England’s green and pleasant land is also an eccentric and historic delight, with an important place in contemporary culture. And this tiny country – especially viewed in comparison to, say, the United States or its major European neighbours – can also boast a wildly disproportionate impact on the history of the world.
From the Roman legacy of Hadrian's Wall to London's thriving arts and theatre scene, England spans the old and new with a vigorous sweep.
During the day, its cities offer luxury shops, world-class dining and your pick of the most highly acclaimed museums and galleries in the world. After the sun has set there is comedy aplenty, cutting-edge clubs, live music venues and welcoming pubs.
Or, should you prefer, there are vast swathes of countryside such as the Lake District, the Peak District or the Cotswolds just waiting to be explored. And, of course, the English do love to be beside the seaside, as their charming seaside resorts firmly attest.
Most of all, though, it is England’s history that can bring your visit to life. Whether it’s imagining yourself a druid at Stonehenge or scaling the battlements of a medieval castle, England is awash with atmospheric echoes, reflections and relics of its own past. Tintagel tells of the legendary King Arthur and Stratford-upon-Avon of William Shakespeare. The dreaming spires of Oxford, the pageantry of Buckingham Palace – so many quintessentially English destinations provide an unequalled sense of continuity and tradition.
The English timeline doesn’t stop, however. London and Brighton’s exciting digital economies, the sheer scale of the O2 Arena, Manchester’s 21st-century architecture and the sci-fi domes of Cornwall’s Eden Project all point to a bright future, as well as to an illustrious history.
With its pomp and pageantry, wonderful idiosyncrasies and vibrant diversity, today's England is friendly, welcoming, fascinating and fun.
England’s weather is famously changeable and unpredictable, though summers are generally warm and winters are cold. On the whole, you can expect milder temperatures than those on the continent.
In the capital city of London, July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit). Thankfully temperatures do not usually drop below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter, making England a genuine year-round destination, certainly for soaking up the history and atmosphere of its great cities.
English is the official language, though do not expect it to sound the same throughout the country – there are a number of distinctive regional accents.
England is part of the United Kingdom, which is in the process of leaving the EU. You need a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom, though EU nationals may – for the time being, at least – gain entry holding only a valid national ID card. You may need a visa to stay in the country for more than six months. You are advised to hold return tickets in order to avoid delays. Please check rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
Overall, travellers can expect relative safety in England; however the threat of petty street crime demands all the usual precautions in cities, and London has been targeted by terrorist attacks.
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