Britannia’s four nations
The United Kingdom is made up of England (by far the largest country), Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is a UK Parliament in Westminster in London, but more and more power is being devolved to the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Without doubt, London is the major attraction, with tourists flocking to see Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and St Paul’s Cathedral. In England’s southeast, you can stroll amongst the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford or visit Canterbury Cathedral. In the West Country, you can visit the stone circle at Stonehenge or travel to Land’s End. The rest of the country has multifarious attractions, including Shakespeare Country at Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Peak District and fine historic cities such as York and Durham. In brief, Scotland has Edinburgh and the Highlands; Wales has Cardiff and mountainous Snowdonia; Northern Ireland has Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.
The UK offers you the traditional Anglo-Saxon culture of England blended with the entirely different cultures of the ‘Celtic Fringe’, and of the Afro-Caribbean and South Asian communities. Britain oozes history, to be witnessed at various dramatic locations; it also boasts some beautiful landscapes, to be explored at your leisure.
When to Go?
In many parts of the UK, it is possible to experience all four seasons in one day. In general, May to August is the warmest period. London's famous the Chelsea Flower Show is in May; the Trooping of The Colour is in June, as is the Wimbledon tennis tournament. August is the time to experience The Edinburgh Festival, the world’s biggest Fringe festival; or alternatively visit Liverpool for the International Beatles Week. A cornucopia of other annual events awaits you!
How to get there?
The capital of the UK - London has five airports: London Gatwick (LGW); London Heathrow (LHR); London Luton (LTN); London Stansted (STN) and London City (LCY). In northern England, the Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) fly into Manchester (MAN). In Wales, Cardiff Airport (CWL) serves the UK, Europe, and the USA. In Scotland, Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and, in Northern Ireland, Belfast International (BFS).
Watch a show in one of London’s West End theatres, thought to be the best in the world. Go for a gentle punt along the River Cam near Cambridge. Celebrate Hogmanay (the New Year) in Edinburgh or Glasgow, or indeed anywhere in Scotland! Tour the stately homes and gardens across the country. Go cruising on Lake Windermere in the famous Lake District. For a quintessentially British experience, take afternoon tea in the grounds of a country house, or go to the football on a Saturday afternoon and join in the pub post mortem over a pint and a pie! Tour the Hebrides Islands, attend a Highland Games or just go on a good old British pub-crawl!