I guess every country in the world is unique, in its own way. They virtually all have something no-one else can boast. America has its Grand Canyon, Australia has Uluru, New Zealand has the Fiords of the South Island and South Africa has Table Mountain, while China can boast the longest piece of stone masonry in the world – the Great Wall.
But somehow England (or more correctly, the British Isles) has more uniqueness about it than many other countries around the world.
Interested in history? Go to Stonehenge to see the skills and engineering capabilities demonstrated by the ancients 3,000 years ago, or Scara Brae to see the civilised comfort those people lived in, even before the time of Stonehenge, and without any of the benefits of modern tools. Move forward a few centuries nearer to our time and visit Hadrian’s Wall or the Roman Baths in Bath, the baths especially – you can admire examples of under floor heating and exquisite stone carving there, both skills that died for centuries after the departure of the Romans, some of them only having been re-discovered in recent times!
In more recent times there are wonderful castles, cathedrals and stately homes to admire, or deride, depending on your political point of view, still standing in splendour even after centuries of exposure to the English climate. While for sustained natural beauty, you have only to travel the English countryside with its hills and dales, from the Lake District and Yorkshire moors in the north, to Exmoor and Dartmoor in the south, all of them wild, exciting and mysterious, as are the many stories associated with them (Lorna Doon, Jamaica Inn, Wuthering Heights and many more great novels).
London alone must possess more historic buildings than most other cities of the world, apart from the possible exception of Paris. It’s a city packed with palaces, confounding for its castles, stunning for its statues and momentous for its monuments! Turn any corner and there’s another work of architectural or sculptural art before you, more often than not of classical design, though more and more modern works are appearing today (take ‘the gherkin’ for instance, surely one of the more unusual buildings in the world, on a par with, even though considerably smaller than, the twin towers of Kuala Lumpur)!
London also possesses some of the largest, and most well stocked museums, many dealing with specialised subjects, like the Imperial War Museum, but all of them interesting and, may I say it… exciting, especially to those of an historical bent!
Then there’s the coastline of the United Kingdom! Oh, I know many Australians think every beach there is comprised of uncomfortable-to-walk-on pebble beaches, but I doubt if more than about 20 per cent are without sand. The beaches of Cornwall in particular, are very similar to their Australian counterparts, though usually smaller, because the shoreline is a series of rocky outcroppings with delightful beaches in between, rather than the sweeping kilometres of unbroken sand we experience here. But this can make the visit to one of them quite an intimate experience, with many of them being free of any other human contact! Most of England’s great surfing beaches are in this part of the country too.
The one really unique experience the United Kingdom has to offer is the sheer variety of what is available, with something to excite virtually every taste, from intellectual to ‘bogan’, fun-loving to funereal, visual to tactile, ancient to modern and cheap to expensive! Even the people vary enormously, with accents changing almost from street-to-street, (though this is something tending to fade now, with the ease of modern travel), and displaying attitudes also varying from North Country brashness to the sophistication of the South East, but wherever they are from, I think you’d find the English to be generally a friendly crowd, eager to help the visitor.
If visiting, just choose the sort of England that suits you, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for, no matter what it is, or where it is, it’s all there, waiting to be discovered by you!
Have you ever been to England? If so, where did you go? And if not, where would you visit on a trip there? Tell us below.