Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
All personality types like England and give it top ratings
Did you know … ?
- The largest stone at Stonehenge weighs nearly 50 tons.
- More newspapers are sold in the U.K. than in any other European country.
- In the movies, Alnwick Castle in Northumbria is Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.
- Tower Bridge was built of stone (not red brick as planned) to blend with the Tower of London.
- It took 9,500 men to man Hadrian’s Wall once it was built, in the second century.
The mother country
England is the motherland to both the U.S. and Canada because both were English colonies. No matter that many ethnic groups have settled in North America — we inherit our literary traditions, legal systems, ethics and social customs from our English mother country and traditional ally.
It is our great good fortune that, as we answer the call to return to these roots, we are visiting a modern nation with a compelling mix of historical attractions, charming villages, lovely natural settings — and the welcoming English people themselves. The fact we have a common language (mostly) facilitates communication, so the kindness, politeness and sense of humor of the locals comes through.
Visitors feel at home in England for other reasons, too. They may have family there or their ancestors may have originated there. Some use the occasion to research the family tree.
Because England is so small, the traveler can see a lot at one shot. The countryside is agreeably diverse, but consistently attractive. However, for most, history and historical sites (too many to list) are more important than scenic beauty.
There is good public transportation including the train service from London to and among points across the country. If pressed for time, travelers can plan day trips from the capital to Bath, Cambridge, Canterbury, Oxford, Salisbury (access to Stonehenge and Sarum), Stratford-upon-Avon and Winchester, among others. It is more satisfying though to overnight at key points, whether in Cornwall, the Cotswolds, York, the Lake District, Sir Walter Scott country in the far north, Stratford for plenty of theater or closer in at, say, Canterbury or Salisbury.
Visitors encounter places of literary or historical significance just about everywhere. Much of this — plus the pretty English countryside — is most appealing to those in the middle of the personality scale. In addition, when these travelers end the sightseeing day, they like to discover nice B&Bs in quaint villages, stroll around, shop or have a drink at a local pub.
Others pursue similar interests, but the venturesome may rent a car and set out on the “wrong” side of the road whereas the less venturous may choose an escorted tour.
Things to do for Venturers
- Develop new skills with the bow and arrow in sessions at the Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
- Go to Hadrian’s Wall for a look, then take a walk, a very long one, following the wall for as long as possible.
- Spend the night of summer solstice at Stonehenge. The central axis in this circle of stones aligns with the sun on midsummer day, and British Heritage in recent years has been opening the site to visitors throughout the night of the summer solstice.
- Go sailing off Brighton, or in Cornwall, or in any of a number of other coastal regions. Or, surf the coastal areas of England. There are options in the far west, across the south and up the east coast. Or, surf the bore, or tidal wave, in the River Severn.
- Attend summer music festivals in either Leeds or Reading. These are rock festivals, big and loud. Not everyone will like them.
- Volunteer to work on an archaeological dig at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.
Things to do for Centrics
- Visit the much-admired Winchester Cathedral. Then, go to Winchester’s St. Cross Hospital, Britain’s oldest charitable institution, dating from the 12th century. Ask for the wayfarer’s dole, a traditional source of sustenance intended for weary travelers. You must say: “May I have the wayfarer’s dole?” The payoff is a bit of bread and small tumbler of ale. This is the only place in England where the wayfarer’s dole is still handed out.
- Book a watercolor painting class at the Sizergh Castle in Cumbria, in northwest England.
- Visit the Cheddar Caves, which are noted for their fantasyland interiors, in Cheddar (birthplace of cheddar cheese). J.R.R. Tolkien used one of the caves as his inspiration for Helm’s Deep in “The Lord of the Rings.”
- In the spa town of Bath, take the cure if you dare. The water is not to everyone’s taste. The Romans built Bath, and some of the original work can still be seen. Get a load of the gorgeous Georgian architecture there, too.
- Go to the Tower of London for the 700-year-old nightly ceremony of the keys (when the tower is locked for the night). You have to book well in advance for the free event which starts at 21:53 and ends at 22:05. Be on time, or you won’t get in.
- Go cycling or horseback riding in Sherwood Forest. The Historic Royal Hunting Forest of Sherwood covers a third of Nottinghamshire.
Things to do for Authentics
- See the Bronte manse, now the Bronte Parsonage Museum, in Haworth. Or, if a devoted literature lover, plan an itinerary around any number of writers including, besides the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Sir Walter Scott, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and on and on.
- Theater lover or no, include Stratford-upon-Avon in your itinerary. Spend time at Ann Hathaway’s thatched cottage with its English garden, and attend a performance of one of the bard’s masterpieces in the town where he originated.
- It’s London. Go to Leicester Square and buy reduced-price tickets to as much theater as you have time for.
- In Rochester, crawl through what is left of its 12th century stone tower (a la the White Tower at the Tower of London), then focus sightseeing on the Charles Dickens Centre there and titter over all the shops and eateries named for Dickens characters or book titles. (Dickens lived here for a period of time.)
- Follow the so-called Embroidery Trail which will take you to communities along the Mersey River, in the Liverpool area, to look at fine examples of old and new needlework. Then, take a embroidery class at Voirrey Embroidery, a major needlework center on the route.
- Shop at Harrods in London, or just ogle the food courts there.
For more information, consult VisitBritain at www.visitbritain.com