England offers a multitude of things to see and do – the area may be incredibly small, but the arts, entertainment, and historical sites make up for its size.
From history to adventure and dining and relaxation, the UK offers something for everyone! Here are the top things to do and places to visit in England.
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Built around 3100 BC, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous sites. It is located in Wiltshire, England which offers a vast countryside full of beauty and wonder.
Stonehenge consists of prehistoric rocks and boulders which are scattered in a circular fashion. There has been no proven theory of how or why Stonehenge exists.
Many people believe the rocks were placed in the area by aliens and UFOs while others believe they monument was built as a prehistoric joke.
The reason doesn’t matter because a visit to Stonehenge will have people amazed!
If you’re a fan of history, beauty, and architecture, the Windsor Castle is a must see place in the UK. Located approximately 30 miles west of London, visitors can easily arrive from train or bus to the castle for tours.
Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and is known as being the longest inhabited royal castle. Windsor Castle is not only an educational experience but a unique one.
The architectural design of the castle is known to overwhelm many due to it’s detailed beauty.
The area of Bath is located in Wiltshire, England. The area consists of ancient Roman baths that date back to approximately 2000 years.
Residents during these ancient times believed the water to have healing and anti aging qualities to it. Many of the world’s richest people would travel to experience the baths for themselves.
Today, any tourist can experience the historical baths or visit the hundreds of spas located in the area.
Bath is a great place to visit and have fun in the UK summer holidays: it’s a beautiful city that not only offers pools and spas, but also amazing shopping and dining establishments.
The United Kingdom is nothing without it’s Royal Family so it’s imperative to include Buckingham Palace on the list of places to visit.
Located in the southern part of the United Kingdom, the palace is an official resident of the Queen. It is also a main attraction and seen by millions of people each year while the royal family is not there.
Every visitor to the United Kingdom should get a glimpse of the gorgeous beauty that boasts phenomenal history.
Trafalgar Square is another important area of the United Kingdom that is a must see for travelers. Located in the center of London, Trafalgar Square is open to the public.
Some of the best times to go is in the summer bank holiday as there will be plenty of events on the square, especially for children.
Many pieces of famous contemporary art and sculptures from hundreds of years ago. There is a great deal of history due to it being created to commemorate the 1801 Battle of Trafalgar.
Best Beach Towns in England
There are only so many French riviera towns and Greek island villages you can visit until you’re longing for a beach town that offers something completely different.
For that, the UK is perfect.
Not the typical sunny beach holiday destination, the UK has some picturesque and wonderful beach towns that offer a unique and typically British experience.
This spectacular 500 ft high chalk headland can be found in Southern England and apparently is the most famous suicide location of the area.
The photos found online are so stunning, almost unreal!
- Beachy Head in England
This dramatic location is a must visit if you’re in the area, has views of Eastbourne and the English Channel as well as a neat red and white-stripped lighthouse.
I realize it’s late summer when…the sun sets earlier again in Sweden, leaving us all longing for spring again.
The sun is very important for Swedish people, as we live in an extreme climate – during winter, it’s dark all day long, while in summer the sun never sets.
So it’s always a big celebration when the spring arrives with longer days, and always melancholic when you start to notice the sun setting earlier, and slowly disappearing until the next year.
Not far from Southwold (another quaint beach town) is this picturesque beachfront hamlet just past the River Blyth. To cross the river from the Southwold side to Walberswick you can take the row boat ferry or the bridge.
The small community is nestled in the idyllic Suffolk countryside. There is a harbor trail you can follow and several beautiful beaches almost overshadowed by forests.
The town has ancient ruins and the 15th century St. Andrew’s Church as well as cozy pubs serving local dishes.
From the 13th century until World War I Walberwick was a major trading port but now half the houses in the town are holiday homes and the tourist industry is the heart of this great beach town.
The town has marshlands and heath which attracts flocks of birds and the town is surrounded by protected wetlands. Walberswick is also a popular spot for celebrity holiday homes.
