Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Attention Anglophiles

Want to experience the London Eye—the third tallest Ferris wheel in the world—without leaving the ground? Britain's national tourism agency's website will let you do that—and a whole lot more. There's no need to mind-the-gap here, because there is no gap. I cannot imagine a question that could not be answered by this site. The plethora of information will satisfy the most curious Anglophile.

As well as the usual information provided by tourist agencies, the “About Britain” section provides details about money, medicine, time zones, the weather (The site insists it does not rain every day.), and hosts the “Image and Sound Gallery” where you can experience the London Eye or the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, along with a dozen or so other videos.

On the “Things to See and Do” page, activities to suit travelers of any age or interest are listed. In addition to walking and car itineraries—complete with maps—this section offers eight other options catering to such diverse tastes as sports, gardens, spas, shopping and cycling.

I'm particularly fond of the “Accommodation in Britain” section because, along with a list of green-accredited hotels and establishments where Fido is welcome, there are five sections of budget accommodations including self-catering homes and apartments.

After you've perused the valuable information, studied the suggested activities, and plotted your visit, you can buy whatever you need—from the Oyster Card for public transportation to the London Sightseeing Pass—on the site.

But if you're still pondering the possibilities and want more information, or, perhaps, a more personal point of view, go to the excellent site Been There, Done That. The mission of this unofficial guide to England, Scotland and Wales, is to provide, “An illustrated travel guide to Great Britain, based on personal experience of the locations, with pictures of mountains, moorlands, quaint villages, pastoral landscapes, historic buildings over 1000 years old, the coast, steam railways, flowers, fossils and much more.”

There's a forum where you can pose your questions, accommodation reviews based on the authors' personal experiences, and a blog where various aspects of Britain are discussed. Be sure to click on “Links” for a thorough list of accommodations, pub guides, maps and several more noteworthy references.

So, Anglophiles, get busy and warm up that computer. The Internet is ready to give you all the information you need to plan your next trip to the United Kingdom. You may not be climbing aboard the London Eye tomorrow, but these two websites will prepare you to do just that and explore all of the UK whenever you're ready!

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