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The national symbols of England are flags, icons or cultural expressions that are emblematic, representative or otherwise characteristic

of England or English culture. As a rule, these national symbols are cultural icons that have emerged out of English folklore and tradition, meaning few have any official status. However, most if not all maintain recognition at a national or international level, and some, such as the Royal Arms of England, have been codified in heraldry, and are established, official and recognised symbols of England.

Flags [edit]
Main article: List of English flags The national flag of England, known as St. George's Cross, has been England's national flag since the 13th century. Originally the flag was used by the maritime state the Republic of Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to theDoge of Genoa from 1190 onwards, so that English ships could fly the flag as a means of protection when entering the Mediterranean. A red cross acted as a symbol for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became associated with Saint George, along with countries and cities, which claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner.
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Since

1606 the St George's Cross has formed part of the design of the Union Flag, a Pan-British flag designed by King James I.

The Royal Banner of England (also known as the Banner of the Royal Arms, the Banner of the King [5][6] [4] of England, or by the misnomer of the Royal Standard of England. ) is the English banner of arms, that features the Royal Arms of England. This Royal Banner differs from England's national flag, St George's Cross, in that it does not represent any particular area or land, but rather symbolises the [7] sovereignty vested in the rulers thereof.

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Heraldry [edit]
Main article: English heraldry
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The Royal Arms of England is a coat of arms symbolising England and the English [9] monarchs. Designed in the High Middle Ages, the Royal Arms was subject to significant alteration as the territory, politics and rule of the Kingdom of England shifted throughout the Middle Ages. However, the enduring blazon, or technical description, is "Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed [7][10] and langued Azure", meaning three horizontally positioned identical gold lions facing the observer, with blue tongues and claws, on a deep red background. Although officially subsumed into the heraldry of the British Royal Family in 1707, the historic Royal Arms featuring three lions continues to represent England on several coins of the pound sterling, forms the basis of several emblems of English national sports teams (such as the England national football team),
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and endures as one of the most recognisable national symbols of England.

The Tudor rose, which takes its name from the Tudor dynasty, was adopted as a national emblem of [13] England around the time of the Wars of the Roses as a symbol of peace. It is a syncretic symbol in that it merged the white rose of the Yorkists and the red rose of the Lancastrianscadet branches of thePlantagenets who went to war over control of the royal house. It is also known as the Rose of [14] England. St Edward's Crown was one of the English Crown Jewels and remains one of the senior British Crown Jewels, being the official coronation crown used in thecoronation of first English, then British, and finally Commonwealth realms monarchs. As such, two-dimensional representations of the crown are used in coats of arms, badges, and various other insignia throughout the Commonwealth realms to [15] indicate the authority of the reigning sovereign.

Flora and fauna [edit]

The Lion is a national animal of England. Lion was the nickname of England's medieval warrior rulers [16] with a reputation for bravery, such as Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart. Lions are frequently depicted in English heraldry, either as a device on shields themselves, or as supporters. They also appear in sculpture, and sites of national importance, such as Trafalgar Square. The lion is [15] used as a symbol of English sporting teams, such as the England national cricket team.

The rose is the national flower of England. It is usually red, and is used, for instance, in the emblems of the English Golf Union and England national rugby union team.

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The oak is the national tree of England, representing strength and endurance. The Royal Oak and Oak Apple Day commemorate the escape of King Charles II from the grasps of the parliamentarians after his father's execution; he hid in an oak tree to avoid detection before making it safely into exile. The Major Oak is an 8001000 year old oak in Sherwood Forest, famed as the alleged principal hideout of Robin Hood.

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Food and drink [edit]


Main article: English cuisine

Fish and chips is a widely consumed part of English cuisine, and is symbolic of England.

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Tea is symbolic of England. In 2006, a government sponsored survey confirmed that a cup of tea [17] constituted a national symbol of England.

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People [edit]
See also: English folklore

Saint George is the patron saint of England.

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Alfred the Great was King of Wessex, becoming the dominant ruler in England.

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Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore.

Icons, symbols and institutions

There are certain icons and institutions which even the British themselves consider as "British." This is just a selection of those things which spring to mind whenever one hears the word "British."

The BULLDOG symbolises the very essence of Britishness. He is solid, reliable, unshakeably loyal, very individual, VERY nice when you get to know him - and kind of cute in his own funny little way! He also bears a startling resemblance to Winston Churchill, Britain's great wartime leader whose memory is still held in great esteem by the majority of the British.

The Americans have Uncle Sam, we have JOHN BULL. He is a fictional character, used to personify the British nation, and is always depicted as an elderly gentleman, rather portly in build, wearing full riding kit complete with breeches and boots, and a Union Jack waistcoat. He was created by John Arbuthnot (1667-1735) a Scottish author, scientist, and physician who wrote five satirical pamphlets in 1712 on the politics of the day, using John Bull as the typical Englishman. The character obviously struck a chord and he has persisted ever since : the picture on the left comes from a 1916 British Army recruiting poster.

A BRITISH LION is really a member of a Rugby Football team (a very GOOD one, though) - the Lion is the emblem of England. It is actually a "lion passant gardant" - a walking lion, looking out at you full face, and was first used by Rollo, Duke of Normandy (father of William the Conqueror, who added the second lion.) The third was added by Henry II, and Henry VIII added a crown to the lion. In heraldry, the lion stands for "deathless courage" and the lion passant gardant for "resolution and prudence" The Scots also have a lion as their heraldic emblem: theirs is a red lion rampant (standing on its hind legs, looking straight forward.)

