England is such a diverse and incredible country that I’ve called home for the last year. As a Canadian living abroad for my first time, I was terrified that I wouldn’t enjoy my new home. While there’s definitely aspects about England that I wish I could change (like roundabouts), there are so many quirky and lovely things about this country. Here are my favourites:
England is a country of many different types of food. You’ll see Chinese, Thai, Indian, Turkish and Middle Eastern shops sandwiched around numerous English pubs and traditional fish and chip shops. There is no lack of food. Plus having a homemade full English breakfast on Sunday is something I always look forward to (although perhaps my growing belly doesn’t).
History, Architecture, Museums – You Name It
England is old. The “motherland” is home to so much history, incredible architecture (thatched roof homes, anyone?) and lovely museums. Even while hiking in the country, you may come across ancient burial mounds or WWII bunkers. You might even have your pub dinner where Roman artifacts were found in the cellars. History is everywhere. London also has some of the best museums I’ve ever seen (plus they’re free!)
A Small Island
Coming from a massive country like Canada to a small island like the UK, everything is smaller. While some aspects of this is annoying (tiny roads, small homes, etc) it means you can get to new adventures so quickly. My boyfriend and I drove up to Northern Wales in about 5.5 hours to climb a mountain. Suddenly we were in a completely new and unique area. In Canada, I can drive for hours and hours and I’m basically still in the same neighbourhood.
Every weekend, one of my favourite de-stressers is hiking through the English countryside. Although England is a small country, there’s no lack of trails, farms, country parks or hikes to explore. There’s tons of public trails to follow that are easily marked and take you through some incredible parts of the country, even through horse fields, alongside cows and wandering past sheep. I would definitely suggest in buying a handheld GPS and getting lost in this beautiful country.
My neighbours, co-workers, bus drivers, waitresses and everyone else I meet are genuinely kind and polite. It’s tough building a new life in a foreign country, but the English have been more than welcoming.