Favorite thing: 1 thing of any benefit to somebody visiting, or intending to live in UK, is that the water is drinkable...
A lot of folk here might inform you otherwise, & complain about all the impurities in mains-piped water, from calcium compounds that make it 'hard' & 'fur' up your kettle, to the artificial addition of compounds that are supposed to benefit your health...
But the fact that folk feel the need to fuss so much over such trivial things, just shows what an easy life we have in UK...
Nothing in the real world is without impurities, so the fact you can visit any standpipe, or public drinking fountain, & drink the water therefrom without the need to boil it, is something that people who've never travelled, just do not appreciate...
When I was in Ukraine, the water was undrinkable, even after boiling, because there was so much sediment in the pipework, it made the water opaque & severely tainted the taste of the strongest tea I could brew...
& that is without considering the threat of typhus, that has broken out in 0dessa from sewer contaminated water pipes...
Water is a core ingredient in the brewing & distilling process - you cannot make beer or whisky without it being the main part of the recipe, & that means quality, 'soft' water from an unspoilt aquifer...
SOFT WATER has a beautifully simple flavour, but even if you hate the taste of the stuff, if you're a drinker, you've still downed gallons of it!
Fondest memory: My enduring love of the UK is its countryside - even in industrialised settings, such as Essex, for every estate with factories & refineries, there seems to be another such area nearby, just devoted to conservation...
A county such as Norfolk, seems to be 1 nature reserve, bordering the next such conservation area - & thanks to its 'soft' water, also has the only whisky distillery in England...
I'm still discovering plants, insects, & birds I've never seen before, & I spend a lot of time outdoors...
UK wildlife & scenery is varied beyond compare, & combined with the beautiful sun rises & sets we also often are blessed with, this means I never tire of our natural heritage...Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
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Britain - a great place, full stop.
Favorite thing: Britain has so much to offer the traveller. There's the history that's so evident everywhere, but beyond that, there's the remarkable beauty of the countryside, the gusto of the big cities, the warmth of the village and small town pubs, the amazingly good and wide range of food (twenty years ago, foodies would have shuddered at the though of eating in Britain), and then there's the incredible range of cultures. For me, there's an ancestral link and all my great cousins and extended family scattered across England.
Fondest memory: I have have to have TWO things here...
My family, extended family, and friends in the UK
VT's prompt for this text box is "what you miss the most when you are away from the United Kingdom". Well, that has to me my cousins and extended family in England. I wish the UK and NZ weren't on opposite sides of the planet! I'd be popping in for a cuppa a bit more regularly than once every three years otherwise!
Cornwall or Kurnow.
The second thing is a place - it's Cornwall. This is a county full of magic. Something lends the place an air of uniqueness: whether it is the Celtic history; its remoteness; or the sea air. Kurnow (Cornwall), stirs the passions!
Have a look at the pages I've put together on this county.Related to:
- Road Trip
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Favorite thing: I am British but have not lived in the UK for the last 24 years. It is not my favourite country. There are people I miss, but not that many other things. However, one thing I do miss is spring and in particular spring flowers. My overall favourite are crowds of golden daffodils, at the risk of sounding a bit William Wordsworthish. On our Easter visit to the UK 2012 we were too late for snowdrops and crocuses, but perfectly timed for the daffs, tulips, bluebells, primroses, hyancinths and blossom. Not to mention fields of newborn lambs. Lovely.Related to:
History of the United Kingdom
Favorite thing: The United Kingdom started to become a unified nation with the political union of the kingdoms of England (which already included Wales) and Scotland in 1707 in accordance with the Treaty of Union. The Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which was ruled by a single monarch and parliament in London. In 1800 a further Act of Union saw the joining of the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 and following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Ireland split from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to become the Irish Free State, a dominion of the British Empire but a day later, Northern Ireland split from the Free State and rejoined the United Kingdom. As a result, in 1927 the United Kingdom changed its formal title to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Mobile Phone International Roaming in London/EUR
Favorite thing: Some Information on using an International Mobile Phone/SIM in London/Europe.
You will need to be careful if you plan to use your home country mobile number/sim when travelling - International roaming charges can be ridiculously expensive! Additionally, you may have to pay a premium to receive calls as well as making calls.