BRITANNIA is the personification of British nationalism. She is portrayed as a young woman in a neoclassical gown and helmet, seated by the sea ("Britannia Rules the Waves.") She is holding a trident in one hand and a shield, decorated with the Union flag, in the other. The Romans called their newly-conquered province, just across the sea from Gaul, Britannia, and the coinage of the day featured the image of a woman in armour. This image was not used on coins again until the reign of King Charles II, and Britannia became a popular figure in 1707 when Scotland, Wales and England were finally united to form Great Britain. She was immortalised in 1740 when James Thompson wrote the words of "Rule Britannia" and set it to music by Thomas Arne. It was performed on the London stage where it immediately captured the public imagination. The song "Rule Britannia" is still sung every year on the last night of the "Proms" - the Promenade Concerts held in the Royal Albert Hall in London - when the whole audience joins in a burst of nationalistic fervour and flag-waving, invariably drowning out the soloist who is supposed to be doing the singing! Britannia has continued to feature on British coins since her reintroduction, mostly on copper (penny and halfpenny) coins but occasionally on silver, and at present is to be seen on the 50p coin. The BOWLER HAT conjures up an instant image of Britishness. Originally designed in 1850 by Lock's the hatters for William Coke II, later the Earl of Leicester, it was actually MADE by the hat maker William Bowler. It was first called the "Coke" but soon became known as a "Bowler," partly because of its maker but also because of its bowl-like shape. The bowler hat became the trademark of several well-known Englishmen : Charlie Chaplin (born in London), Stan Laurel (from Ulverston) and more recently John Steed, the archetypal Gentleman Spy of The Avengers fame (left, played by Patrick McNee). Goldfinger's sidekick Oddjob used a bowler hat to devastating effect, and you will still see bowler hats being worn on the streets of London today as they form part of the unofficial "uniform" of the city gent, always accessorised with a rolled black umbrella. CRICKET - and I don't mean the commercialised, multicoloured specially-for-TV spectacle that masquerades under that name but the REAL game. There is no "British" national team, the team that competes with the other great cricketing nations of Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, India and the West Indies is England. At a more local level, cricket has county teams, works, club, village and even school teams, and families play their own versions of the game on playing fields and beaches every summer. Cricket is a leisurely game: Test matches (internationals) take up to five days, and three or two-day matches are usual at the higher levels of play. Even a village cricket match may take all day, and on a fine, sunny Sunday, village greens and cricket pitches around the country will see families picnicking on the grass around the boundary whilst watching the match in play.

The British BOBBY is one of our most cherished icons, called after the founder of the modern police force, Sir Robert Peel. The local policemen may also be known as the "Plod" after the delightful policeman character Mr. Plod in Enid Blyton's "Noddy" stories, or as a "copper," from his habit of "copping" (seeing what they are up to and catching) wrongdoers. Our policemen are not routinely armed and there is considerable public support for it remaining that way; the British have a natural aversion to the everyday use of guns, and still yearn for the days when the local Bobby could dispense summary justice to misbehaving juveniles with a swift clout as soon as he caught them.

TEA is most definitely Britain's national drink, and it is difficult to get a decent cuppa anywhere else in the world! Tea drinking is not just a means of refreshment, it is also a social ritual and any hostess (or host) will put the kettle on immediately after greeting visitors. To make a proper cup of tea, you need a china or earthenware teapot; fill the kettle with freshly-drawn water and bring it to the boil. WARM THE POT by pouring in some of the boiling water, swishing it around then emptying it again. Purists will insist on loose tea but good quality teabags are acceptable - the traditional "one for each person and one for the pot" will produce rather a strong brew! I prefer mine a bit less violent - about 3 spoons (or bags) between four. Bring the water back to boil and pour it onto the tea immediately. Leave the tea to brew/mash/stand - it depends on where you live - for about five minutes. Gently give it a stir and leave for another minute for the tea leaves to settle again, then pour it out - but put the milk in the cup first! If you use loose tea, you might want to use a teastrainer ( a sort of mini-sieve designed for just that purpose.) Add sugar to taste, and drink and enjoy! There is a delightful website all about tea drinking called R.S.V.P. - it's well worth a visit (but don't forget to come back here!)

A FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST (usually abbreviated to simply "Full English") is an excellent way to start the day, if you have time to cook one (or someone to cook it for you!) and time to sit down and eat it! A REAL Full English consists of several courses and in country houses used to be set out as a hot buffet for guests to help themselves as and when they got up. Nowadays the only time most people eat a FULL English breakfast is on Sundays and on holiday when they can spend a more leisurely morning - such a meal needs time to "go down" and digest. Either kippers or porridge will start the meal - kippers are smoked herring, and will be served poached or grilled, with brown bread and butter; porridge (oatmeal) can be eaten with brown sugar and cream or milk (although Scotsmen will tell you that only salt is correct.) After this "starter" comes the main course : bacon, eggs (fried or scrambled), sausages, black pudding if you're in the north, grilled or fried tomatoes, maybe kidneys and possibly a slice or two of fried bread. In the past, kedgeree (a sort of risotto with rice, smoked fish and hard-boiled eggs, a relic of the British Raj) would also have been offered, but this is unusual nowadays. Regional variations occur - in south Wales you are likely to be offered Laver Bread, a concoction of oatmeal and seaweed which tastes better than it sounds. Finally, if you have any room left, toast and marmalade will finish off the meal, all washed down with copious quantities of tea.

