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, 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, 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, 22 miles west of London, is the home of
-- 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.
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 à Becket in 1170,
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.
is the most famous prehistoric site in Europe. Located on the
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
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
the Roman Baths,
the elegant Pump Rooms and the Pultney Bridge. In summer, crowds fill the
streets, but you can escape to the idyllic
and row through the town in peace.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Lake District
The most green and pleasant corner of a green and pleasant land, the
landscapes of the
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 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.
There are probably more castles and battlefield sites in
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
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.
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
are quite beautiful.
Cornwall is the most westerly of counties in Great Britain. West of Devon
in southwest England, Cornwall has several quaint seaside villages