United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is made up of four countries, namely, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is an island nation in northwestern Europe. 

Capital City:

London

Currency:

Pound Sterling

Total population:

67.2 million (2020)

Language(s) spoken:

English, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish

Cultural dos:

Carry an umbrella always. British weather is unpredictable, stay prepared

Cultural don’ts

Don’t make the “V” or “peace” sign with the inside of your hand facing you. It’s considered rude. Rather turn your hand and have the outside of your hand facing you when you make the sign

Continent:

Europe

Three foods you need to try in this country:

 
  • Toad in the hole (sausages in pudding batter often served with gravy)
  • Haggis (sheep’s stomach stuffed with sheep’s heart, liver, lungs, onions, oatmeal, spices and some stock)
  • Sunday Roast with all the trimmings

Bonus

  • Earl Grey Tea
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding
  • Bread and Butter Pudding
  • Fish and chips
  • Cottage pie
  • English Breakfast

What the country is known for :

  • Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral
  • The Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia National Park, The Lake District
  • British History and the Royal Family
  • The English Premier League
  • The Beattles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen
  • Harry Potter
  • Shakespeare 
  • The West End
  • Brexit

More About United Kingdom

I first visited the UK in 2003 and then subsequently moved there to live in 2005. I did not have a choice when I moved there. The transition was a little easier for me because Zimbabwe was colonised by the British and therefore a lot of the structures, education system and language were things I was already familiar with. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries, namely Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. I have had the privilege of visiting each of them, with the exception of Northern Ireland. Each of the countries has a unique history and culture as well as their own language and dialect. Although all countries use the pound sterling, they have their own version. Don’t worry you can still use the same money across all four countries. 

The UK is absolutely packed and can meet any traveller’s needs and interests. From beautiful landscapes, to learning about history for the local countries and also its impact on the rest of the world, sport, adventure activities, water sports, outdoor activities and so much happening on the creative scene. Britain colonised a number of countries in the past which now form the Common Wealth. People from the former colonies have also moved to the UK and brought elements from their home culture with them, leading to a very culturally diverse country, which makes for a very colourful and unique experience for every visitor. 

England: London is the capital of England, a sprawling metropolis drawing people from all over the world. Its architecture is striking at every turn as old and new buildings blend seamlessly. London is home to the iconic The London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Visitors can also enjoy concerts at Wembley Arena, theatre showings in the West End or just relax in Hyde Park. Across England there are different centres to interest visitors of different tastes. Peak district or Lake district for the nature lovers, visit to Oxford or Cambridge for the education and history enthusiasts, Warwickshire for the literary enthusiasts. In addition there are places like Stone Henge, the Cotswolds, Bournemouth, Brighton and Devon that draw people during the summer season. 

Scotland: Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, home to Edinburgh Castle, the Fringe Festival every August (celebrating the creative arts) as well as Hogmanay,  a vibrant  new year street party. There are multiple museums and galleries to learn more about Scottish history and culture such as the National Museums, National Galleries or the War Museum. The architecture varies based on the region. Since Scotland was involved in a number of battles or wars in history, one can explore the several abandoned castles and forts across the country and who inhabited them. The country is also sprawling with lochs (lakes), rivers, rolling hills and never ending castles with folklore tales galore about different places in the country. Some places of note to visit in Scotland include Inverness, Loch Lomond, Ben Nevis, Stirling and Loch Ness. There are a few great walks in Scotland which provide a feast for the eyes at every turn. 

Wales: Cardiff is the capital of Wales, home to Cardiff Castle, Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle. Filled with various galleries and museums to reflect the history and culture of the Welsh, such as National Museum Cardiff, Museum of Cardiff and St Fagan’s National Museum of History. Wales has hundreds of castles, national parks, steam trains and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The country has beautiful beaches, amazing landscapes and some of the friendliest people you may ever come across. Some notable places to visit in Wales include Snowdonia National Park, Mount Snowdon, Gower Peninsular Beaches (Rhosilli Bay), Caerbarfon Castle, Conwy and Conwy Castle as well as Pembrokeshire National Park. The quaint village towns are also very attractive, with markets selling fresh local produce. There are lots of farms in Wales, and amazing camping grounds to wake up to the sounds of nature and have gorgeous views of rolling hills and dotted sheep at a distance. 

Northern Ireland: As I have not yet visited, I will hold on on providing a summary on this country. 

It’s difficult for me to summarise British Food because there is so much of it. Also, having lived in the UK I recognise the challenge in describing what is now defined as British food since one of Britain’s favourite dish is a curry. Go figure. I recommend you try as much of it as possible, particularly if you are able to visit during the summer season where there are markets, food pop-ups, outdoor festivals and bbqs all over the country. Also, the UK has so many offerings for fine dining with chefs from the UK and other parts of the world choosing to share their culinary artistry with the British visitors and residents alike.

Places visited

Destination Gallery

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