Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

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.

11. Fingerposts

Old cast iron road sign at Grange near Keswick, Cumbria, England, UK isolated on white background.

The fingerposts that adorned Britain’s roads are charming and distinctive local markers. They are also remarkable survivals. Many were taken down in the Second World War (some of our placenames could only have confused the enemy rather than helped it) and those that did remain came under threat in the 1960s from the edict to standardise road signage. However, the success of the 2005 A Future for Fingerposts campaign means that new ones to match the original designs are sprouting up all over the place.

‘Not all those who wander are lost’
(J. R. R. Tolkien)

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