Five years ago, 31 million tourists visited England. That’s a lot of tourists for a small, damp, foggy island!
Why? Because there is an overwhelming amount to see and do. In all probability, ten trips to England wouldn’t provide you with sufficient time to see and do just a small portion of what is available. An in depth study of William Shakespeare alone (not his works) would probably take six months.
Should you be planning your first trip to England, it would be wise to focus mainly on what attracted you to travel to England in the first place.
England, situated in the North Atlantic, at just over 50,000 square miles is less than ¼ the size of France. Ten years ago, the population of England was 49,000,000 making it twice as densely populated compared to France.
England, in spite of its size, is huge in stature and has had a profound influence on the rest of the World. During the 18th century, England was the first to become an industrialised nation. (Greater) London, the capital, had a population of 7.8 million as of July 2010.
The currency used is Pounds Sterling (GBP).
English is spoken by more than 95% of the population. Of the foreign languages, English people have a basic knowledge of the following: French (23%), German (9%) and Spanish (8%).
EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and Swiss Nationals are allowed to enter and reside in the United Kingdom with certain conditions. It is advisable to check with the Home Office – UK Border Agency on the latest Home Office requirements for all visitors wishing to enter the United Kingdom.
England is described as having a temperate maritime climate in the North Temperate Zone. Expect warm wet summers and cool wet winters. The coldest months are December through to February. The west of England receives more rainfall than the east. The east coast, especially in the north experiences colder and windier conditions. Due to England’s proximity to the Atlantic Gulf Stream, temperatures are milder than other places around the globe with similar latitude.
Spring, from March to May, is considered to be the drier season with generally cool and calmer conditions. Temperatures are normally between 6°C and 18°C (43°F and 64.5 °F).
Summer lasts from June to August and is the hottest season with temperatures at night around 13°C (55.5 °F) going as high as 23°C (73.5 °F) during the day.
Autumn occurs during the months of October and November and is known for having an unsettled weather pattern. Expect temperatures of 8°C to 16 °C (46.4°F to 61°F).
Winter in England is defined as lasting from December to February with January and February being the coldest months. You can expect generally cool, wet and windy conditions. Daytime temperatures usually range between 5 °C (41°F) and rarely go above 10 °C (50 °F).
When to go
May through to September for visitors wishing to venture outdoors frequently.
England has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (the Bard)
Ironbridge, Shropshire (A UNESCO Site)
Bath, Somerset (Architecture and Jane Austen) – A UNESCO Site
Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey (A UNESCO Site)
IWM Duxford, Duxford Airfield, Duxford, Cambridge
RHS Garden, Wisley, Surrey.
National Space Centre, Leicester.
Eden Project, Cornwall
Salisbury Arts Festival, Wiltshire (Friday 25 May 2012 until Saturday 9 June 2012).
Blackpool Illuminations (Blackpool)
Brighton Festival (Brighton)
Canterbury, Kent (Chaucer)
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire. (A UNESCO Site)
Hadrian’s Wall, Melkridge, Northumberland (perhaps even pitch a tent there).
The Tower of London, Tower Hamlets, London. (A UNESCO Site)
Windsor Castle (Windsor)
Buckingham Palace (London)
Hampton Court Palace, Richmond upon Thames, London
Harewood House, Yorkshire
Lyme Park, Cheshire
Stonehenge, Wiltshire (a UNESCO Site)
Bucket & Spade
England has a total of 70 blue flag beaches dotted along its coastline. (Blue Flag is an International body that grades beaches to a high standard with facilities nearby – for further details: www.blueflag.org).