Great Britain

A guide book about several trips I made to Great Britain: London, Cambridge, Hastings and Canterbury.

Parenté : Europe


This page describes what I had the chance to admire in Great Britain during my several trips, in 1997, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Culture

History

The main events that marked the History of Great Britain and London are:

Transports

The Shuttle

The Shuttle is a convenient way to go from France to Great Britain through the Channel Tunnel, the longest underwater tunnel in the world, located 100 m under the sea floor. The tunnel was dug from 1987 to 1993. Buses, cars and trucks can travel inside special railway carriages. This way, crossing the Channel takes approximately 30 minutes.

The Eurostar trains cross the Channel Tunnel to link London to Paris and Brussels. They have 18 cars for people and two locomotives. Their length is 393 m and they use three different voltages. The total power of their 12 engines is 12 MW. They allow it to reach a peed of 300 km/h.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 93 Kio] Great Britain - The Shuttle. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 88 Kio] Great Britain - The Shuttle. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 85 Kio] Great Britain - The Shuttle. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 71 Kio] Great Britain - The Shuttle.

Trains

Some pictures of British trains :

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 101 Kio] Londres - Train de voyageurs en gare de King's Cross. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 79 Kio] Cambridge - The station: train. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 74 Kio] Cambridge - The station: train. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 68 Kio] Cambridge - The station: train. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 88 Kio] Cambridge - The station: train.

Clichés about Great Britain

Great Britain is famous for its red phone booth, red double-decker buses, black taxis, fish & chips...

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 94 Kio] London - A red phone booth.

London

All the white houses in London were built on the lands of the Duke of Westminster. They are bought for a certain span of time and their price depends on the duration of that bail (3 times more expensive for a century than for 30 years, for instance). Those houses have to be facelifted every 4 years, which is expensive.

A lot of houses are double-houses: they share one wall, since it is far less expensive and less energy-consuming. They often have two gardens (in front of and behind the house) and sometimes a basement.

The Tower of London

This castle is more than 900 years old. The crown jewels are kept in the jewel house, in which each of the vault doors weights 2 tons! Twenty soldiers look after it at each moment and two million people visit it each year. It was a prison from which Alice Tankerville, charged with piracy, managed to escape (with helps) in 1533.

According to a legend, "the White Tower, the monarchy, and the entire kingdom would fall" if the ravens that live in the Tower should leave it. Thus there are always ravens around the Tower. They are fed by the Ravenmaster and their wings are clipped to prevent them from flying away.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 50 Kio] London - The Tower of London. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 66 Kio] London - The Tower of London. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 50 Kio] London - A raven from the Tower of London. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 41 Kio] London - A raven near the River Thames.

The Tower Bridge

This bridge is just near the Tower of London and opened on 30 June 1894. Pedestrians and vehicles can cross it as long as it is not raised to let a boat pass. It is powered by an electro-hydraulic drive system.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 60 Kio] London - The Tower Bridge. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 65 Kio] London - The Tower Bridge.

Westminster Abbey

In the 960s or 970s, a community of Benedictine monks were planted there by Saint Dunstan. Rebuilt in the 13th century by Henry III, it is the place where all the English kings were crowned since 1066 (except Edward V and Edward VIII, who had no coronations). So, this church is just like the basilica of Saint-Denis for French kings.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 94 Kio] London - Westminster Abbaye. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 93 Kio] London - Westminster Abbaye. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 101 Kio] London - Westminster Abbaye (detail). [Cliquez pour agrandir : 85 Kio] London - Westminster Abbaye.

The Houses of Parliament

The 635 deputies are called MPs (Members of Parliament). The political system is a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is the head of state and the Prime Minister the head of government. The Prime Minister, in 2008, is Gordon Brown and the leader of the opposition is David Cameron.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 83 Kio] London - The Houses of Parliement. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 49 Kio] London - The Houses of Parliement.

Big Ben

Big Ben is the name of the 13.5-tons bell at the top of the clock tower. The tower itself is roughly 100-meters high.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 63 Kio] London - Big Ben. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 57 Kio] London - Big Ben.

Buckingham Palace

It is the palace of the Queen.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 72 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 95 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 90 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 127 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the grids. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 141 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the grids. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 108 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the grids.

In front of it, we can see a scuplture called « Victoria Memorial ».

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 61 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the Victoria Memorial. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 49 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the Victoria Memorial. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 69 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the Victoria Memorial. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 51 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the Victoria Memorial. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 52 Kio] London - Buckingham Palace : the Victoria Memorial.

The Changing of the Guard

Also called "Guard Mounting", it is a ceremony with precise rules. It takes place every day in spring and summer and every other day in autumn and winter.

The guards have also had their own museum (The Guards Museum) since 1988.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 80 Kio] London - Outside the Guards Museum. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 78 Kio] London - Outside the Guards Museum.

The London Eye

Also called "Millennium Wheel", this giant wheel rotates slowly (0.26 m/s) to let the people inside the 32 transparent capsules admire the whole town during half an hour.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 77 Kio] London - The London Eye. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 71 Kio] London - The London Eye. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 69 Kio] London - The London Eye. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 99 Kio] London - The London Eye : detail of the capsules. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 94 Kio] London - The London Eye.