ENGLISH PUBS pop up in all sorts of places, but if they're not in England they're not English pubs! There is an alarming trend towards "modernisation" and "theme pubs" but there is also a growing backlash against chrome-and-

formica and loud music. You can find good pubs in both town and country, although city pubs have by and large succumbed to the need to attract a younger clientele. A good pub will have "atmosphere" - a cheerful and friendly landlord (or landlady), helpful and chatty bar staff - if they are also decorative then that is a bonus - and "locals" willing to gossip with any visitor. There is a popular fallacy that we drink our beer warm : this is decidedly not so : a good beer (that is, made from malted barley and flavoured with real hops, not chemical stuff) is served at cellar (storage) temperature - which given the climate, is decidedly NOT warm! Continental lagers are served chilled, but then no true Englishman would consider lager as real beer.

The ROBIN is everyone's favourite bird : when a national newspaper conducted a poll to decide Britain's national bird (we didn't have one before) millions voted, and the robin won by a landslide. It is not the same species as the American Robin (which is closely related to our blackbird) but shares the same distinctive red breast. Indeed, the American Robin was probably given its name by the first settlers because of its similar colouring. The robin is immediately recognisable - no other British bird has the same red breast, which is present in both sexes, and it is the one bird everyone can identify even if they can name no other bird! Robins are so familiar because they are so tame : this seems a characteristic of British robins, which elsewhere in their range are shy woodland birds. Here, they will approach people closely and will go so far as to perch on a gardener's spade in order to be first to the worms being turned up. It's as if they KNOW that everyone loves them! National symbols are defined as the symbols or icons of a national community (such as England), used to represent that community in a way that unites its people. This unity is based on a common pride, which is incited by different representations; i.e. visual (e.g. the national flower), verbal (e.g. the national anthem) and iconic (e.g. the flag). These symbols are then used in national events and celebrations, inspiring patriotism as they include every member of that particular community, regardless of colour or creed. England enjoys many national symbols, which are used extensively in political, social, cultural and even religious spheres, to represent this diverse land. These include: The Flag The flag of England is represented by a red cross on a white background. This is known as St Georges Cross and has its origins in the Crusades (12th and 13th centuries), when soldiers were identified by this red-coloured cross on their white tunics. St George was claimed to be the Patron Saint of England at the time, so the cross became associated with him. The National Floral Emblem The Tudor Rose The Tudor Rose, also known as The Rose of England, was adopted as a symbol of peace and merges a white rose (representing the Yorkists) and a red rose (representing the Lancastrians).

During the War of the Roses, these two sides fought over the control of the royal house. The Royal Banner of England This banner is also known as the Banner of the Royal Arms, amongst its other names. It is the official English banner of arms and represents the sovereignty of the rulers of England (as opposed to loyalty to the country itself). It comprises three horizontally positioned gold lions, which face the observer. Each has a blue tongue and blue claws and is set against a deep red background. The Royal Arms of England With much the same design as the Royal Banner, this is a coat of arms that is used in representation of the country as well as of its monarchs. St Edward's Crown This is one of the senior British Crown Jewels. It is the official coronation crown and is used in the coronation of English, British, and Commonwealth monarchs. It is also used as an image on various items, such as coats of arms and badges. National Animal The Lion Because the lion is symbolic of bravery, it was frequently used to depict the courageous warriors of medieval England. Today, it remains the national animal of the country and is used extensively in sports team names, logos, icons, and so on. National Flower The Rose England is usually represented by a red rose, but other colours can and have also been used. National Tree The Oak Tree The oak tree represents strength, beauty and survival through trials. As such, it is the perfect representation of this enduring country. King Charles II escaped parliamentarians after his father was executed and hid in an old oak tree. Since then, this escape has been called the Royal Oak and is a well-known account for many locals. National Food Fish n Chips All over the world, people associate fish and chips with England. There are many fabulous eateries that offer this dish. The fish (usually a white, flaky, mild-flavoured fish) is battered and deep-fried, and served with potato chips (often sprinkled liberally with salt and vinegar). National Drink Tea Tea has been linked to England for centuries. Although these herbal infusions come in a variety of flavours and makes, the favoured norm remains Ceylon and red bush teas.

10 of the most beautiful places to visit in the United Kingdom The UK is home to some of the most interesting and beautiful landscapes in the world. Whether you are looking for romantic parks, wild and rugged wildernesses or an idyllic peaceful backwater, Great Britain seems to have it all. So If youre a native or planning a trip, here are ten of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK(in no particular order):

1. Richmond Park, South West London


Believe it or not, London is filled with a huge amount of beautiful open spaces and Regents Park, St. James Park, Hampstead Heath and Holland Park rank as some of the most picturesque. Weve chosen to mention Richmond Park, a 2,500 acre site of historical and special scientific interest and a place where many Londoners go to get their green space fix. Originally established by Charles I in 1637 as a hunting area, the park today with its ornamental gardens, ancient oaks and 600 red and fallow deer roaming freely, still manages to retain a slight medieval air. A very popular spot especially in summer, locals and out-of-towners come here for summer picnics, quiet walks, lazy scenic drives and of course, the obligatory deer-watching.

