OMD Travel: England – London & Surrounding Areas

“I am not from the UK or Britain, and I’m certainly not British, I am English and I’m from England”, said the person in the cubicle next to me. I quickly agreed with him not wanting to rile this British, I mean English, guy next to me. Of course I agree with him and have always refereed to England as England, and Scotland as Scotland, and Wales as Wales. I know something of the history of this region although the nuances of specific titles is somewhat foreign to me.

England: A little History


I do know they believe Stonehenge was erected somewhere around 2500 – 3000 B.C. (around the same time as the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt). I also know the Romans had outposts in England, and historical records show various forms of human inhabitants that goes back for thousands of years.

However I also remember that the name England means “Land of Angles” which was named after a Germanic Tribe that settled in the area in the early middle ages. I, of course, was not going to mention this since my colleague was quite irritated at the moment. He certainly did not need to be reminded that, although he may be English, it seems that if you go back far enough we are all related in some way.


As an American, however, I do feel a certain kinship with this region of the world, since England did play a significant role in the development of our modern world and as the saying goes, “the sun never set on the British Empire”. Of course that empire has dissipated since the 1997 return of Hong Kong to China. This does not dilute the fact that England was the first Industrialized Country, and played a significant role in the cultural, legal, and historical growth of many countries around the world.

Not to mention that English is now accepted as the language of default for nearly every intercultural transaction around the world. This does no negate the fact that other countries played a significant and important role in the development of the world today, but to deny the influence of England role in history would do a disservice to modern societies.

Great Sights in London


 Now that our little history lesson is over lets look at some of my favorite areas in England. I would like to begin with the house of Parliament. The house of parliament, also known as Westminster Palace, is one of my favorite Perpendicular Gothic style buildings in the world. The overall architecture, pinnacles, turrets, stone and relief work are truly impressive. The design of the Victoria and Clock Towers are spectacular examples of British ingenuity by combining aesthetical appearance with practical use age.


The Clock Tower holds “Big Ben” the largest bell which chimes the hours. The building serves as the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the heart of the London borough of the City of Westminster, and is a must see for anyone visiting the London area. When in London it is fairly easy to visit the other common sites including the London Bridge, London Eye (a giant ferris wheel), Madame Tussaud’s (amazing wax figures), Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London (which holds the crown jewels a must see if you like jewelry and shiny things) and other attractions.


 There are many good guide books and sites to visit while in London, but after you have traveled around the world a few times all big cities begin to look the same after you have visited the main attractions. Of course the local residents of every big city will argue with you on this point, but the little adage, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is true in the way we view our home. For the rest of this little journey I would like to take a quick overview of some of my favorite out of the “Big City” spots.

Many Great Sights Outside London

One of the most enjoyable experience for me is to sit back, and watch all scenery go by when I travel in England. Pretty much anywhere you go in England you are going to find beautiful green countryside. Sometimes I think every stressed out person in London, or any metropolitan area, should jump on a train, grab a window seat, put on some good music, lean back, relax and just watch the country side roll by. Sometimes it’s good to get out of our environment and learn to enjoy the simple things in life.



 One of my favorite places is about an hour and a half by train ride from London and that’s the lovely little town of Dover. Dover is the quintessential small English town (although it does have a substantial port area and worlds busiest ferry port if you want to go between France and England).

I have spent many hours wandering around the town, enjoying a drink and food at a local pub, or just strolling downtown visiting the local shops. Of course one of the big draws is to take a nice hike along the white cliffs. You are better off taking a cab, which will take you right to the beginning of the hike, if you take a bus you will have to walk a few miles to get to the starting point. However once you get there the short hike to the light house is well worth it.

This area is pretty much a huge chalk deposit (yes the stuff they make school chalk out of).  There are a number of paths to take and the walk to the lighthouse is about an hour or two if you go slow.

Saint Margaret’s

If you don’t want to hike back you can keep going for about 20 minutes and end up in the small town of Saint Margaret’s (at the end of the trail make sure you stop at the old coast guard station and have some food and drink because you will be thirsty). From the top of the hill you can catch a bus back to town, and don’t worry there is only one road that leads up from the beach area where the trail ends.



 A great day trip is to go down to Brighton which is about an hour away. There are many things to do in Brighton, but my favorite would have to be to go down to the boardwalk and after a swim (depending on the season) going to one of the many sidewalk or boardwalk cafe and enjoying some good food and a nice ale or bitter. If you go on the weekends there are always a number of bands to listen to.

Afterward try to take the nice walk back to the train station and spend time enjoying the unique shops and stores in the old town area. I found the greatest three-story guitar store there and spent a few hours playing the various guitars there and it is a dream to go back next time and pick up a new acoustic guitar and a few harmonicas, and go down to the beach for a good jam session.