The United Kingdom comprises England, Wales, Scotland and Wales, with all four countries using the Pound Sterling (£) as their base currency, but foreign currency can be easily exchanged in banks or some travel agents and supermarkets. A few shops nowadays will accept payment for goods in Euros.
When anyone thinks about their sightseeing holiday in England, the first on their list is usually London - see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace - and perhaps catching a glimpse of the Queen, the Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, Madame Tussards, Houses of Parliament, oh...and shopping in Oxford Street! Also London is home to some marvellous museums and art galleries.
The rolling English countryside is beautiful, especially around the Cotswolds. The quaint little villages with their chocolate box thatched cottages are so typically English.
Stratford Upon Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and set on the banks of the river Avon. Shakespeare's House, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Hall's Croft and Nash's Place are all open to the public. The Royal Shakespeare Company regularly put on performances in the refurbished theatre. Come dine in one of the old Tudor restaurants or on the long boat restaurant cruising down the Avon, walk by the canal, or hire a boat and row up the river towards Charlecote.
Moving further north, the Lake District National Park is a beautiful, tranquil area with over 3500 kilometers of pathways for walking or cycling. The lakes are surrounded by the undulating fells and mountains, the highest of which is Scafell Pike. If you prefer more adventurous activities, this is the place to rock climb or abseil. Gentler activities include window shopping or dining. The local speciality is the Cumberland sausage, made from rough-cut pork, herbs and spices.
Aviemore in the Cairgorms in Scotland is the place to head for in the winter for skiing, and in the summer for walking or mountaineering. As far as anyone knows, the monster is still lurking at the bottom of Loch Ness, but if you want to catch a glimpse of him, visit the Official Loch Ness Exhibition Centre, which will delight adults and children alike. Relax in the Highlands, admire the scenery, discover the flora and fauna. A perfect place to recouperate.
The Snowdonia region of North Wales is also spectacular. Climb the mountains, visit the caves, slate caverns and castles, or try white water rafting. If you're looking for a truly amazing day out, hop aboard the Snowdon Mountain Railway, and when you get to the top, marvel at the wonderful, wonderful views.
Or step back in time and take a trip to the restful villages of Northern Ireland. Breathtaking mountain scenery, rugged coast line, friendly people, great golf courses. Here you can go pony-trekking, canoeing, abseiling, and hill walking. If you visit Peatlands Park in County Armagh, how about trying your hand at 'bog snorkelling'?
In the spring and summer, there is an abundance of wild orchids, bluebells and primroses growing in the hedgerows, and mute and whooper swans and great-crested grebe on the lakes and loughs.
Belfast offers some of the best shopping in the UK, trendy bars and clubs, lovely restaurants, and just to make your holiday complete, pubs with traditional Irish music. This city is possibly the best location from which to explore the rest of Northern Ireland's natural attractions.
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