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United Kingdom

The best of the United Kingdom

With its vibrant mix of people, countries, landscapes and sights the United Kingdom is above all diverse. While some may bemoan the climate, for others the islands’ milder temperatures make the UK an ideal holiday destination. Come along and explore the top places with us!

The United Kingdom, or UK, is a political union that comprises four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Throughout the UK it is the unique mix of similarities between peoples and diversity of the same that make the country fascinating and rich. In this issue of NephroCare for me, we’ve elected to devote the majority of our attention to two countries, England and Wales, quite simply because the greatest number of the UK’s NephroCare centres are located there.

Sights and sounds of London

Ask anyone to name a city in the UK and you can bet the answer will almost always be London. Today, the metropolis with its vivid history and vibrant present is home to over 8.6 million people. But did you know the city on the Thames is what English kings and queens have called home for over 1,000 years? Along London’s narrow cobblestone streets, present-day visitors are confronted with a unique mix of Roman ruins and modern architectural wonders. Here is a look at our top 5 things to see and do in London.

  • Tower of London: This iconic castle on the Thames has worn many guises throughout its long history: royal residence, prison, armoury and more. Today, it’s a museum and UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament: The clock tower on the north end of the parliament building has become one of the UK’s most famous symbols. A little known fact: the name Big Ben actually refers to the bell inside the tower, not the clock.
  • River Thames: Whatever the weather, many of the city’s attractions can be taken in from the comfort of a riverboat tour. Get off at one of the stops if you fancy exploring a little more.
  • World-famous shopping: Harrods, the upmarket department store in the borough of Knightsbridge, is an institution in London, and is worth a visit even if you don’t buy anything.
  • London Eye: Seated in Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, you can take in sweeping views of the city from one of London’s highest viewpoints.

The great English outdoors: national parks galore

For those who want to get out of big, bustling London, there is so much to see in the English countryside and beyond in England’s national parks. The Lake District National Park in North-West England with its idyllic lakes and mountains offers a variety of sights and things to do for people of all ages. Many areas are also wheelchair accessible. Depending on the season, various events and activities take place all across the area.

Another national park worth a trip is the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From ancient stone villages to traditional farmlands, to amazing waterfalls and thick woodlands, the Dales are rich in history and full of beauty and character. The Peak District National Park in central England is a place of diversity and great contrasts. Put on your walking shoes and get ready to take a comfortable stroll if you make it to these parts, where steep limestone dales meet striking high moorlands. Again, many of the routes are wheelchair friendly, and offer easy linear walks.

Wandering through Wales

Along the west coast of Great Britain lies the country of Wales. In addition to 1,562 kilometres of striking coastline, it also boasts the highest peak in England and Wales, 1,085 metre-tall Mount Snowdon, known in the Welsh language as Yr Wyddfa, meaning ‘the tomb’. The mountain is located within Snowdonia National Park, the largest national park in all of Wales. Here there is no shortage of breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife.

If you love taking in the seaside while walking, it doesn’t get much better than the Wales Coast Path. Beginning in the north near Chester, the path runs nearly the entire length of the country’s coast. Some parts of the path, for instance between Prestatyn and Conwy, are perfect for an easy walk and are wheelchair accessible.

Visiting Scotland and Northern Ireland

A trip to Scotland would not be complete without a stop in Edinburgh, named the UK’s most beautiful city by The Telegraph for the third consecutive year. Take in the newly revamped waterfront, meander along the cosmopolitan streets and take a tour of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s number one tourist attraction. If you have a few extra days, the Scottish Highlands are an absolute must if you love seeing spectacular wonders of the natural world.

From Great Britain, you can easily take a ferry over to Northern Ireland to explore Belfast’s historic city centre. A hop-on, hop-off bus tour is an excellent way to take in the main highlights in one fell swoop. Take a day trip from Belfast to the northeast coast and witness Giant’s Causeway with your own eyes. The remains of an ancient volcanic eruption, the causeway consists of over 40,000 black basalt columns that protrude out of the water.

Now that we have whetted your appetite for a visit to the UK, use the dialysis centre finder to help plan your holiday. We wish you happy, healthy and safe travels in the United Kingdom. 

UK – Fun facts

Longest name

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a town in Wales, is the longest place name in the UK. It’s full meaning: Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave.

Sea-bound

No matter your location in the UK, you are never more than 120 kilometres away from the seaside.

Football fanatics!

The UK is the only state in the world with four national football teams, one for each of its countries.