By JOE JOHNSON
One of the biggest clichés about England is the weather, most outsiders and indeed the majority of inhabitants will cite the predominantly wet, dreary atmosphere that envelops the country for approximately nine months of the year. What is impressive is that despite this, millions upon millions of tourists visit the small island nation every year, arriving in their droves to marvel at the ancient yet cutting edge city of London, the rolling green pastures and hundreds of other tourist attractions like Stonehenge, the Eden Project, Lindisfarne Castle and Old Trafford football stadium, home of Manchester United FC. These are no doubt impressive sites but there is something else, something intangible, magical that draws people from thousands of miles away to England’s fair shores.
It’s often said that British people are rude or ignorant, while some of us may come across like this, I’d like to defend us by saying that we’re merely polite in the extreme, this is why you might encounter an English person who appears to ignore you, they are simply being ultra polite and waiting until they’re directly addressed to speak. The British value order and organisation which is why you will always find impromptu queues, we don’t need to be asked to be civilised.
It is this intrinsic sense of decency and respect for others that means Britain has such an inclusive, democratic and diverse society. One of the first things tourists notice about Britain, particularly in big cities, is how diverse the population is. People of different nationalities, colours and creed live and work alongside one another creating an infectious cultural melting pot that influences everything from music to fashion to food. It is this level of diversity that makes the country such a refreshing, interesting place to visit; fancy some Bangladeshi cuisine in deepest rural Sussex, you got it!
Of course the one thing that makes England stand out from its European cousins and indeed almost ever other country in the world is its illustrious history, but more so the fact that many of the remnants and artefacts from the country’s empirical past remain. Ancient castles dating back hundreds of years are dotted across the landscape, many of them expertly preserved and converted into museums that document this history in an informative and compelling fashion. Influences from more recent historical periods are evident in the residential architecture; do yourself a favour and visit a traditional English public house.
There are so many reasons to love England, and for some tourists, they are enough to lure them into making England their home which leads me finally onto my main point, why do I love England? I’ve lived here all my life and am therefore well placed to comment on its worthiness as a tourist destination, as well as a place to settle. So, what’s my favourite thing about England? It may seem boring since I’ve been harping on about the magic of the place and the hospitality of its inhabitants, but my favourite thing about this country is its size.
I’d describe England as compact rather than small, an apt term when you consider that so much culture and history is compacted into the island nation. Being relatively compact means it’s fairly easy to get from one side of the country to the other. This makes visiting relatives and friends, attending national sports events, commuting to work and generally being able to see different parts of the country far less painful than a country like the U.S, where driving from end to end takes several days.
Of course there are several other more sentimental reasons I love England, I grew up here, went to school here, made friends and studied here, my life is here. Many inhabitants complain about the weather, the over-crowdedness, the government, and the cost of living, and while I’d agree that England isn’t perfect, and I do enjoy getting away from it all now and again, England is my home, I love it and I plan on spending the rest of my life here.
Joe is an English Travel blogger, he takes Spain holidays for the weather but always looks forward to returning to his home country!