Great Britain as a tourist destination

Steeped in centuries of history, the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, collectively known as Great Britain, have much to offer the tourist. I am originally from England now living in Canada and to be honest I never appreciated the beauty and history of Britain when I lived there. Now, after living in Canada for many years, I have come to appreciate the history and culture of these magnificent islands that make up Great Britain.

Canada, where I live now, is a wonderful country and has a lot to offer too, but in a different way, as a young country of just over 200 years, it just doesn’t have the history that Britain offers.

Britain’s quaint and scenic roads inevitably lead to a historic pub or a cute Bed and Breakfast. Britain is full of extremes, the Yorkshire moors with their stone cottages and wandering sheep, the Lake District with its magnificent lakes, numerous castles scattered across the country, the many art galleries and tourist sites, unique cities like Chester with its Tudor buildings, walled cities like York. Centuries of history mixed with modern cities.

My favorite tourist spot of all time is Hampton Court, just north of London and originally the home of Henry VIII and his unfortunate wives. The extensive grounds offer beautiful gardens, a maze and an English tea room. The historic buildings still house some of Henry’s original furniture, paintings and opulence from the period. Entertainers can be found throughout the property and the kitchens are well worth a visit. Not for the squeamish, but we can’t forget the hall that the Ghost of Anne Boleyn pretends to keep walking down the halls with her head under her arm!

Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, remains at Portsmouth Dockyard. Having been in the WRNS (Women’s Royal Navy), I have always had a love for the ocean, so I was completely fascinated by this historic ship. All decks are painted red to cover the blood lost by the crew during battles, and the entire ship appears to have been made for children, as the bunk beds, dining tables, and chairs are child-sized. The reason is that the average height of men in Nelson’s day was 4 to 5 feet, dwarfs by today’s standards.

Fish and chips in the newspaper, and afternoon strawberry and cream tea with scones remain an ingrained part of the culture. There is so much to see, the Blarney Stone in Ireland, the Llangollen Music Festival in Wales, the Edinburgh Tattoo in Scotland, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths in Bath.

And of course not forgetting the wonderful city of London with the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, The Royal Jewels at the Tower of London, the world famous London Eye – Ferris Wheel, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Art Gallery, Soho, great theater performances and Piccadilly Circus. Just a few of the things worth seeing in London alone. Enjoy shopping on Oxford Street and Regent Street, check out Harrods for world-class goods or stop by the market stalls on Petty Coat Lane where you can find plenty of bargains.

I suggest that if you are going for the first time, you take one of the many guided tours. You will definitely be able to see more and get more out of your experience. Also, remember that the British drive on the other side of the road so it can be a bit scary as there are many narrow country roads and the motorways are very busy. Public transport, trains, buses and the tube are excellent throughout Britain and are a great way to get around without worrying about driving and parking.


Britain is easily accessible from anywhere in the world, with the main airports being Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin.

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