British Isles

Few people would contest the fact that the British Isles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. This group of islands is split between two nations, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The UK can be further broken down into England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. All five of these areas enjoy unique but related cultures and lengthy histories. The islands were first settled 30,000 years ago, and many of the remnants of this distant past still stand, including the famous landmark Stonehenge.

In the medieval era, the British Isles featured a feudal system, which gave rise to the era of kings, knights, and castles omnipresent in today’s culture. Britain would continue its rich history in the Age of Exploration, from which it emerged the undisputed colonial power of the world. At this time, the British owned much of India, America, Australia, and many other areas. While its overseas power has reduced in recent years, the United Kingdom emerged from WWII as one of the most powerful nations in the world. Today, the British Isles boast a hugely diverse culture, as immigrants from across the world have flocked to the UK and Ireland’s modern and affluent cities. The British Isles is also home to one of the healthiest music and nightlife cultures in the world and are home to a number of world-class sports teams.

Bunratty Castle, Ireland
Bunratty Castle, Ireland
South Stack Lighthouse, Wales
South Stack Lighthouse, Wales

British Isles Highlights


If you’ve never been to the British Isles, the place to start is undoubtedly London. This spawning metropolis is one of the most economically important cities in the world and is truly a modern wonder. Entire books have been written about what to do in London, so we won’t go too deep into what’s worth seeing. Suffice it to say, London is a city that offers something for everyone. It is not, however, the only city worth seeing in the British Isles. One should definitely journey through Dublin, Manchester, and Glasgow to get a feel for the other major cities area in the area.

St Paul's Cathedral, London
St Paul’s Cathedral, London

British Countryside

What makes the United Kingdom the most charming, however, are the plethora of small towns. Let it be said: the British Isles have no shortage of country villages. These smaller towns are typically quite fascinating and a fantastic example of a people who work with the land. If you’re the backpacking type, there are a number of long-distance trails throughout the islands that will pass through attractive countrysides and smaller villages. If you prefer the amenities of a hotel, these small towns typically have small guesthouses that are a critical part of the British tourist experience. Staying at these is pleasant in every way, and the traditional British breakfasts are a delightful way to get acquainted with British cuisine. Speaking of which…

Buteremere, Lake District
Early morning in Buttermere, the Lake District

British Food

The food of the British Isles reflects its diverse culture. While the traditional foods make use of potatoes, darker meat, eggs, and bread, the high degree of globalization the area has experienced resulted in an influx of recipes from across the world. No matter what style of food you like, it’s likely available in one of the numerous quality restaurants that dot the British Isles serve it. Additionally, pub culture is highly influential in the British Isles. If you want to experience Britain like a local, we highly recommend visiting a local pub. The food and the beer are some of the finest in the world, and you’ll have no troubling mingling with locals and travellers alike.

Full English Breakfast in the British Isles
Full English Breakfast in the British Isles

Wildlife in the British Isles

The British Isles are mainly composed of a temperate climate, and the mix of plants and animals found naturally on this island reflect this designation. While much of the United Kingdom and Ireland have become industrialized, some swatches of open land and national parks do exist. Here, one might have the privilege of seeing deer, hedgehogs, and bats. Though the island was once inhabited by bears and wolves, these animals have been hunted to extinction, and few large mammals can be found today. The plant life of the United Kingdom is quite diverse and features a number of unique species.

Wild stag overlooking Loch Torridon in Scotland, British Isles
Wild stag overlooking Loch Torridon, Scotland