2. Polperro, South East Cornwall


The southwest counties are especially popular with holidaymakers, but tourism still hasnt managed to spoil the chocolate box pretty villages that reside here. Polperro (located in South East Cornwall) with its narrow winding streets and cottages perched on steep slopes overlooking a tiny harbour is everyones idea of a picturesque Cornish fishing village. Sheltered from time and tide in a cliff ravine, Polperro is often cited as the prettiest village in Cornwall which given the competition is quite an accolade.

3. Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland


As Northern Irelands only Unesco World Heritage site, Giants Causeway is an intriguing beauty spot and a popular tourist haunt. With a large area of coastline covered in neatly arranged stone columns its easy to see why this unique natural wonder is surrounded by so many mythical legends. Also make time to explore the surrounding Antrim coast it offers some of the finest and atmospheric cliff scenery in Europe.

4. Glen Nevis, Scotland


Arguably one of the countrys most dramatic landscapes, Glen Nevis is an exceptionally beautiful part of the United Kingdom. The stretch of ancient unspoilt scenery, overlooked by Ben Nevis (Britains highest mountain), is perfect for peaceful walking and truly getting away from it all. This area is also great for wildlife watching and film location visiting many key scenes from Braveheart, Rob Roy and Harry Potter were shot here. In fact all of the Scottish Highlands are outstandingly beautiful and if you can you should take your time to explore its clear lochs, ancient castles and unspolit coastline.

5. Lake District, North West England


The Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England and a very popular holiday destination for nature lovers. Most visitors flock to the tourist hubs of Keswick, Windermere and Kendal but also consider but the deepest lake in England Wastwater. It has the most remote location of all the lakes but many believe its easily worth the extra effort to get to. Once voted Britains favourite view Wastwater is hemmed in by some of the highest peaks in England and surrounded by some of the Lake Districts most beautiful scenery.

6. Little Venice, London

The affluent district of South Maida Vale is is interspersed with picturesque waterways and the area where the Grand Union and Regents Canals meet is affectionately known as Little Venice if you visit youll find out why. The London backwater idyll is dotted with colourful houseboats, waterside pubs and some superb restaurants a peaceful oasis in an otherwise very busy city. Take a walk along the tow path, picnic along the banks or charter a narrowboat for a perfect afternoon out.

7. Hope Valley, Peak District


The Peak District is the second most visited national park in the world characterised by wild rugged landscapes, pretty villages, grand historic houses and dark caverns. Hope Valley takes up a large area in the centre of the national park and offers unusual, dramatic landscapes and some of the most beautiful scenery in England. In the pretty village of Castleton also known as the Gem of the Peak you will find traditional stone cottages, a beautiful mountain, show caves and an attractive ruined Norman castle. The nearby ancient village of Hathersage has associations with both the legend of Robin Hood and Charlotte Brontes famous novel Jane Eyre and also makes for an interesting stop.

8. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
The university town of Cambridge epitomises quintessential Englishness and here punting on the river and sipping Pimms on the perfectly manicured lawn is an enduring local summer pastime. The beautiful buildings are well preserved and the timeless city seems straight out of the scene form the 1950s the preppy look seems de rigueur and most people travel everywhere by bicycle. Try the omnipresent punting as one of the most romantic ways to see the towns main highlights.

9. The Jurassic Coast, East Devon to Dorset


This world heritage site which can be found on the southern coast of England is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in UK. The 140 million year old Jurassic coast voted the 5th greatest natural wonder in Britain is a popular tourist destination. The area is home to both the natural limestone arch of Durdle Door (the coasts most photographed landmark) and Lulworth Cove one of the finest coves in England. The Jurassic coast is also used for many film scenes including the big screen adaptation of Thomas Hardys novel Far from the Madding Crowd and Wilde starring Stephen Fry.

10. Llanberis Pass, North Wales


Pretty llanberis village can be found in the popular Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Nearby, twin lakes cut through a vast mountain range creating the magnificent Llanberis Pass. The Lllanberis Pass is a truly impressive place noted for its wild and rugged beauty and well as its extraordinary tranquility. The unique glaciated valley and world class climbing spot attracts drivers, ambitious rock climbers and the odd photographer or two. Of course its impossible to mention all the beautiful places in the United Kingdom in a Top 10 list. Other areas you should consider are Kent (otherwise known as the garden of England), the underrated Chiltern Hills, the South of Englands North and South Downs, the rugged landscapes of the Yorkshire Moors, the ancient woodlands of the New Forest, the chocolate box pretty villages of the Cotswolds and the West Country and Northumberland (the most unspoilt area in the whole of England). Enjoy your stay!

England is a land of ancient cities, royal palaces, massive cathedrals, and legendary sites. Mighty castles, stately homes, glorious gardens, and tiny picturesque villages enhance the natural beauty of the countryside. Famous Landmarks in London

Stonehenge
Stonehenge is the most famous prehistoric monument in Britain. It is a circle of stones. People began building Stonehenge about 5,000 years ago, dragging each stone into place. Stonehenge is situated on Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire. Age estimated at 3100 BC Location Wiltshire, UK Type of stone Bluestone, Sarson, Welsh Sandstone

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle has been a royal residence for over 900 years and today is one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth ll. The royal standard flies from the round tower of the Castle when the Queen is in residence.

