Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.
1. The white cliffs of Dover
‘There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover,’ sang Vera Lynn in 1942 in the song that came to represent doughty British spirit at a time when Hitler had conquered much of Europe and unleashed a terrifying bombing campaign on our cities. However, the mighty chalk cliffs, which tower some 350ft above the Straits of Dover, have long been a symbol of ‘Old Blighty’ as they face towards France over the narrowest section of the English Channel. For many travellers, catching a glimpse of them from a plane window or a ferry deck is a sign that they are truly home.
‘The cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast’
(Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold)