Britain is the birthplace of Newton, Darwin, Shakespeare and the Beatles; home of the world’s largest foreign exchange market, one of the world’s richest football clubs – Manchester United , the inventor of the hovercraft and the author of the Harry Potter books, J K Rowling. From Scotland to Cornwall, Britain is full of customs and traditions. A lot of them have very long histories. Some are funny and some are strange. But they’re all interesting and are all part of the British way of life.
British customs and traditions are famous all over the world. When people think of Britain they often think of people drinking tea, eating fish and chips and wearing bowler hats, but there is more to Britain than just those things.
Henley Business school is located in Oxfordshire in the South-East of England. It is less than an hour’s drive from Heathrow Airport, within easy access of London and close to many major motorway links. Many current and historic attractions are within easy reach for visitors and include:
The medieval town of Henley is just over a mile away from Henley Business School, where all modern shops, restaurants, theatre’s and pubs can be enjoyed. Henley is a picturesque and compact town situated on the edge of the Chiltern Hills and the banks of the River Thames. It was founded in the 12th century as a river crossing and port for the supply of timber and grain along the river to London. It has a population of 10,000 and supports the many small, attractive villages in the surrounding countryside.
The town is perhaps best known for the annual Royal Regatta, which attracts some of the world´s finest rowers. Other annual events such as the Henley Festival of Music and Arts and Henley Food Festival also attract thousands of people.
Just a few strides from the riverbank is the very heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall and market square, the latter bustling with busy stall-holders and shoppers on market days.
Attractions include the award-winning River and Rowing Museum (where statues of Olympians Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent greet visitors), boat trips, a 15th Century Chantry House, Mill Meadows, the Thames Path and the fourth oldest working theatre in the country. Just a short drive away,attractions such as Stonor Park, Greys Court and Mapledurham House and Watermill can also be visited.
Windsor Castle is the most famous of all castles in England. Still a principal home of the British royal family, the sprawling structure is the largest and oldest residential castle in the world. It has been the site of a royal residence for almost 1,000 years, since the time of William the Conqueror.
William’s fortifications consisted of a wooden structure atop an artificial hill.
Throughout the history of Windsor Castle other monarchs have put their own stamp on the castle, but the round hill and outer walls are still in the same position as in William’s day. Windsor’s strategic position, 20 miles west of London near the banks of the River Thames, made it an important Norman fortress.
King Henry II constructed the first stone building on the site of Windsor Castle in the 1170s. King Edward III, who was born in the castle, demolished most of Henry’s buildings in the 1350s, replacing them with a new “round castle” on the raised earth mound in the center of the castle. Edward’s central keep has survived to this day, though with major alterations.
St. George’s Chapel, the principal church on the grounds and a certain stop on any Windsor Castle tour, was begun during the reign of King Edward IV (1461–1483). The chapel was completed by King Henry VIII (1509–1547), who is buried there along with nine other British monarchs.
Windsor remains a primary residence of the royal family, but much of it is now open to the public. Sights on a Windsor Castle tour include the daily changing of the guard, a more elaborate and exciting affair here than at Buckingham Palace. The public rooms contain a wealth of painting, decorative ceiling designs, and antique furniture. A fire in 1992 destroyed parts of the royal apartments, open to a Windsor Castle tour when the Queen is not in residence, but these have been painstakingly restored. A Windsor Castle tour should include a walk through the Windsor Great Park, a beautifully sculpted garden in the remains of a royal hunting forest.
The Houses of Parliament with Big Ben is the place where laws governing British life are debated and enacted. The building originates from 1840 after a fire destroyed the previous building. The Gothic style was designed by Sir Charles Barry with help from A.W. Pugin. Parliamentary tradition is steeped in pomp, ceremony and splendour. The Queen rides in her State coach to Westminster to open each new session of Parliament, usually in the second week in November.
Tower Bridge – One of the most famous London attractions and just over a hundred years old, the Tower Bridge with its twin drawbridges, or bascules, each weighing about 1,000 tons have been raised more then half a million times since it was built. It takes only 90 seconds for the bascules to be raised with electric motors which replaced the old steam engines. From Tower Bridge you can view HMS Belfast, an 11,500-ton cruiser that opened the bombardment of the Normandy coast on D-Day.
Buckingham Palace – Popularly known as “Buck House”, has served as the Monarch`s permanent London residence since the accession of Queen Victoria. It began its days in 1702 as the Duke of Buckingham`s city residence, built on the site of a notorious brothel, and was sold by the Duke`s son to George III in 1762. The building was refurbished by Nash in the late 1820s for the Prince Regent, and again by Aston Webb in time for George V`s coronation in 1913. It is the largest private house in London – it has more than 660 rooms.
London Eye – Based on the bank of the River Thames near Waterloo Station this is a spectacle well worth a visit. This London attraction will blow your mind away. Basically it is the biggest observation wheel in the world, hence its name. It will, over 30 minutes, make a full circle and thus give you a splendid view of London. It towers 135 meters over the Thames River and weighs 2,100 tonnes. If there are clear skies you will have a 25-mile panoramic view.
Trafalgar Square – Here the statue of Admiral Lord Nelson dominates the square from 167 feet above it. Built to commemorate his naval victory in 1805 it is the focal point of this magnificent area. Trafalgar Square was laid out in 1830 and is a popular venue for political rallies and used to be home to thousands of pigeons. The Mayor of London’s recent ruling banning pigeon food sellers is designed to purge this patch of London of a health hazard. The pigeons don’t seem to realize they’re not welcome and you still find tourists feeding them and taking photos with them.
The Tower of London – Overlooks the river at the eastern boundary of the old city walls. Chiefly famous as a place of imprisonment and execution, it has variously been used as a royal residence, an armoury, a mint, a menagerie, an observatory and – a function it still serves – a safe-deposit box for the Crown Jewels. The Crown Jewels are perhaps the major reason so many visitors flock to the Tower. At least some of the Crown Jewels have been kept in the Tower since 1327, on display since Charles II let the public have a look at them.