The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly called the United Kingdom or UK) is located in the British Isles off the northwest coast of Europe. The UK has the fifth largest economy in the world and attracts tourists year round. There are four constituent parts, or home nations, to the United Kingdom: *England *Scotland *Northern Ireland *Wales
Cultural Facts about the United Kingdom
The UK became the dominant maritime and industrial power of the 19th century, and contributed tremendously to the development of Western ideas concerning capitalism, democracy, property, literature and science. Many of the world's top universities are located in Great Britain. The English language is known as the "global language" and has spread to nations around the world.
Touring the United Kingdom
The UK offers some of the world's most popular vacation destinations, from historic cities to tranquil ocean views. There are lovely country houses, majestic castles, unique structures and ancient monuments. The reasons so many folks choose the United Kingdom, particularly Great Britain, as their destination are endless!
Castles and Palaces in the United Kingdom
There are many delightful castles in the UK where tourists can take a walk through history and learn about royal families of the past. Tourists can also visit many stately homes. There are hundreds of these in Great Britain that are open to the public. One popular castle is Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. The entrance of the castle is gorgeous and has a dome overhead. The lovely park around the castle makes a visit worthwhile. The Scottish Edinburgh Castle sits on a hill high above the remainder of the city Edinburgh, and offers a view of where some of the bloodiest events of Scottish history took place. The Windsor Castle is known to be the largest inhabited stronghold in the world, and it is also the largest castle in England. Although the castle was severely damaged by a fire in 1992, it has been restored. For garden lovers, the Hever Castle and Gardens in Kent offers an enchanting landscape with a surrounding moat and a drawbridge for protection. Also in Kent is Penshurst Place, a gorgeous country mansion that was once the home of Sir Philip Sydney, an Elizabethan poet of the 1500s. The baroque Blenheim Palace in Woodstock offers visitors a peek at the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchhill.
Charming Gardens in the United Kingdom
The UK is known for its talented gardeners from the past, who each left behind a legacy that is carried on today. At almost every popular tourist attraction, there's a garden to greet the visitor. Botanical gardens are frequent in the United Kingdom, so you can enjoy nature's beauty almost anywhere you go! Below are some of the most popular botanical gardens. Anything from exotic to common flowers and shrubs can be found in the 300-acre Royal Botanic (Kew) Gardens near London. These gardens contain the largest herbarium on earth. The Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent has an unusual landscape and attracts many tourists during fall, when colors are vibrant. Stourhead is the most well-known garden in England, and is often called the birthplace of English landscape gardening. It's located near Shaftesbury, on the outskirts of the Greater London area. The garden appeals to tourists with its flowering shrubs, trees and even bridges and temples, which add tremendously to the scenery.
United Kingdom's Museums
Visitors to the UK are able to learn about culture and history by touring one of the country's many museums, with the most popular being in London. The British Museum in London houses the famous Rosetta stone and the Elgin marbles. It's one of the world's greatest museums. The National Gallery in London offers a dazzling collection of Western art, and represents many famous artists, from da Vinci to Picasso! The gallery houses an abundance of Renaissance art pieces. Art lovers can get their fill here while in London. Another great art museum in London is Tate Britain, where some 10,000 works are displayed.
Stonehenge, England is a very popular attraction that bewilders many visitors with legends and mystical theories dating back to the Dark Ages. It's located near Amesbury in Wiltshire, just 90 miles from London. When in Scotland Tourists who will be visiting Scotland in late fall will find the Scottish Highland Games to be very entertaining! From the Tugs of War and pipers and drummers to the sheep dog demonstrations, these games appeal to adults and children alike. It's a great way to spend a family vacation.
More Fun Things to Do in the United Kingdom
Many tourists enjoy cruising on Lake Windermere, the most famous lake in England. Taking a relaxing drive through the Cotswolds is another way to spend the day. There are rolling hills and lovely stone cottages for a great view, and the area is less than 100 miles west of London. Tourists also enjoy great shopping, play theaters and fine dining. The UK offers interesting places and fun activities to both families and individuals.
Explore the United Kingdom on a Hiking Adventure
With all the hustle and bustle, glitz and dazzle of the United Kingdom, you might be wondering when you'll find time for a great hike. Don't worry, there are many delightful hiking opportunities right around the corner from many of the major tourist areas. Whether your goal is to get some exercise and stay fit during your trip to the UK or just enjoy the outdoors a bit, you can escape to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds or the crashing waves of the Outer Hebrides.
Hiking is Different for Every Region
You'll find breathtaking mountains to the north in the Lake District and in the Pennines. Also, magnificent mountain scenery awaits in the remote regions of Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland. If you're up for a challenging hike, the Peak District offers strenuous climbs to give you a real workout. For a less challenging hike, you might want to try the Shropshire Hills or the Chilterns. There are thousands of miles of English countryside if you're just starting out with hiking. Visit the eastern portions of England where the land flattens to enjoy riverside strolls, see pretty skylines and visit unique villages. For hiking near the city, go south where you can stay in or near London, but still find a peaceful walk on the outskirts. Hiking in the southwest reveals Medieval castles, the beautiful coastlines of Cornwall and Devon, and also the gentler side of the Cotswolds.
Hike from Cocking
A great hike near London begins in the village of Cocking, which is situated at the foot of the South Downs Way. The trail will lead you through the lovely countryside. The stretch from Cocking to the stately home of Uppark passes by ancient Neolithic burial mounds, herds of sheep, deer and forests. This hike is a wonderful way to relax after a busy tour of London.
Hiking at the Lake District National Park
You'll have many hiking options at the Lake District National Park, where high mountains and secluded valleys meet to form an inviting landscape. This is the largest English national park that was established in 1951. There are villages, towns, lakes, dales, fells, beaches and tide pools within the park, giving every visitor a multitude of things to see and do. The park offers challenging hikes as well as relaxing walks, and soothing waterfalls will also greet you occasionally.
A Hike in Wales and Scotland
In North Wales, Snowdonia has the highest mountains in Great Britain and Wales, and offers a great challenge for hikers. Scotland, a region known as "Highlands and Islands", has many dark forests, remote islands, romantic castles and stunning coastlines. Some favorite areas for hikers in Scotland are the Cuillin range in Skye, the Fort William area and the Cairngorms. The United Kingdom is a great place to hike no matter what your experience level. You can take a challenge on the high hills or enjoy a relaxing stroll in the park. Either way, you'll fall in love with the alluring countryside and rolling hills of the UK!
You can find international cell phones and service for the U.K. for your trip from http://www.planetomni.com. Free incoming calls from all countries night and day and calling the states is just US $.08 per minute! They rent and sell phones and satellite phones as well.