A barking dog never bites
A good beginning makes a good ending
A house is not a home
A prophet is not recognized in his own land
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain is a sovereign country in north-western Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands within the British Isles. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km2). The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952. The United Kingdom’s capital is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. Other than England, the constituent countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers. The union between the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, followed by the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK’s name was adopted in 1927 to reflect the change. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. There are also 14 British Overseas Territories, the last remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world’s landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.
Barnoldswick is a market town and civil parish in the Borough of Pendle in the county of Lancashire, England. It lies near the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Stock Beck, a tributary of the River Ribble, runs through the town, which has a population of 10,752. Barnoldswick and the surrounding areas of West Craven were previously part of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire, but in 1974 local government was reorganised; West Riding County Council and Barnoldswick Urban District Council were abolished and the area transferred to the Borough of Pendle, Lancashire. On the lower slopes of Weets Hill in the Pennines, astride the natural watershed between the Ribble and Aire valleys, Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, lying on the summit level of the canal between Barrowford Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town, 30 miles (48 km) from Leeds, Manchester and Preston.
Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset, England, known for and named after its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Bristol. The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”) c. 60 AD when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known even before then. Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era. Georgian architecture, crafted from Bath stone, includes the Royal Crescent, Circus, Pump Room and Assembly Rooms where Beau Nash and presided over the city’s social life from 1705 until his death in 1761. Many of the streets and squares were laid out by John Wood, the Elder, and in the 18th century the city became fashionable and the population grew. Jane Austen lived in Bath in the early 19th century. Further building was undertaken in the 19th century and following the Bath Blitz in World War II. Bath became part of the county of Avon in 1974, and, following Avon’s abolition in 1996, has been the principal centre of Bath and North East Somerset.
Blackpool is a large town and seaside resort on the north west coast of England. The town is on the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, 15 miles (24 km) west of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester. Throughout the Medieval and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained such until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable in England to travel to the coast in the summer to improve well-being. In 1781, visitors attracted to Blackpool’s 7-mile (11 km) sandy beach were able to use a new private road, built by Thomas Clifton and Sir Henry Hoghton. Stagecoaches began running to Blackpool from Manchester in the same year, and from Halifax in 1782. In the early 19th century, Henry Banks and his son-in-law John Cocker erected new buildings in Blackpool which increased its population from less than 500 in 1801 to over 2,500 in 1851. St John’s Church in Blackpool was consecrated in 1821. Blackpool rose to prominence as a major centre of tourism in England when a railway was built in the 1840s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. The railway made it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach Blackpool, triggering an influx of settlers, such that in 1876 Blackpool was incorporated as a borough, governed by its own town council and aldermen. In 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort with a population of 14,000 and a promenade complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, fish-and-chip shops and theatres. By 1901 the population of Blackpool was 47,000, by which time its place was cemented as “the archetypal British seaside resort”. By 1951 it had grown to 147,000 people.
Belfast meaning ‘mouth of the sand-bank ford’ is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a population of 343,542 as of 2019. Belfast suffered greatly during the violence that accompanied the partition of Ireland, and especially during the more recent conflict known as the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world’s most dangerous cities, with a homicide rate around 31 per 100,000. By the early 19th century, Belfast was a major port. It played an important role in the Industrial Revolution in Ireland, becoming briefly the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname “Linenopolis”. By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was also a key industry; the Harland and Wolff shipyard, which built the RMS Titanic, was the world’s largest shipyard. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation, and the inward migration it brought, made Belfast Northern Ireland’s biggest city. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Belfast became the seat of government for Northern Ireland. Belfast’s status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (locally pronounced carrick-a-reed) is a rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede (from Irish: Carraig a’ Ráid, meaning ‘rock of the casting’) It spans 20 metres (66 ft) and is 30 metres (98 ft) above the rocks below.
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth’s southern shore. Edinburgh is Scotland’s second-most populous city and the seventh-most populous city in the United Kingdom. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the highest courts in Scotland. The city’s Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, philosophy, the sciences and engineering. After London, it is the second-largest financial centre in the United Kingdom, and the city’s historical and cultural attractions have made it the UK’s second-most visited tourist destination, again after London, attracting 4.9 million visits, including 2.4 million from overseas in 2018.
The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant’s Causeway was named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to over 32,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians. In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne. The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During the Napoleonic Wars and World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, which is only 14.3 km (8.9 mi) wide at this naval choke point. It remains strategically important, with half the world’s seaborne trade passing through the strait. Today Gibraltar’s economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services and bunkering.
Highbridge – Burnham-on-sea
Highbridge is a market town on the edge of the Somerset Levels near the mouth of the River Brue. It is in the County of Somerset, and is about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Taunton, the county town of Somerset. It is no longer a market town, the market site is now a housing estate. Highbridge is in the District of Sedgemoor, being about 7 miles (11 km) north of Bridgwater, the district’s administrative centre. Highbridge closely neighbours Burnham-on-Sea, forming part of the combined parish of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge and shares a town council with the resort town.
The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), and its associations with William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets and also with Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin. The Lake District National Park was established in 1951 and covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres. The Lake District is located completely within Cumbria, a county and administrative unit created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. However, it is historically divided between three English counties (Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire), sometimes referred to as the Lakes Counties. The three counties meet at the Three Shire Stone on Wrynose Pass in the southern fells west of Ambleside. All the land in England higher than 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and largest natural lakes in England, Wast Water and Windermere respectively.