Windsor Castle has dominated the river Thames for over 900 years. It was built by the Normans from timber and later rebuilt in stone.

Hadrians Wall
Hadrian's Wall, a stone wall barrier built to separate the Romans and the Picts tribes in Scotland 2000 years ago. It allowed Roman soldiers to control the movements of people coming into or leaving Roman Britain. It was so well built that you can still see parts of it today.

Kings College, Cambridge


Kings College, founded in 1441 by Henry VI, is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The chapel, is home to the world-famous Choir.

The White Cliffs of Dover


The White Cliffs of Dover are truly one of the most famous English landmarks. These distinctive cliffs have been a welcoming site for returning sailors through the many centuries. (Famous song)

Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Tower is a tourist attraction in Blackpool, Lancashire in England which was opened to the public on 14 May 1894. It is said to be the most famous seaside landmark in England.

London Landmarks Buckingham Palace


Buckingham Palace is one of the most popular landmarks in London. It is the London home of the British Royal family. The 600 room palace is surrounded by a 40 acre garden.

The Palace of Westminster


The Palace of Westminster, known also as the Houses of Parliament, is where the two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (the House of Lords and the House of Commons) conduct their sittings. The Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the London borough of the City of Westminster.

Tower of London
This royal fortress, on the north banks of the River Thames, was built by William the Conqueror, following his successful invasion in 1066. It has been added to over the years by the various monarchs. The Tower, or Bloody Tower as it is known, has been host to many famous executions and imprisonments, including those of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey and Sir Walter Raleigh. The Jewel House, which houses the Crown Jewels, lies within the confines of the Tower of London.

The London Eye

The London Eye, next to County Hall, is another of Londons most modern landmarks. It is the worlds biggest ferris wheel, and will carry 800 passengers at a time on a thirty-minute ride. From its highest point of 450 feet, it promises views of up to 25 miles.

St Paul's Cathedral
The dome of St Paul's Cathedral is the second biggest dome in the world, after St Peter's in Rome. The first St Paul's Cathedral was built in 604 AD but burnt down in 675. The rebuilt cathedral was again burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666. On 2nd September, 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed a large area of the city including St. Paul's Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren was given the task of designing and rebuilding St. Paul's - a task that was to take him thirtyfive years to complete. The most dramatic aspect of St. Paul's was its great dome. It was the second largest dome ever built (the largest was St. Peter's Basilica in Rome).

Why is Charles Dickens famous?


Who was Charles Dickens? Charles Dickens is a famous English writer. People all over the world enjoy his stories. One of them is Oliver Twist, the story of a poor boy in Victorian times. Books by Dickens can be funny and sad. His stories are full of interesting 'characters' (people). When did Dickens live? Dickens was born in England in 1812. He died in 1870. His first big success was The Pickwick Papers. This was in 1837, the year Victoria became Britain's Queen. Dickens lived through the Industrial Revolution . He wrote about how life was changing, especially for poor people. Why do people read Dickens? Many of Dickens' stories came out in weekly or monthly parts, as serials. Each month people could read a new chapter in the story. Perhaps this is why Dickens' books make good films and TV serials too. Readers like a good story, with interesting characters. Dickens was very clever at making up characters. People all over the world know Oliver Twist, Scrooge and David Copperfield, even if they have not read the books in which these characters appear.

hy is Shakespeare famous?
Who was William Shakespeare? William Shakespeare is one of the world's greatest writers. He wrote playsfor the theatre. He wrote poetry too. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England. Later he went to London, to be an actor. But he became famous for writing plays. His friends said he was the best writer of his time. Most people now say he was the best of all time. Why is Shakespeare so famous? Shakespeare lived more than 400 years ago. Yet people still go to see his plays. Shakespeare plays are performed all over the world. Students study Shakespeare in school and at university. People write books about Shakespeare. There are Shakespeare theatres and Shakespeare festivals.

When did Shakespeare live? William Shakespeare was born in 1564. He grew up in Tudor England in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. He lived in exciting times. Francis Drake sailed around the world (1577-1580). Shakespeare was probably in London when the Spanish Armada sailed to attack England in 1588. He saw the coronation of King James I in 1603. 1605 was the year of the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes. Shakespeare died in 1616.

Yellowstone
Why go: If you're a nature lover, you just can't do better than Yellowstone National Park. With steaming geysers, multicolored pools, bubbling hot springs, and hiking trails that stretch for miles, there's plenty to take your breath away in this awe-inspiring park. Plus, animal fans will appreciate a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to learn about wildlife in the area. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Yellowstone
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New York City


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Why go: Museum-strolling, opera-watching, bar-hopping... The sheer number of things to do in the Big Apple puts most of its U.S. peers to shame. Cultures from all over the world mesh here with spectacular results. When you need some respite from the city's busy streetlife and soaring skyscrapers, retreat to scenic Central Park or smaller Bryant Park. To witness the city's past and present, tour the September 11 Memorial. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in New York City
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Washington D.C.

