London is one of the premier cities in the world
London's influence on global affairs, especially as the capital of the former British Empire, and through its hugely important financial markets and international banking, make it one of the world's premier cities.
As a tourist destination, it is also of mega importance. Indeed, many would regard London as the cross-roads of the world. This is particularly true of Heathrow Airport, which probably handles more international flights than any other airport in the world.
London has a great deal to offer the tourist. It has world-famous historical land-marks like the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London and Buckingham Palace; fascinating museums like the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert; attractions like the London Eye and Madame Tussauds; art galleries like the Tate, Tate Modern and National Gallery; great shopping in Regents Street, Oxford Street and Kensington and, of course, the world-famous West End theatre-land, which offers a terrific variety of musicals, serious drama and light-hearted comedies!!
A boat-trip down the River Thames is one very good way of seeing many major land-marks, whilst avoiding the traffic.
Apart from London, England has many other important large cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol. Each has its own character, attractions and interest for the visitor.
Then, of course, there are wonderful historical cities
Chester, York, Oxford and Canterbury. The architecture in such places is really worth seeing. Much of it dates back over two thousand years, almost 500 years before the English [Anglo-Saxons] arrived in Britain from northern Germany. The people of what is now England, 2000 years ago, were the Welsh. They were known as British or Britons. The Early Welsh language they spoke was called British or Brittonic.
Britain was under Roman rule for about four hundred years, so a great many of the Welsh of England during that time became citizens of Rome. After the Romans left Britain in AD 410, the English started arriving on our shores. They called the British, " Wealas", the Germanic term for "Romanised foreigners", hence "Wales" and "Welsh". As the Anglo-Saxons gradually progressed westwards, Welsh enclaves in England were called "Weal tun", now Walton, meaning "town of the Welsh". Similarly, Wallasey means "island of the Welsh" and Cornwall is "the Welsh of the corn". Corn, here, being "horn" or peninsula. The ancient language of Cornwall, known as Cornish is, like Welsh, a P-Celtic language and derives from British. Cornish died out in the 19th Century as a spoken language, but it has been revived over recent years by Cornish enthusiasts, aware of their ancient heritage.
Many of the place-names of England derive from old Welsh words that pre-date the arrival of the Romans by centuries. For example, Dover comes from "Dyfr", the Welsh for "water"; Malvern was Moel fryn, meaning "bare hill"; Morecambe derives from "mor cam" or "curved sea"; Avon was "afon", Welsh for "river".
These terms are often called "Celtic" by the English, especially. However, that word was unknown in Britain until the turn of the 18th century when it was first coined by the great Welsh scholar Edward Llwyd, who derived it from the Greek "Keltoi", the Greeks' name for the Celtic tribes of Europe. [Note the initial K sound, or hard C. The pronunciation of Glasgow Celtic football team as "Seltic" is historically incorrect.] The Romans knew these Celts as "Gauls", which is why Wales is "Pays de Galles" to the French today.
Ancient monuments, like the stone circle at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, may even pre-date the arrival of Welsh/Celtic people in England. It is not known for certain when the speakers of proto-Welsh or P-Celtic, as Edward Llwyd termed it, arrived from mainland Europe. At the very latest, it was 600 BC.
The other branch of Celtic, known as Q-Celtic, is Gaelic, the language of Ireland. This was taken from Ireland to Argyll in Scotland by invading Scots after the Romans departed. In Roman times, early Welsh/British was the language of most of Scotland as well as England. Hadrian's Wall split Welsh speaker from Welsh speaker. The Picts of north east Scotland also spoke a Celtic language related to P-Celtic. However, they were too far north to come under Roman influence. The Welsh language borrowed several Latin words during Roman times.
To return south and to the present day, England has a huge variety of wonderful green land-scapes. The Cotswolds, Malverns, Chilterns and Quantocks are beautiful hill areas with fine houses and lovely scenery.
Cotswold stone, in particular, is very pleasing to the eye. Country towns like Stow-on-the-Wold, in the Cotswolds, are very attractive and immensely popular with tourists. Not too far away is Stratford-upon-Avon, the birth-place of William Shakespeare. Who, in world history, is more famous than the Bard of Avon?
In the North of England, the more rugged Pennines form its spine, with the truly beautiful Lake District in Cumbria, near the Scottish border.
The Lake District, home of the poet William Wordsworth, was England's first National Park. Others with rugged land-scapes can be found in Dartmoor, Exmoor in Devon and the Peak District of Derbyshire.
East Anglia has a great deal of flat, low-lying country-side, drained by wide channels known as the Norfolk Broads. Boating on the Broads is immensely popular amongst those seeking tranquility.
