Useful and entertaining articles about England

Waymark Sign for Heart of England WayThe Heart of England Way is a long-distance pathway that crosses 100 miles of the beautiful scenery of central England, passing southwards through the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.

The walk follows an enjoyable mix of farmland and woodland and along river banks - with little to give away the closeness of the Birmigham city conurbation not far to the west for much of the route.

The walk starts from Milford, a village in Staffordshire a little way south of Stafford on the road towards Rugeley. (Note: this is also near to the Staffordshire Way long distance path).

Read more: Walking the Heart of England Way

Queen Boadicea (aka Queen Boudica) lived in the Norfolk region of England where she was wife to King Prasutagas, head of the Iceni tribe.

Our knowledge of her life and actions is incomplete, but it is accepted that she was a person of royal birth who had two daughters. It is also said that she was fierce looking, with a strident voice and a great mass of red hair.

Following an earlier attempt at rebellion against the Romans by Prasutagus, about 10 years earlier, the Iceni lived a moderately peaceful life. This lasted until King Prusatagas died. It seems he had left a share of the territory to the Romans as his legacy, as a kind of ‘peace offering’.

Read more: Queen Boadicea

Richard Arkwright (1733-1792) did perhaps more than any other single person to transform the face of England and to help usher in the modern world as we know it.

On a basic level he revolutionised the world of cotton weaving in the 18th century, bringing prosperity to a large part of northern England – especially himself. He achieved this by the use of the ’spinning frame’ – an invention which produced stronger cotton more efficiently than the existing ’spinning jenny’, and later through a water-powered variant called the ‘water frame’.

Read more: Richard Arkwright

A remarkable story of courage and human endeavour, the story of the Lynmouth lifeboat incident takes place in 1899. It is of course a true story (originally related in print in ‘An Illustrated History of Lynton and Lynmouth’ by John Travis) and is related here in tribute to the brave men involved.

The story takes place on the north Devon coast, starting on the 12th January 1899.

At that time Jack Crocombe was in charge of the Lynmouth lifeboat. He received a telegram that a large ship was having difficulties just off Porlock, and was in danger of crashing on the coast.

Read more: Lynmouth lifeboat incident

Humorist Dave Barry once wrote that the traditional dishes of England include “Toad in the Hole, Bubble and Squeak, Cock-a-Leekie Soup, Spotted Dick, Bug-in-a-Bucket, Willie One-Polyp, Tonsil-and-Toast, Whack-a-Doodle Johnson, and Fester Pudding.” If you’re familiar with UK food, you already know that only about half of those names are jokingly fabricated, while the other half, despite the distasteful sound, are decidedly real.

The names of British cheeses can also ring strangely in American ears, and there are a lot of them to do the ringing. With over 700 types of cheese being made and sold in the Queen’s land, it can be daunting for a tourist to select one in the first place. With that in mind, here are some of the oddest-sounding British cheeses, and a brief guide to what lies beneath the laughable moniker.

Read more: British cheeses – with unusual and silly names

It was sometime in 1085 that William the Conqueror had the idea of the Domesday Book, an ambitious project to list all the landowners in England – including how much land they owned, what it was used for, and what it was worth.

During the course of the next year or so groups of Royal officers visited each county and held public enquiries to determine the land ownership of that county, with the help of a local ‘jury’ or committee. Remarkably the project was completed in 1086 and covered more than 13000 landowners across the country, an astonishing achiecvement given the technology and information available, and the absence of efficient transport in many parts of the country.

Read more: The Domesday Book

Looking for something a bit different? In reasonable shape? Why not try the C2C cycle route! If you are a keen cyclist, or looking for an excuse to get in shape it could be just the thing for you.

The C2C – Coast to Coast – route runs from western Cumbria, at Whitehaven, to Sunderland on England’s north-east coast and passes through a great deal of beautiful countryside.

Read more: Cycling Coast 2 Coast

Summer is nearly upon us and offers the perfect opportunity to take a weekend break and explore England. The North of England is home to many of most beautiful and interesting destinations that are perfect for weekend breaks. The Peak District, Liverpool, York, Newcastle and the Northumberland National Park all call the north home and illustrate the vast array of unique locations you can find in northern England.