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Why go: The nation's capital has a lot going for it. With iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and the world's largest obelisk, the Washington Monument, you can sightsee for days. Exploring one of the free Smithsonian museums is a pleasant way to spend a day but make sure to save some energy for an evening outDC has a sweet restaurant and bar scene. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Washington D.C.
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San Diego

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Why go: One could argue that San Diego is the most well-rounded U.S. destination as it satisfies the needs of many different vacationers. Families, couples, and singles can all have a worthwhile time here. While the beach is the marquee attractions, the city also boasts an energetic sporting culture and a vibrant downtown dining scene. Plus, the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld offer good times for all ages. Read More

San Francisco
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Why go: With a reputation of a bohemian capital, San Francisco has an unabashed liberalism that few cities can match. The best way to perceive the city's character is to explore each indiviudal neighborhood. From theMission to the Castro, visitors appreciate the diverse offerings of each enclave. Just be sure to bring your walking shoes: San Fran's notorious hills are difficult to conquer without them. Read More

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Yosemite
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Why go: Adventure and nature travelers looking to dive into the best California has to offer can't do much better than Yosemite. You can check out famous landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan, or get some exercise hiking the John Muir Trail. You can make it a camping trip or go the log cabin orhotel routes if you prefer. We recommend avoiding winter travel as this is Yosemite's wettest time of the year. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Yosemite
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Maui

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Why go: With postcard-perfect beaches and otherworldly terrain in some areas, Maui is escapism at its finest. Here, you can spend your days admiring magnificent scenery as you cruise along the legendary Road to Hana or lounging across the wine-colored sands of Kaihalulu. Snorkeling is a must here, as is dining on the scrumptious seafood. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Maui
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Honolulu - Oahu

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Why go: Oahu features a nice balance of modern city life and shimmering shorelines. With pleasant temperatures and plentiful sunshine year-round, there really is no bad time to visit. Waikiki Beach promises to please, but be forewarned: There's a good chance you will be greeted by a barrage of tourists. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Honolulu - Oahu
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U.S. Virgin Islands


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Why go: Your experience in the U.S. Virgin Islands will depend on where you choose to spend your time. Nature, history, sunbathing, shopping it all can be found here, if you pick the right spot. But it is the extraordinary natural beauty of the USVI that keeps bringing travelers back. To see it at its purest, make sure to visit the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John. Read More

Chicago
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Why go: The main appeal of Chicago has to be its neighborhoods: Each area has its own identity and characteristics that set it apart. Forget about the tourist checklist of must-sees; strolling through the different districts and exploring all they have to offer is the best way to experience Chicago. As an added bonus, some of the best dining, nightlife and shopping in the States can be found here. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Chicago

Orlando-Walt Disney World


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Why go: The family vacation to Disney World is a classic American rite of passage. While always a fantasy land for kids, over the years, the "Imagineers" of Disney have gone to great lengths to assure that this also applies to adults. Case in point is the fascinating Animal

Kingdom, which opened in 1998. More than ever, Disney World offers escapism of a sort that you can't find anywhere else. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Orlando-Walt Disney World
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Las Vegas
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Why go: In many ways, Vegas is basically a giant playground for grown-ups. Some of the best dining, shopping and nightlife in the world can be found here, all in the comfort of climatecontrolled casinos. This is not a vacation for people looking for an enriching cultural experienceit is a getaway for people looking to escape the real world and unwind for a bit. And the fashion you do this in can be as innocent or as excessive as you choose.Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Las Vegas
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New Orleans
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Why go: Does any city in America have a culture more unique than the Big Easy? A melting pot of influences ranging from Caribbean to European, New Orleans has a distinct personality that can be found nowhere else on the globe. The city is in the midst of an admirable comeback from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and is welcoming visitors with all the gumbo, jazz and partying they can handle. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in New Orleans
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Seattle
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Why go: Although Seattle is known for its consistently soggy weather, this Pacific Northwest city has plenty to offer. But don't come here looking for the fast-paced environment of other major U.S. destinations; Seattle exudes a laid-back aura, where caf and bar culture reign supreme. Spend your stay mingling with Seattleites at Pike Place Market or on the slopes of Mount Si.Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Seattle
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Anchorage
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Why Go: From a railroad stop to a vibrant city, Anchorage has come a long away. In this gateway to the north, the Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center provide a perfect introduction to "The Last Frontier." And you can break in your hiking boots along the scenic Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and in Kincaid Park. With its miraculous scenery on full display, Anchorage also delights travelers who elect to simply peruse the local shops and eateries. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Anchorage
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Napa Valley
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Why Go: As the epicenter of American wine, Napa Valley tantalizes all the senses. The sight of the striated hillsides enchants visitors, while the gourmet cuisine paired with local vintages electrifies taste buds. Perfecting a relaxed ambiance, the vineyards and boutique hotels here

cater to romance and recreation. It seems like an escape to California wine country is respite for everything except your wallet. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Napa Valley

Sedona
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Why Go: The majestic red hues, bizarre rock formations and stunning sunsets rarely disappoint Sedona visitors. While active travelers are thrilled with the rock-climbing, off-roading and hiking opportunities, leisure-seekers adore the locale for its boutique resorts, serene spas, and tranquil ambience. Plus, the New Age environmentcomplete with palm readers and vortexesadds a delightful quirk. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Sedona

Miami Beach
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Why go: Combining an over the top party scene with a laid-back beach vibe is always a winning formula, but Miami Beach also has plenty more going for it. Great weather almost year-round against a scenic backdrop of palms and pastels, an array of international cuisine to test the boundaries of your palate and quirky Art Deco hotels in no short supplyMiami Beach is all of this and a whole lot more. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Miami Beach
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Charleston

