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Country Profile: England

“Nor, England! did I know till then / What love I bore to thee.” So wrote English Romantic poet William Wordsworth upon leaving his beloved homeland. Wordsworth, quite a walker himself, traversed the stunning, untouched countryside around his Grasmere Vale in the Lake District for inspiration. This lush, green country is brimming with other uplifting locales, from gentle Cotswalds hills to dramatic Cornwall shores.

The pomp and culture of London get all the attention in England. But the true, romantic spirit of the country lives in its most natural and untouched places, kilometres away from the latest news about the royals and the business of Parliament. Here, rolling hills undulate toward soaring mountains and green valleys are dotted with impossibly blue lakes, limestone plateaus end abruptly and plunge to the sea, and moody castles sit pensively on low hillocks. It is little wonder that the rural reaches of England–ideal for walking tours–moved the likes of Wordsworth and Coleridge to pen some of the most beautiful verses in the English language.

This is the England of legend, where the most-married English queen in history, Katherine Parr, outlived her last husband King Henry VIII. It is the England of storybooks, where Beatrix Potter created Peter Rabbit. It is the England of utter charm, where stone, thatched-roof cottages dot the landscape as if torn from one of Potter’s very books. Fortifications linger here from the Stone Age and Iron Age to the Roman Ages and Middle Ages. The breathtaking English countryside spans the centuries, with reminders of its rich past spread over a stirring terrain that makes the heart leap.

Read more about England

View Our England Tours

Country Highlights
  • Walk in the footsteps of Wordsworth at Grasmere Vale.
  • Sample pub life at the end of a rewarding day of hiking England’s countryside.
  • Cross the manmade causeway at low tide to explore St. Michael’s Mount.
  • Hear the crash of the waves below from atop the cliffs at Land’s End.
  • Wander the tidy streets of Bourton-on-the-Water, voted the prettiest village in England.

Why Walk With Us

  • Trust our expertise with 36+ years in active travel.
  • 24/7 support from a local representative.
  • Generous inclusions: all breakfasts, many meals, and luggage transfers.
  • Your departure is always guaranteed.
  • Detailed maps and easy-to-follow route notes ensure that you’ll easily find your way.
  • Past guests and referrals always save.
  • Bring six friends on a guided tour and enjoy special savings, support, and a gift.

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Country Facts

About England:

England was once the seat of the largest empire in history, with one-fifth of the world under its power. Today, it is far more modest geographically, but remains enormously influential in world politics. Though it is officially part of the European Union, it maintains its own currency.

The southern portion of the country comprises low hills and sweeping plains that rise to the rugged Cotswolds in the southwest. To the north, the landscape becomes more mountainous and is dotted with beautiful lakes. Most everywhere outside city limits, a patchwork of various hues of greens and browns define generations-old shires and farmlands. England is a constitutional monarchy overseen by the House of Windsor since 1917 and administered by a parliamentary system. Its capital is London.

English is England’s official language.

Life in England

Shopping and banking hours: Shops and stores are generally open Monday to Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Most department stores and some supermarkets are open all day, every day of the week, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, with some branches open on Saturday mornings.

Meal times: Breakfast (“brekkie”) is served at hotels from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. In restaurants and pubs, lunch is served from noon to 2:00 p.m. and dinner is usually served from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., but it is wise to verify this locally. “Elevenses” is a late-morning coffee or tea break, and afternoon tea is usually taken around 4:00 p.m.

Tipping: In restaurants and pubs, if service is not included (check your bill), it is customary to leave 10 to 20 percent of the total. Taxi drivers receive 10 to 15 percent of the fare. For luggage assistance, a small tip is appropriate, at your discretion.

British public holidays: British public holidays, festivals, or calendars of events may affect your travel planning. Visit the tourist board’s website, and click on “Travel tips,” then “Traveler tips” for a list of public holidays. A list of festivals and an event finder by region is available at

High-quality local cuisine is something many restaurants and pubs in England pride themselves on. Many towns hold farmers’ markets on specific days, and many restaurants use excellent local ingredients. Cuisine ranges from international to local specialties and basic pub fare.

