Michael A. Stecker
mastecker@gmail.com

 

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England Home Page
My visit to the United Kingdom was in May, 1987
Other United Kingdom Pages:
Photos of England:
Bath   Blenheim Palace   Cambridge   Canterbury   Castle Howard  Cornwall  
Lake District   London 1
, 2   Northern England   Oxford   Plymouth  
Salisbury   Windsor Castle
 Photos of Scotland:
Edinburgh    lochs

Slide Show
(This is a Windows Executable .exe file requiring the MS Windows operating system to run.  Will not run with Apple/Mac operating system)
England Slide Show
(../ss/england1-exec.exe)
30 MB

British History:
Portraits of British Monarchs 1 and 2
List of British Monarchs (outside link)
History of England (outside link)
Battles in England
(outside link)
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Introduction
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Probably no other country has influenced US history and culture more than England. The country has also been the world leader in science, industry, government, language, literature and the theater for most of the past 500 years. Besides all these cultural achievements, Great Britain is one of the most beautiful and charming countries I have visited.

Statistics
Formal Country name
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
(abbreviation is UK)

Population
approx. 60 million

Area
244,820 sq km (slightly smaller than Oregon)

Elevation extremes
lowest point: Fenland -4 meters
highest point: Ben Nevis, Scotland at 1,343 meters

Ethnic groups
English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%

Religions
Anglican 27 million, Roman Catholic 9 million, Muslim 1 million, Presbyterian 800,000, Methodist 760,000, Sikh 400,000, Hindu 350,000, Jewish 300,000.

Government type
constitutional monarchy

Monarch
Queen Elizabeth II

Prime Minister (2000)
Tony Blair

Capital
London

 

The Country

 


 

England is the largest of the three political divisions within the island of Great Britain. To the north of England is Scotland while Wales is to its west. The border between Scotland and England is defined by the Cheviot Hills. France is no more than 29km (18mi) east of Great Britain across the narrowest part of the English Channel. Much of England is low land, however, in the north there is a range of north-south limestone hills known as the Pennines. To their west are the Cumbrian Mountains and the Lake District. South of the Pennines is the heavily-populated Midlands. In extreme south-west England is a peninsula known as the West country (Devon and Cornwall). It is a plateau with granite outcrops and a rugged coastline. The rest of the country is known as the English Lowlands, a mixture of farmland, low hills, an industrial belt and the massive city of London. Although there aren't many tall trees around, you'll see plenty of lovely wildflowers, gardens and the verdant English countryside. England's national parks cover about 7% of the country and include Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Lake District, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, the New Forest, the Broads and Northumberland.
Because of the moderating sea winds, England's climate is mild and damp. Cloudy weather and light drizzle are common all over England.

Points of Interest
London
London, the capital of Great Britain, is located in southeast England, on both sides of the Thames River. Greater London (1991 pop. 6,378,600, 1,610 sq km), consists of the Corporation of the City of London usually called the City, plus 32 boroughs. The best-known streets of London are Fleet Street, the Strand, Piccadilly, Whitehall, Pall Mall, Downing Street, and Lombard Street. Bond and Regent streets and Covent Garden are noted for their shops. Buckingham Palace is the royal family's London residence. Municipal parks include Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park (which houses the London Zoo), and St. James's and Green parks. Museums include the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, and the Wallace Collection. A hundred theater companies reflect the importance of drama, and it has several world-class orchestras, a well-known opera house, performance halls, and clubs. A working replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre opened in 1997. The Univ. of London is the largest in Great Britain, and there are other universities and colleges in the city.

Attractions in London:
1. The Tower of London, an ancient fortress in London, is just east of the City and on the north bank of the Thames. It is now used mainly as a museum and houses the Crown Jewels. In the past it was a royal residence in the Middle Ages and later a jail for illustrious prisoners.
2.
Westminster Abbey is one of England's most important Gothic structures and is also a national shrine. Nearly every English king and queen since William I has been crowned in Westminster, and it is the burial place of 18 monarchs. England's most notable statesmen and distinguished subjects have been given burial in the Abbey since the 14th century.

3.
Parliment and Big Ben
4.
Tower Bridge
5.
Buckingham Palace

Greenwich
Greenwich, England is in the borough of Greater London on the southern bank of the Thames River. Among the landmarks of Greenwich is the Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and the Greenwich Observatory . Greenwich is famous as the site of the prime meridian, or 0 longitude, which passes through the observatory.

Windsor
Windsor, 22 miles west of London, is the home of
Windsor Castle -- the world's largest inhabited castle. William the Conqueror had the castle built in 1070 and since then almost every succeeding monarch has made some alterations. The castle is set in thirteen acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. Its interiors and art treasures are some of the finest to be found anywhere in the world.

