On my recent business trip to the U.K., I was able to enjoy a little bit of tourism in Devonshire including Salzebury Cathedral where the Magna Carta
(or at least the best extant copy) is located, the fantastic city of Bath
, and the amazine pre-historic site called Stonehenge
The weather was quite bad - cold, rainy, and quite windy. Stonehenge is a world famous site and rightly one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And I'm sure you've seen many pictures of it. However, there's simply no comparison to visiting the place in person.
Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, Bath became an important centre of the wool industry in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, under George III, it developed into an elegant town with neoclassical Palladian buildings, which blend harmoniously with the Roman baths that were rediscovered at about the time.
The Romans had no way of knowing about the geological explanation for a hot spring. So they attributed it to the magical power of the goddess Minerva. So it became a holy site for both physical and spiritual cleansing.
My favorite thing about Bath was a fantastic little eatery called Sally Lunn's that was opened in the 1600's. Jane Austin ate there. Sally Lunn made a sweet bun that became the talk of English society as they visited Bath for their vacations. I got to enjoy a Sally Lunn bun with fresh strawberry jam and a local delicacy called clotted cream. This stuff was the best stuff on God's green earth. It was a unusual combination of ice cream and butter, but better than each individually.
Seeing the Magna Carta in person was really amazing. It was a lot like seeing the Constitution in person, since the Magna Carta was one of the first major guarantors of individual rights in the Western World. You'd think that none of the rights described in the Magna Carta would need to be guaranteed, but evidently King John was abusing the English so badly that something had to be done.
For example, right #7 guaranteed a widow immediate access to her inheritance and right #8 guaranteed her the right not to be forced to remarry. Evidently, John was absconding with the inheritance of widows and/or forcing them to marry his cronies so that he could take their property. Go to http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/magna2.html
to see the full text of the document.