Culture encompasses the arts, customs, achievements, hopes and dreams, victories, and losses of a society. Great Britain’s history extends back millennia. You can’t move half a mile without tripping over a place with cultural significance, whether it’s the site of a battle or the source of a nursery rhyme.
The world’s most famous prehistoric monument, Stonehenge, consists of the guardian stones on the outside, thirty feet high and weighing about twenty-five tons. They are thought to have been moved twenty miles. The smaller ‘bluestones’ in the middle weigh four tons each and come from sites 140 miles away in Wales. The structure was constructed over several centuries between 5000 and 4000 years ago. Besides being used for religious purposes, it is an observatory and an engineering miracle.
The association of Tintagel with the Arthurian legend is the doing of an eleventh-century historian, Geoffrey of Monmouth. The castle is also associated with the story of Tristan and Isolde. In the fifth and sixth centuries, the headland was an active trading center. Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother of King Henry III, built the castle in the eleventh century and traded the tin produced by the mines in Cornwall for Mediterranean goods. The ruins of the castle are the focal point in a magnificent panorama, fit for legends.
A chain of rugged hills separates the scenic countryside of Herefordshire from that of Worcestershire. Within the area known as Malvern Hills, walking and cycling trails meander through the mountains and down into the river valleys. The Victorian village of Malvern is famous for its spas. Upton upon Severn, the site of a historic battle during the English civil war, is now a town noted for its festivals and the river’s beauty.
From Hadrian’s Wall to the White Cliffs of Dover, Great Britain is replete with cultural sites. Castles and stone circles, cathedrals, ruined monasteries, and the countryside’s sweeping grandeur are all part of British history and lore. London by itself contains the British Museum, Trafalgar Square, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Parliament, Big Ben, Soho, and even London’s Eye. All have their cultural aspects and are worth a look.