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England Cruises

About England

England’s maritime history is long and far-reaching. It was on these shores that the stars were mapped and the creation of the Prime Meridian allowed explorers to map the world, trade with faraway nations and build empires. The Norman Conquest of 1066 arrived on these shores to change England’s history forever. And D-Day landing craft set sail from this coast to alter the course of a war. From the White Cliffs of Dover to the architecture of Liverpool, from the naval influence of Greenwich to the Napoleonic forts of Portsmouth, England is steeped in a fascinating past.

Today’s England belonged to Celtic tribes before the Romans arrived, led by Julius Caesar, in 55 BC. During the 9th and 10th centuries, Vikings landed on these shores and by 1016 they gained control of the entire region. Famously, William the Conqueror led his troops during the Norman Conquest of 1066, winning England as his own at the Battle of Hastings. The Normans’ profound effects include the drawing of the Magna Carta of 1215, which still protects rights and freedoms. But Norman dominance would not last. The Welsh Tudors held power by the late 15th century.

At the height of the British Empire, London kept watch over about one-quarter of the world’s population, from India to North America. Uprisings and revolutions decreased its holdings, and by the end of World War I, independence movements and a new world order shrank its influence further. Today, England’s sway over the world takes the form of cultural influence, from the literature of William Shakespeare to the timeless sound of the Beatles and the world’s fascination with the British royal family.

England Lifestyle and Culture

England has a reputation for wrapping its state events with much pomp and circumstance. The English hold their royalty in high esteem, and many believe the royal family sets the standards of propriety and decorum, quietly instructing its subjects in proper manners and etiquette.

Underneath the polity and restraint lies a deep passion for great art. England’s literary heritage spans Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, the Romantic poetry of William Wordsworth and the children’s stories of Beatrix Potter. In the music world, bands like the Beatles and the Who elevated rock ’n’ roll to new heights in the same way Ralph Vaughan Williams redefined English folk tunes. And the sensual curves of Henry Moore’s sculptures are exhibited the world over.

The pinnacle of high culture, afternoon tea, was invented in England by a duchess in the 1840s. Sweets and savories, sandwiches and scones accompany the late-afternoon break, once associated with the upper class but now appreciated by all. Beyond tea, English cuisine long had a reputation for blandness. In today’s globally influenced kitchen, English chefs are preparing creative and flavorful dishes, often with inspiration from ethnic cuisine that has found its way to England’s shores, particularly Indian. And you can always be sure to find beloved fish and chips on a menu nearby, served traditionally with vinegar.

England Sights and Landmarks

The major sights of England span the nation’s millennia-long history and embody its rich culture. The nation’s cultural and financial center straddling the Thames, London is home to countless museums, historic architecture and neighborhoods that reflect England’s urban diversity. Browse the collections at the British Museum, featuring holdings from the former British Empire, and the splendid art at the Tate Modern. Marvel at the gilded exterior of Buckingham Palace and absorb the hallowed halls of Westminster Abbey and Parliament. Or explore the neon-splashed square of Piccadilly Circus and the sidewalk markets of Notting Hill.

England’s maritime history is on lavish display. In Greenwich, the borough of London that hugs the Thames, the Old Royal Naval College and its preserved grand halls whisper of the country’s triumphant days at sea and has been hailed for its architectural splendor. On the south coast, Portsmouth also sings of its seafaring past at the D-Day Museum and the Museum of the Royal Navy. The port city of Dover has also been a dramatic point of departure and arrival, with its towering white cliffs.

On the west coast, the city of Liverpool is celebrated as more than the home of the Beatles. It also hosts some of the country’s most spectacular architecture. Its storied waterfront is part of the city’s Maritime Mercantile UNESCO World Heritage Site and the setting for Pier Head’s spectacular trio of palatial buildings known as the “Three Graces.” Liverpool Cathedral, the longest in the world, is also one of the world’s largest church buildings overall. In all, more than 2,500 of Liverpool’s buildings are protected for their historic, architectural and cultural significance.