Fodor's Great Britain 2000 Expert Advice and Smart Choices, Updated Annually, with a Full-Size Map and Color Planning Section (Fodor's Gold Guides Series)

Fodor's Great Britain 2000 Expert Advice and Smart Choices, Updated Annually, with a Full-Size Map and Color Planning Section (Fodor's Gold Guides Series)

by Fodor's Travel Publications


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679003311
Publisher: Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc.
Publication date: 09/28/1999
Series: Travel Guide Series
Pages: 688
Product dimensions: 5.02(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Destination Great Britain

An afternoon at York's historic Middlethorpe Hall reveals Britain at its most appealing. The house is so stately it must be a mirage, headily perfumed by flowers. A spot of sun emerges, fleetingly, and you half expect to encounter a character out of English literature. The experience is all the finer because you know that wherever you find yourself on this island, you may come upon some other charming grace note just around the next bend. That may be an enchanted castle or a village whose clocks seem to have stopped two centuries ago. Little wonder the atlas marks this realm as Great Britain.


The city of Big Ben is one of the most vibrant places on the planet, thanks to outrageous restaurants created by superstar chefs and stylish boutiques like Jigsaw on New Bond Street. Yet despite the buzz, Europe's largest metropolis remains the bastion of just about everything the British traditionally hold most dear. Have tea at the Savoy, stroll through Kensington Gardens or Hyde Park, ogle the jewels in the Tower of London, or explore the British Museum. As you get to know this fascinating city, the national character begins to reveal itself. Treasure troves like Kensington Palace and Apsley House, once home to the Duke of Wellington, exhibit the national fondness for heroes — after all, this was the duke who defeated Napoléon at Waterloo and gave his name to Wellies, essential foot protection against English downpours. Landmarks like the Dickens House and the Globe Theatre, a replica of Shakespeare's original, recall the English way with words. At the Sherlock Holmes pub, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned detective stories over a pint, you can bend an elbow with the blokes as he did. And the fabled British reserve is on display in front of the Horse Guards, where members of the Queen's Guard keep a stiff upper lip when standing still as statues through drizzle, as well as through the most reassuring — and longest running — show in town. This is not at a theater in the West End or even a performing arts venue such as Royal Albert Hall. It's the pageant that unfurls at 11:20 nearly every day outside Buckingham Palace: the Changing of the Guard. Probably the most photographed shift change in the world, this time-honored ceremony proves that even as London's trends come and go, the essence of the city will endure.

The Thames Valley

The rose-cloaked countryside that flanks this stretch of old father Thames has become something of a weekend destination for sophisticated Londoners. Rarefied social occasions persist here: the annual meeting at Ascot, the world's most famous horse race, and the Henley Royal Regatta, rowing's toniest competition and the occasion for an opulent lawn party that draws thousands. Since the 12th century, spired-and-turreted Oxford has educated the nation's elite. Lewis Carroll invented Alice along Oxford's River Cherwell. The Duke of Marlborough's Blenheim Palace and Windsor, the largest inhabited castle in England and home to eight successive royal houses, are both here. These great houses take the biscuit for splendor, and there are many others nearby; Diana, the late Princess of Wales, is buried at Althorp. But before you assume that these well-groomed riverbanks belong only to the titled and entitled, remember that Western Europe took its boldest step toward democracy here when King John signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215.

Shakespeare Country

With its slow-moving river patrolled regally by swans, Stratford-upon-Avon would be lovely even without the omnipresent reminders of its famous son. But clearly the chief reason to visit this bustling town is to walk in the Bard's footsteps. This might entail strolling across the lawns and among the flower beds in Bancroft Gardens; touring Shakespeare's Birthplace, the half-timbered cottage where Master Will was born in an upstairs room; following a footpath beneath apple and hawthorn trees to Anne Hathaway's Cottage; or applauding the peerless plays in performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. When you move on you will find that the rest of Warwickshire puts on a pretty good show. This is a gentle countryside, a merry old England of thatch-roof cottages, sleepy villages, sun-dappled meadows, and stately country seats. Stratford shares the limelight with landmarks such as Baddesley Clinton and Warwick Castle, whose turrets, towers, and historic turbulence have earned it the moniker "medieval England in stone." Or visit Charlecote Park, home to the Fairfax-Lucy family for 500 years, and let the centuries roll back — Shakespeare reputedly poached some of the family deer back when.