In addition to all of this beautiful country-side, England has a wonderful, varied coast-line, with dozens of popular sea-side resorts, fishing villages and sea-ports to suit every taste.
The pretty, often quaint, coastal villages of Devon and Cornwall are extremely popular with the British, as are larger tourist resorts like Bournemouth, Newquay, Paignton, Torquay, Brighton, Eastbourne, Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Scarborough and Southend.
A day-trip to the sea-side is still a great British tradition, even though longer holidays are often spent abroad. The "Week-end break" is now becoming immensely popular, as more and more seek to get away for a few days.
We offer a huge choice of British hotel accommodation in cities, country towns and at sea-side resorts on visit-the -world.
One of the most attractive features, or even icons, of England is the centuries-old country pub, with heavy oak beams and shining brass ornaments, especially if it is located near a picture post-card village with a lot of thatched roofed cottages. Such villages are real tourist honey-pots.
What is nicer than an afternoon tea accompanied by scones with jam and cream in little village tea-rooms, followed by a visit to an olde worlde country pub for a pint of real ale afterwards? It makes for an uniquely British day-out!
England also has some wonderful castles to visit. Windsor and Warwick are amongst the most famous, but there are several others. However, the country with more castles per square mile than any other in the world is our next port-of-call .......Wales!
Wales, known as Cymru in the Welsh language, is 8015 square miles in area - exactly the same size to the square mile as present-day Israel! It has a population of only 3 million, so most of it is far less densely populated than England. The bulk of the population live in South Wales, from Newport, Gwent in the east to Llanelli, Carmarthenshire in the west.
Ten miles to the west of Newport is the Welsh capital, Cardiff, a city of around 300,000 population. Its civic buildings, at Cathays Park, are amongst the finest in the UK. Adjacent to these Portland Stone buildings, which include the National Museum of Wales, stands Cardiff Castle. Some of it dates back to Roman and Norman times, but it was largely rebuilt by the Marquis of Bute in the 19th Century. Two hundred yards across the road from the castle stands another Welsh architectural icon, the famed Millennium Stadium, where several recent F.A Cup finals have been held.
It was at this magnificent stadium, on March 19th 2005, that the Welsh national rugby team beat Ireland to clinch the Six Nations Grand Slam for the first time ever. The last Welsh Grand Slam, in 1978, involved Five Nations.
There can be no sporting ground in the world with a finer location than Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. It is smack in the middle of the city, with umpteen pubs, bars, hotels, cafes and restaurants all around it. Even the main shopping streets are only a stone's throw away! What more could one ask for on a sporting week-end? Cardiff, on rugby international day, takes on a carnival atmosphere, particularly if Wales are winning! On the western fringe of Cardiff is the Welsh Folf Museum at St Fagan's. All aspects of Welsh history and culture are captured here with whole historic buildings having been brought in from all over Wales and rebuilt at St Fagan's. A great day out!
In recent years, there has been a huge improvement to the Docks area of Cardiff, with the development of the Cardiff Bay barrage to form a fresh-water lake. All around Cardiff Bay, new hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions have opened and blocks of expensive flats have sprung up as the area has boomed and shaken off its down-market past.
West of Cardiff is the lovely Vale of Glamorgan with its rolling fields, opulent houses and lime-stone built villages. North of the Vale and the M4 are the famed "Valleys" of Wales.
This is the area of the South Wales coal-field, consisting of more than eighteen river valleys, running roughly north-south, crammed with towns and villages, with row upon row of stone-built terraced housing. Nearly all the coal-mines have been closed for several years now and the old spoil-heaps have become green again. Parts of the Valleys have regained their pre-Industrial Revolution look and offer lovely natural scenery. Big Pit Mining Museum is worth a visit to sample the area's coal-mining past.
Just to the north of the Valleys are the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, an area of outstanding scenic beauty. Indeed, the whole of Powys is a wonderful region of neat green fields, rolling hills and small country towns and villages. This large county stretches for over 60 miles along the Welsh border.
About 40 miles to the west of Cardiff lies Swansea, the second city of Wales and the birth-place of the world-famous poet, Dylan Thomas.
The city stretches in a curve around Swansea Bay; the western end culminating in the little sea-side resort village of Mumbles. Just to the west lies the wonderful Gower Peninsula, with its magnificent beaches and rocky coast-line. This was the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB] in Britain. A visit to Gower will amply explain why.
Travelling even further west, the visitor enters the rolling, very green, county of Carmarthenshire; Sir Gar, in Welsh, the main dairy-farming area in Wales.
