From the green, rolling hills of the Cotswolds to the calm waters of the Lake District, England is spoilt when it comes to natural beauty. Yet it’s also a nation that’s made its mark on history; whether it’s the international fame of its Royal Family or the grandeur of its castles. It’s also a place with its own eccentricities and unique customs that have endured through the centuries. Here, we provide some basic facts, to make sure you land on your feet when stepping onto English soil.
Population: 53 million
Land Area 50,150 square miles
Famous for: The Royal Family, The Beatles, Fish & Chips, and consuming more tea per capita than anybody else in the world
Only 21 miles from France and linked by the Channel Tunnel, no location is ever more than 77 miles from tidal waters. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds. There are lots of islands – from the Isle of Wight to Hayling Island – to explore, too.
Temperate, with plenty of rainfall all year round, temperatures rarely fall below 5 degrees Celsius or rise above 30.
Famous English scientists include Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Isaac Newton, and Stephen Hawking. Perhaps the biggest name of modern times is Tim Berners-Lee, who made the first proposal for something now known as the “World Wide Web” in 1989.
Food & Drink
A “Roast”, usually involving ham, lamb, beef or chicken, is served with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and a large side of green beans or Brussels sprouts, and is consumed almost all year round, though most often on a Sunday. The only other meal that gets near to its popularity is Fish & Chips, which is typically washed down with a pint of ale (also known as “bitter”).
Smoking is illegal in public places and there’s a strong awareness of personal space. Tip 10-15 per cent to those who’re providing a service, from waiters to hotel doormen.
Some of the world’s most famous stores are to be found in England, with Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Liberty all attracting an international clientele. Further afield, farmer’s markets, artisanal shops and high street retailers all ensure visitors are never at a loss when they want to purchase something.
The “tube” or “underground” is by far the fastest and easiest way to get around London, especially over longer distances. But outside of the capital, buses, trains or taxis tend to be the most efficient way to get around. Just remember, only try to hail a “black cab” – the London taxis – if the light is glowing amber, as it’s only then that the ride is available.
England uses the Pound Sterling, which is divided into 100 pennies. Coins come in all shapes and sizes, from the small, silver 5p to the large bimetallic £2. That said, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere and ATMs are ubiquitous.
England has the dialling code +44, this should replace the 0 that prefaces any number if you’re phoning from abroad.
From cheese-rolling in Gloucestershire to setting up bonfires and burning historical figures in November, the English have lots of traditions that they see fit to preserve. Some of the most eccentric involve egg-rolling, Morris dancing and May-Pole dancing in the months of spring.
The world’s fifth largest economy, England has the highest per capita consumption of cider in the world, as well as the largest cider-producing companies.
If you’d like to encounter the museums, monuments and heritage sites that are testament to centuries of English history, why not click here to see what opportunities Trafalgar offer? And if you’ve booked already, write a comment in the section below so that we know you’re travelling with us soon.