For many centuries the British found it provident to keep the Welsh on the Wales side of the border, and for their part, the Welsh have been happy to stay there. Cardiff is an engaging capital, and the 750 miles of coastline are enjoyably empty, as at Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula, with an occasional seaside resort. The nation's footpath — ribboned mountain heights are magnificent, as in Snowdonia National Park, one of a trio of such preserves. There are medieval castles and a Victorian spa, Llandrindod Wells. And at Blaenau Ffestiniog, vintage trains introduce modern-day invaders to Wales' ageless hills and vales.


The British see the Scots as a race apart, a stubborn and thrifty breed who toss the caber rather than play cricket, don skirts regardless of gender, and value bracing competitions like the Braemar Highland Gathering over the Ascot races. Self-respecting Scots are pleased to accept the compliment. Meanwhile, anyone venturing into this tradition-rich land can't help but admire bustling Victorian-era Glasgow, not to mention refined Edinburgh, whose looming castle, dignified homes, and civilized ways set the standard for urbanity. Beyond the cities, scenic splendor prevails: purple moors, salmon-filled streams, rolling highlands, heathery slopes, and shimmering lakes such as Loch Ness. Baronial castles preside over the Highland hills. Traveling the countryside you'll be unpredictably accompanied by sunshine and showers. Don't complain: they produce the magical rainbows and mists that inspired Scotland's makers of legend.

Table of Contents

Color Section
Destination Great Britain
Great Itineraries
Fodor's Choice
Exploring London
Nightlife and the Arts
Outdoor Activities and Sports
London A to Z
The Southeast
Canterbury to Dover
Along the South Coast: Rye to Glyndebourne
Brighton to Dorking
Masterpieces and Moats: From Tunbridge Wells to Finchcocks
Southeast A to Z
The South
From Winchester to Southampton
Isle of Wight
Salisbury, Stonehenge, and the New Forest
Far from the Madding Crowd: Bournemouth to Lyme Regis
The South A to Z
The West Country
King Arthur Country: From Bristol to Tintagel
The Cornwall Coast: On the Road to Plymouth
Dartmoor, Torbay, and Beyond
The West Country A to Z
The Channel Islands
Channel Islands A to Z
The Thames Valley
Royal Berkshire: Windsor and Environs
"Wind in the Willows" Country: To and From Henley
On the Road to Blenheim Palace
Thames Valley A to Z
Shakespeare Country
In and Around Shakespeare Country
Shakespeare Country A to Z
The Heart of England
Bath and Environs
The Cotswolds
Gloucester, Berkeley, and the Forest of Dean
The Heart of England A to Z
The Welsh Borders
From Birmingham to Hereford
Skirting the "Black Country": From Shrewsbury to Ludlow
Welsh Borders A to Z
North Wales: In the Realm of Snowdonia
Mid-Wales: The Historic Heartland
South Wales: From Cardiff to Cardigan
Wales A to Z
Lancashire and The Peaks
Manchester and Liverpool
The Peak District: On the Road to Chatsworth and Haddon Hall
Lancashire and the Peaks A to Z
The Lake District
The Southern Lakes
Penrith and the Northern Lakes
Lake District A to Z
East Anglia
From Ely to Bury St. Edmunds
Norwich to North Norfolk
Colchester and the Aldeburgh Coast
Beyond the Fens: Lincoln, Boston, and Stamford
East Anglia A to Z
West Yorkshire and Brontë Country
The Yorkshire Dales
York Environs
The North Yorkshire Coast
The North York Moors
Yorkshire A to Z
The Northeast
Durham and Its Environs
Hadrian's Wall Country
The Far Northeast Coast
The Northeast A to Z
Scotland: Edinburgh to the Highlands
The Borders: Sir Walter Scott Country
St. Andrews: The Golfer's Heaven
Aberdeen and Royal Deeside
Inverness and Loch Ness
Scotland A to Z
Background and Essentials
Portraits of Great Britain
Books and Videos
Smart Travel Tips A to Z
About Our Writers

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