Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales – three countries on one island and several small islands. The United Kingdom (UK) combines Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland with England, Scotland and Wales.
The capital of the UK is London.
There are 69 official cities in the UK – 51 in England, six in Wales, seven in Scotland and five in Northern Ireland. In the UK a city is created by a charter granted by the monarch establishing a municipality as a city – a system first established in the middle ages. UK cities usually have a cathedral.
The longest river in the UK is the Severn (354km) which rises in Wales and flows through England to its estuary in the Bristol Channel.
The highest peak is Ben Nevis in Scotland (1,345 metres).
Poole on the south coast of England is the UK’s largest natural harbour and second largest in the world (Sydney in Australia is the largest).
The Bristol channel on the west coast of England has the UK’s longest tidal reach, 14.5 metres (48ft) and second longest in the world to Canada’s Bay of Fundy. The river Severn has the third highest tidal range in the world, after the Bay of Fundy and Ungava Bay in the Hudson straits. People travel from all over to surf the Severn’s river Bore: a tidal wave that travels along the river.
There are more than 2,500 museums in the UK and many of them are completely free to visit.
THE TRAIN RIDE: Climb more than 700 feet through Snowdonia from the harbour at Porthmadog up to the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog on this famous narrow gauge railway. It’s the oldest independent railway company in the world, founded by an act of Parliament in the 1830s.
The highlands of Southern Snowdonia in North Wales are greener and rounder than those of rocky Snowdon – but they’re still seriously mountainous. Dolgellau’s Cadair Idris and the Aran and Arennig above Bala are lofty outposts, looking down across a landscape of traditional farmland, forest and outstandingly beautiful lakes.
Caernarfon Castle is the most impressive of all the castles built by Edward I and is one of the worlds great medieval fortresses. Set on the banks of the Menai Strait and at the heart of North Wales, Caernarfon.
The Brecon Beacons National Park was established in 1957, the third of the three Welsh parks after Snowdonia in 1951 and the Pembrokeshire Coast in 1952. It stretches from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye in the east, covering 519 square miles (1344 km², 332 100 acres) and encompassing four main regions
Conwy castle, with its eight towers, is one of the most impressive castles in Wales. It overlooks the Conwy estuary and one of the finest examples of a medieval walled town in Europe. The castle, and the adjacent town walls, was built for Edward I between 1283 and 1287. It was the most expensive of a chain of castles that Edward built to subjugate the Welsh.
Harlech Castle is one of the great castles Edward I built to enforce his rule over the Welsh. Situated high upon a rocky outcrop, its seaward side was defended by sheer cliffs, while a deep moat protected the other sides. It was designed by Master James of St George, who personally supervised its construction, ensuring that the vast fortress was completed in just seven years (1283-1290).
Betws-y-coed lies in the Snowdonia National Park, in a avlley where the River Conwy is joined by the River Lledr. It was a major coaching centre betwee Corwen and Capel Curig on the Irish Mail route from London to Holyhead. Later construction of the Betws-y-Coed railway station in 1868 heralded the arrival of the railway line from Llandudno Junction railway station.
The beautiful village of Beddgelert lies within the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales and is deemed to be the ‘lovliest village in Snowdonia’. It is a significant tourist attraction with its picturesque bridge crossing the River Colwyn. It is also the nearest village to the ‘Glaslyn Gorge’ an area of tumiltous river running between steep wooded hills.
Talyllyn Railway is a narrow gauge railway which runs for 7.25 miles from Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwenol near the village of Abergynolwyn. The line was opened in 1866 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn, and was the first narrow gauge railway in Britain authorised by Act of Parliament to carry passengers using steam haulage.
The Great Orme Tramway is a cable-hauled 3ft 6in gauge tramway in Llandudno in North Wales, and is one of only three surviving in the world.The Tramway was built in 1902 to take passengers to the summit of the Great Orme. The view from the summit, 679ft (207m), is spectacular- from Snowdonia and Anglesey, all the way to the Isle of Man, Blackpool and the Lake District
The Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) is a 25-mile (40.2 km) long restored narrow gauge heritage railway in North Wales, operating from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, and passing through a number of popular tourist destinations including Beddgelert and the Aberglaslyn Pass. At Porthmadog it connects with the Ffestiniog Railway and to the short Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
Discover the timeless appeal of our narrow-gauge steam trains – a more leisurely way to travel and the perfect way to savour the grandeur of Snowdonia. Starting at Gilfach Ddu, the journey takes you past the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle, crossing possibly Britain’s shortest river and passing Llanberis’ twin lakes as the train negotiates the extension (opened in 2003) to Llanberis village.
Photo : Llanberis Lake Railway. Author-Mick Knapton.
Majestic Snowdon dominates the glorious, ancient landscape of North Wales. At 3,560ft (1,085m) it is a true mountain and a place of legend – said to be the burial place of the giant ogre Rhita, vanquished by King Arthur. Some believe that Arthur’s Knights still sleep beneath. Let Snowdon Mountain Railway take you on a journey of a lifetime to the rooftop of Wales.
