England is one of the top travel destination countries in the world and on nearly everyone’s bucket list. Rich in history, art, architecture, museums, old-world castles, and fantastic scones – so I’ve heard and read anyway – England is a major international stop.
I’ve created a list of all the things I could possibly want to do in this country brimming with culture and decided I better share it with you. Perhaps you might get some ideas for your own trip planning!
I figured it would be best to get a broad-view look to start with. Once you have names and ideas, you can loose your inner Tasmanian!
Walk across the iconic Tyne Bridges, stroll the Victoria Tunnels, explore the medieval world of Newcastle Castle, take a jaunt down Grainger Street for shopping, and relax in a charming park called Jesmond Dene
Check out quality art galleries, attend big-name festivals like the Manchester International, Manchester Jass, and a plethora of others, find locations-made-famous by huge movies like Captain America and Sherlocke Holmes, follow The Quays to your leisure including the Lowry, Imperial Lowry Museum, theatres, restaurants and more, explore the Manchester Museum for Egyptian mummies if that’s what you’re into. If beer is what you’re looking for, Manchester’s got some of the best craft in the world, and bars are not too hard to find around there. Lastly, you can worm your way through the underground canalways that sheltered civilians during World War 2.
As Maritime city, one must start with the waterfront or perhaps a boat ride. The second is what anyone who knows anything about Liverpool knows: the Beatles. Yup, the Beatles have a rich history in Liverpool and this is the place to go for you Beatles fans. The Liverpool War Museum has a bunker from World War 2 for the history buffs out there. Liverpool’s gothic Cathedral has a full view of the city and some spectacle view inside, too. Attend a concert or a theater production on a international stage or crowd city streets during the three-day Liverpool International Music Festival.
Stroll the Royal Pavilion, discover the Marina, and visit the vineyards and breweries.
You must visit the York Minster, the largest cathedral in northern Europe with gorgeous Gothic architecture. Follow up with the Yorkshire Museum and the York City Art Gallery. Then seek out The Shambles, a post-card lane of 15th century Tudor-style buildings, but beware tourist crowds: it’s a little bit popular. And then try something less touristy, leave the main attractions behind, and try to find an independent tea shop or restaurant with a charm. Absorb the atmosphere!
This wonderful city takes history by the bootstraps and hangs it up to dry! Bath is the place to go for that old stone architecture, the Roman Baths, museums like the Fashion Museum, boat tours, quaint shops, and regal gardens.
Oxford likes its colleges to say the least: Christ Church, Magdalen, Merton, New, All Souls, Brasenose, yikes! But amidst these colleges, there are those charming little cafes and restaurants we all want to sit and savor.
The top place everyone should see at least once: King’s College Chapel. This place is an Gothic architecture monster. And behind the Cambridge college’s, with a creative name like The Backs, is a contingent of parks and gardens near the river; you know, to sooth the brains of students still whimpering from exams…last year.
So this is what people think of when they hear “English town” with cobblestone streets and tranquil canals reflecting timber-lined houses. Walls originally put in place by the Romans still stand around the city. This is also the location of the Cantebury Cathedral, a magnificent structure founded in 597 A.D. as the headquarters for the Church of England.
Finally, of course, London
Which I will expand upon in another post, because it’s kind of a doozy.
This will be largely a list, but I’ll expand on some of my favorites!
Bodium Castle in East Sussex
This is one of the few with a legit moat! You have to cross a bridge to get to the castle in the middle of a lake. It’s sounds like my medieval happy place…
Bamburgh Castle in Bamburgh, Northern England
Warwick Castle on the River Avon in Warwick, England
This is the sprawling grounds every pink-obsessed 8-year-old girl dreams of riding her sparkling pony around while dressed like Barbie Princess. Suffice it to say, it’s a damn cool place with a tranquil waterfront to top it off!
Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island near Bodium castle (essentially a little castle on a hill)
Landcastor Castle in Lancashire County, England
This is where you go for the worn stone and battlements and those notched towers that are required in sandcastles. This is place is imposing, old, and, if it could manifest as a human, it would be a wise, ancient king standing with his shoulders squared and his chest puffed proudly.
Raby Castle in Durham Dales
Totnes Castle in Totnes, England
Dover Castle in Dover County, England
This is your no-nonsense war fortress with several layers of walled defenses, battlements, and armed forces (well, more like security guards now-a-days). You won’t find any fancy shmancy moldings, gold inlay, nothing here, but you gotta love this fierce defensive castle from the days of yore.
Windsor Castle in Windsor, England
(I’m not going to expand on this; if you know English castles, you know this one!)
Leeds Castle in Kent, England
Arundel Castle in East Sussex
This fantastical place is in competition with Warwick for our 8-year-old girl’s heart for her princess castle. With stately rooms, a tower Rapunzel-style, and flowing fields of wildflowers outside, it’s a neck and neck runner. It’s also a fantastic place to go for Renaissance events: jousting tournaments, sword fights, archery, etc.
Highclere Castle in Berkshire
This is a great place to go for beautiful views, walking trails (many wheelchair accessible), cycling, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, festivals, and various activities available to check out at your leisure. And at only two hours outside London, it isn’t too bad a stretch!
Similar to Lake District but a little less Lake. More towards the middle section of England, the landscape is more rugged, providing the opportunity for rougher hiking (like I prefer personally), but still has lighter activities in the forms of walks, cycling, and cave/cavern exploration. Other activities include horseback riding, climbing, historic sites, castles, museums, galleries, and theaters. A great place to go to get away from the city life in London.
Located in the southwestern part of England, you can follow hiking trails through and around forests, rivers, wetlands, and rock formations. You might also see some of history’s stone circles, abandon farmhouses, and Neolithic tombs. What’s even neater – in my opinion – wild ponies run free across this national park. Wouldn’t that be incredible to see ponies run across the landscape while your on a hike?
I highly doubt there is a garden like this anywhere else in the world! This charming place is decorated with statues painted in plants, grassy hair included! Two hundred acres of vivid greens and browns surround boardwalks in a quiet park setting. There’s even a rope bridge!
In the southwestern part of England, you can find a national park defined by ocean shoreline, rolling hills, forests, and small hidden glens. Sometimes the beauty of a rugged coast line is all we need, I’d say.
On the eastern side, you will find stunning soft-sand beaches, local wildlife and quaint little towns. If you are bringing children or want a quiet getaway, you know where to go!
So I genuinely hope you enjoyed the little tour around England, perhaps added an item or two to your plans. Next week will most likely be about France, I hope you check it out!