The Peak District is a wonderful escape all year round but as with most places particularly delightful in the spring and summer. Easier walking trails are abundant and bringing a picnic is always a good idea. Activity expeditions are also available so if you fancy rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and gorge scrambling then you should definitely consider this option.

Read more: Weekend Breaks in the north

Many myths and legends find their home in Ancient Greece, where mythology has thrived for centuries. However, England has its very own heritage of myths and legends that includes some of the most well-known and popular legends in the world.

With the recent release of Ridley Scott’s new film, Robin Hood, the passion and interest for true English myths and legends has certainly been revitalised and many of the locations connected with these stories can still be visited today.
As all Robin Hood fans know, the famous outlaw is synonymous with Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. To that extent, visitors are still able to enjoy the pastimes of Robin Hood’s time and try their hand at jousting and of course archery!

Read more: English Myths and Legends

The changing moods of Britain’s diverse landscapes provide a perfect setting for a bicycle tour. Too often people rush to foreign lands without taking time to explore what is right under their noses, so hop on the saddle and try one these four routes. They’re guaranteed to please come rain or shine.

Read more: Britains finest cycling routes

The history of King Arthur is a fine legend, with all the adventure and excitement we could hope for. Kings and battles, magic and great knights, all placed in cliff top castles, far off places and foreign lands.

King Arthur – the story

Sometime around the beginning of the 6th century Prince Pendragon, a mighty soldier, was slain in a battle between the Saxons and the Britons. His brother, Uther Pendragon, took control, aided by the wise Merlin.

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In a tradition dating from 1854 the ‘Dartmoor Letterboxes’ are placed across the moors for walkers to discover.

The first letterbox was actually a bottle, placed by a Dartmoor guide called James Perrott. Visitors to the isolated spot would leave their visiting card inside the bottle as proof that they had been there.

Some of the boxes are easy to find, and accessible from roads, while others are both in accessible places, and hard to find when you get there! The task might be seen as a mix of map-reading and orienteering to find the location, then puzzle solving (or treasure hunting…’take 10 paces north’) to find the
box.

Read more: Dartmoor letterboxes

The Countryside Code was established to help protect the countryside, and to help ensure that the impact of tourism on a region is kept to a minimum.

There are several sections to the Code, that you should keep in mind when exploring the countryside.

Remember that the Countryside Code is there for the benefit of all – those who live and work in the countryside, visitors to the region, and future generations.

Read more: Countryside code

While Dartmoor has to make do with it's famous Dartmoor letterboxes, its northern neighbour Exmoor has something altogether more exciting for you to look out for - the Beast of Exmoor!

The Exmoor Beast is a large cat-like creature, that is said to live in the Exmoor National Park, where it ccasionally kills sheep, and is very occasionally spotted by people.

Perhaps the size of a puma, it is black or dark grey, more than 1.5 metres long, very fast and very quiet. It stalks the moors preying on wildlife and posing risk to all who dare enter.

Read more: Beast of Exmoor

London has long ranked amongst one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in or visit. According to the Daily Telegraph (12 June 2009), visiting London's palaces, the opera or the ballet is twice as expensive as checking out the sights in Washington DC or Amsterdam.

The recent weakening of the pound, however, means that the costs of visiting London are now lower than it has been in years. With an array of tips on how to savour the cultural sights and sounds of London on the cheap, now is the perfect time for the savvy traveller to visit London.

Read more: Cheap London

The Cornish coast has different characteristics to the north and south. To the north, the beaches of the Atlantic tend to be broad and sandy; while to the south (and the English Channel) the beaches are smaller, sometimes pebbly or rocky, and separated by coves and headlands.

One thing you can be sure of in a county with 700 kilometres of coastline and several hundred beaches in Cornwall, and with both the north and south coasts easily accessible - a visit is unlikely to leave you disappointed whatever you are searching for in a beach.

Read more: Cornwall beaches