Sunday, December 01, 2013

Top Ten Countries - Number 7: The United Kingdom

So I lied. I changed the order just a little silly me! Had a rethink during the week about which was next, and I am returning to Europe – but not the mainland! The country I am talking about is not really a country – it’s three! England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it’s the United Kingdom. Or Great Britain. Or just Britain. Or the United Kingdom OF Great Britain if you like. Nevertheless, I’ve been there three times now. Or is it four?
Sylvester McCoy and I.

When I was young, I really wanted to visited the UK, and I had a very very good reason for that – it was the home of the most awesomest television programme in the entire world – Doctor Who. In 2011 I managed to actually meet a whole host of stars when I visited from the show, including Sylvester McCoy, Louise Jameson, John Leeson, Richard Franklin, the amazing Colin Baker, the lovely Sophie Aldred and the charming and incredibly friendly Sarah Sutton, who I met twice!
with Sophie Aldred
For the Doctor Who fan London has it all. Locations of so many episodes obviously, ‘The Who Shop’ for absolutely every piece of Who-merchandise you could dream of, and if you go to Earl’s Court you’ll even find a police box. But the UK has so much more as well.
Big Ben
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
London gives you the recreated but just as brilliant (well, I didn’t time travel so I’m guessing) Globe Theatre, home to Shakespeare’s plays – oh and where they shot the episode ‘The Shakespeare Code’ of the aforementioned show J. The Tower Bridge is a stunning piece of architecture, St Paul’s Cathedral is grand and big and everything you want in a cathedral, there’s Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the experience of taking the tube (where the 1967 episode ‘The Web of Fear’ was… ok sorry!). There’s Oxford street for all
your shopping, there’s Buckingham Palace for a glimpse of her majesty the Queen, Hyde Park and lots of others, impressive stations such as King’s Cross, London is really the complete city in my book. It’s one of my favourite cities on the planet.
Inside York Minster

I loved York. The town is so atmospheric, there’s city walls to walk around, the stunning York Minster, and for train buff’s a brilliant train museum. The cobbled streets are brilliant too as is the town’s love for Richard the Third, there’s even a rather eccentric little museum.
Gorgeous York building.
Oxford is just as brilliant with its Universities and its buzz. Visit the universities, the churches, feel the student vibe, it’s great. Bristol on the other side of the country I equally loved.
Inside a University in Oxford.

But around the place there are surprises and so much more to see. The countryside is beautiful, and you find surprises like Cardiff – a really lovely city (DW Experience anyone… ooops sorry again). But Cardiff was a real highlight of my 2011 trip. Buzzing, wonderful place. Day trips to castles. Well, it has its own, quite impressive castle too.
Cardiff Bay

Head north to Scotland, I visited Glasgow (scene of the tragic helicopter crash this weekend). Actually a great city with nice pubs and a young vibe. But then you have Edinburgh. With an amazing castle overlooking the place, is there a better place for arts and drama and comedy in Europe? These two places typify why the UK is so awesome – the vibe of the place. The pubs, the streets, wherever you go in the UK something is on. Something is happening. And there are still a list of things I haven’t seen there that I want to, starting with Stone Henge. In that rough area of the island, I visited the Glastonbury festival in 1999. Yes I was much younger, but that was a blast too. Maybe I am too old for it these days.
So. Today’s blog was a bit of a mish mash of 100 thoughts. Sorry about that. I also have no kindle writings concerning the UK. The closest is my Dhaka to Dakar on Europe, but again, NO UK in there. Closest I get is Germany.

So we have –
10 – Slovakia
9 – Romania
8 – Mali
7 – The United Kingdom

What will be number six?

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