This county, known as the Garden of Wales, is home to the Great Glasshouse, which houses the National Botanic Garden of Wales. This is well worth a visit! The county town, Carmarthen, is a wonderful shopping centre. It attracts shoppers from all over West Wales. The Romans were here. They mined gold at Dolaucothi in North Carmarthenshire. They called Carmarthen, Maridunum, "the fort by the sea". However ships can no longer get this far inland, due to the silting of the Towy estuary.
The seven mile long sandy beach, known as Pendine Sands, can also be found in south Carmarthenshire. Cars once attempted the world land-speed record on this beach!
In north Carmarthenshire, one finds the wild Cambrian Mountains, stretching for miles north into the neighbouring counties of Ceredigion and Powys. This great wilderness, once the last refuge of the Red Kite in Britain [there are still hundreds of kites here] is known as the "Great Desert of Wales" due to its emptiness.
Unbelievably, there are people who want to erect over 220 wind turbines 400 feet in height across this wonderful natural ,wild area. They can have no love for Wales and its beauty! The turbines would be visible from a sixty mile radius. This wanton desecration must not be allowed to happen!! There are also beautiful lakes ,like Llyn Brianne and the Elan Valley lakes in the Cambrian Mountains.
The western-most county of Wales is Pembrokeshire, one of the main holiday areas of the UK, not just of Wales. Picture-postcard Tenby, with its pastel-coloured buildings surrounding the harbour, is one of the most attractive beach resorts in Britain. Its two beaches are magnificent. The neighbouring coastal resort of Saundersfoot is also immensely popular with its fine beach.
This county also has St Davids, officially a city, but little bigger than a large village in truth. It houses the magnificent cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of Wales. St Davids sits on the most western promontory in Pembrokeshire, with the sea on three sides. Ramsey Island lies just off-shore.
The whole of the Pembrokeshire coast has been designated a National Park due to its attractive rugged, indented nature.
At Pembroke one finds one of the most impressive Norman castles in Britain. It is remarkably whole. It was here that Henry Tudor was born.
Much later, in 1485, he marched from Milford Haven, gathering a Welsh army en route through Wales, all the way to Bosworth Field in Leicestershire and took the English crown, in battle, from Richard 3rd and thence became Henry 7th of England and established the Tudor dynasty.
To the north of Pembrokeshire, is the equally scenic, but less crowded in summer, county of Ceredigion, formerly known as Cardiganshire, with its wonderful little beaches and similarly rugged coast-line.
At the southern end of the county, overlooking the River Teifi, is the old market town of Cardigan. Its ancient castle witnessed the first ever Eisteddfod, a competitive festival of Welsh music and poetry, in 1176.
Eisteddfodau are held in village halls and marquees throughout Welsh - speaking parts of Wales. A week-long National Eisteddfod is a peripatetic event held alternatively in North and South Wales in the first week of August.
Ceredigion follows the sweep of Cardigan Bay, as one heads north, with little coastal gems such as Gwbert, Mwnt, Aberporth, Tresaith and Llangrannog offering the visitor delightful beaches in rocky enclaves.
At Gwbert 's Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park [see www.cardiganisland.com], you can invariably view Atlantic Grey Seals, in the wild, at close quarters. At low tide, in summer, they frequently bask on the exposed rocks. Cardigan Bay's Bottle Nosed Dolphins also make frequent appearances here, as they hunt Atlantic salmon and sewin [sea-trout]. Rare choughs can often be seen searching for grubs in the short cliff-top turf. It is a fantastic place to view wild-life.
A little further north, New Quay is a popular harbour and beach resort and Aberaeron, with its pastel coloured houses designed by John Nash is a very attractive small coastal town.
The university town of Aberystwyth, with its long promenade and pier, is the largest town in Ceredigion and a busy shopping centre for Mid Wales. The important National Library of Wales is also located here.
North of Ceredigion, the terrain gets distinctly more mountainous and the road increasingly more winding and tortuous.
The impressive mountain, Cader Idris, appears as a massive rampart blocking the route as one heads for North Wales.
The scenery here, in the Snowdonia National Park, is outstanding. It is the most mountainous area in the whole of England and Wales and is an extremely popular tourism area, especially in summer.
Places like Llanberis, Betws y Coed and Dolgellau get packed out with tourists. The impressive castle at Harlech stands defiantly on a hill overlooking the sea. There are other, even more impressive, castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, especially. It was here that the Normans had their biggest struggle in conquering Wales, as the Welsh defied them from their mountain lairs.
The Italianate village at Portmeirion, designed by Clough Williams-Ellis is well worth visiting for its unusual ornate architecture.
