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Did you Knows ? UK History Facts and Figures
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» John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, wrote most of his famous book while in jail. He was imprisoned for twelve years for preaching without a license.

» The largest prehistoric monument in England is not Stonehenge but the Avebury Circles nearby. Most of the village of Avebury lies within the circle of stones which dates back to 1800 BC.!
» The phrase "One for the road" - During the middle ages and mediaeval period, the condemned were taken from London city gaols to Tyburn Hill for execution. En route, along what is today’s Oxford Street, the cart stopped and they were allowed one final drink at a country inn situated on the road. The ‘one’ they were drinking was for the road to death

» The mid-2001 United Kingdom population is estimated at 58,836,700.

» The phrase "Pressed for an answer" - Horribly, people used to have heavy weights loaded onto their chests in an effort to squeeze a confession out of them at any interrogation. Quite literally ‘pressed for an answer’.

» The British national anthem originated in a patriotic song first performed in 1745. There is no authorised version – the words used are a matter of tradition.

» King Henry I of England (1068-1135) is supposed to have died from indigestion caused by eating moray eel.King Henry I of England (1068-1135) is supposed to have died from indigestion caused by eating moray eel.

» Built around 2800 B.C., England's Stonehenge was designed to align exactly with the sun's rays on June 21. Stonehenge is the most famous stone circle, or megalith, in existence.

» Stonehenge was built over a period of centuries, from about 2800 B.C. to 1550 B.C.

» The mid-2001 United Kingdom population is estimated at 58,836,700.
» The British national anthem originated in a patriotic song first performed in 1745. There is no authorised version – the words used are a matter of tradition.

» London has over 6000 restaurants

» 16% of the UK’s restaurants are located in London*.

» 'Blighty' is another nickname for Britain. In the first World War, soldiers would pray for a 'blighty'. This was a wound that would get them back to 'Blighty' for treatment. Some people say it's a corruption 0f 'beauty' but more probably it's derived from a Hindu word meaning 'stranger' and picked up by the British while ruling India.

» London boasts 31 Michelin-starred restaurants, more than any other city outside Paris.

» Gordon Ramsay is the only three starred restaurant. There are four two starred restaurants and 25 one-starred restaurants.
» The phrase "Wet your whistle" - Many years ago, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic mugs. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this

» It was believed that an army attacking a castle in the early Middle Ages in Britain could invoke supernatural forces to their aid if they marched anti-clockwise round the castle walls.

» The historic Windsor Castle in Britain has more than its fair share of ghosts, according to the United Kingdom-based Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena. The ghosts include some royal ones, including King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, King Charles I, and King George III ("Mad" King George). King Henry is supposed to haunt the cloisters near the Deanery with ghostly groans and the sound of dragging footsteps.

» There are some 30,000 shops in London. In the 2002 Tourism Awards, Selfridges was voted the visitors favourite store.

» Although England is a country rich in folklore and traditions, it has no definitive national costume. The most well-known folk costumes are those of the Morris dancers.

» The British national anthem originated in a patriotic song first performed in 1745. There is no authorised version – the words used are a matter of tradition.

» London has 200 museums, over 100 theatres, more than 600 cinema screens and 18 wildlife attractions.

» London has 3500 pubs

» London has more than 300 markets - many are known for their funky fashion and exotic produce.

» "Mind your P's and Q's" - In old England ale is/was drunk in pints and quarts. So when customers got unruly, the innkeeper would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down.

» More than 300 languages are spoken in London.

» The streets of London were lit by gaslights for the first time in 1807. Before that, torches were used.

» In 1971 London Bridge was purchased by an American, and shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizone, to be displayed as a tourist attraction. Legend has it that the purchaser thought he was actually buying Tower Bridge.

» London has 1200 hotels, of which 300 have full restaurant facilities

» English playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is indirectly responsible for the presence of starlings in North America. The species did not exist there until, in the 1890's, a wealthy New Yorker named Eugene Scheifflin released 100 birds in the city's Central Park, as part of a project to bring to the United States all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works.

