For such a small country, England has an amazing diversity of scenery, history, culture and thereby experiences for tourists. Due to England’s compact size, with proper planning, you will be able to see a wide range of different things on a fairly short trip.
You can’t have this list without including the capital, London. As the main hub of England, it would be a shame to not spend some time here when you are in the country. There are countless things to do, therefore visiting for the first time can be overwhelming, if you are stuck then I would recommend the London Pass, which will help you with all your planning needs. Here are some London attractions that you really must-see.
- Buckingham Palace– located in central London, and home to the British Royal Family since 1837. It has 775 rooms and the largest private garden in London.
- Big Ben the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey– The city of Westminster is known as the political center of London.
- Walk across Tower Bridge– This is one of London’s most famous bridges, with the glass floor showing the Thames River 42 meters below you. From up here you can have on of the best views of London.
- The Tower of London– Find out about London’s gruesome and scandalous history in this 11th-century fortress.
- Visit Trafalgar Square– Home to the national gallery and Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square is where many celebrations are held. It is always lively with tourists and a great meeting spot.
- Explore one of the many free museums– there are many prized museums and galleries in London with free admission such as; the Natural History Museum, the British Museum and the Tate Modern.
Manchester has to be one of the most fun cities in England which is filled with culture and ‘northern’ hospitality. It has something for everyone.
Manchester played a crucial role in the industrial revolution, however, it’s image has changed to vibrant and youthful. Even though it receives more than its fair share of rainfall (one of the reasons why the cotton industry did so well here), you will still find that the Mancunians are happy and willing to accommodate.
- Explore the red brick buildings of the Northern Quarter or the Modern Spinningfields
- Visit the Oldest Public Library– Built-in 1653, the Chetham Library is the oldest free public reference library in the UK
- Manchester Cathedral– Built-in 1215, and known for the contemporary stained glass windows.
- Visit a Museum– The Museum of Science and Industry, People’s History Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Football Museum, Manchester Museum, and The Greater Manchester Police Museum.
- Try something quirky– There are lots of alternative things hidden around the streets of Manchester. Visit Affleck’s Palace a hot- spot for alternative shopping, enjoy a movie in former public baths, or wander the television set of Coronation Street – The UK’s longest-running soap opera.
Located in South West England, in the country of Somerset, Bath is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in the natural hot spa water. Set in amongst the English countryside, Bath is awash with thermal springs and lush limestone buildings it is dubbed as one of the most beautiful cities in the UK.
It is a city that is packed with historic sites, museums, remarkable Georgian architecture and, of course, Roman Baths, it is a wonderful place to escape to for a weekend. Even during a day trip to Bath you can do a lot of things, such as:
- Visit a Roman Bath– A trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without stepping back into the history learning the history of the Roman baths. These days you are advised not to touch, drink or swim in the pool, but you can explore the magnificent temple and take an audio-tour to imagine what it would have been like.
- Thermae Bath Spa– This place uses the same mineral-rich, health-improving water as the Roman baths, however, they cleanse it so that it is free from bacteria and therefore safe to soak in.
- Visit Bath Abbey– Made from honey-coloured bath stone in a Georgian fashion, it towers over the square. Filled with stained-glass windows and a stunning ceiling, it is well worth exploring.
- Bath Skyline Walk– A 6-mile circular walk, which allows you to views the rooftops of the city, whilst having historic sights along the way.
Having lived in York for many years, I became very familiar with its quirks and beauty. I would recommend for anyone visiting England to spend some time there. It is full of Medieval charm, picturesque streets, and oodles of history.
Founded by the Romans in 71 AD and invaded by the Saxons, Normans and the Vikings, it landed with the name Jorvik, which eventually became York. There are so many things to do in York:
- York Minster– The largest Medieval cathedral in Northern Europe, which was fully completed in 1472. Why not climb to the top of the tower and get 360 views of the city?
- The Shambles– Originally a place where butchers sold their meat and dating back to the 14th century. This old street, with overhanging buildings, is now filled with small independent shops selling jewelry, crafts, and baked goods.
- The City Walls– These are the most complete walls in the country, and they are free to explore. With multiple entry points around the city, it is great to get some sights of the city from above.