The Lleyn peninsula is a beautiful headland pointing towards Ireland, with wonderful coastal villages like Abersoch and Aberdaron. Pwllheli and Porthmadog are very busy, popular coastal towns throughout the Spring and Summer.
On the north coast, Llandudno has fine architecture and a great choice of hotels over-looking a long sweeping promenade. Colwyn Bay is also a very nice, pleasant resort.
The coastal villages of the isle of Anglesey, across the Menai Straits, are also very popular. They throng with summer visitors, often from Lancashire and other parts of North West England.
Further east, the Vale of Clwyd is very attractive, as is the wonderful Ceiriog valley. At Llangollen, there is a fantastic International Eisteddfod every summer, attracting choirs and very colourful traditional dancers, from all corners of the world. It is a joyous festival! If every place was like Llangollen, there would be no more wars!!
Scotland is the third UK country. It has a population of around 5 million and an area of about 30,000 square miles. It has fantastically varied scenery. There are wonderful hill views in the Scottish Border region as one drives along the scenic A7 from Carlisle to the capital Edinburgh, through market towns like Hawick and Galashiels.
Edinburgh itself has to be one of the finest cities, architecturally, in Europe. The solid stone buildings look impressively well-designed. To walk the Royal Mile from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle, at the top of the hill, along a street of well-worn cobble stones, is to feel that one is walking along one of the very oldest streets in the country.
The view over Edinburgh, from the castle, is stupendous! The architecture reflects the great period of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th Century, when Scotland led the world in so many fields of learning and invention. No other small nation has ever matched the contribution that Scotland made to the world during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century.
Edinburgh's main street, Prince's Street, is regarded as one of the finest city streets in the world. Edinburgh Castle looks down on it from its lofty ramparts.
Heading north you cross the magnificent Forth Bridge, another fantastic example of Scottish engineering expertise. This is a field in which Scots have been unsurpassed over the years.
Stirling Castle, so important in Scotland's history, is well worth visiting, as is Perth, regarded as the "Gateway to the Highlands".
To the north-east of Perth, the route along the coast follows good low-lying farmland the whole way to the Granite City, Aberdeen, on the northern part of the East coast of Scotland.
However, if you go towards the north or north-west, it is a different story. You soon get to the Grampian Mountains and the Cairngorms. From here to the rugged, indented west coast of Scotland, lies one of the greatest, most spectacular areas of mountain wilderness in Europe. It is an area of many high, heather-clad mountains over 3000 feet, wild, wet moorland and innumerable lochs [lakes]. This is the land of wild stags, grouse and golden eagles. No wilderness in Britain is as anywhere near as extensive or rugged as this region, known to all as the Scottish Highlands!
It is a hill-walker's dream!! However, come prepared for all sorts of weather. Summer can turn to winter within minutes in these remote mountains.
The highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis[1343 metres] towers over Fort William on the rugged west coast and Glen Coe to the south.
Going north-east from Fort William, the spectacular Great Glen splits Scotland diagonally in half. Words do not do justice to the grandeur of this spectacular scenic beauty.
It is unbelievable that the Scottish Parliament is to consider allowing hundreds of gigantic wind turbines, visible from a 50 mile radius, to be erected in parts of this wilderness.
Even the wild, remote Western Isles, like Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, are being threatened by hundreds of these gigantic, noisy monsters.
The Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye are another spectacular wild area.
What will the views be like once Scotland yields to modernistic wind turbines?
Heading south one evenually comes to Loch Lomond, made famous in song. Just to the south of this is the great city of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland and a shopping centre for the whole of the west of Scotland. The architecture of George Square is well worth seeing.
Further south again, you get to the Ayrshire coast, where Glaswegians and numerous other Scots enjoy their sea-side holidays.
Ayrshire, of course, was home to Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns or Rabbie Burns to generations of Scots!!
Let's not forget Scotland's greatest sporting gift to the world ... GOLF!!
Great golf courses abound in the home of golf ... St Andrews, Carnoustie, Gleneagles ... etc. The world-famous names roll off the tongue!!
Then there is salmon fishing in the Tay and the Dee. Only money is needed to enjoy top-class fishing on Scottish rivers!! Allied to accommodation at top quality country hotels, [available on visit-the-world], these foremost sporting pursuits make Scotland a world -class venue for serious sports enthusiasts.
What better than a great day on the river or the golf course and one or two drams of a smooth single malt whisky to round off the day?
Great Britain has everything you need for fantastic holidays or week-end breaks!! Visit-the-world.co.uk is your gateway to immense enjoyment!!! Spoil yourself!!!