» Mary Anne Nichols, Martha Turner, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were London prostitutes who were murdered and dismembered by the notorious "Jack The Ripper" in the autumn of 1888. The perpetrator of these chilling atrocities was never found, although many theories as to his/her identity persist to this day.

» There are currently no restrictions on the importation of archery equipment into Britain. However, the Offensive Weapons Act prohibits the carrying of such items openly in public.

» Oxford University requires all members upon admission to the Bodleian Library to read aloud a pledge that includes an agreement to not "kindle therein any fire or flame". Regulations also prohibit readers bringing sheep into the library.

» Thieves tried to break into the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, England during November 2000, to steal a priceless collection of diamonds. They failed, and even if they had succeeded they would have quickly realised the diamonds were all fake!

» The most common name for a pub in Britain is The Red Lion - also the name of the pub in the centre of the stone circle at Avebury.

» That England's national drink, tea, was first sold as a medicinal beverage?

» 'Bloody' a much used British curse - This very common swearing word is a shortened form of 'By God's blood'.

» Taxi drivers in London, England, are required to pass a training test based upon the "The Blue Book". Preparation for this test takes between two to four years. Of ten who start, eight or nine drop out before completion.

» The only House in England that the Queen may not enter is the House Of Commons as she is not a commoner.

» The original title of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice was First Impression.

» Both Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day - April 23, 1616.

» Britain’s most popular ‘fast food’ is fish and chips. Fish and chips shops first made an appearance at the end of the 19th century.

» The playwright William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) and the novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) remain two of the most popular and widely known British writers.

» Cockney rhyming slang began in London around the 1850's as a statement of independence felt by those who prided themselves on having been born within the sound of Bow Bells.

» Tea is the most popular drink in Britain – far more popular than coffee.

» Cockneys invented a new dialect – rhyming slang – that has been in use since the mid-19th century. Rhyming slang uses a phrase that rhymes with a word, instead of the word itself – thus ‘stairs’ becomes ‘apples and pears’, ‘phone’ becomes ‘dog and bone' and ‘word’ becomes ‘dicky bird’.

» The phrase "Honeymoon" - It was the accepted practice in Anglo-Saxon England years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink (it was supposed to make the wife fertile and the husband virile). Mead is a honey wine, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the "honeymoon."

» Although it has never actually existed, 221b Baker Street is one of London's most famous addresses. It was, of course, the home of Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Dr Watson.

» Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock people out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial (Dead drunk). They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather round and eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up, hence the custom of holding a ?wake.?
» The collection of antique dog collars at the popular tourist site of Leeds Castle, four miles east of Maidstone in England, spans five centuries and is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world. The collection has more than 100 collars and related exhibits tracing the history of canine neckwear from Medieval times to the present day. Many of the early iron dog collars, studded with fearsome spikes and dating from as far back as the fifteenth century, were designed to protect hunting dogs' throats from attacks from wolves, bears, and wild boar which roamed the early European forests. Other exhibits include the craftsmanship of German and Austrian Baroque leather collars from the seventeenth century, which are decorated with metalwork and velvet.

» Famed British writer Ben Jonson (1573-1637) was buried upright in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner because he died in debt and couldn't afford a proper gravesite.

» The Druids were the "wise men" of the Celts. Historians know almost nothing about them, as their beliefs were esoteric and passed on orally. What is known is that they served the tribes and clans as judges, prophets, soothsayers, and keepers of the collective memory. Druids are typically associated with oak trees.

» Jimi Hendrix, the rock guitarist, died in London on September 18, 1970. The cause of death was drinking a barbiturate and alcohol cocktail.

» The phrase "By hook or by crook" - There are several derivations given. One is that peasants were permitted under the ancient forestry acts only to take from the forests that which they could reach from the edge with their hooks or shepherds crooks. Another version has it that Cromwell vowed to take Waterford in Ireland attacking either via the villages of Hook or Crook.

» Mick Jagger, Britain's overtly sexual rocker, had a very conventional childhood. An excellent and disciplined student, Jagger majored in European history and literature at the prestigious London School of Economics before dropping out to form The Rolling Stones. He was the son of a physical education professor.

