The UK is essentially an island kingdom rich in history and colour.
London has been the seat of British kings and queens for centuries. This fact is reflected in its wonderful architecture and beautiful castles and buildings, such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and extensive game parks and estates (i.e. Richmond Park). London over the centuries developed into one of the world’s great economic and trading areas and is a pleasure for any tourist to visit: there are thousands upon thousands of shops, over 300 museums and galleries and countless theatres playing shows in the West End every day. A recently built tourist attraction is the British Airways London Eye, currently the world’s largest ferris wheel. It stands 135 metres high on the bank of the River Thames opposite such sites as the Houses of Parliament and the Westminster Bridge. London is a great place to take day trips to explore the south of England as well, to Cornwall, the pretty thatched cottages in the Cotswolds, and beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, close to Stonehenge.
The north of England is marked by the beauty of its landscape, the lakes district, the moors, the mountains, castles and dramatic coastlines. Too many tourists ignore the north after visiting the southern parts of England, but here is where much of the history of this great country begins, the towns from where the British recruited and from where they built their great armies and navies. It is also here where traces of numerous historical battles between the English and the Scots may be seen, and in times before them, the battles between the ancient Romans and the Celts. A good place to visit for history buffs is Hadrian’s Wall built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD as the northernmost frontier to their great Empire. Walking along it, visitors can view the spectacular countryside and see the ruins of old forts and visit the museums.
Wales, like Scotland, was once a separate country with its own ruling monarchy. Today, the Welsh maintain their separate traditions and Celtic language. The scenery is breathtaking: Snowdonia’s mountains in the north and the Brecon Becons in the south, the stunning coastline to the west and tranquility of the lakes in the middle of Wales are just some highlights.
Wales is draped in history and can be seen just about everywhere. There are ancient forts, burial chambers, castles and old Roman roads criss-crossing the countryside. A visit to some of the numerous art galleries and museums is definitely worth it; the traveler can expect to come out far more enlightened about the history of Wales and its misty Celtic past.
The highlight of a visit to Edinburgh - the capital of Scotland - is the walk up the Royal Mile to the ancient castle up the top. On the way, visit some tourist shops or local pubs – or go on a whisky tour! Edinburgh is a great place to visit, it’s full of friendly people, and accommodation is cheap compared to the south. It’s also a great spot to join a tour out to the Highlands or other country areas.
Perhaps one of the last wildernesses left in Europe, the Highlands are full of lochs and ancient castles. A ruggedly mountainous region steeped in the history of the old Scottish clans, there are many historical sites to visit. A stop-off for many tourists is Loch Ness, famed for the supposed monster that lives in its depths.
Glasgow is renowned for its style and its art. Here there are many museums, art galleries, castles and so on for the visitor to enjoy.
Northern Ireland offers exhilarating scenery all within easy reach of its major city Belfast. Not to be missed is the Ulster Way, hundreds of miles across moors, mountains and along coastline. Belfast itself has beautiful architecture and there is - almost literally - a pub on every corner.