Visit Great Britain by Mouse
If you can ride mouseback, and we are sure that you can, you will be able to visit on this web site all the places we visited in
the four countries that comprise Great Britain
: 47 in England
, 6 in Scotland
, 2 in Wales
and 1 in Ireland
We have visited England several times, most recently in 2003, when we spent over two months traveling and 2006 when we traveled there
for about four weeks. We enjoyed these trips very much.
The second advantage for us. Travelling in England brought us into direct contact with places familiar to Americans because
they have direct connections to the U.S.A. Historical events that shaped American often began in England. Many places
that we visited were thrilling because they were so familiar.
In studying history and especially literature we have been exposed
to a great deal of Anglo-centered information. Indeed, as New Englanders, we found the names of cities and towns in England
very familiar. We lived in Hartford (spelled as Hertferd in England) which is pretty close to Glastonbury, New London, New Britain
and Bristol, Cheshire, Coventry, and Hampton--just to name a few Connecticut towns with names imported from Britain. And Massachusetts,
just a few miles north, also has many cities and towns named after those in England. The historical significance of some of the places we visited
is discussed in the sections reporting about them.
The church in Boston
where Reverend John Cotton preached and the Pilgrims who settled
the American Boston worshiped.
wharf in Plymouth
, Devon from which they sailed on the Mayflower to the new world.
Shropshire where the inventions necessary to give birth to the industrial were developed.
where the Nazi military code was
broken in WWII well before America entered the war. The
understanding of what the Nazis were planning made it possible for England to win the Battle of Britain
and become the staging area for the D-Day invasion when the US finally entered the war.
where John Washington, a direct ancester of George Washington, preached and where
of arms consisting of stars and stripes still hangs. (See photo
It is quite an impressive list.
Cathedrals and Churches
If France was where the first gothic cathedral was built, England was not far behind. There are many of these
historic and magnificent medieval cathedrals and churches as well as older Norman ones (for a short description of the difference,
go to this link
), and we visited as many of them as time and our routes permitted. As in the other countries you can investigate
on this web site, you can explore the Cathedrals and Churches we visited
, see photos of them, and go to the links we supply to
learn as much about them as you wish.
Of course there are disadvantages, too. One is the expense, especially when the dollar is not doing well at all
against European currencies
, and especially against the pound sterling. Even when the dollar is strong against the Pound, England
is expensive. For example, in 2003, we lunched in a Burger King in London, and spent $14 for what would have been half that
in the US. The prices on items in stores look comparable to prices in the US until you realize that those prices refer to pounds,
not dollars, and a pound then was worth almost two of our dollars.
Other Useful Links
for Great Britain
The second disadvantage is, of course, driving the roads
on the left instead of the right. But that proved not to hamper us very much.
Our last two trips we were in our own American vehicle, with the steering wheel on the left. Ron had no trouble remembering to drive
on the left and to enter roundabouts (rotaries) going left instead of right. He occasionally forgot himself when leaving a parking
lot, but not very many times. And as long as he was in his own vehicle he could judge what space he needed to be able to drive through.
This was not the case when, on a previous trip, we rented a car and he could not judge the car's boundry on the left because the steering
wheel was on the right. We had three minor accidents within the first hour on that trip, all involving unmoveable objects on the left
One thing that is somewhat disappointing is the food, which, deservedly, we think, does not have a great reputation.
In France and Italy we looked forward expectantly to lunch. In Britain, lunch generally is not a thrilling prospect. One of the indigenous
fast food "treats" is the meat pie in various forms--Cornish pasties
, and sausage rolls, for example. These generally are greasy and
do not have much taste. Sandwiches, too, are not very tasty. And everywhere, food in restaurants is pretty expensive by Continental
and US standards. In a Winchester second floor cafeteria Ron had a ham sandwich consisting of two slices of tasteless white bread,
one thin slice of ham and a similar slice of cheese---for four pounds, almost eight dollars. And this cafeteria almost defined
But there plenty of positives that more than compensate. For example, the whole look of the place.
Great Britain is beautiful and clean. In England there is a characteristic look in country areas. The rolling countryside displays
odd sized and shaped fields outlined by green hedge borders. In the Yorkshire area there are moors and large open spaces called dales.
There are almost no billboards on the roads and highways. We almost never saw litter. (A road from Brighton to London was the only
exception to this. There was much litter over about a 5 mile section.) Wherever you drive you encounter small inviting villages with
strange names, like Unthank, Bury St Edmunds, and Pityme. (You can search for amusing names of towns in Britain here
.) The roads are
very good. The motorways are well designed and signed. On entering a roundabout one sees the routes of the different exits in large
white lettering in each lane so you can get into the one that will lead you out onto the correct road. Most of the secondaries are
wide enough two-lane roads on a par with similar roads on the Continent, and in the US, although there are some in Wales
and in Cornwall
are quite narrow, one-lane roads. We have driven some that made us wonder what would happen if we encountered an oncoming car. Somehow
this never happened.
Scotland's countryside also has characteristic looks: Heathered moors with lots of grouse in some areas,
very tall hills and deep valleys in the highlands. Fairly common sights are shaggy long-horn cattle, and sheep looking like white
cotton balls on the green hillsides. One also sees occasional small Roe deer
as one drives along.
Wales' countryside look consists
of craggy, steep wooded hills, with black abandoned slate quarries in the Snowdon area
And, of course, whereever one goes on
the British Isles one is never far from the sea.
Another large positive, at least for us, and one that compensates somewhat for
the high prices, is that the national museums all are free. No tickets to buy, no suggested contribution. And the Brits
really have great museums. We will describe the ones we know and point you to others we have found on the internet.
Advantages of England for American Travelers For Americans, England has two advantages over other countries. First, we speak
almost the same language. That means we can understand radio and television broadcasts, can read the newspapers, and can converse
with the people who live in the country. (Well, perhaps not so well in Glasgow. We found it very difficult to understand
British Personality We found very little to support the stereotype of the reserved English person. Quite the contrary
we found that the British were extremely easy to get along with, extremely courteous, forthcoming, friendly in person and on the road.
If you stand in one place with a map in your hand for more than a minute someone is sure to come over and ask if they can direct
you anywhere. If you are not so sure which way to turn on a road, cars will stop and allow you time to figure it out.