “English “ images come to mind such as idyllic villages, wild moorland, castles, country houses, cathedral spires, the ubiquitous inn or pub and crashing waves against imposing cliffs. Then there is the ‘Englishness” of the people (a vast subject on its own). All of the above is definitely to be found. However, because the World comes to England and especially London, this has left its mark on the overall culture, cuisine and the citizens to add to the flavor of the country.
London, the capital city of both England and the United Kingdom, is a global capital of finance, fashion, entertainment and culture. You will find the rest of England to be very different so bear in mind, if you only visit London, you haven’t “seen England”. However, because distances are short, you can easily visit a number of iconic places such as Windsor, Oxford and Cambridge, Brighton and Stratford upon Avon plus many others.
In London, the list of attractions is unending. There is Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and the many beautiful and serene parks all centrally located. One can attend concerts and performances at the many theatres and music venues. The list of amazing museums and art galleries is endless. Then there is dining at your choice of restaurant, having a drink at a pub dating back hundreds of years and so much more.
Outside of London, travelling northward is the Midlands. Perhaps, the name does not conjure up the charm of other regions in England but almost every metropolitan area has something historical or cultural to offer. An example of this is Georgian Stamford of which the author, George Elliot waxed lyrically.
The North has its own distinct character, be it the people or the countryside. Industrial cities live side by side with the wildest and some o0f the most provocative countryside imaginable. Three areas that epitomize this are the Lake District with its pastoral charm, the Yorkshire Dales, home of the Bronte sisters and the North Yorkshire Moors, home of the renowned James Herriot stories.
Other significant places to include on your list are Devon and Cornwall with their rustic charm and beautiful coastlines and the nearby untamed National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor , the Cotswold’s, possibly representing the very essence of the English countryside, the many cathedral cities which include Canterbury, York, Salisbury, Lincoln, Gloucester, Ely, Winchester etc., the Spa towns such as Bath and Harrogate and the multitude of beach resorts which are dotted around the lengthy attractive coastline of England.
On the food front, traditional English dishes still exist such as bread and cheese (ploughman’s lunch), roasts, game pies and both fresh and seawater fish. Other meals, such as fish and chips, which were once urban street food eaten from newspaper with salt and malt vinegar, and pies and sausages with mashed potatoes, onions, and gravy, are now matched in popularity by curries from the Indian subcontinent, and stir-fries based on Chinese and Thai cuisines. French cuisine and Italian cuisine are also now widely adopted.
Whatever your interests, England will offer it to you. These could include energetic pastimes such as hiking or walking to cultural pursuits such as the theatre, museums, art galleries and historical sites. Indeed a great variety of reasons to travel to England.
Scotland, a part of the United Kingdom, occupies the northern third of Great Britain and shares a border with England. It can be divided into mainland Scotland and the Scottish Isles which number some 800 small islands, the best known being the Isles of Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides (inner and outer), Arran and Skye. Scotland is made up of majestic mountains, rolling lush glens, dramatic coastlines, picturesque lochs (lakes) and rivers. The scenery has a reputation for being among the most spectacular in the World. The highest point in the UK is in fact, Ben Nevis at 1344 metres/4370 feet.
English is the main language spoken in Scotland with a wide range of different accents and dialects spoken across the country. The ancient Celtic language of Gaelic is still spoken.
Scottish wildlife is abundant including red deer, pine marten, otters and a host of birds of prey as well as sea mammals, such as dolphins, porpoises and whales. A wonderful sight is that of leaping salmon on Scotland’s many fish-rich rivers. Scotland is home to some 500,000 deer and 1,000 golden eagles.
It is also excellent for walking or hiking from lakeside strolls to long-distance waymarked routes such as the West Highland Way and the Southern Upland Way as well as high-level mountain hikes for the more adventurous. Scotland is renowned for outdoors adventure pursuits such as white-water rafting on fast-flowing rivers, gorge walking, canoeing or sea kayaking. In winter, there are five excellent ski centres.
Scotland is recognized worldwide as the home of golf with International standard courses such as St. Andrews, Gleneagles and Troon. Fishing is also a sought after pastime here.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest city in the UK. In recent years, Glasgow has been awarded the European title of City of Culture. The city has transformed itself from being the once mighty powerhouse of industrial Britain to a centre for commerce, tourism, and culture. Glasgow was the host city for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. It has a revitalized city centre, the best shopping outside London, excellent parks and affords easy access to the Highlands and Islands. The centre of Glasgow has a fine legacy of Victorian and Edwardian buildings.
Edinburgh is rich in associations with the past and has many historical buildings including Edinburgh Castle, built high on a rocky hill overlooking the city and Holyrood Palace. Its Old Town and New Town are jointly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also home to the annual world famous Edinburgh Festival of the Arts.
The Highlands of Scotland contain some stunning scenery including mountains, lakes and rugged coastline. Some of the best known destinations are Loch Ness (of monster fame), beautiful Loch Lomond and the majestic Cairngorm Mountains and National Park.
United Kingdom Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to United Kingdom.
Learn about the history and culture of United Kingdom, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about United Kingdom's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering United Kingdom for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our United Kingdom tours today!
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