Here is a list and map of the nations and Regions of Britain, to help you find your way around. Click on the relevant region to be taken to a quick summary about it. Search by region in the listings under Places to Visit on the main menu to find particular attractions listed for a region.
You’d think the regions of a country would be quite straightforward, wouldn’t you? After all, we’ve had long enough to think about it. But various government reorganisations since the nineteenth century have relocated county and administrative boundaries, so sometimes people just don’t know where they are. And, just to make things more interesting, different tourist guides adopt their own regions.
England can be particularly quirky – or illogical. All of the United Kingdom is divided into counties; these were an English (or Saxon) invention and have a particular meaning to many English people. The north is fairly straightforward – though you’ll still find people talking of counties and administrative areas that don’t exist any more – but it’s usually pretty obvious which bit is the north of England (it’s at the top, just below Scotland). However, the south, east and west can be confusing.
A Bit About Britain has relied on the official regions of Britain, which also correspond to the previous European Parliamentary Constituencies. However, a quick look at a county map might make you ask if these people really know what they’re doing. I can’t for the life of me figure out why counties like Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire should be considered as being part of South East England – but they are. On the other hand, they don’t really belong anywhere else – though some guides will have them sitting in an unofficial region called ‘the Heart of England’, or even ‘the Thames Valley’. Then there’s Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire: are they really eastern counties? Probably not – but that’s where they’re listed. Then you’ll see some guides talk of ‘Wessex’ – the old Saxon kingdom covering modern Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and parts of Berkshire. The official divisions place Hampshire firmly in South East England, with Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire in the west…
Anyway, see how you get on.