The British Museum

It is a huge museum with a lot of collections, located all around the largest covered square in Europe, called Queen Elizabeth II Great Court.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 94 Kio] London - The British Museum: general view. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 103 Kio] London - The British Museum: pediment. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 121 Kio] London - The British Museum: inside the main building. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 106 Kio] London - The British Museum: inside the main building. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 95 Kio] London - The British Museum: inside the main building. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 112 Kio] London - The British Museum: inside the main building. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 87 Kio] London - The British Museum: inside the main building. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 111 Kio] London - The British Museum: inside the main building.

The collections

They come from various times and civilisations, from Assyrian to Greek, Indian, Chinese or Maya.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 62 Kio] London - The British Museum: Babylonian art. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 98 Kio] London - The British Museum: Babylonian art. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 100 Kio] London - The British Museum: Babylonian art. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 79 Kio] London - The British Museum: Babylonian art. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 93 Kio] London - The British Museum: lackerware Chinese box. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 91 Kio] London - The British Museum: lackerware Chinese plate. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 61 Kio] London - The British Museum: jade Chinese object. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 62 Kio] London - The British Museum: statue of Zeus. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 73 Kio] London - The British Museum: statue of Dionysos. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 69 Kio] London - The British Museum: fight between a Greek and a centaur. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 71 Kio] London - The British Museum: fight between a Greek and a centaur. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 80 Kio] London - The British Museum: a totem.

The Rosetta Stone

The original one is behind a glass, but a copy can be seen in another room.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 80 Kio] London - The British Museum: the original Rosetta Stone. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 155 Kio] London - The British Museum: a copy of the Rosetta Stone. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 171 Kio] London - The British Museum: demotic text on a copy of the Rosetta Stone. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 159 Kio] London - The British Museum: hieroglyphic text on a copy of the Rosetta Stone. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 174 Kio] London - The British Museum: Greek text on a copy of the Rosetta Stone.

The Thames

This river passes through London...

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 47 Kio] London - The River Thames. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 49 Kio] London - The HMS Belfast.

The Golden Hind

It is a replica of Francis Drake's boat. It circumnavigated the world, which is a trip of more than 140.000 miles, between 1577 and 1580.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 98 Kio] London - The Golden Hinde. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 80 Kio] London - The Golden Hinde. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 50 Kio] London - The Golden Hinde : detail.

The HMS Belfast

This war ship was launched in 1938 and was part of several operations in the Second World War and Korea War. It is now a museum.

Trafalgar Square

This place is named after a famous battle, won by the English and lost by the French. Four black lions encircle Admiral Nelson's column. They are said to have been made with the bronze of the cannons of the French fleet.

In one side of the square is the National Gallery, which contains about 2,300 paintings from various periods.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 23 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : the top of Nelson's column. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 24 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : Admiral Nelson. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 125 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : the four bas-reliefs on Nelson's column. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 37 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : Nelson's column and a lion. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 109 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : a bronze lion. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 73 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : a bronze lion. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 75 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : the National Museum and a bronze lion. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 62 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : the National Museum and a fountain. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 68 Kio] London - Trafalgar Square : the National Museum.

Covent Garden

This is a pleasant place where you can do shopping or have a drink in one of the numerous pubs or bars. It used to be a very important market. It is also a cultural place, with the Royal Opera House.

The City

This is one of the biggest economic centres in Europe. Cars are now fined when they enter, in order to control the traffic.

London Underground

The "Tube" is the oldest underground of the world since the first line opened in 1863. It has (of course) been improved since this date.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 71 Kio] London - The London Underground. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 78 Kio] London - The London Underground.

Hyde Park

Quite a lot of animals can be seen there, from ducks and cormorants, in its lake, to squirells. Rock concerts took place in this park.

St-Paul's cathedral

This big church was built by Sir Christopher Wren when the Great Fire of London destroyed the previous one, in 1666.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 59 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 49 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 92 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 68 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 92 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 84 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 106 Kio] London - St-Paul's cathedral.

The Globe

Shakespeare's theatre, the Globe Theatre, burnt in 1613. An identical theatre was then built nearly at the same place, financed by a rich American woman, and opened in 1997. Nowadays, it is still used to play Shakespeare's plays. It has a thatched roof, like the original one.

Near it, there is a study center about Shakespeare.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 106 Kio] London - The Globe (Shakespeare's theatre). [Cliquez pour agrandir : 122 Kio] Cambo-les-Bains - La villa Arnaga : effigie de William Shakespeare.

Tate Museum

Tate Museum opened in 2000 in a former electric power plant. It is dedicated to modern and contemporary arts. The first artist whose work was exposed here was Louise Bourgeois, an alumni of Lycée Fénelon, in Paris.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 65 Kio] London - Tate Museum. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 67 Kio] London - Tate Museum. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 70 Kio] London - Inside Tate Museum. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 78 Kio] London - Inside Tate Museum.

