The largest and most populous constituent country of the United Kingdom, England occupies most of the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain.
Until recently England was generally thought of as a gentle, fabled land freeze-framed sometime in the ‘30s, home of the post office, country pub and vicarage. It's now better known for vibrant cities with great nightlife and attractions, contrasted with green and pleasant countryside.
With intriguing cities, beautiful countryside, England has something for all tastes. From the essential glories of London, Stratford, Gloucester and York, to the quirky delights of Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester, England’s cities are lively, buzzing places, where a love of nostalgia strains against a spirit of inventiveness.
Enjoy the unrivalled beauty of the Cotswolds and the Dales, but travel the byways of Northumberland, and church-laden Lincolnshire too. With time to spare, escape the tourist trails and wander over peaceful countryside, savour ‘real’ ale at a country pub, visit a traditional town market, or sample England’s ‘new-wave’ wines and a cosmopolitan cuisine that rivals any in the world.
England today is welcoming, friendly, fascinating and fun, where pomp and circumstance balance the often bizarre idiosyncrasies of its people, and a sense of humor is the passport to certain acceptance.
Long gone are the days when Ireland was one of the poorest countries in Europe and its natives fled to all corners of the globe in search of refuge.
Today, it is cool to be Irish and, thanks to the likes of The Corrs, Boyzone and U2, evocative images of Ireland now pervade popular culture across the globe.
The Ireland of the new millennium is a modern, progressive European nation whose ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy is booming, but it is not only Irish eyes that are smiling as more and more tourists discover Ireland for themselves.
Landscape and people are what bring most visitors to Ireland. Once there, few are disappointed by the reality of the stock Irish images - the green, rain-hazed loughs and wild, bluff coastlines, the inspired talent for talk and conversation, the easy pace and rhythms of life. What is perhaps more of a surprise is how much variety this very small land packs into its countryside.
Since March 2004 almost all places of work, including bars, restaurants, cafés etc, in Ireland have been smoke-free. Hotels and Bed&Breakfast are not required by law to be smoke-free, but many are.