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. Its population in 2019 was approximately 498,042, making it the tenth-largest English district by population. Liverpool is on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary and historically lay within the ancient hundred of West Derby in North West England’s county of Lancashire. It became a borough in 1207, a city in 1880, and a county borough independent of Lancashire in 1889. Its growth as a major port was paralleled by the expansion of the city throughout the Industrial Revolution. Along with general cargo, freight, and raw materials such as coal and cotton, merchants were involved in the slave trade. In the 19th century, Liverpool was a major port of departure for English and Irish emigrants to North America. It was also home to both the Cunard and White Star Lines, and was the port of registry of the ocean liners RMS Titanic, RMS Lusitania, RMS Queen Mary, and RMS Olympic. In 2019, Liverpool was ranked fifth on the list of the most visited UK cities. It is noted for its culture, architecture, and transport links. The city is closely associated with the arts, especially music; the popularity of the Beatles, who are widely regarded as the most influential musical group in history, cemented the city’s status as a tourist destination. Since then, Liverpool has continued to produce many notable musicians and record labels—musicians from the city have produced 56 No. 1 hit singles, more than any other city in the world. It also has a long-standing reputation as the origin of various actors and actresses, artists, athletes, comedians, journalists, novelists, and poets. The city has the second-highest number of art galleries, national museums, listed buildings, and listed parks in the UK. It is also home to the oldest black community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe. Natives of Liverpool (and occasionally longtime residents) are formally referred to as “Liverpudlians” but are more often called “Scousers”, a reference to the form of stew made popular by sailors in the city, which also became the most common name for the local accent and dialect.
London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millennia, and was originally called Londinium, which was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London’s ancient core and financial centre—an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile—retains boundaries that closely follow its medieval limits. The adjacent City of Westminster has for centuries been the location of much of the national government. Thirty-one additional boroughs north and south of the river also comprise modern London. The London region is governed by the mayor of London and the London Assembly. London is one of the world’s most important global cities. It exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transportation. It is one of the largest financial centres in the world and in 2019, London had the second highest number of ultra high-net-worth individuals in Europe, after Paris. And in 2020, London had the second-highest number of billionaires of any city in Europe, after Moscow. London’s universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe, and London is home to highly ranked institutions such as Imperial College London in natural and applied sciences, the London School of Economics and social sciences, as well as the comprehensive University College London. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2018 municipal population (corresponding to Greater London) was roughly 9 million, which made it the third-most populous city in Europe.
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. Although historically and traditionally a part of Lancashire, areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated into Manchester in the 20th century. The first to be included, Wythenshawe, was added to the city in 1931. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand “at an astonishing rate” around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester’s unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world’s first industrialised city. Manchester achieved city status in 1853. The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and directly linking the city to the Irish Sea, 36 miles (58 km) to the west. Its fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration. Following successful redevelopment after the IRA bombing, Manchester was the host city for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, England. Part of the East Midlands region, it is 128 miles (206 km) north of London and 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Birmingham. Nottingham has links to the legend of Robin Hood and to the lace-making, bicycle (notably Raleigh bikes) and tobacco industries. It was granted its city charter in 1897, as part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Nottingham is a tourist destination; in 2018, the city received the second highest number of overnight visitors in the Midlands and the highest number in the East Midlands.
Stratford upon Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon commonly known as just Stratford, is a market town and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon district, in the county of Warwickshire, England. It is situated on the River Avon, 91 miles (146 km) north-west of London, 22 miles (35 km) south-east of Birmingham and 8 miles (13 km) south-west of Warwick. Stratford was originally inhabited by Anglo-Saxons and remained a village before the lord of the manor, John of Coutances, set out plans to develop it into a town in 1196. In that same year, Stratford was granted a charter from King Richard I to hold a weekly market in the town, giving it its status as a market town. As a result, Stratford experienced an increase in trade and commerce as well as urban expansion. The town is a popular tourist destination owing to its status as the birthplace and gravesite of playwright and poet William Shakespeare.
Preston is a city on the north bank of the River Ribble. The city is the administrative centre of Lancashire, England, The City of Preston local government district obtained city status in 2002, becoming England’s 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Preston and its surrounding area have provided evidence of ancient Roman activity, largely in the form of a Roman road which led to a camp at Walton-le-Dale. The Angles established Preston; its name is derived from the Old English meaning “priest’s settlement” and in the Domesday Book is recorded as “Prestune”. In the Middle Ages, Preston was a parish and township in the hundred of Amounderness and was granted a Guild Merchant charter in 1179, giving it the status of a market town. Textiles have been produced since the mid-13th century when locally produced wool was woven in people’s houses. Flemish weavers who settled in the area in the 14th century helped develop the industry. In the early-18th century, Edmund Calamy described Preston as “a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston”. Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, was born in the town. The most rapid period of growth and development coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing. Preston was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, becoming a densely populated engineering centre, with large industrial plants. The town’s textile sector fell into terminal decline from the mid-20th century and Preston has subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing issues.
York is a cathedral city and unitary authority area, at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, in England. The city has long-standing buildings and structures, such as a minster, castle and ancient city walls. The city is the head settlement of historic Yorkshire and was its own county corporate. City of York Council is a unitary authority responsible for providing all local services and facilities throughout the city and rural areas around the outside of the old city boundaries. The city is also included in North Yorkshire and Leeds city region. The city was founded by the Romans as Eboracum in 71 AD. It became the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and later of the kingdoms of Deira, Northumbria and Jórvík. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained. In the 19th century, York became a major hub of the railway network and a confectionery manufacturing centre, a status it maintained well into the 20th century. During the Second World War, York was bombed as part of the Baedeker Blitz. Although less affected by bombing than other northern cities, several historic buildings were gutted and restoration efforts continued into the 1960s.