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Why go: Beautiful architecture, relaxing beaches and plenty of Southern grace are the defining elements of Charleston. Strolling through downtown and exploring historic sites and nearby museums are great ways to spend those non-beach afternoons. Charleston also has a lot to offer for those looking to dig into some serious Southern dishes. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Charleston

Savannah
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Why go: With an elegance and Southern Charm all its own, Savannah is a getaway for those looking for something different. Civil War-era architecture, beautiful parks filled with Spanish moss, and a preserved Historic District all beg to be explored. Add this to amazing Southern cuisine, a fun nightlife scene and a generally mellower pace of life and you can see why we hold Savannah in such high regard. Read More Read On: Top Things to Do in Savannah
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Puerto Rico

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Why go: If youre looking to make a quick and affordable trip off of the mainland, Puerto Rico may be what you're looking for. This island appeals to a wide range of travelers: Culture-lovers, sun-worshippers, nightlife freaks and the outdoorsy adventure-types will all find what they're looking for here. Just be wary of traveling here during hurricane season.

Yellowstone Travel Tips Keep in Mind...

Beware of bearsYellowstone is prime bear habitat To avoid an attack, make plenty of noise when hiking to avoid surprise attacks, and secure any food items before calling it a night. Learn more about safety in Yellowstone here.

Not much is open during the winterExcept for those found at the park's headquarters near theMammoth Hot Springs, the majority of Yellowstone's service areas and roads close during the winter. Don't forget your permitIf you are looking to camp outside of the designated camping areas, you will need to obtain a permit from one of the visitor centers or ranger stations. In 1807, when John Colter (a scout for explorers Lewis and Clark) first described the wonders of what is now Yellowstone National Park, everyone suspected that he was embellishing. But there is no doubt now that the park is indeed extraordinarily beautiful. If you're looking for the ultimate outdoorsy getaway, this would be it. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails meander through forests, along streams and up mountains. But be prepared to share the road with Yellowstone's more permanent residents like buffalo, elk and sometimes even grizzlies. Steaming geysers, bubbling mud pits and multicolored pools are sure to renew your interest in geology, while more than 3,000 square miles of mountains, canyons, geysers and waterfalls are sure to inspire the nature-lover in you. Although Yellowstone attracts about three million visitors every year, chances are -- unless you spend your entire trip at Old Faithful -- you won't see much of them. Yellowstone's 2,221,766 acres sweep from the northwest corner of Wyoming onto the edges of Idaho and Montana, offering plenty of untouched territory to explore. And while that may seem daunting at first, just remember that you can always come back. Armstrong, Louis Louis Armstrong was born into a very poor home. He was a cheerful, mischievous lad, but one day when he was 13 he went a bit too far. He took a pistol out of the house and fired it in the street. It was meant as a harmless prank, but he ended up being taken to a children's home. It was at the home that he had his first music lesson and learned to play the cornet. He left the home as a teenager and gradually started to earn a living playing his cornet. In the 1920s, after playing in other bands, he formed various small groups of his own, such as The Louis Armstrong Hot Five, and made some records. These recordings brought him world-wide fame among jazz fans. But Armstrong was more than just a cornet player. His big smile and his antics on stage made him into something special. In 1936 he appeared in his first film, Pennies from Heaven, with Bing Crosby. From then on he gradually became a popular singer, his gravelly, cheerful voice having an attraction all of its own. His biggest popular song hits were Hello Dolly, (1964) and What a Wonderful World (1968). Disney, Walt Walter Disney grew up on a Missouri farm, and enjoyed sketching the animals around him. He later drew advertisements for an advertising agency, before starting on cartoon films for the Laugh-o-Gram company in Kansas. He created Mickey Mouse in 1928 and Donald Duck in 1934. These quickly became the world's favourite cartoon characters. He then started making full-length animated films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940) and Bambi (1942). Sometimes he was criticized for changing famous stories to suit his cartoons. His film company became the biggest producer of cartoons, but it also made children's films with real actors such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) and films such as Mary Poppins (1964) which combined cartoon characters and real actors. Disney is now one of the most successful film companies in the world, making films for adults as well as children. In 1954 Walt Disney opened Disneyland, the huge amusement park in California. The even bigger Disneyworld in Florida opened five years after his death, and Disneyworld near Paris, France, opened in 1992, originally under the name of EuroDisney.

