A five-stop guided tour of Great Britain
By Kathryn Beeson
16 July 2019
In some respects, Dorothy was right - there really is no place like home.Read more
England is a wonderful destination with a wealth of attractions and scenery to explore. Discover the nation from a new perspective on a Great Rail Journeys UK tour.
Although complaining about the state of the railways seems to be a popular English pastime, in truth the country has an efficient and modern inter-city and regional rail network. This enables holidaymakers to explore England's beautiful landscapes and historic towns and cities, from countryside to coast, in comfort and ease.
From ancient Stonehenge and Viking York, to the wild, desolate beauty of the Yorkshire Moors and the colourful houses and sandy beaches of the Cornish coast, there is a lot to see and do, much of it accessible from the comfort of England's fantastic railway network.
Thanks to its long history, England is a country of rich traditions, literature and music. One of its most famous exports is music, with bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who flying the flag.
England also boasts of some of the best-known authors in the world, being the country of the famous Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare, Victorian authors Charles Dickens and the Brontë sisters, and the author of the 'Harry Potter' series J. K. Rowling. On our 'Yorkshire & Northumberland' tour, you are able to see the parsonage where Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë grew up, and visit Whitby Abbey, that was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'.
England's railway system is one of the longest running in the world, and it came about as a result of the Industrial revolution that started 18th century. Thanks to the steam engine, something that had been originally invented in in the 1712 by English inventor Thomas Newcomen, travelling by rail became popular as this method of transport was faster, easier and cheaper than travelling by horse power. Rail travel was also cheap, meaning the lower classes could use it to get to the industrial centres of England to find work.
England continues to use rail travel extensively to this day, and although many modern and updated lines run with diesel hauled carriages, the country still boasts a collection of around seventy heritage railways still using steam engines to travel across some of the most beautiful areas in the country. One of these outstanding journeys is the Settle to Carlisle Railway, which passes over the Ribblehead Viaduct at the base of the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
England draws food inspiration from all over the world. You could go traditional, and enjoy a cosy pub lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire puddings or stroll along the beach eating hot fish and chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. Alternatively, you could enjoy a delicious Indian or Thai curry.
Complement your meal with some locally brewed beer. England is renowned for its rich variety of beers and ales, deeply rooted in the country's culture and history.
Afternoon tea is a light repast, usually eaten in the late afternoon, and consists of sandwiches, light cream cakes, and, of course, England's national drink, tea. One of the most famous places in England for this is Bettys tea rooms, which can be found in the elegant Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate.
The old joke goes that the only weather in England is rain, but this is not strictly true. England enjoys a temperate climate; the summers are generally warm and the winters are fairly mild. Be that as it may, it does rain a lot in England, so be prepared for wet weather - the people in England don't let the rain slow them down though, with many events becoming famous for the show going on despite the downpours.
Each region of England has its own peculiarities and local customs; one area where this is particularly distinct is in regional dishes. For example parmesan chicken, which is a street food adaptation of the Italian pollo parmigiana, is a favourite in a small area of North Yorkshire but even as little as fifty miles away is unheard of.
Tipping in England isn't mandatory, but it is appreciated. The standard tip in England can be between 10% and 15%, but if eating with a large group of people, the tip is sometimes added with the bill.
The accents in England are broad and varied, and can change dramatically within very few miles. There are around 30 distinct accents in England, that range from Cockney in London, to Geordie in the North East, and every accent comes with a different colloquial vocabulary.
England is a fairly reserved country, and the social culture rests upon politeness, good manners, and a sense of fair play. Mentioning anything about the weather is a good way to spark a conversation, but the English also have an excellent, if very particular, sense of humour.
Helping you plan your holiday to England