Dinner menus feature seafood, chicken, beef or lamb, and even venison or duck. Desserts can be lavish and imaginative, and often feature local clotted cream (a very dense cream with the consistency of whipped butter). Typical pub lunches are fish and chips, a wide selection of sandwiches (many vegetarian), and of course, a plethora of tasty brews. From local bakeries, you may enjoy baked products such as sausage rolls, pork pies, or Cornish pasties, plus a range of delicious cakes and scones. England has experienced growth in its domestic wine industry, too, such as on the Isle of Anglesey.

The British Isles, lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, have an oceanic climate with cool summers and mild winters. Average daytime temperatures May through October range from the upper 50s to mid-70s. In summer, the prevailing westerly and north-westerly winds have a cooling effect. Although England is known for its rainy weather, most of the rain falls between late October and January. During the drier months, England often enjoys fine weather. The pleasant summer days are long, with daylight lasting until 10:00 p.m.

For up-to-date forecasts, see For historical average temperatures and rainfall, see

U.S. citizens: Passports are required and must be valid for at least three months beyond the dates of travel. Visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days. For more information, see

The United Kingdom uses the pound (GBP). The current exchange rate is 1 USD = 1 GBP. Exchange rates can vary greatly month to month, so we recommend you visit for the latest.

Many businesses in Europe will no longer accept credit cards without PIN numbers (chip and pin cards). Contact your bank or your credit-card company for details on fees and card use when travelling, and to inform them of your travel destination and dates so they do not freeze your accounts when they see charges appear from a foreign country.

We recommend having a variety of payment options readily available to help you start your trip: ATM card(s), credit card(s), some U.S. dollars to exchange, and some pounds in small denominations.

No immunizations are required to enter England. Requirements and recommendations change frequently, so always check directly with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC:; 800-232-4636), a travel clinic, and/or your personal physician for the most current information. Plan ahead for immunizations, as some require administration several months prior to departure.

Electricity: Alternating current of 230V and 50Hz is used in England. Plugs have three flat blades arranged in a triangular formation. For a full listing of electrical outlets worldwide, see If you are bringing your own hair dryer or other electrical device, you will need a travel converter, available at most hardware, travel, or consumer electronic stores. For laptops or an electronic device with a dual voltage switch, you will only need the adapter plug, not the converter.

Phone: The United Kingdom’s country code is “+44.” Cell phone coverage throughout England is extensive, but we cannot guarantee adequate signals on all American phone models or while on walking trails or in remote areas. For more information regarding international phone use, please refer to this blog post.

Internet: Internet access is generally very good in towns and villages; however, all of the hotels used on our tours do not necessarily provide it, or they provide it at an additional cost. Details regarding Wi-Fi availability in each hotel are available in the Itinerary Overview that you’ll receive once you’ve reserved.

The United Kingdom is in the Greenwich Mean Time Zone, Eastern Standard Time plus five hours. For more information on worldwide time zones, see:

A wealth of travel information is available at the national tourist board official sites, and


The majority of international flights arrive at London’s Heathrow Airport ( or Gatwick Airport ( Information on domestic flights is also available through these sites.

International Airports in England

  • Birmingham International Airport
  • Bournemouth Airport
  • Bristol Airportv
  • City of Derry Airport
  • Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield
  • Durham Tees Valley Airport
  • East Midlands Airport
  • Exeter International Airport
  • Leeds/Bradford – Leeds Bradford International Airport
  • Liverpool John Lennon Airport
  • London – London City Airport
  • London – London Gatwick Airport
  • London – London Heathrow Airport
  • London – London Luton Airport
  • London – Southend Airport
  • London – Stansted Airport
  • Manchester – Manchester Airport
  • Newcastle upon Tyne – Newcastle Airport
  • Newquay Cornwall Airport
  • Norwich International Airport
  • Southampton Airport


England’s national train company is You may book your train travel directly with them. Or, if you plan to travel for longer periods, consider Rail Europe, a U.S.-based company that provides schedules, reservations, and ticketing for all European train networks. Their multi-day, -week or -month passes in one country or combinations of countries may be a more economical and convenient choice. For more information, go to or call 800.622.8600.