In the UK, many supermarkets sell Pay-As-You-Go SIM cards where you do not need to sign up for any long term contracts - you just buy the SIM card together with ~ £10 worth of Credit and you're ready to go. Tesco give you £10 extra free credit if you top up £10 so this may be a good bet. Tesco call charges are comparable to other PAYG plans. The good thing about buying from a supermarket is that you can top-up your credit in the supermarket which may be preferable to registering your credit card details, etc.
These SIM cards will allow you to make and receive international calls but may not have an international roaming facility so may not work in the rest of Europe. I would guess that european countries have comparable PAYG systems and I've certainly seen booths at many European airports selling such SIM cards. There will be a new phone number for each of the new SIMS.
NOTE: Outgoing international calls will probably be significantly higher than if you were on a contract but receiving will/should be free (for you).
For the UK check www.carphonewarehouse.co.uk for details on plans from the big players. Incidently, I've seen billboards advertising Vodafone have cut international roaming charges for this summer so this may also be a good option if you're starting in the UK.
Another option is for you to purchase credit for long distance carriers where you dial an access number and a pin-code before the telephone number. These access numbers can be dialled from mobile phones (local uk number) and I think the cost of the local UK call and the long distance call would be cheaper than if you made the international call directly from the mobile. This credit comes in the form of small plastic credit card size cards which have a scratch off section with the pin code - you can buy these from small grocery and newspaper shops.
And finally,I *think* the handset needs to be quad-band to work in the UK and Europe if it's a US phone.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: The UK (particularly England) has a wealth of different nationalities living there. Indian, Chinese, Jamaican, Polish, Pakistani, Australian, Somalian, Turkish... you name it we have it. You could say the same for the eclectic mix of food, language and religions present here.
Favorite thing: The United Kingdom has been a country for over 300 years, consisting of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is all of the above excluding Northern Ireland. Once home to the largest empire in the world over 25% of the world population and land mass. It has made an indelable mark on the planet.
Visa Electron travel card
Favorite thing: The Post Office Travel cards are VISA ELECTRON issued at any post ofice you simply fill in the form pay the ammount you want onto the card and they issue the card. You must phone the telephone number they give you 24 hours later to activate.
This is the quickest way i know to get VISA ELECTRON card
Good luckRelated to:
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: London was founded by the Romans in about 33 A.D. when they established a small port and trading community on the banks of the River Thames. They called their town Londinium, which was a Latinized version of the old Celtic name for the area.
At the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, London was the largest city in England. Because of its importance as a trading center and its strategic location on the River Thames, the Normans made London their capital.
Up until about 1666, London was confined to a relatively small area within walls. However, in that year, the Great Fire destroyed much of the walled city. As London was rebuilt, the walls were not rebuilt, and the city spread to the area that is now known as the City. By the eighteenth century, London enveloped surrounding settlements including Westminster, which was the political and religious center of England.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, commerce and industry made London the largest and richest city in the world. People from the English countryside poured into the city, and subjects from the far-flung British Empire immigrated to London as well.
During the Second World War, Nazi bombing wiped out many of the central areas of the city. As a result, London saw massive rebuilding projects during the second half of the twentieth century, so that central London is a curious mixture of traditional and modern architecture.
Nowadays, London is still one of the largest cities in the world, with about 13,070,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. It is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, due to immigration from former British colonies all over the world.
Kindness of a Stranger
Fondest memory: Nine of us were on a walking weekend in the English April drizzle. We decided it was time for a snack break and not wanting to eat in the rain we happened upon the porch of this delightful old English Country Church in Whatley, Somerset.
Whilst we munching some of our very delicious cake a local lady came to arrange flowers in the church, but had forgotten her key. She was some time going back for it, but we were not in a hurry to walk on in the rain. When she returned she had brought us boiled water, tea, coffee, milk and mugs. "It was a bad day and we needed a hot drink".
Such random acts of kindness are one of the great joys of travel. We will remember with great warmth Whatley Church porch on a cold rainy day.
Favorite thing: There are loads of cyber cafes all over the UK, especially in the larger cities and towns. They all vary in price but the cheapest and best ones are owned by EasyJet and are called EasyInternetCafe These ones are mainly in the larger cities. The stores are large and bright, with up to date high speed access and flat screen monitors. Prices vary depending on how busy the place is but you can also buy passes at some stores. The website doesn't seem to be exactly up to date. The link above doesn't have all the cafes listed for London that this page does but that page doesn't include a couple that the first link has. Probably best to check a local telephone directory when you get there.
Favorite thing: Wogan is an Irish immigrant to the UK, but he is the best thing that ever happened to British radio in its 85-year history.
