Where to Go in England
Where to Go in England
Our Guide on Where to Visit in England
As the largest and most populated of the United Kingdom’s four countries, England is home to many places that are worth visiting, whether you’re looking for an exciting city, a storybook village, or wild nature. You might start your visit in London with its long list of iconic sites, dramatic history, outstanding shopping, and gorgeous green spaces. See it all from above with a ride on the London Eye and be sure to view some of the world’s greatest treasures at Madame Tussauds. It’s impossible to get bored, with a wide range of lively bars, fine dining restaurants, and all sorts of events on offer from music festivals to sports.
If you want to explore nature, head to the Forest of Dean to walk through fairytale-like Puzzlewood with its twisted yews, mossy rocks, and little wooden bridges, inspiring JR Tolkien’s Middle Earth forests. Or visit the New Forest, popular for sighting New Forest ponies. Dover boasts a breathtaking coastline with its iconic White Cliffs stretching for five miles while Cornwall in the southwest offers 300 miles of dunes and cliffs, a destination for relaxation and adventure, including the chance to swim with seals and basking sharks, surf, and body board.
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Best places to go in England
Here is a summary of some of the best and most popular areas to visit
One of the greatest cities in the world, London is well-worth at least a few days exploring, with a long list of things to see and do. Everyone from art lovers and history buffs to nightlife enthusiasts will find something to love here. You can shop ‘til you drop, stroll through vast green spaces, and enjoy plenty of fine dining, along with tasty casual eats in cozy pubs. You might start by getting a perspective of it all from the London Eye which rises 443 feet (135 meters) above and then explore some of the most renowned museums like the British Museum which displays the Rosetta Stone among many other precious treasures. You won’t want to miss the Tower of London, a monarch’s residents during times of peace, and a castle in wartime, which holds the glittering crown jewels and the executioner’s block that beheaded two of Henry VIII’s wives.
Oxford is an academic, cultural, and historical hub that’s home to England’s oldest university. The ancient city dates back to the 8th century and is filled with narrow streets that are lined with grand stone architecture. You’ll find the amenities of a college town combined with magnificent landmarks as you wander through, with many museums to explore, like the Pitts River Museum with its “witch in a bottle.” The institution is known for the wacky and weird, with everything from Inuit parkas and Hawaiian feather cloaks to Tahitian mourning clothes and a body art and ornament section for those into piercings and ink. Families will love The Story Museum focused on the city’s literary connections, with everything from mad hatters to hobbits and a wardrobe door to enter Narnia. There are many great markets, shops, and bookstores too.
The hilly Cotswolds is a region that’s been designated an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” in the south-west and west-central England, spanning Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire counties as well as stretching into Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Somerset. Lush and green, it’s dotted with sheep and crisscrossed with hedgerows while being home to some of the prettiest villages that look as if they’ve been stolen from a storybook. There are plenty of hidden gems like Stanton and Stanway that are often missed by visitors who head straight from famous villages like Castle Combe, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Bibury is a favorite not-to-be-missed as one of the most picturesque, with River Coln dominating its main street while ancient stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs are backed by lush meadows. While spring and summer are lovely with lots of colorful flowers in bloom, autumn is ideal for leaf-peeping, especially in the Batsford and Westonbirt arboretums.
One of the most beautiful small cities in England, Bath was named for its natural hot springs which flowed into Roman baths two thousand years ago. Today, many come to enjoy soaking in the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters just like the Romans once did. There are numerous spas, including rooftop options where you can relax with a view over the city and its magnificent Georgian architecture. Self-guided tours are available of the Roman Baths that still bubble with that same water and there are many other attractions here too. Celebrated author Jane Austen called Bath home between 1801 and 1806 and visitors can retrace her steps in this city that provided inspiration for two of her six published novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. The Jane Austin Centre features a small museum that chronicles her life and times as well as hosting the Regency tearoom.
Nestled in England’s far southwest, Cornwall is characterized by a breathtaking coastline with 300 miles of dunes and cliffs, white sandy beaches, forested creeks, and medieval harbors. The Cornish Riviera as the south coast is referred to features rolling green headlands, sandy coves, and crystal-clear aquamarine water. It’s a place for those who want to relax and enjoy the scenery as well as for active adventurers with everything from climbing steppingstone cliffs to exploring rock pools, coastal walks of a lifetime, and swimming with seals to bodyboarding and surfing. Fuel your exploits with exceptional food prepared by celebrity chefs in a fine dining establishment or dig into tasty fish ‘n chips while your legs dangle over a quay. Even in the winter, this is an incredible place to be, with the light ideal for artists and photographers who want to capture the rugged beauty.
A city filled with friendly faces, including lots of culture vultures, music lovers, and creative types, Liverpool may best be known as the place that birthed The Beatles, but it’s also home to more national galleries and museums than any other city in the UK outside of the capital. Of course, any fans of the English rock band will appreciate the opportunity to visit, with Beatles tours and a Beatles’ museum, there’s plenty for everyone to do here. The cultural attractions, world-class museums like the Museum of Liverpool, and impressive maritime-heritage architecture can easily be accessed within just a one-mile stretch along the Mersey. There are stunning cathedrals, lively pubs where you can mingle and chat with the locals, an outstanding art scene, and buzzing nightlife.
The world’s first industrial city, a couple of centuries ago, Manchester was best known for producing cotton. Today it pays homage to its roots with well-preserved historic buildings and several museums, but it’s more of a modern city defined by music, with bands like Oasis, Blossoms, and The Smiths all getting their starts here. It hosts a long list of outstanding nightclubs and has a glorious sporting history, best known for Manchester United Foot Club. Fans can not only cheer on the team but take a trip to the training ground at Old Trafford. The city is fervent about its football with the team one of the most revered in the world. When it comes to food, this is a great place to be with a revitalized restaurant scene that includes many vegetarian and vegan options.
The “Great City in the North,” York is home to the second-largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, York Minster, which was completed in 1472. Set at the confluence of the Rivers Foss and Ouse, it was founded by the Romans in 71 AD as Eboracum and eventually grew into a major wool trading center. It offers hundreds of attractions, historic buildings, and museums, featuring everything from the Yorkshire Museum to the York Castle Museum within the compact, walled city. The Shambles, a renowned alley with 15th-century shops is a must-visit as is the York Dungeon. It uses special effects, interactive shows, and displays to depict local history, including stories of the Vikings, witches, and highwayman Dick Turpin. From Clifford’s Tower, a proud symbol of the country’s medieval kings, one can take in a sweeping panoramic view of the city and picturesque surrounding countryside.
Offering some of England’s finest scenery, the Lake District, nestled in northwest England, famously seduced Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. Its green landscapes are dotted with sparkling lakes, meadows that shimmer with wildflowers, lush valleys, mountains, hills, and woodlands, providing an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and the perfect setting for artists, photographers, and wordsmiths. In the summer sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing are popular water sports while country lanes are ideal for biking, and the 2,000 miles of scenic trails are popular for hiking, while autumn brings brilliant leaf-peeping with the lakes surrounded by rub- and gold-hued hills. There are many charming villages and towns with plenty of pubs for ducking into when the notoriously unpredictable weather turns, providing a perfect excuse to enjoy a pint of the local cider or ale.
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