Ireland – A land of myths and legends
By Lorna Heatley
12 January 2018
Whether they are told in a rhyme, a ballad, or written in an ancient tome, the myths and legends of Ireland are some of the most well known in the world.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.
England has a rich and proud heritage, dating back thousands of years. London, the capital city, boasts some spectacular sights, including iconic Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and the brooding and imposing Tower of London. Travelling out of the hustle and bustle of London, you see some more of what truly makes England great.
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.
Imbued with centuries of history and culture, the UK is one of the most rewarding nations to travel around. Explore the length and breadth of Britain on this outstanding tour of the island. Discover ancient attractions, modern cities and wild landscapes from the rugged Rannoch Moor to the inspiring Stonehenge.… see more
14 days from $5,120 ppView tour details >
The Isle of Man is famous for its stunning coastline, superb sandy beaches, spectacular scenery and gentle pace of life. This charming island also boasts some of the most impressive heritage railways found anywhere in the British Isles, not to mention the historic horse-drawn trams.… see more
6 days from $1,310 ppView tour details >
Scenic rail journeys bring to life the history and wild, natural beauty of Yorkshire and Northumbria on this wonderful eight day tour. Follow in Viking and Roman footsteps, visiting historic York, Chester's Roman Fort, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne and the glorious Alnwick Gardens.… see more
8 days from $1,935 ppView tour details >
Discover the very best of Cornwall as we explore this beguiling county. From our base in picturesque Falmouth, we encounter Cornwall's charming harbours and fabled Land's End, we discover the enthralling Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan.… see more
6 days from $1,725 ppView tour details >
Delve into the north of England's past as an industrial powerhouse and understand the mechanisms behind its emergence during the Industrial Revolution. We see Saltaire, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and Beamish - as we paint a picture of England's steam-powered past.… see more
6 days from $1,715 ppView tour details >
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.
Dispel myths of bland English food, and sample some of the best cuisine that the nation has to offer. Because of its multi-cultural heritage, 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 venture further east, and enjoy a delicious Indian curry, from a mild and creamy korma to a blazing hot vindaloo, served with fragrant rice or fluffy, and often homemade, naan bread.
No matter what you eat, wash it down with some locally brewed beer, preferably in a typically English beer garden depending on the weather! England is renowned for its rich variety of beers and ales, deeply rooted in the country's culture and history, and available in many different styles and strengths.
If a full meal is too much, you are also able to indulge in the popular pastime of 'Afternoon tea'. This light repast, usually eaten in the late afternoon, 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.