- York’s Chocolate Story– If you visit York you may notice that it smells like chocolate. York’s Chocolate Story reveals all the secrets of how York made lots of money with chocolate, and then they even let you make some of your own.
- Jorvik Center– dedicated to the Vikings who invaded York. This is a fun attraction where you can ride through a Viking village, and see the items that have been dug up over the years. A word of warning is that it is accompanied by Medieval smells to give it an authentic feel.
- Museum Gardens– If you are looking for something free to do then these gardens are the perfect escape within the city center. Enjoy a picnic or a stroll around and see if you can spot a squirrel.
The land of myths and legends, Cornwall is also known by its Celtic name Kernow, is located at the most south-westerly point of the southwest of England. Bordering with Devon, another coastal town, these are both filled with ancient history, sandy beaches, and rural moors.
If you love open spaces, spectacular coastal views, big Atlantic waves, then you will love Cornwall, a part of the English Riviera.
- Visit the Eden Project – A very famous visitor attraction that is comprised of two giant biodomes containing an array of plants and fauna to create the world’s largest indoor rainforest.
- Head to Lizard Point– The southernmost point of the UK, perfect for walking, stunning views and a delicious cream tea.
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan– The recovered botanical gardens, rescued from neglect and restored to health. The story, the vision, and the plants are all worth admiring whilst visiting these secret gardens which are bursting with colour at every turn in the path.
- St. Ives– A beach town filled with cobbled streets and an ample choice of seafood. Just watch out for the seagulls which are notorious for stealing chips out of people’s hands.
6. The Lake District
The Lake District is somewhere that I will always rave about, after growing up there it will always remain my favorite place. Offering a complete contrast to the rest of Britain, the whole of the Lake District is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Found in the mountainous ranges of northern England, it offers soaring peaks, picturesque valleys, breathtaking lakes, and sandy coastlines. Perfect if you are a lover of hiking, biking and the outdoors.
- Climb a mountain– The Lake District is home to the 10 highest mountains in the UK. Why not test your stamina by hiking up Scafell Pike, Helvellyn or Skiddaw? Just wait till you see the views from the summit.
- See Hilltop Farm– Otherwise known as Beatrix Potter’s house, a quaint cottage complete with a vegetable garden. This is where the author was inspired to write many of her tales including stories of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck.
- Eat Kendal Mint Cake– Mint cake was originally developed in Kendal, for climbers of Mount. Everest. You can visit the factory where it is made in bulk to learn more about this sugary treat
- Visit Windermere– A huge body of water which is the largest natural lake in England. With its exceptional views, it is a great place to take some pictures. Or if you want a bot more action why not take a rowing boat or motorboat and explore the lake further.
- Try the Extraordinary Grasmere Gingerbread– Made with fresh roots of ginger, which is delicate, spiced and wonderfully chewy this is gingerbread is like you have never experienced before. People flock from all over to try some of Sarah Nelson’s original recipe which dates back to 1854.
The ancient Roman town of Chester is packed with amazing places to visit, cool attractions and incredible history. Exploring the Roman walls, strolling through the cobblestone roads, and admiring the two-story rows are just a few of the things that you can do in this humble city.
- Spot the Eastgate Clock – Sitting in second place to Big Ben this is the world’s most photographed clock, built in 1902. Set on top of a Roman wall, it is a gateway to ‘The Rows” on Chester’s main highstreet.
- Enjoy the Old Tudor Homesteads– Beautiful black and white buildings that line the heart of the city. Named the rows because each section has an upper and lower level of shops which are enclosed in an ornate walkway.
- Walk the City Walls– Walk the 2-mile long city walls which have protected Chester for 2 millennia. Why not check out the museum Sick to Death whilst you are there and discover the gruesome history of medicine.
- Visit the Racecourse– This is the oldest racecourse in England, where Mayor Henry Gee gave the go-ahead for the first-ever horse race back in 1539.
Laura, the face behind AnywhereSheRoams.com, loves to share her travel stories, tips and ideas. When she is not singing, teaching or working on the blog you will find her wandering around the planet, camera in hand, getting lost. Laura is happiest when discovering new things, snuggling any animal who will let her, and eating improbably large amounts of food (typically Asian). Find her on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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