In August the town hosts the British Open Crabbing Championships where the prize goes to the one who catches the largest crab within 90 minutes!
This is a beach town for those who really want to spend their time on the sand and in the sea, unlike other towns on this list where the focus is more on the town itself, Woolacombe is all about the beach!
It is known as a good surfer’s beach and you can get lessons here.
The Blue Flag beach runs for 2 miles and in the summer can get crowded with people enjoying both the family atmosphere and the perfect surroundings.
If you prefer a more secluded stretch of sand then walk along the coast to discover some of the hidden coves. You can take boat excursions out on the open sea to see dolphins, seals and maybe even sharks.
Above the water on the cliff tops is a path following the edge of the cliffs and in and around the town are marked cycle routes.
In July Woolacombe hosts the Woolacombe International Sandcastle Competition.
This is one of England’s typical seaside towns like Brighton, Blackpool and Ramsgate. The town has been a magnet for tourists for the last 250 years and was once a thriving port city.
Today many historic buildings remind us of the town’s illustrious past and the Victorian pier gives the seafront a certain elegance.
One of the town’s attractions is the Shell Grotto, a Grade I listed building of unknown origin. Inside the rooms and tunnels the walls are covered with over 190m² of shells.
Also in the town you can see a 16th century timber framed Tudor house.
Margate has a Blue Flag beach where you can swim and take surf lessons.
You can discover the place where the Vikings landed by following the Viking Coastal Trail past historic buildings and magnificent Kent countryside.
For those seeking culture there is the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and the Margate Museum.
The Theatre Royal is the 2nd oldest theater in the UK. The Tom Thumb Theatre is the 2nd smallest theater in the country.
One of the finest beaches in the UK has to be Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside. A jewel in the crown of the North East and home to surfers, fishermen and a steady stream of sandy-footed beach lovers.
In the North of England it doesn’t actually matter if the sun is out or not, the beaches are so beautiful and atmospheric that they are a year-round attraction for families, dog-walkers and runners.
Longsands is a glorious stretch of golden sand and is nestled just below Tynemouth town-center. The seaside settlement is an up-market Victorian town with tall, terraced houses and cobbled streets.
The town center is nostalgic and cheery and a relatively easy town in which to book accommodation. It is home to an array of high-end bars, restaurants and appealing little boutiques full of one-offs and surprises.
The perfect setting in which to relax after a brusque walk along the beach.
Rhossili Bay in Wales, often tops the ‘Best Beach in UK’ polls and rightly so. It is huge and encircled with luscious green grass.
The perfect contrast to the nearby sea which is always a perfect, crisp blue. The water is clean and inviting – perfect for a splash about – and always lively with surfers and swimmers!
Rhossili village is traditional and unspoiled, despite having a lot of visitors from ramblers, hikers and surfers, and has held onto its quaint charm.
There are plenty of bed and breakfasts or camping spots so it makes an ideal location for a weekend break.
Hengistbury Head at Bournemouth is a superb choice for families; the pebble beach meanders gently around a pale-blue sea.
The area is dotted with traditional multi-colored beach-huts which really add to its charm. The beach is surrounded by an unspoiled environment and has stunning views across the Dorset coastline.
Highcliffe Castle is a nearby rambling option (to break up your day at the beach) with its cliff-top grounds, ancient architecture and breath-taking view of the sea!
Cornwall, of course, has an expanse of beautiful beaches, which will leave most visitors utterly spoiled for choice. Penzance, the seaside town, has some of the best.
The drawback – as the most westerly town in Cornwall – it’s quite a trek (for most) to get there.
On the plus side, it has a noticeably warmer climate and has a gorgeous Georgian high street speckled with quirky shops, art galleries and lovely places to eat and drink.
The area is dotted with great beaches, including Longrock Beach, which is perfect for families, and is close to the town of Penzance so isn’t a long walk from the action.
Make sure you head to one of the restaurants in the town serving fish caught that day – a real treat!
