Difference between revisions of "England"
Revision as of 00:12, 8 September 2004
England is one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
England's regions are sub-divided into a large number of counties and municipal areas.
There are many towns, villages, and cities in England. The major ones are:
England is part of the United Kingdom, which is a constitutional monarchy, with a Queen (or King) as the head of state, and a Prime Minister as the nation's democratically elected leader.
England has numerous airports:
With so much coastline and so many ports, England has extensive shipping links with many countries worldwide. Major ports are Dover, Folkestone, Hull, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Liverpool, Ipswich and Newcastle.
England is well serviced by domestic air, land and sea routes.
There are taxi firms everywhere (many are by booking only - find the phone number of the local company and phone ahead), and every town has a bus service.
England has one of the highest densities of railway lines per square mile in the world...but much of it dates back to the early 20th century and as such there can be overcrowdning, delays and cancellations. These costs are passed on to the customer - be prepared for expensive tickets. Plan your journey at the National Rail portal.
The speed limit, unless otherwise stated, is 60 mph (approx 95 kmph) on single carriageways and 70 mph (approx. 110 kmph) on dual carriageways. The traditional British 'reserve' doesn't play well on the road, especially in the cities - keep your wits about you. Brown and white roadsigns indicate nearby tourist attractions, and the i sign denotes Tourist Information.
Unsurprisingly, most people in England speak English, though with a wide variety of regional accents. Few (indigenous) English people speak a second language, at least not very well.
Currency is Pounds Sterling (GBP). Euros are sometimes accepted as well, but it is best to assume otherwise.
Although English food is much derided the world over, the country has produced some notable dishes, such as Beef Wellington and the sandwich (named after the Earl of Sandwich who invented the portable meal so he didn't have to leave the gambling table). Officially, however, the most popular food in England is Chicken Tikka Masala...!
Typical/Traditional English food:
England is home to a huge variety of alcoholic drinks. As well as wines and spirits (mainly imported, but some local), there is lager (light and fizzy), bitter (darker and bitter-tasting), ale (somewhat dark and cloudy) and stout (thick and dark) - local or imported. Bitters and ales are the more "traditional" English drinks.
There are pubs and bars everywhere. You would be hard pressed to find even a village that does not have at least one pub.
Pubs generally close at 23:00, except on Sundays when they close at 22:30. However in most cities and many towns some pubs and bars have extended licences and can therefore stay open later. Also, at public holiday times, many pubs can extend their closing times - especially New Year's Eve.
England is generally a fairly safe place. Pickpockets operate in larger cities, muggings can occur after dark in certain areas, and car theft occurs all over - but if you use your common sense you will be highly unlikely to experience any of these.
The local emergency telephone number is 999, however the EU-wide 112 can also be used. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24 hour NHS Direct service on 0845 4647.
Emergencies can be dealt with under the NHS (National Health Service) at any hospital with a Casualty or A & E (Accident & Emergency) department. Be aware that England's NHS is constantly criticised for being poorly equipped and understaffed. Be prepared for a long wait to be seen to if the medical complaint is not serious.
The English are in general a very polite and reserved people, and it is considered very bad manners not to say "please" or "thank you". The English say "please" and "thank you" seemingly all the time. If in doubt, be polite.
It is said that the English invented queueing, and they become very annoyed by anyone who pushes in front of them in a line (although, being so reserved, they will rarely do anything more than glare and mutter under their breath).
See Contact entry under United Kingdom for national information on telephone, internet and postal services.
See Contact entries under individual cities for local information.