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Holidays in Britain

London

London

There are fewer public holidays in Britain than in any other country in Europe. Even New Year’s Day wasn’t a public holiday in England and Wales until quite recently. Most official holidays occur just before or just after a weekend. There are practically no extra local holidays in particular places.
The word holiday means holy day. But not all public holidays are connected with religious celebrations. The average employee gets four weeks’ paid holiday a year. About 40% of the population do not go away for their holidays.
In the 18th century the British upper class started the fashion for seaside holidays. In the 20th century the working class got such an opportunity too. And soon it became popular to spend a week or two at the seaside resort towns. These towns have many hotels.
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The Weekend in Great Britain

English Language

English Language

Most people in Britain work five days a week from Monday to Friday. Schools, colleges and universities are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Weekend starts on Friday evening when people leave work and wish each other a nice weekend.
Those who work away from home may go home. Some people go away for the weekend. They stay in a hotel or boarding house in the country or at the sea.
People who stay at home at the weekend try to relax, enjoy themselves. On Friday night people like to go to a bar for the happy hour, or the theatre. Nowadays it is not «in» to go to all-night parties, they get up early on Saturday morning. Saturday morning is the time for cleaning the house, washing the car, doing the laundry. Women usually do housework, sewing and gardening.
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Holidays and Festivals in Great Britain

Festivals in Great Britain

Festivals in Great Britain

There are eight holidays a year in Great Britain. On these days people don’t go to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Late Summer Bank Holiday.
Most of these holidays are of religious origin. But nowadays they have lost their religious significance and are simply days on which people relax, visit their friends. All the public holidays (except New Year’s Day, Christmas and Boxing Day) are movable. They don’t fall on the same date each year.
Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries, on which certain traditions are observed. But if they don’t fall on Sunday, they’re ordinary working days.
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Oxbridge

Oxbridge

Oxbridge

Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in Great Britain. They are called Oxbridge to denote an elitarian education.
Only rich people send their children to these universities. The main characteristic feature of these universities is the tutorial (that means the individual tuition).
The normal length of the degree course is three years, after which the students take the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Some courses may be a year or two longer.
Oxford and Cambridge universities consist of a number of colleges, each self-governing and independent. Before 1970 most of all Oxbridge universities were single-sex (mostly for men). But now the majority admit both sexes. The administrative body of the University consists of the Chancellor (who is elected for life), the vice-chancellor (who is in practice the head of the University, and is appointed annually by the Chancellor) and two proctors, whose job is to maintain discipline and who are appointed annually. Each college has its staff called «Fellows».
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The Thames

The Thames

The Thames

The River Thames is one of the sights of London. Tourists come to admire the beauty of Cleopatra’s Needle, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. In fact the river isn’t just a part of the scenery. Without the river London wouldn’t exist. Let’s look back into history.
Two thousand years ago, in A. D. 43 a Roman army decided to cross the Thames at a point where a bridge could be built. That was the beginning of the City of London.
The Thames connected the settlements of the Romans at Kent and at Colchester. All foreign traffic and goods had to cross the Roman bridge, that’s why the nearby land grew into a key port, thus increasing trade with the Continent.
Over the next five hundred years, London exported the nation’s wool, cattle and imported fine clothes from Flanders, wine from France, furs from Scandinavia. The tradesmen formed guilds, which protected their interests and strengthened London’s position as a commercial centre.
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The Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

Great Britain is separated from the Continent by English Channel.
On May, 6, 1994 the Channel tunnel between Calais and Folkstone was opened by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and President Mitteran of France. They were the first to travel under the sea.
That was the biggest project in which Britain took part. The process of the construction was very difficult and not always a successful one. The price of construction was very high (? 9 billion), several people were killed during the construction, and the start of service was several times postponed.
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The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy

There is a house of great beauty and colour in London. This is Burlington House. Since 1869 it has been the Royal Academy of Arts.
In 1768 a group of leading painters, sculptors and architects presented a memorial to King George III. The young art-loving monarch declared his patronage, protection and support. All succeeding Sovereigns have accepted the style of «Patron, Protector and Supporter» of the Royal Academy. The monarch formally sanctions the elections of new Royal Academicians.
The first President of the Academy was Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose statue (palette and brush in hand) surveys the forecourt of Burlington House. He was President for 24 years and created in the Academy a body of highly skilled professional artists.
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