His BBC radio career started in the late 1960s, but he came into public prominence in 1972 when he took over at breakfast time on the popular music network, Radio 2.
Wogan was axed from Radio 2 in 1985, at a time of ageism in Radio.
BBC radio bosses panicked in the mid-1980s, because some of the top DJs on youth-orientated Radio 1 were around 40 years of age & Radio 2 had some DJs around the 50 mark.
...The result was a huge clearout of talent from BBC Radios 1 & 2, replacing them with younger DJs, who 20 years later are still minor names & have been moved away from the primetime slots they were brought in to fill.
The ex-BBC DJs lost their national exposure, but did wonders for commercial radio as they were snapped up by commercial stations: especially the big London area ones.
...BBC Radios 1 & 2 went into decline in the late '80s & early '90s (with a corresponding rise in local & commercial radio audiences) & the BBC realised the error of axing ageing, but hugely popular & talented DJs.
Those DJs who didn't go to commercial & local radio went into television & Wogan was one of them. Apart from his Eurovision Song Contest coverage & the quiz programme "Blankety Blank" Wogan's TV career wasn't anything like as impressive as his ability on radio & Radio 2 wisely re-instated him on January 4th, 1993 in the breakfast slot he occupied from 1972 to '85. ...His 'replacements' weren't up to it & people would struggle to remember their names & years in the slot!
Fondest memory: Wogan is still on R2 in 2007! ...His 'comeback' has outlived his original stint at breakfast time!
Because Terry does a national broadcast he has listener figures that must be unheard of on radio stations in the USA: He had 8.08 MILLION regular listeners in the second quarter of 2006. Wogan, who the BBC thought was getting 'past it' as a 47-year-old INCREASED his ratings by over 300,000 listeners in the run-up to his 68th birthday.
The BBC have a marvellous "Listen Again" feature where you can listen to Wogan ANYTIME, not just when he's 'on-air'. Go to...
...and discover his genius.
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Favorite thing: I absolutely love castles and you will never go short of a castle to visit in the United Kingdom. Some of the more impressive ones i've visited include Edinburgh Castle, Tower of London, Warwick Castle, Leeds Castle and Conwy. Most of the above were completely or mostly restored but Conwy is mostly a shell though with most of the walls and towers intact.
Castles range from complete to just a few ruins on a hill. Some are free access and some can be quite expensive, between 10 and 15 pounds per adult. Warwick is more like a showpiece or museum but you can get a better idea of what it was like to live in one if you visit Leeds which has a few rooms set up as they were in Medievel times. Conwy is one of the impressive castles built by Edward I to subdue the Welsh. Another nearby one is Carnaefon which is also worth a visit. Scotland abounds with great castles as well. St. Andrews Castle overlooks the North Sea but is just a few ruins on the edge of a cliff. Still impressive though.
Many of the ones that are renovated and restored tended to be more residential than fortifications since they were occupied as palaces for many centuries. Cardiff Castle is one that reflects the over done Victorian tastes but is still interesting to see and very easy to get to as it's right in the city centre.
Fondest memory: Whether it's a fully restored castle or just a crumbled tower, the castles really bring you a sense of history. Views from castle walls or towers are always stunning. Many have good exhibits and lots of information available either in the castle or at nearby visitor centers.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Castles and Palaces
Favorite thing: Whatever you do, don't miss a street performance when in Britain as it has some of the best I have ever seen. Some entertainers are not that special but others have me in tears of laughter. You will find plenty in London's Covent Garden but also in Edinburgh during the festival and in touristy places such as Bath and York.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of street performers is this lot seen in the picture: the Inside Out Theatre, doing their version of James Bond - The Man with the Golden Trumpet. I was lucky to catch them first at Edinburgh and later in Covent Garden when I moved to London. Oh the happiness when I encoutered them yet again! :))) "No Coca Cola, No Levis, No McDonalds - this is WAR!"Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Credit card: Chip & PIN
Favorite thing: From 14 February 2006, you can no longer sign for your credit card transactions in the UK if your card has been allocated a PIN number. If your card does have a PIN, then make sure you memorise it before trying to use your credit card.
If your card does not have a PIN, then you will be required to sign for your transaction.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
United Kingdom Hotels
The concierge was fabulous, the hotel very grand, and despite the rooms being small they were...more
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I had a great time there. Stayed due to business 4 nights in the hotel. Staff was great, friendly...more
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