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|The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament in London is one of England's most recognizable symbols and popular attractions. (Courtesy photo)|
Though its weather is still doing its worst to sully England's reputation, old Blighty remains a mightily appealing travel destination, especially for golfers.
England has something for every tourist, from dynamic, action-packed London to the charming university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, the beautiful northern countryside and some of Europe's most storied golf courses.
Planning an overseas trip can be daunting, though, especially if you've never traveled abroad. Here are some travel tips from WorldGolf.com to help smooth things out.
Unless you've got a steamer trunk you've always been waiting to use, you'll be flying to England. Most major international airlines offer flights from North America; you'll most likely land at London's Gatwick or Heathrow airports, though some carriers offer service to Manchester or Birmingham. Check the Web sites of airlines such as Delta and British Airways for travel times and prices.
You'll need a valid U.S. passport to enter the United Kingdom. It's also a good idea to review the latest British travel restrictions before taking off.
When to go: Between April and September is the best time to travel in England, unless you want to experience the infamous British weather. Of course, thousands of other tourists have the same plan, but you'll probably only feel truly cramped in July or August, the busiest months.
What to see: With its dynamic mix of restaurants, sites, museums and other cultural attractions, London is a terrific, and terrifically expensive, place to spend time. But England isn't just London.
In the north, you'll find a beautiful countryside of lakes, castles and national parks. Take a day trip to the medieval city of York, or check out Manchester, home of a world-famous soccer team and an almost-as-famous music scene.
The south has a more subdued landscape, with quiet country lanes and inland waterways. There you'll find Oxford, Cambridge and Stratford, Shakespeare's birthplace. The southern seashore is known for fun beach resorts like Brighton, and Cornwall in the southwest offers spectacular rocky coastline and wonderful surfing.
Getting around: The best way to see England is by train. BritRail offers passes ranging from two days to a full month to overseas visitors (you must buy before traveling). Consult the Visit Britain Direct Web site for more information.
If you're OK with driving on the left, England is served by the major car-rental players. The network of highways and major secondary roads is extensive and well-maintained, but rural byways in more remote areas like Cornwall and the Lake District are often narrow, twisting and hemmed in by walls. Exercise caution, especially at night and in bad weather.
Money: England's currency is the pound, and unfortunately at this writing it was worth nearly $2 U.S. You can exchange cash at airports and change bureaus, but watch out for high fees. Traveler's checks are another possibility.
A far better option than either is using your cards from home to get cash and pay bills. Credit cards are widely accepted in England, ATMs are plentiful and you'll get the best exchange (even with the small fee most U.S. card providers charge for foreign-currency transactions).
Britain is a relatively safe country by international standards, with low rates of street crime and violence. Nevertheless, it can't hurt to review a few safety tips; a comprehensive list can be found at VisitBritain.com.
A few of the big ones:
• Avoid waiting alone at bus stops and on train platforms.
• Always use a licensed taxi.
• Remember: Cars drive on the left in Britain, so look twice before crossing the street.
• Try not to display cash or expensive items, especially on public transport.
It's also a good idea to take out travelers insurance before leaving. In case of emergency, 999 is the English equivalent of North America's 911 and can be dialed from any phone.
Population: approximately 51 million
Time: EST +5 hours
Currency: Pound sterling
Electricity: 240V 50HzHz (you'll a converter and an adapter for plug-in electronics)
Telephone country code: 44
May 18, 2007
Looking back, the sequence of events leading to golf in Pinehurst seems so fragile, so random, that you wonder how fate didn't take different twists and turns circa 1895. The Tufts Archives, located in the Given Memorial Library, tells the resort's unlikely story.
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