Franklin, Benjamin As a young man, Benjamin Franklin tried a number of jobs in America and England. Then, back in America, he set up his own printing business, and by the age of 23 he was printing all the banknotes for Pennsylvania. In 1753 he became the postmaster for that colony. He was always interested in science, and wanted to prove that lightning was just a giant electrical spark. He took the risk of flying a kite up into a thundercloud and showed that an electrical spark would jump from a key tied to the wet string. This famous experiment led to the development of the lightning conductor or rod. In 1757 Franklin became the representative of Pennsylvania in London. Later he spoke in Parliament against the British government's tax policies towards the American colonies. Then, after helping Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he served in Paris where he persuaded France to support the rebels in the American Revolution. He was very popular in France, and when he died a French writer said, He snatched the lightning from the skies and the sceptre from tyrants. Monroe, Marilyn Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Mortenson. Because her mother was mentally ill and unable to look after her, Monroe had a miserable childhood in Los Angeles foster homes. After working as a model and then acting in minor film roles, she found fame in the film Niagara in 1953. Two of her best-known films, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and Some Like it Hot (1959), show she was a fine comic actress. However, she also took serious, dramatic roles in films such as Bus Stop (1956) and The Misfits (1961), her last film. Monroe's private life was not always happy. She was married three times: her husbands included the baseball star Joe DiMaggio and the playwright Arthur Miller. However, even now, many years after her death from a drugs overdose, she is remembered as one of the most beautiful stars of cinema history.
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Presley, Elvis Elvis Aron Presley was born into a poor family in Mississippi. As a teenager, he spent much of his time with black musicians, learning a lot about blues and gospel music. In 1953 he paid to make a record for his mother's birthday at Sun Records in Memphis. The owner liked his unusual mixture of country, blues and gospel styles, and offered him professional recording work. His first local hit was That's All Right in 1954, and he created a sensation on television by swivelling his hips while singing. Adults were outraged, but teenagers loved it. By 1956 he was a national star, making huge hits such as Hound Dog, Blue Suede Shoes and Heartbreak Hotel. Known as the King of Rock'n'Roll, he eventually recorded 94 gold singles and over 40 gold albums. He also starred in 27 films. By the mid-1960s, he was being challenged by other stars such as The Beatles, but he continued touring and recording. His appearances in Las Vegas in 1969 were particularly successful. In the 1970s he spent more and more time in Graceland, his huge mansion in Memphis. He died there of heart failure in 1977.

National Symbols
National Symbols represent pride and values of the country. United States of America is third largest country by land area and worlds largest economy. It is also one of the most powerful countries of the world and one of the five permanent members of United Nations Security Council. United States of America has varied National symbols representing its culture, values and pride.

National Flag of USA


The current version of National Flag of USA was adopted on July 4, 1960. The National Flag of USA has thirteen equal horizontal stripes with alternate colours red and white. It has a blue rectangle in the top left corner of the flag with 50 white pointed five-stars arranged in nine horizontal rows. The stars are six and five in numbers alternately and 50 in number representing different states. A book Our Flag published in 1989 by House of Representatives explains the significance of colors and stars as:"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice." "The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun."

National Bird of USA


The Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus) is the National Bird of USA. The Bald Eagle was adopted as the National Bird of United States in 1782. The Bald Eagle symbolizes strength, courage, freedom and immortality. The Bald Eagle is represented in many important places including Great Seal, One-dollar bill, Federal agency seals and Presidents flag.

National Flower of USA


Rose is the National Flower of United States of America. The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 159 accepted Rose as the National Floral Emblem of United States of America. On November 20, 1986 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed Rose as National Floral Emblem of United States of America.

National Tree of USA


Oak Tree is the National Tree of United States of America. Oak Tree was adopted as the National Tree of United States in November 2004.

National Anthem of USA


The Star-Spangled Banner is the National Anthem of United States of America. The lyrics of the National Anthem are taken from Defence of Fort McHenry, a poem written by Francis Scott Key in 1914 and music is given by John Stafford Smith. The Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the National Anthem on Mar 3, 1931.

Great Seal
The Great Seal of United States of America was adopted in June 20,1782. The Great Seal is used for various documents, treaties, commissions, United States passports, military insignia, embassy placards and many other places. The centre of the Seal has Bald Eagle (National Bird), in the beak of the bird is a scroll with E pluribus unum inscribed meaning out of many, one. The two claws of Eagle holds a bundle of olive branch and thirteen arrows respectively. The front of the Eagle contains a shield of red and white stripes. Above the Eagle is cloud with blue field having thirteen stars in it. The reverse of thee Seal contains 13 step Pyramid with 1776 inscribed (in Roman Numerals). Below the Pyramid is a scroll Novus Ordo Seclorum meaning New Order of the Ages. Above the Pyramid is the Eye of Providence and motto Annuit Coeptis.

Currency of USA
The United States Dollar is the official currency of United States of America. United States Dollar is one of the highest traded and used currencies in international transactions and one of the worlds major reserve currencies. USD (United States Dollar) is also used by many other countries as official currency. The symbol of USD is $.

National Creed of USA


The Americans Creed is the National Creed of the United States of America. Written in 1917 by William Tyler Page, National Creed was adopted by U.S. House of Representatives on April 3, 1918. The Americans Creed I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

National Motto
In God we trust is the National Motto of United States of America. In God we trust was adopted as the National Motto of United States of America in 1956 and signed in law by President Dwight D Eisenhower. USA Flag Details
The flag of the United States features thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies. The flag is known as Old Glory, and no one knows for certain who designed it. Many historians believe that U.S. Congressman, Francis Hopkinson was the original designer, while a few still think that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, made the first one. Great Seal of the United States

The seal was developed by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at the direction of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1776. A final design was approved in 1782, and today (both sides) are found on the back of the U.S. onedollar bill, and often stamped onto specific documents, including foreign treaties and presidential proclamations. National Emblem: The Bald Eagle was officially declared the National Emblem of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1782. It was selected by the USA's founding fathers because it is a species unique to North America. It has become the living symbol of the USA's freedoms, spirit and pursuit of excellence. Its image and symbolism have played a significant role in American art, folklore, music and architecture.