Don’t write-off Britain as a destination for a coastal holiday. Check it out this summer and you’ll, without question, be glad you did…
Other notable places to visit in England
There is so much more to England than just London. The city is fun with many events, happenings, museums and shops.
But if you want to experience the true spirit of England, I suggest you go elsewhere.
To Cumbria, for example, this northern rural county is one of England’s most popular tourist destination, and for a good reason.
From mountains to the coast, forest to the towns, there are so many things to explore:
The Lake District
With its mountainous landscape with fells, lakes and abundance of flowers, there is no doubt that most of the 15.8 million visitors are drawn to Cumbria for its natural beauty.
One of the most popular places to visit is the Lake District and Lake District National park, which is one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty.
The scenic hills and lakes makes it a perfect place for hiking, and there are many famous hikes like the ”coast to coast” walk and Pennine Way.
While there are many long walks lasting for days, most people prefer to base themselves somewhere and go for day walks in the Lake District.
One of the best towns to base yourself in Lake District is Grasmere and Keswick.
While the Lake District often is the main reason people visit Cumbria, many of the little towns pride on long history and quaint architecture, and definitely deserve a visit as well.
Keswick is the northern hub of Lake District National Park, and a favorite base for the more serious walkers and climbers.
Many artists and photographers also like to base themselves here because of the beautiful lake and mountain scenery.
The great thing about this area is that you don’t have to take exhaustively long walks to see some natural beauty that Lake District is so famous for.
Many walks can be done starting from the town, some just a ten minute stroll away, and unlike many other hiking areas in the UK you don’t need your own car, there are many buses to use.
The streets of Keswick are very quaint, and the Saturday market with a history dating back several hundred years, is also worth a visit.
After a long day of walking and exploring the area, reside in one of the Keswick cottages and rest your feet before heading out to the local pub for some traditional pub grub.
Grasmere is Cumbria’s most popular village, with most of its buildings dating back to 19th or early 20th century, but the farms around the village are much older than that.
There is also a church, St Oswald’s church, which dates back as far as th 13th century, built in traditional Lakeland style with rendering on the walls.
The church is the most popular tourist attraction, and people also like to visit the graveyard where Wordsworth, the most famous writer and poet in the Lakelands rests.
Grasmere is also a popular place for its many Grasmere cottages, B&B’s and hotels which makes this town a good place to base yourself in when exploring the Lakelands.
Who has been to Liverpool, knows that there is no other place like it.
Liverpool is famous for its Middle Age’s architecture, clean and narrow streets, countless pubs, one of the best football clubs and the first and perhaps most famous rock band of all time – “The Beatles”.
There is plenty of things to keep you busy for several days, but if you only have one day you better make the most of it.
Here is a quick guide to where to go and what to do when you have one day to spend in Liverpool.
One of the biggest attractions of the city is “Albert Dock”, a UNESCO World heritage spot that was triumphantly opened by Prince Albert more than 150 years ago.
One of the most important ship factories in the past has gathered the most racy attractions of the city.
The area has wonderful and interesting museums such as Tate Modern Art gallery and Merseyside Maritime Museum that will surely leave a lasting impression on any visitor.
Just a few minutes from the avenue you will find famous Royal Liver Buildings with a legendary Liver bird, which is a main symbol of the city.
Don’t forget to visit Albert Dock’s pubs – O’Neils is a great pub that we would recommend, but there are plenty of other options as well.
The Beatles Tour
Surely, a trip to Liverpool cannot be complete without exploring the rock & roll spirit and history of Liverpool.
The best way to get to visit all the places in a short time is to join a sightseeing tour around the most famous Beatles spots in the city.
On the tour you will visit Cavern district with The Cavern Club and the most popular pub in the city: The Grapes, famous for having hosted The Beatles for their first gig.
Walking the streets you will find that many of them were the inspiration for The Beatles songs, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.
The tour will take you to the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, which are now properties of a national trust, and will give you a glimpse into Lennon and McCartney’s humble beginnings.
But while they’ve had a huge impact on the city, they are not the only ones who made their footprint in Liverpool.