Our railway first opened on 1st May 1911, so visitors during 2011 will be able to help celebrate our Centenary year! On 28th-30th May 2011 we held our Centenary Gala, our biggest Gala ever, reuniting the six Barnes Atlantic locomotives. We offer a nostalgia experience suitable for children of all ages. Most of our visitors begin by enjoying a train ride on what is now Britain’s oldest miniature line.
Photo : Rhyl Minature Railway. Author – AHEMSLTD-commonswiki.
Set in North Wales, high above Colwyn Bay with panoramic views and breathtaking scenery, beautiful gardens are home to our caring conservation zoo. Roam the wooded pathways, relax on the grassy slopes and spend a lovely day learning about many rare and endangered species from Britain and around the world including Snow Leopards, Chimpanzees, Red Pandas and Sumatran Tigers!
Uncovered in 1987 during a scheme to landscape an area of the the Great Orme, the copper mines discovered below the ground represent one of the most astounding archaeological discoveries of recent time. Dating back 4,000 years to the Bronze Age they change our views about the ancient people of Britain and their civilized and structured society 2,000 years before the Roman invasion
Photo : Great_Orme_Copper_Mine_-_geograph.org.uk_-Attribution – Alan Simkins.
Set in one acre of beautifully landscaped gardens with water features and a good selection of plants and trees the model village offers our visitors something unique in north Wales. Following the path through different settings with some models copied from Anglesey landmarks all built to a scale of one twelfth full size including our working model garden railway
“One of the most mysterious and atmospheric stories Wales has to tell – rarely has it been told in more apt surroundings” The Express. Grab a hard hat and join your mysterious hooded boatman. Sail deep underground towards a gushing waterfall and journey across a thousand years, back to the time of King Arthur.
Portmeirion is one of Wales’ premier visitor attractions, welcoming 250,000 visitors every year. With free parking, complimentary guided tours and audio visual show, six cafes and restaurants, half a dozen shops, gardens and beaches it is the perfect day out for all the family
Situated in the foothills of majestic Snowdonia is GreenWood Forest Park, the family adventure park like no other. All the rides and activities at this unique eco-attraction have been designed for fun with a difference – YOU provide the energy! From the famous Green Dragon – the world’s first people-powered rollercoaster – to the therapeutic BareFoot Trail, GreenWood is an all-weather family experience that you’ll never forget
There’s amazing marine life to see at the biggest aquarium in Wales! Will you enter the Seven Sisters Shipwreck, or dare to walk the Shark Pool grids? With over 150 native species, from the familiar to the strange, there’s something for everyone! In the No Bone Zone face to face incredible invertebrates like the cunning Octopus and even Peacocks and slugs from under the sea.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns of Blaenau Ffestiniog is part of a living, working slate mine that has been active since 1836. We have 2 spectacular underground tours to explore the underground world of the Victorian Slate Miner. We take you deep inside the Welsh mountains, but the temperature in the mine is about 54F throughout the year, making the caverns ideal for your family day out come rain or shine.
Photo : the_deep_mine_tour_and_narrow_gauge_railway-slate-llechwedd-caverns-author-the-slate-caverns.
Bodnant Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens in the UK, spanning some 80 acres and is situated above the River Conwy on ground sloping towards the west and looking across the valley towards the Snowdonia range. The Garden has two parts. The upper garden around Bodnant Hall consists of the terraced gardens and informal lawns shaded by trees..
The river Llynfell emerging from a cave at the base of the cliffs at Dan-yr-Ogof farm has always been known. In 1912 Tommy and Jeff Morgan had the courage to explore the cave. They used only candles to light their way and arrows in the sand to find their way back. They discovered a wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites, but they were prevented from penetrating far into the mountain by a lake. Undeterred they returned, this time with coracles
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a navigable aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee in Wrexham in north east Wales. Completed in 1805, it is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain, a Grade I Listed Building and a World Heritage Site. When the bridge was built it linked the villages of Froncysyllte, at the southern end of the bridge in the Cysyllte township of Llangollen parish (from where it takes its name ), and Trevor, at the northern end of the bridge in the Trevor Isaf township of Llangollen parish.
The properties belonging to the National Trust in England include stately homes, Historic houses, Castles, Abbeys, Farms and Museums. Other National Trust sites include coastal areas, forests, rivers and countryside all of which are protected by the National Trust and preserved for future generations. With more than 500 sites there is always a great day out for all ages to enjoy.
As Christmas time comes close there are Christmas Markets in many of the cities, towns and villages around the U.K. Evenings may be cold and dark but these markets bring a little bit of light and warmth with their colourful wooden chalets filled with festive gifts and tasty food and drink.
Here you will find a list of some of the “Christmas Markets” and their dates and opening times.
Discover a wealth of information on travelling by Motorhome, Caravan or Boat when planning your holiday or trip of a lifetime
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