The Docklands

It is the former port of London and was partially destroyed during the Second World War. In the 60s and 70s, a very poor population lived there. The reconstruction was decided by Margaret Thatcher. It now contains a lot of corporate headquarters and the flats are very expensive. Some people have their own boat just near their flat and the London City Airport is also very close to the quarter.

Hampton Court

Hampton Court is another castle in London. It is a former royal palace.

It is possible to visit it's cuisines and the royal chapel with its starry ceiling. The king used to attend the mass from the first floor. The apartments of the king show huge stained-glass and a lot of deer antlers.

It is said that the ghost of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, still haunts the Palaces.

In the gardens, the remarkable elements are the astronomical clock and the vine, planted in 1768, that gives more than 300kg of grapes a year.

Kensington Palace

It is the palace where Diana and Margaret lived and where Queen Victoria was born.

Other places

The Royal Society is near St-James' Park.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 100 Kio] London - The residence of Prince Charles, near Buckingham Palace. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 110 Kio] London - The Royal Society. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 57 Kio] London - The Methodist Central Hall. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 88 Kio] London - The Methodist Central Hall.

Cambridge

Cambridge is a very famous city, especially for its education places, since the Middle-Ages.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 70 Kio] Cambridge - The River Cam. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 124 Kio] Cambridge - Christ's Pieces Park. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 74 Kio] Cambridge - Green street. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 98 Kio] Cambridge - Houses. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 78 Kio] Cambridge - Foster's Bank - Lloyds TSB. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 92 Kio] Cambridge - London County Bank.

The colleges

There are 31 colleges depending on the University of Cambridge. Some of them are extremely famous, such as King's College, Queen's College and St John's College.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 93 Kio] Cambridge - The University. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 74 Kio] Cambridge - The University Library. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 50 Kio] Cambridge - The University Library.

King's College

It was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. Its motto is "Veritas et Utilitas" ("Truth and usefulness").

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 72 Kio] Cambridge - King's College: the gatehouse. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 54 Kio] Cambridge - King's College: the gatehouse. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 69 Kio] Cambridge - King's College: the gatehouse and the chapel. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 60 Kio] Cambridge - King's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 108 Kio] Cambridge - King's College: the dining hall. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 68 Kio] Cambridge - King's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 98 Kio] Cambridge - King's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 60 Kio] Cambridge - King's College: the chapel.

Queens' College

It was first founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, and founded again in 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville. Its motto is "Floreat Domus" ("May this house flourish").

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 96 Kio] Cambridge - Queens' College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 66 Kio] Cambridge - Queens' College.

St John's College

It was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort. Its motto is "Souvent me Souvient" ("I often remember").

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 78 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College: the chapel. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 48 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 71 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 114 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College: the main gate. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 112 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 120 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 92 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 57 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 62 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 92 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 84 Kio] Cambridge - St John's College.

Trinity College

It was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. The statue of the founder can be seen on the great gate. Its motto is "Virtus Vera Nobilitas" ("Virtue is true nobility").

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 120 Kio] Cambridge - Trinity College: the great gate. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 101 Kio] Cambridge - Trinity College: the statue of Henry VIII.

Corpus Christi College

It was founded in 1352 by King Edward III. Its motto is "Floreat Antiqua Domus" ("May the old house flourish").

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 91 Kio] Cambridge - Corpus Christi College. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 75 Kio] Cambridge - Corpus Christi College.

The Fitzwilliam Museum

This free museum contains collections of antiquities and medieval and modern art.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 74 Kio] Cambridge - The Fitzwilliam Museum. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 49 Kio] Cambridge - The Fitzwilliam Museum: detail of the pediment.

The station

At Cambridge station, it is possible to take the train to London.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 69 Kio] Cambridge - The station. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 94 Kio] Cambridge - The station.

Churches and chapels

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 121 Kio] Cambridge - The Leper Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 73 Kio] Cambridge - Church of Christ. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 59 Kio] Cambridge - All Saints' Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 59 Kio] Cambridge - Emmanuel's Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 68 Kio] Cambridge - Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 36 Kio] Cambridge - Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 96 Kio] Cambridge - Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 91 Kio] Cambridge - Great St Mary's Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 79 Kio] Cambridge - Great St Mary's Church. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 111 Kio] Cambridge - Holy Sepulchre.

Leeds Castle

The king Henry VIII lived there, with his six successive wives.

Hastings

Hastings is famous for its smugglers.

It is also the place where Guillaume le Conquérant triumphed on Harold II, in 1066.

Canterbury

Canterbury is a city in Kent. It is famous for its cathedral.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 79 Kio] Canterbury - West gate.

The cathedral

This is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the leader of the Church of England.

[Cliquez pour agrandir : 58 Kio] Canterbury - The cathedral : main view. [Cliquez pour agrandir : 74 Kio] Canterbury - The gate of the cathedral.

Dover

Dover is very well known for its white cliffs. Shakespeare compared England to a medieval castle whose defensive walls would be these cliffs.


Cette page en anglais a été créée par Peter à partir de notes de voyage, le 4 avril 2008 et modifiée pour la dernière fois le 24 août 2016. Son avancement est noté 2/3.