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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in england
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England is by far the largest of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (together with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) - both in terms of surface area and population (about 50 million inhabitants out of about 60 million Britons).
Owing to its large size, the regions of England are several, diverse, and further sub-divided practically into a number of historic counties (as well as a patchwork of modern local administrative areas 1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_counties_of_England)). The main recognised regions are (roughly south to north from London):
England has a large number of cities, towns and villages. Those listed below are of greatest interest to the traveler:
England is part of the United Kingdom, which is a constitutional monarchy, with a Queen (or King) as the head of state, and a Prime Minister as the democratically elected head of government. The Prime Minister is not elected as an individual. Instead the leader of the largest party in Parliament is invited to form a government, of which the leader typically becomes the Prime Minister.
Avoid confusing the terms England, UK, Britain and British Isles. Great Britain is the collective name for England, Scotland and Wales.
The British Isles is the collective term for the islands that include Great Britain, Ireland and many other small adjacent islands.
The UK refers to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (but not, of course, the Republic of Ireland).
The government in London contains elected representatives from throughout the UK. Following recent devolution, Scotland and Wales have their own elected parliaments with some law-making and tax-setting powers. England has no national government though and is directly governed by the UK government.
England has numerous airports:
With so much coastline and so many ports, England has extensive shipping links with many countries worldwide. Major ports are Dover, Folkestone, Harwich, Hull, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Liverpool, Ipswich and Newcastle.
England is well serviced by domestic air, land and sea routes.
There are taxi firms everywhere (many are by booking only - find the phone number of the local company and phone ahead), and every town has a bus service.
England has one of the highest densities of railway lines per square mile in the world...but much of it dates back to the early 20th century and as such there can be overcrowding, delays and cancellations. These costs are passed on to the customer - be prepared for expensive tickets. Plan your journey at the National Rail portal (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/).
The speed limit, unless otherwise stated, is 60 mph (approx 95 kmph) on single carriageways and 70 mph (approx. 110 kmph) on dual carriageways. The traditional British 'reserve' doesn't play well on the road, especially in the cities - keep your wits about you. Brown and white roadsigns indicate nearby tourist attractions, and the blue i sign denotes Tourist Information.
England has a huge and diverse range of attractions.
A number of 'umbrella' organisations are devoted to the preservation and public access of both natural and cultural heritage. Membership with them, even on a temporary basis, means priority free access to their properties thereafter - travellers to England seeking to see a large number of sights would do well to join one or more of them:
Although English food is much derided the world over, the country has produced some notable dishes, such as Beef Wellington and the sandwich (named after the Earl of Sandwich who invented the portable meal so he didn't have to leave the gambling table). Above all, the English are great adopters of other countries' cuisines, to the frequent exclusion of "native" options - as an example of this phenomenon, English opinion is currently divided as to whether the most popular dish is lasagna or chicken tikka masala (with the latter probably edging out the competition)....
Typical / traditional English food:
England is home to a huge variety of alcoholic drinks. As well as wines and spirits (mainly imported, but some local), there is lager (light and fizzy), bitter (darker and bitter-tasting), ale (somewhat dark and cloudy) and stout (thick and dark) - local or imported. Bitters and ales are the more "traditional" English drinks.
There are pubs and bars everywhere. You would be hard pressed to find even a village that does not have at least one pub.
Pubs generally close at 23:00, except on Sundays when they close at 22:30. However in most cities and many towns some pubs and bars have extended licences and can therefore stay open later. Also, at public holiday times, many pubs can extend their closing times - especially New Year's Eve.
Tea is widely drunk throughout the country, with milk and, depending on the individual's taste, sugar. There are many popular brands, including PG Tips and Tetley. In tea-rooms, less frequently seen these days, tea is traditionally accompanied by scones and jam or cake or biscuits.
England offers the usual Western assortment of sleeping options including
Currency is Pounds Sterling (GBP). Euros are sometimes accepted as well, but it is best to assume otherwise.
Cr cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard signs are the most widely accepted, though debit cards with the Maestro logo are also taken. American Express cards are taken in less establishments, but most restaurants will accept it.
England has many options for foreign students including language, history, and cultural programs as well as advanced degrees at such well-known universities as Cambridge and Oxford. Most cities have at least one institute of higher learning.
Options for short-term employment include bar tending and waiting tables as well as more specialized work such as in the high tech / computer industry. Visitors from Commonwealth or EU countries will have a much easier time getting a work permit, especially those under 30 as there are several programs.
England is generally a fairly safe place. Pickpockets operate in larger cities, muggings can occur after dark in certain areas, and car theft occurs all over - but if you use your common sense you will be highly unlikely to experience any of these. Violent Crime is a major problem in many cities in England, as is drunkenness and alcohol-fuelled crime.
The local emergency telephone number is 999, however the EU-wide 112 can also be used. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24 hour NHS Direct service on 0845 4647.
Emergencies can be dealt with under the NHS (National Health Service) at any hospital with a Casualty or A & E (Accident & Emergency) department. At A&E be prepared for a wait of up to 4 hours to be seen to if the medical complaint is not serious.
For advice on minor ailments and non-prescription drugs, you can ask a pharmacist (there are many high-street chemists).
Unsurprisingly, most people in England speak English, though with a wide variety of regional accents. Few (indigenous) English people speak a second language, although there are many foreign languages spoken due to the multicultural nature of the country.
The English are in general a very polite and reserved people, and it is considered very bad manners not to say "please" or "thank you". The English say "please" and "thank you" (or "cheers") seemingly all the time. If in doubt, be polite. Unlike in many other European countries and in North America, a "thank you" will not often be greeted with a "you're welcome".
It is said that the English invented queueing, and they become very annoyed by anyone who pushes in front of them in a line (although, being so reserved, they will rarely do anything more than glare and mutter under their breath).
See Contact entry under United Kingdom for national information on telephone, internet and postal services.
See Contact entries under individual cities for local information.