Historically, the English will tell you, nobody has successfully invaded their kingdom in almost a thousand years. The last time it happened was in 1066, William the Conqueror landed on the Channel coast with just 7,000 men and secured the crown after he defeated King Harold at Hastings. But in telling this story the English overlook the fact that over 70,000 people invade the UK each day - as tourists!

England remains one of the most popular destinations in the world for international travel. Millions of people each year are drawn to the compact, frenetic charm of London, the capital, the historical attractions of places such as Salisbury, York and Chester, and the rural splendour of the Lake District.

Then there is the traditional England of rolling green fields, quaint villages and tweed-wearing locals. Here the English still spend their days in endless and unfathomable games of cricket or taking tea in the garden. It might not be a true reflection of modern English life but it is the idyllic image that the thousands of visitors who flock to the rural towns and villages of Dorset and Somerset each year are left with.

The country may no longer be the world's premier imperial power, but England still has a place in the imaginations of millions. The English Royal family are revered world-wide, the top football teams have more fans who live on other continents than they do in their home towns while London remains one of the leading international centres of commerce and culture.

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