I made a new friend in Melbourne this week, he’s a local guy and we were talking about all the places I’d travelled within Australia and Asia. He was astonished to find out how much of the country I had already seen in just nine months, while he has spent his whole life here and barely seen beyond the Southern coast. But as I quickly reminded him, although I have seen so much of the other side of the globe, there is still so much of what lies right on my doorstep at home that I have not yet seen. It seems ridiculous to me to think that I have flown to the other side of the world, to travel extensively through Asia and yet I haven’t even been to Scotland. There are still huge parts of Ireland, Wales and England that I have yet to see, and I haven’t even seen half of Europe. My family have always had a preference for the exotic – for white, sandy beaches, tropical sun and spicy foods – and I think that has passed on to me. I can’t help but dream of long-haul flights to destinations I thought I could only dream of, to imagine sipping cocktails while lying in a hammock that sways in the gentle breeze. But the longer I am away, the more I find myself longing to explore more of my own country – I want to see the counties and beautiful spots I have only heard about before now. I dream of surfing on Cornwall’s stunning beaches, of losing myself in the beauty of the Scottish moors and exploring bustling cities like York and Leeds.
We’re always very cynical of what lies right in front of our eyes – just like we always scoff at the place we come from because how could it possibly compare to these faraway lands? It’s because it’s all we know and whether you’ve travelled the UK or not it’s easy to assume it’s all very alike, especially when you have travel brochures advertising gorgeous Mexican beaches, once-in-a-lifetime safaris on the Serengeti or American road trips. But home can offer an experience you won’t find anywhere else – a chance to be a tourist in your own town. I often do this – coming from the Norfolk coast it’s easy to see the real beauty of the area and growing up I spent pretty much every weekend at the beaches building sandcastles and eating ice cream, or walking in the woodlands near my home. It was a perfect way to grow up and really made me appreciate how lucky I was to live somewhere so natural instead of the concrete surroundings of London. There’s a reason great writers like Shakespeare, Austen and Brontë spend pages and pages describing the beautiful, wild, natural landscape of the UK. It’s time we started to view our homeland through the eyes of these greats, to see the poetry in every rolling field or sky-scraper spotted skyline.
Britain holds so much natural beauty and so much diversity for such a small area of land – trust me when you’ve travelled countries like Australia you realise how tiny England really is. And yet we have such an incredible variety of people, of accents and dialects, personalities and landscapes. Seeing the surprise of other travellers from across the world really highlights the huge differences between the cultures of the north and south of England, let alone the rest of the UK. England has so much to offer in the way of quirky personality that you can really understand why just like all the youth of Britain travel thousands of miles across the world to explore Australia, youths from other nations are keen to head over to the UK to explore, work and live. It’s about time all us natives took the time to really enjoy our country and to see as much of it as possible. Not only is it cheaper than a plane ticket to Thailand, but you’ll get a chance to learn about and experience the different cultures that make up your own country. So many of us, myself included, know so little about our own heritage and history, and have seen so little of our most famous monuments, but now is the time to change all of that. One in particular that I have always wanted to see for myself, is Stonehenge. I feel like it must be such a magical place, surrounded by such mystery, and to witness it for yourself would be an amazing experience particularly at dusk or dawn, which to me are always the most special times of day.
Fancy visiting this incredible prehistoric location? British Tours offer a range of great tours to Stonehenge and several other destinations in the UK and beyond. For those looking to explore the magic of this particular location, there are day tours as well as special access tours that will give you the opportunity to witness this marvel as the sun dances on the horizon at dusk or dawn. The purpose and the construction of this awe-inspiring monument is one of the world’s most enduring mysteries. Why did our ancestors build the circle – as a temple, a burial site, a place of healing, or a calendar? And how did they transport the massive stones weighing up to 50 tonnes from so far away? Arthurian legend has it that the circle was built by Merlin, assisted by giants. Stonehenge tours can be customised to include many other interesting locations like Bath, Salisbury, Winchester, Oxford, Windsor and the Avebury stone circle. Visit the megalithic stone circle surrounding the village of Avebury – lesser known than Stonehenge, this fascinating site’s first stones predate those at Stonehenge by at least 200 years and form the largest stone circle in the world. All of their tours are privately guided by expert London tour guides who will collect you by car or minibus from your London hotel, with all tours available in all foreign languages. Whether you’re on holiday or just want to see the real magic of the UK – check out these tours to see the country from a whole new perspective!
Have you been to Stonehenge – what was your experience like? Where are your favourite UK destinations to visit? What’s your hometown like?
*This was a collaboration with British Tours but all views are my own