England is no more than 29km (18mi) from France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. Much of England is flat or low-lying. In the north is a range of limestone hills, known as the Pennines, to the west are the Cumbrian Mountains and the Lake District. South of the Pennines is the heavily populated Midlands, and in the southwest peninsula, known as the West country, is a plateau with granite outcrops, good dairy farming and a rugged coastline. The rest of the country is known as the English Lowlands, a mixture of farmland, low hills, an industrial belt and the massive city of London.
England's national parks cover about 7% of the country and include Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Lake District, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, the New Forest, the Broads and Northumberland. English national parks are not wilderness areas, but they do include Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) - they also tend to be privately owned and provide an antidote to the hectic pace of many cities.
England was once almost entirely covered with woodland, but tree cover is now the second lowest in Europe (after Ireland). Since early this century the government has been planting conifers to reverse this situation, but the pines have turned the soils around them acid and destroyed large areas of ancient peatland. Other common trees include oak, elm, chestnut, lime (not the citrus variety), ash and beech. Although there isn't much tall flora around, you'll see plenty of lovely wildflowers in spring - snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, primroses, buttercups and cowslips all lend a touch of colour to the English countryside. On the moors there are several varieties of flowering heathers.
The red deer is the largest mammal in England, and there are plenty of them (as well as fallow and roe deer) around. Foxes prosper, and if you're lucky you may see a badger or hedgehog. Introduced American grey squirrels are forcing out the smaller local red variety. Rabbits are everywhere, while smaller rodents such as the shrew, harvest mouse and water vole are less common (but frightfully cute). England's only poisonous snake, the adder, is rare and protected. Birdwatching is a popular pastime in Britain, but while the numbers and diversity of coastal bird species do not appear to be in danger, the same cannot be said for other British birds - a number of species that were quite common only 25 years ago are rapidly dwindling because of habitat destruction.
England's climate is mild and damp, with temperatures moderated by the light winds that blow in off its relatively warm seas. Temperatures inland don't get much below freezing in winter (December to February), or much above 30°C (86°F) in summer (June to August). The north is the coldest area; London, the southeast and the West Country are the warmest. Rainfall is greatest in hilly areas and in the West Country. You can expect cloudy weather and light drizzle in any part of England at any time.
England, bound by Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, is the largest of the three political divisions within the island of Great Britain.
129,720 sq km
Anglo-Saxons, Scots, Welsh, Irish, West Indians, Pakistanis, Indians
Church of England, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh.
UK Tourism Expects Influx of ME Travellers Post-Olympics
UK tourism will get a boost from Middle East travellers after the end of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Dubai-based tourism British officials recently said.
Tourism in Great Britain is worth more than AED 655 billion a year and officials expect that the country will receive 30.7 million visitors, which is broadly in line with 2011. During July and August, the UK is expecting around 6 million overseas visitors. 2011 visitor growth from the UAE, specifically, was up 13 per cent over the same time last year, at 240,000 visitors.
“A vast array of late summer deals are attracting UAE families after Games Time, especially with Eid due to fall on 19 August and Emirates schools not resuming until 9 September, leaving visitors with ample time to enjoy a cooler, summer holiday in the UK,” said Carol Maddison, UAE Manager, VisitBritain, the UK’s national tourism board.
From Shakespeare at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre to the glamour of the BBC Proms, where the programme is packed with world-renowned musicians, and the incredible atmosphere at Europe’s largest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, many attractions are available for the UAE family, whether they seek out culture, history or the modern arts.
Visitors who book between 13August and 13 September will be offered a multitude of packages from a varied mix of four- and five-star hotels and extended-stay apartments, like three nights for the price of two with Elite Hotels. Families with children can enjoy free stays for the kids at One Aldwych, conveniently located in Covent Garden, in the middle of London.
UAE professionals can kick back and enjoy some well-deserved time off with The Great Getaway sale at the Hilton Hotels, saving up to 40 per cent on bookings made 30 September and can stay until 30 December at participating hotels across London. Visitors can also book two nights at the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair from 15 August until 15 September and get a third night free.
Should Gulf visitors travel to London during the holy month of Ramadan, they can plan on enjoying Iftar breakfast options at hotels like the Rocco Forte, which will offer a Lebanese style menu, created with Middle Eastern traveller in mind.