» The first person other than royalty to be portrayed on a British stamp was William Shakespeare in 1964.

» Most of us learned in school that the Magna Chart was signed in 1215 by King John. But it was not - the monarch could not write his name. He granted the Magna Charter by placing his seal on it.

» William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets.

» John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, wrote most of his famous book while in jail. He was imprisoned for twelve years for preaching without a license.

» While the world was busy welcoming the arrival of the twentieth century on December 31, 1900, a forceful gale on England's Salisbury Plain blew over one of the ancient monumental stones at Stonehenge.

» While the world was busy welcoming the arrival of the twentieth century on December 31, 1900, a forceful gale on England's Salisbury Plain blew over one of the ancient monumental stones at Stonehenge.

» Built around 2800 B.C., England's Stonehenge was designed to align exactly with the sun's rays on June 21. Stonehenge is the most famous stone circle, or megalith, in existence.

» Stonehenge was built over a period of centuries, from about 2800 B.C. to 1550 B.C.

» Many of the Christmas customs that began in feudal times are still part of contemporary Christmas celebrations. The old custom of hanging mistletoe, for example, dates from the time of the Druids who honoured this plant in their religion and used it in their sacrificial rites

» It was believed that an army attacking a castle in the early Middle Ages in Britain could invoke supernatural forces to their aid if they marched anti-clockwise round the castle walls.

» Henley Regatta was first held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since, except during the two World Wars. In 1851 H.R.H. Prince Albert became the Regatta's first Royal Patron.



The historic Windsor Castle in Britain has more than its fair share of ghosts, according to the United Kingdom-based Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena. The ghosts include some royal ones, including King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, King Charles I, and King George III ("Mad" King George). King Henry is supposed to haunt the cloisters near the Deanery with ghostly groans and the sound of dragging footsteps.

 

 
 
FAVOURITE DAY TOURS
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Cotswolds Connection Day Tour

Cotsolds day Tour from London
 

The Cotswolds, Oxford, Burford, Stow on the Wold, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon


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Stonehenge Special Access Tours

Stonehenge Access Tours
 

Stonehenge Private Access Tours 2012 / 2013 ™Walk amongst the stones & experience the magical atmosphere within the inner circle


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Romans, Royals and Ruins Day Tour

Windsor Castle Tour
 

Royal Windsor Castle, Runnymede. The Georgian City of Bath, Stonehenge and scenic countryside drive using the back roads


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Magical Mystery King Arthur Day Tour

Avebury Stones Guided Tour
 

King Arthur's Country, Isle of Avalon, Glastonbury Tor and Abbey, Chalice Well Gardens, Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle and medieval village.


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Stones, Bones and Saints Day Tour

Salsibury Aveburt Stonehnege Tour
 

Salisbury Cathedral and City, Old Sarum Castle, Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle and medieval village, Chalk Hill figures, Celtic burial mounds


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Bards and Battles Day Tour

Warwick Castle
 

Oxford, Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Ann Hathaway's Cottage, The Cotswolds, Woodstock Village and Warwick Medieval Castle


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Edinburgh / Scotland Sightseeing Tours

Scotland and Edinburgh Tours
 

Full Day Guided Tours of Scotland Departing from Edinburgh want to go. Loch Ness, Glencoe, The Highlands, West Highlands Lochs & Castles


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Rock and Roll Beatles London Tour

Rock and Roll Beatles Day Tour
 

Rock 'n' Roll Tour You're in the greatest rock 'n' roll city in the world. Four decades of rock history is there to be discovered


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Personal Private Guided Sightseeing Tours of London and Britain

Private London Tours
 

We specialise in arranging customised tours to suit your requirements. Our door to door service will take you where ever you want to go.......at the time and pace to suit you.


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Private personalised guided group tours and transport

 

 
     
 
   
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I Just a short note to say thank you so much for a lovely trip. Did the Oxford/Stratford trip with Pauk and Debbie yesterday. It will definately stand out as a memorable moment. I'm actually quite happy with the fact that we got some rain, must be my romantic side, as I saw the real English weather.
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