Canterbury
The most impressive and evocative, if not the most beautiful, cathedral in England is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of All England. Like most cathedrals, it evolved in stages and reflects a number of architectural styles, but the final result is one of the world's great buildings. The ghosts of saints, soldiers and pilgrims fill the hallowed air. After the martyrdom of
Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, Canterbury Cathedral became the center of one of the most important medieval pilgrimages in Europe, a pilgrimage that was immortalized by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales.

Stonehenge
Five-thousand-year-old
Stonehenge is the most famous prehistoric site in Europe. Located on the Salisbury Plain, it consists of a ring of enormous stones topped by lintels, an inner horseshoe, an outer circle and a ditch. Although aligned to the movements of the celestial bodies, little is known about the site's purpose. What impresses most visitors, is not the site's religious significance but the tenacity of the people who brought some of the stones all the way from South Wales.

Bath
Famous for its Roman Baths and its elegant, honey-coloured Georgian architecture, Bath is both a World Heritage Site and a tourist mecca. Bath was the haunt of English fashionable society in the 18th century, but the frivolous aristocrats who flocked here to gamble, gossip and flirt also brought brilliant architects who designed the Palladian terraced housing, the circles, crescents and squares which dominate the city. Attractions include the Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, the elegant Pump Rooms and the Pultney Bridge. In summer, crowds fill the streets, but you can escape to the idyllic River Avon and row through the town in peace.

The Cotswolds
This limestone escarpment, 18 miles north-east of Bristol, overlooking the Severn Vale, is an upland region of stunningly pretty, gilded stone villages and remarkable views. Renowned villages include Bibury (claimed to be the most beautiful village in England); the chocolate-box town of Bourton-on-the-Water; and Chipping Camden. The best way to explore the Cotswolds is to walk; the 100-mile Cotswold Way is a gem of a hike, full of history and interesting terrain.

Oxford
Oxford is graced by superb college architecture. The views across the meadows to the city's golden spires are guaranteed to appear in three out of 10 English period dramas, but they manage to remain one of the most beautiful and inspiring of sights. The pick of the colleges are Christ Church, Merton and Magdalen, but nearly all the colleges are drenched in atmosphere, history, privilege and tradition.

Cambridge
The
University of Cambridge is the premier University in England (and probably the best in the world). It is situated along the Cam River in the lush british countryside. A highlight of the campus is King's College Chapel, a late 15th-century building, famed for the beauty of its architecture as well as for its choral music. Just outside the chapel area are statues of famous Cambridge alumni and faculty including Sir Issac Newton.

York
For nearly 2000 years York has been the capital of the north, and played a central role in British history under the Romans, Saxons and Vikings. Its spectacular Gothic cathedral, medieval city walls, and historic streets it a great city for walking.
York Minster is the largest cathedral in Europe, and right up there with the world's great buildings. The city's Museum Gardens are amongst the most beautiful in Britain and include a number of picturesque ruins and buildings. About 15 miles north of York is the magnificent
Castle Howard
.

The Lake District
The most green and pleasant corner of a green and pleasant land, the landscapes of the
Lake District are almost too perfect for their own good. The area is a combination of luxuriant green dales, modest but precipitous mountains and many lakes. Each of the lakes has its own distinct character: wisdom holds that Ullswater, Grasmere and Windermere are the prettiest. This area was also the home to some of the greatest of English poets.

Durham
Durham is the most dramatic cathedral city in Britain. It straddles a bluff surrounded on three sides by the River Wear and is dominated by the massive Norman. The cathedral may not be the most refined in the land, but no other British cathedral has the same impact. The cathedral shares the dramatic top of the bluff with a Norman castle and the University College, while the rest of the picturesque `city' (population 38,000) huddles into the remaining space on the teardrop-shaped promontory.

Northern England
There are probably more castles and battlefield sites in
Northumberland than anywhere else in the country, testifying to the long and bloody struggle with the Scots. The most interesting and well-known relic is Hadrian's Wall. The Northumberland National Park has a windswept grandeur that is distinctly un-English in character. The grassy Cheviot Hills part of the park, are a lonely, beautiful and challenging hiking area that forms the border betwen England and Scotland. It is especially meaningful to me because Cheviot Hills is the region of Los Angeles where I live.

Plymouth
This city is an impotant port and naval base in southwestrn England (Devon). It was a site of embarcation for exploration and conquest by the British and the origin of important voyages by Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Mayflower (1620). The gardens at
Plymouth Hoe are quite beautiful.

Cornwall
Cornwall is the most westerly of counties in Great Britain. West of Devon in southwest England, Cornwall has several quaint seaside villages
like
St. Ives, Penzance and Lands End .