Our cousins across the pond may have invented the English language, but over the past 240 years or so, Americans have made some … shall we say … “improvements.” Often, people travel from the U.S. to England wrapped in a sense of comfort, thinking, “Well, they speak the same language, so I’ll be able to get by just fine.”
We aren’t as similar to our British cousins as we tend to think. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Or will you?
There are a few very significant differences. Want to wear a fanny pack? That’s cool; they’re making a comeback, after all. Just don’t call it a “fanny” pack. The word means something very different over there. Interested in having a cigarette? Don’t freak out when someone offers you a “fag.” And get used to weird rhymes that have no overt meaning whatsoever. I’m here to help, so watch this video in full before you even think of booking your ticket to Britain.
When visiting England, there is nothing more fun than an old-fashioned British pub crawl… and if you’re going to do one (and you should), the best place to do it is in Yorkshire, which has pubs that reek of ambiance and history and have been serving the public for hundreds of years.
Be sure to get a driver, so there are no issues getting home, but — bonus! — all of these pubs are also inns, just in case you need a nap.
We knew from the start that this was going to be a long day. (All photos by ABA crew)
I decided to start my pub crawl in Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters in the mid-19th century. Charlotte, Emily and Anne, the three daughters of the village parson, were immensely talented writers, best known for Wuthering Heights (Emily), Jane Eyre (Charlotte), and Emma(Charlotte). They originally wrote under male pen names, as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, but won such fame that they were finally able to publish under their own names. Their unfortunate brother, Branwell, was also said to be a talented artist, but he was much overshadowed by his sisters’ fame. He resorted to drinking and drugging his way through life before dying of (severe) alcoholism at the ripe old age of 31.
So, after visiting the Brontë house, strolling across the moors that inspired the sisters’ books, make your first stop:
1. The Black Bull, Haworth
119 Main St., Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DP, United Kingdom
This is the pub where Branwell drank himself to death. In a lovely macabre English twist, they have kept his favorite stool in perfect condition. The pub is conveniently located across the street from the village apothecary, where Branwel would get his opium before stumbling back across to the bar.
Sun Street, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8BP, United Kingdom
Located in one of the oldest buildings in the village, Haworth Old Hall has been standing since the 16th century. These days it’s not just a pub, it’s a gastro pub, with locally sourced farm-to-table food. It also has a ghost that wanders around after dark. Not kidding. Just ask Alan, the manager — he’s seen her.
In every life there are pivotal “Sliding Doors”situations, where things would be very different if another path had been taken. I’ve had several of these, but the first one happened when I was very little in Leeds, England.
My father was getting his PhD at the university there, and my mother was teaching locally. My sister and I were both born there, and we lived in a quintessential Yorkshire home — dark, coal-stained stone; long, thin windows; and a door my mother painted bright red. It was a good time for our family. My mother would push me in a pram to the to fish and chips shop on the corner — now called the Fishermans Wife — every time she didn’t want to cook or do dishes (read: every other day), and by all accounts we were a happy little family.
Then my dad’s thesis was accepted and he got his degree, along with two job offers: one from the University of Leeds … and another from Riyadh University in Saudi Arabia.
Had he chosen the job in Leeds, I most likely would have grown up with a British accent in that very house, and my entire life would have been very different. As it was, we moved to Saudi Arabia — and very quickly back to the United States, where I grew up in Cincinnati. My parents divorced.
Visiting the old Leeds house (Andrew Rothschild)
But Leeds and that home have always loomed large in my family’s history. So when I went to England last month, I wanted to see the house, and the couple living there now were kind enough to let me in.
It was an emotional full-circle trip: seeing where I was born, where I could have grown up, where my family would have been a unit. It was like an alternate, bizarro universe.
Afterward, I stopped at the Fisherman’s Wife — and mom was right. It is the best, lightest fish and chips ever (despite the fact that I will never be a mushy peas girl). If you’re ever in Leeds, stop by.
The first time I went to London was in 1985. I was a wannabe preppy preteen from Cincinnati, Ohio, dressed in Jordache and Forenza — just on the cusp of full adolescence … and radiating the “nobody understands me” angst that comes along with puberty. It was a trip to Trafalgar Square in London that changed everything for me. There I saw punk rock kids hanging out in Doc Martens and leather jackets, sporting Mohawks, piercings, and tattoos. I was fascinated. It was like nothing I’d seen in Ohio. And then I heard their music. It was raw, edgy, angry … and I was hooked. I didn’t bring home the look, but I did bring home the music. Years later, I still listen to the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Ramones — and on a recent trip to England, I wondered: Where has all the punk gone?
Thanks to RuPaul and his amazing Drag Race, most people now know what a drag queen is — but there’s a new underground scene popping up in London that’s threatening to steal the crown … the drag king movement. Just as drag queens are men with women’s clothing and makeup, drag kings are women … cross-dressing as men. And there are a lot of them. Continue reading →
The No. 1 rule of travel is pretty simple: Don’t p*ss off the locals. Most people know this — or at least they think they do, and they usually give it the old college try when it comes to not stepping on the toes of the people around them in another city or country.
But what if you don’t know? What if you have no idea what irks the heck out of the locals? No worries; Yahoo Travel is here to help. With our How to P*ss Off series, we help you navigate those crazy cultural differences that can get you in so much trouble. So instead of getting bad karma and dirty looks, you can make friends and have a great time.
Grrr…don’t annoy the locals. (Getty Images)
This week we are in England — home of the queen, crumpets, and … apparently, a lot of people who want you to get out of their way. Think England is just like America but with a funny accent? Wrong. The English are all about their rules (Stand to the right! No stopping for photos! Get the street pronunciation right!), and they get really super cheesed off if you break them. So watch the video (above) and know before you go!