Other local transportation

In addition to rail and airlines, the United Kingdom also has an extensive bus (or “coach”) network that, for some towns and cities, may be more convenient and affordable than the train. For details, see

Most major car rental agencies are available at airports and train stations. If you rent a car in the United Kingdom, remember to drive on the left side of the road and to pass on the outside right lane. It’s important to keep in mind also when crossing busy city streets! Click here for the official rules of the road.

Taxis are available at all major airports and train stations and can be reserved in advance (your hotel can usually provide assistance). London’s famous black taxis still exist, although they now come in a variety of colors. Black cabs can also be found in most towns and cities throughout Britain. For more information go to, and then to the “Transport” tab.

For additional hints and guidance about travel to England, visit the tourist board’s websites at and


Pub Etiquette

England Pub Etiquette credit Visit England

The 17th-century writer Samuel Pepys famously described the English pub–a term which evolved from “public house” or “place open to the public”–as “the heart of England.” In his day, pubs were places for locals to gather and exchange news and gossip, and a comfortable spot for weary travelers to have a warm meal and bed for the night. Though this mainstay of village life has recently experienced a decline in numbers, much of English social life still revolves around those that remain. And there are many unwritten rules governing pub etiquette that will serve any traveler well.

Simply consider that the pub in one’s village is referred to as one’s “local” and you’ll understand the pride of ownership associated with it. Though pubs are far from unwelcoming, the presence of visitors is noticed. To fit in, it’s best to catch the bartender’s eye without wild gesticulation, respect the invisible line, or queue, and pay immediately in cash for your drinks.

A range of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks is available at a pub. When ordering beer, specify whether you want a pint or a half-pint, and a lager, bitter, or another type of beer. For easy reference, beers served by the bottle are usually displayed on the shelves behind the bar. If the bartender is not too busy, he or she may have time to provide some explanation about local or regional brews.

Pub hours in England are generally Monday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m.-10:30 p.m. However some pubs may have a 24-hour drinking license and be open after 11:00 p.m.

England - 3 Tours Available

Self-Guided Walking

England: The Cornwall Coast

Activity level: Moderate Terrain

6-10 Miles Daily

Tour Only

7 days, 6 nights

From $2,798 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Savor a dinner to remember at Padstow’s renowned Seafood Restaurant, owned by acclaimed chef Rick Stein.
  • Walk along Cornwall’s legendary South West Coast Path on a breathtaking ramble across grassy headlands, stopping to take in seaside bluffs and hidden coves.
  • Follow a cobblestone path accessible only at low tide to the island of St. Michael’s Mount, where an ancient castle and monastery await.
  • Take time to explore the quirky and artistic town of St. Ives, visiting its many galleries and boutiques as you go.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates

2016 & 2017: Departs daily Apr 1 - Oct 31

More Details
Self-Guided Walking

England: The Cotswolds

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

6-12 Miles Daily

Tour Only

7 days, 6 nights

From $1,898 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • Stroll through a bucolic landscape of plowed fields, pastureland, forests, and grassy paths straight out of a fairytale.
  • Stay in quaint country inns and converted manors brimming with English charm and surrounded by beautiful gardens.
  • Connect with locals and soak up the ambiance in historic pubs.
  • Visit the beautifully preserved Sudeley Castle and gardens, where King Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Queen Katherine Parr, is buried.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates

2016 & 2017: Departs daily Apr 1 - Oct 31

More Details
Guided Walking

England: The Lake District

Activity level: Easy to Moderate Terrain

4-6 Miles Daily

Flight + Tour

10 days, 9 nights

From $4,948 USD

per person

Tour Only

7 days, 6 nights

From $4,198 USD

per person

Tour Highlights:
  • The Lake District’s literary legacy comes to life during a tour of William Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount country home, complete with a poetry reading in his gardens.
  • After a delightful afternoon walk along the wooded shores of Lake Derwentwater, ride home aboard a Victorian wood-paneled ferryboat.
  • Enjoy a unique perspective on the region’s past with walks through valleys of ancient copper mines and along paths built by long-forgotten quarrymen.

Have Questions?

Speak with a Travel Expert 800.234.6900

Request a Call
Departure Dates
Flight + Tour Combo


  • May 12
  • Jun 23
  • Sep 15
Tour Only


  • May 14
  • Jun 25
  • Sep 17
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