This sceptred isle isn’t called Great for nothing – for such a small island, Britain really holds it’s own. So much has happened in this green and pleasant land over thousands of years that historical sights jostle for space next to modern day monuments, country pursuits go hand in hand with extreme sports and tiny live music venues compete for awesomeness with hit West End theatres. There is such a buzz in the Capital, London, that it is impossible not to be swept away by it, whereas the beautiful countryside has been inspiring artists, play-writes, authors and musicians for centuries.
While London undoubtedly takes centre stage for things to see and do, cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol give London a run for it’s money. These cities are more mellow and laid back than bustling London, while still offering architectural gems, attractions and charm. Further afield from city centres, Britain runs amok with sterling sites such as Stratford, Shakespeare’s birth place, stunning natural spots like the Lake and Peak Districts, and traditional seaside haunts with big beaches and fairground rides at the likes of Weymouth and Blackpool.
Britain is a food lovers paradise and is currently going through a food revolution, with street food and farmers markets popping up all over the place, serving up delicious gourmet home made, fair trade, and locally sourced products. Independent breweries are also becoming established on the scene, with regular beer events and tasting sessions. Traditional British food – the all day breakfast, fish ‘n’ chips, roast dinners and cream tea rub shoulders with multicultural flavours of international cuisines. Indian, African, Asian, American, European and fusion menus all jostle for attention at the astounding amount of eateries.
There are plenty of festivals to sink your teeth in to, including the Edinburgh Fringe, a month long event showcasing excellent plays and comedy, to Glastonbury, a hippy infused, mud-wading event with international line ups. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on tickets, there are a ton of free events celebrating everything from royal celebrations, national holidays and parades. Even the smallest towns and villages have annual quirky fetes with Morris dancers, knob tossing contests (it’s a biscuit!) and W.I cake competitions (watch the movie Calendar Girls for more on that organisation!)
Getting out and about is also a great way to see the countryside and spend less. Feeling energetic? Try hiking the South West Coast Path, cycling from one end of the country to the other in the LeJoG (Lands End to John O’Groats), or taking part in the excellent British Cycle Quest.
There are endless sites to see and activities to take part in in Great Britain. Oozing with history and dripping in culture, it would take months, if not years, to experience all that is on offer. From Shakespeare to Harry Potter, ancient architecture to Banksy graffiti, castles, palaces, lochs and lakes, the Isle’s have so much on offer that one trip is never enough. Get ready to experience what puts the Great in Great Britain!