As disparate as can be, the UK encompasses the four nations of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Located in North West Europe, it encompasses¬¬¬ all of the island of Great Britain, and the north east corner of Ireland. With a total population of 62 million people on its relatively small surface, the bulk of the UK’s population reside in England, but to call someone from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland would be a grave mistake. Each nation has its own unique sense of identity, history, and culture.
North of the border cutting between England and Scotland, the bonnie land of haggis and bagpipes might come as a bit of a shock to first travellers. From dramatic winding roads through its heather-kissed highlands to the lively buskers of Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, every cliché is both fulfilled and surpassed. For a hectic taste of pure, distilled culture, swig whisky and comedy in Edinburgh at festival time, ski or snowboard on the slopes of the Cairngorms or break away to the shores of the west coast for nature at its finest.
England, with its many large cities and regional disparities holds the bulk of the UKs population, and splits between the north, the midlands and the south. Towards the south-east, its largest metropolis, and capital city, London holds around 7.5 million people in its main urban area, and is a thriving cultural, political and economic heartbeat of the country. Due to host the 2012 Olympic Games, now, more than ever, is this world city in the spotlight. This is no excuse to neglect the other delights in this country, the Roman bathhouses and Georgian terraces of Bath, the glitzy tat of Blackpool or the quaint country pubs of the Cotswalds. A wonderfully varied place, there’s far more to England than its capital, but it’s a very good place to start.
West of England, the much smaller Wales, where valleys hide a wild passion for rugby and rural male choirs intermingle with a rocking music scene in the cities. Cardiff sprouting sleek new buildings like
the Millennium Stadium while preserving older treasures like historic Cardiff Castle has a varied urban landscape, here a Norwegian Church, and there an open-air museum. Beyond there’s so much more to discover, the beaches of the Gower Peninsula, the Brecon beacons and their wild charm, spa towns and even Swansea.
Finally, to Northern Ireland, a country which still emerges as enticing in spite of its long history of troubles. Belfast, home to the Titanic with its shipbuilding pride, murals and Victorian architecture is rapidly redeveloping as a cosmopolitan hub to rival the UK’s other foremost cities. Offering a sparkling nightlife and beautiful waterfront, as well as art galleries and museums, this city hits hard the fun heavyweights. Don’t miss the unique landscape of the Giant’s Causeway, the history of the city of Derry, and those with a strong constitution should attempt crossing the Carrick-A-Rede, a rope bridge strung from the mainland in Country Antrim to a rocky island, with only the ocean between the two!
Last Edit by Site Administrators on 7/05/2012 EDIT NOW >>