What Makes Britain So Great?

I recently read Mallory on Travel’s brilliant article ‘What’s So Great About Britain?’ with a huge grin on my face because, all things considered, my homeland really is an amazing place, and what better day to celebrate this fact than on St.George’s Day?

Call it what you like: Britain, Great Britain, The United Kingdom, UK, or the British Isles, our tiny island certainly packs a huge punch.

Anybody else think that this cloud in Wales looks like the United Kingdom?

Here’s my list of what makes Britain truly Great:

Location

With apologies to my US readers, Great Britain sits pretty much in the centre of the world map. While it might not be ideal for good weather, the location of the British Isles is great for travellers, with continental Europe looming on our doorstep, and parts of the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and western Asia all less than a 10 hour flight away—most of the globe is easily accessible on a direct flight. For the more adventurous, it is possible to reach the rest of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia by road or train! Britain is lucky to have a large selection of budget airlines to choose from, making air travel cheaper than ever.

The weather at the airport is typically British but the rest of Europe is only a short flight away!

History & Legends

Who else can boast a king who battled the Pope and his advisors, changing an entire religion to suit his mistress, only to have her executed shortly afterwards? What other country has ever claimed an Empire that spanned a quarter of the entire globe? Or a playwright as well-known as Shakespeare? Where will you hear of a Princess as internationally mourned as our tragic Diana? How many boy bands have taken the world by storm in the way that the Beatles did? Where will you find a bridge as coveted as Tower Bridge? What other nations can claim the ancestry of some of the World’s fiercest invaders: the Romans, the Normans, the Saxons and the Vikings?

Has a Historical figure ever had the powerful impact of William Wallace? Has a legend ever captured the imagination quite like Robin Hood, or King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table? Tolkien’s Middle Earth was forged in the heart of the English countryside long before New Zealand got its hands on it, and Hogwarts exudes the mystique of the Scottish Highlands.

Dramatic scenery

Our Green and Pleasant land boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, if only we had the weather to show it off! Rugged coastline, undulating hills, desolate marshlands, blackened mining towns, landscaped parkland, ancient forests, haunting castles, grand mansions, snow-capped peaks, regency towns, wild moors, and sparkling lakes. We have it all.

Lush green parkland
Ancient buildings
Green and pleasant land
Dramatic coastline

Wimbledon

Wimbledon is the most anticipated tournament on the tennis calendar, and a close inspection of Wimbledon etiquette reveals the last remnants of Victorian ideals and behaviour: a formal dress code of impeccable whites, an expectation of sportsmanlike behaviour, polite clapping, and the finest strawberries served with Pimms, the most exquisite of summer drinks. Yes, Wimbledon is a large two-week Garden Party displaying the best of British behaviour—and that’s why we love it!

'Henman Hill' Wimbledon
Pimms, a British institution!

Food

Much has been said of British food, and most of it negative, but the United Kingdom has the most eclectic fusion of world foods I have ever encountered. Even on a standard pub menu you will find food from around the world. British food is often accused of being bland and stodgy, maybe that is true, but if you are looking for cheap and easy comfort food then you can’t go far wrong with a Full English Brekkie, sausage and mash or a bag of fish and chips!

Battered sausage and chips

Have you visited Great Britain? What was your favourite thing about the country? If you haven’t been would you like to go? Only positive comments please, I’ll be writing a follow-up post highlighting some of the UKs shortcomings later on 🙂

Post Author
Runaway Brit

Comments

15 Comments
  1. posted by
    Iain Mallory
    Apr 23, 2012 Reply

    Nice post and thanks for linking it, Happy St Georges Day, very timely indeed 🙂
    Iain Mallory recently posted..Cologne; The Bridge of Love Locks

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Apr 24, 2012 Reply

      No worries, hope you don’t mind me following up on your post 🙂

  2. posted by
    Ana (Ana Travels)
    Apr 23, 2012 Reply

    Nice roundup! I agree with each point. I raise my Pimm’s cup to Britain!
    I’ve been to the UK several times to visit my in-laws and it never ceases to amaze me. I adore the countryside with its villages, old pubs, lovely old houses and so much history.
    Ana (Ana Travels) recently posted..Spring in Dallas: wildflowers

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Apr 24, 2012 Reply

      Old pubs! I should have included those on my list! There is nothing like a British pub, they’re just not the same anywhere else in the world 🙂

  3. posted by
    Idun
    Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    I have been living in Britain for the past 8 months, and I’ve been here visiting several times before. It’s hard to say what my favourite thing is, but probably the pubs, the history and the nature. York and London are my favourite places here I think, as well as the Scottish highlands.
    Idun recently posted..University of Stirling – The Good Things

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Apr 26, 2012 Reply

      Thanks for the comment. York is a beautiful city, I haven’t been to the Scottish highlands yet but hopefully I’ll get there one day! Whereabouts in Britain do you live?

  4. posted by
    Coco Christopher
    Apr 30, 2012 Reply

    Their scenery, culture, and friendly people. Those were the best I’ve observe on Britain why they are great such as that.

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      May 4, 2012 Reply

      It’s nice to hear somebody call the British friendly, it’s not usually what people say about us!! We have great scenery and such an interesting culture.

  5. posted by
    Sonia
    May 15, 2012 Reply

    They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, the Pimm’s photo says it all!
    Sonia recently posted..Why GetLunched is an awesome idea

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      May 17, 2012 Reply

      I know, isn’t it fantastic. Nowhere else in the world serves a Pimms as good as in Great Britain, if indeed they sell it at all! Thanks for commenting.

  6. posted by
    Jesus von Mekka
    Nov 14, 2015 Reply

    I’m not saying that Britain is bad in anyway but the arguments in the article could be about just any country, just change Wimbeldon to any other local sports event.

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Nov 17, 2015 Reply

      Perhaps, but this was an article about what I love about my home country. Why the negativity?

      • posted by
        Runaway Brit
        Nov 17, 2015 Reply

        Also, did you read the text between the subheadings – you will not find any of the examples given anywhere else in the world?

  7. posted by
    Roddy H
    Apr 22, 2016 Reply

    Wonderful write up Britain is great no doubt about it, the most watched sport in the world is the premiership, the accents, William shakespear,the inventors who shaped the modern world from TV to computers to the World Wide Web thank you GREAT BRITAIN

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Apr 23, 2016 Reply

      Thank you for the comment. So glad you agree, I LOVE Great Britain 😀

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