The islands that make up the United Kingdom probably broke off of the mainland of Europe about 8 millennia ago. Orginally occupied by little-known tribal cultures, some of whom are thought to have built Stonehenge, the island region was invaded by the Celts around 500 BC. These Celtic invaders drove most of the island communities into the areas that now make up the Scottish Highlands and Welsh mountains. In 54 BC, Juluis Caesar set up a ruling government in the southern regions and built roads, towns, and fortresses. During this time, various religions were introduced and agriculture and trade flourished. England–the area of the United Kingdom encompassing the southern and southeastern portion of Great Britain (south from roughly the Cheviot Hills in Scotland and east from roughly the eastern foothills of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales)–is a land slow to transform into the 21st century; still, modern-day England is a far cry from the England of the mid-20th century. The country wants to promote its old-world hertitage with a new-world flavor. More and more, the royal family seems to fade from the public eye, replaced by actors, artists, musicians, and “celebrity” politicians.
Traveling in England
The costs of traveling in England can drain your funds quickly. The more you do, the more it will costs you, so if you are looking for an inexpensive vacation, England (and especially London) may not be the place. Accessing funds in England shouldn’t be any problem, though, as traveler’s checks, ATMs, and credit cards are all widely excepted. England can be extremely expensive and London, in particular, can be a big drain on your funds. While in London you will need to budget at least US$35 per day for basic survival (dorm accommodation, a one-day travel card, and food). Even moderate sightseeing or nightlife can easily add at least another US$25 to this. If you stay in a hotel and eat restaurant meals you could spend more than US$90 per day, without living extravagantly. Once you get out of the city, costs will drop, particularly if you have a transport pass and if you cook your own meals. You’ll still need at least US$30 a day, and if you stay in B&Bs, eat one restaurant meal per day, and don’t skip out on courtesy entry fees, you’ll need about US$65 a day.
Weather in England
Weather in England is something of a local obsession. England’s weather is typically mild and the ever-present rain is usually light. The worst times to visit England, weatherwise, would be between November and February, when the days are shortest and the air temperature is cold. The best times are between April and September, when the weather is warmer and most commercial operations are open. Beware, however, that during these months, England–specifically London–can be overrun with tourists; accomodations should be arranged well in advance, as well as any other reservations for popular tourist events such as festivals, shows, etc.
Population: 50 million
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Square Miles: 50,085 sq mi (129,720 sq km)
Official Language: English
People: Anglo-Saxons, Scots, Welsh, Irish, West Indians, Pakistanis, Indians
Religion: Church of England, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh
Major products/industries: Banking and finance, steel, transport equipment, oil and gas, tourism