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The question that has most visitors scratching their heads when they come to England is: How can so much fit in such a small space? This country is literally packed cheek by jowl with attractive countryside, charming villages, man-made monuments to the past and a palpable energy derived from its embrace of the modern world. In England, the past and the present sit together in stark contrast and yet with a symmetry that belies the ages. The variation is huge from the Celtic stronghold of Cornwall with its spectacular coastline and picturesque fishing villages, to the lakes and mountains of the Lake District in the north. In between are ...

The question that has most visitors scratching their heads when they come to England is: How can so much fit in such a small space? This country is literally packed cheek by jowl with attractive countryside, charming villages, man-made monuments to the past and a palpable energy derived from its embrace of the modern world. In England, the past and the present sit together in stark contrast and yet with a symmetry that belies the ages. The variation is huge from the Celtic stronghold of Cornwall with its spectacular coastline and picturesque fishing villages, to the lakes and mountains of the Lake District in the north. In between are honey-colored thatch-roofed villages, modern metropolises with a frenzied nightlife, sublime national parks and a peppering of prehistoric ruins revealing a diary of human habitation trailing back into a past shrouded with mystique and legend. England is also the dominant partner in the United Kingdom and this muscle was flexed, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the British empire (which was mainly an English creation) ruled the seven seas and a quarter of the world's population.

Alan Murphy
About the Expert

Alan Murphy is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Britain, Scotland, India and North India. He has been writing and updating travel guidebooks for the past 12 years.

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Now Happening in England

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. The Irish Sea lies north west of England, whilst the Celtic Sea lies to the south west.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Pound Sterling
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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