Watching the rugby world cup has reminded me of my English roots, and even though I’ve written a couple of blogs on specific areas of the UK, I’ve not written about this amazing country in general. For those that are not aware, I grew up in England, right in the heart of the country near the Stoke-On-Trent (Wedgewood) area, as my parents emigrated to Australia when I was 15 years old.
I consider myself very fortunate, as my parents took me and my siblings away for a mini-break, every Bank Holiday so I can say, hand on heart, that there is virtually nowhere that I have not seen in the length and breadth of England, Scotland and Wales…. just haven’t made it to Ireland yet.
The UK is fantastic- so much to see and do, steeped in history and tradition, sights galore, pub grub, a fashion mecca, spectacular countryside, wide open spaces, sprawling busy cities and again, so much to experience and enjoy. There is something for everyone in this fabulous country.
London is, of course, one of the ‘must see’ areas and I’ve written on this fabulous city previously. Immerse yourself in the famous London sights, and the best way is to jump on a ‘Big Red Bus’ tour so that you can see and take in everything – Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Harrods, Trafalgar Square, St Pauls Cathedral, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, just to name a few.
Devon, Somerset and Cornwall are towards the far left of the country; take in Lands End, Looe, Plymouth, Clovelly, Padstow and Torquay, all beautiful, quaint, seaside towns.
In the centre of England is Shakespeare country (Stratford Upon Avon), Wedgewood area (Stoke on Trent and the Potteries), medieval Chester, Manchester and Liverpool.
To the left of the Midlands is Wales; stunning countryside, historic castles, seaside areas, mountainous scenery and beautiful villages.
And to the far right of the country and London are Cambridge and East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk) which is home to traditional seaside areas, rolling countryside and towns with a real holiday feel.
In the north of England is my personal favourite, York, past home to Dick Turpin the Highwayman, Roman ruins, a beautiful cathedral and the Shambles (cobblestoned streets lined by old fashioned shops and cafes). From the North you can access Lake Windermere and the Lakes District, the Yorkshire Dales and Harrogate.
Keep journeying north and you are then close to the Scottish border – travel through to Gretna Green (where years ago English couples would elope to so that they could get married at a younger age) and then keep journeying through to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, and the Isle of Skye.
Edinburgh is a city like no other, the castle is spectacular and it was great to sample whiskey, listen to the pipers and try haggis whilst enjoying The Royal Mile. If you’re lucky enough to be there for the Military Tattoo, then you will see the city at its best and most majestic.
Throughout the UK, there is accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, the pub and restaurant food is great, and it’s easy to get around by car, train or public transport. Being a fairly small country compared to others, you can cover a lot of ground in a short time and you certainly won’t be disappointed as there is so much to enjoy.
I can honestly say that I have journeyed from John O’Groats (the highest point of Scotland in the far north) to Lands End in the far South of Cornwall! If you’re visiting the UK, don’t just stop in London for a few days, grab a car and explore the country and all the UK has to offer – it’s diverse, interesting, and a great country to journey back in time and experience a varied history, take in so many unique sights and experience a land rich in tradition and culture.