There are numerous places dedicated to Queen and Freddy Mercury, including a 15ft tall statue in the city center.
Apart from famous musicians, Liverpool is also famous for its football team, Liverpool FC, which is considered to be one of the best in Europe.
Liverpool FC is a 5 times champion of the UEFA Champion League and 18 times winners of the Championship of England.
Even if you have only a day in this fabulous city and there is no game, you can always visit the glorifying Liverpool stadium – Anfield.
Visiting Anfield will give you a wonderful opportunity to see the stadium from the inside and come to the holy of holies – Liverpool’s changing rooms.
This is more than enough to keep you busy for a day, and if you ever choose to come back there is much more to explore!
Explore the Coast, Nature & the Castles
Northumberland offers a wide range of attractions and activities, but taking a walk along one of the beaches is essential.
There are many very nice beaches close to the towns where people enjoy spending some time on.
As Northumberland is the driest county in the country there are often opportunities to relax by the beaches, go swimming, windsurfing, and even go horse back riding on 27 miles of shoreline!
There is plenty of wildlife and you can take boat trips to sea hundreds of grey seals basking on the rocks.
Northumbria coast and country is also famous for its bird watching, and is sometimes referred to as ”a birder’s paradise”.
There are also quite a few castles in the area, all with their own charm and perfect picnic destinations.
A beautiful castle ruin is Lindsfarne Priority on Holy Island, which are full of history from the Viking invasions and the monks who lived on the island, and you can stroll around the Monastic buildings where they used to live.
Just remember that the crossing to the island floods at high tide, so check the tide times before you go so you don’t get stuck over there!
One of the most famous castles however, is Alnwick Castle.
It’s one of the largest inhabited castles in England, and has dominated the town since medieval times.
It’s been featured in the Harry Potter movie, but the main reason why people visit is the Alnwick garden, which is somewhat of a floral wonderland.
To visit this place you don’t need to pack a picnic as the tree house restaurant (which is actually in the tree house) offers some really good food.
The garden is one of the best in the country offering a lot of things to see and do. You can visit the ”poisonous garden”, paddle in the rills, visit the serpent garden, a labyrinth etc.
Finally, to finish the holiday with some history, a visit to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without checking out Hadrian’s Wall.
It was built by the Romans to protect their colony in England from the Scottish tribes.
The wall is 87 miles long, and today you can see the remains of some forts and ruins of bath houses and temples, and there are some great museums in the area, like Vindolanda.
The Southern Coast of England
Framed on one side by towering white chalk cliffs and the other by rolling pastureland, the South Coast of England is literally packed with things to see and do.
Whether it’s exploring a national park on bike, learning how to windsurf or dive, marveling at Regency and Victorian architecture, or learning about the unusual customs of past inhabitants.
The immediate area surrounding a nuclear power station might not sound like the ideal tourist destination, but the eerie other worldliness of Dungeness is definitely worth a visit.
The desolation is offset by the ramshackle self-built cottages seemingly randomly dotted about the place.
These were erected by people in the aftermath of WWI when housing was at a premium.
As one of the largest shingle expanses in the world, Dungeness is of vital ecological importance, playing host to over 600 plants and designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.
No visit to the South Coast is complete without a trip to Brighton – the region’s most notorious city – re-live Regency England with a stroll down the promenade and a wander round the opulent Brighton Pavilion.
Sample the city’s wild nightlife and vibrant cultural scene.
When the bustle gets too much, the newly designated South Downs National Park is less than half an hour away.
With its hilltop castle, winding streets and independent spirit, the historic market town of Lewes is a wonderful place to explore.
In the 16th century, seventeen Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake in front of what is now the Town Hall. To enjoy Lewes at its explosive best however, wait until early November to visit, when the town begins its bonfire night celebrations.
The event sees various ‘bonfire societies’ dressing up and parading through the streets letting off firecrackers and carrying flaming torches.
The proceedings are anarchic to say the least and justifiably famous.
Traditional Local Foods to Try in England
England has some incredible holiday destinations, and many choose to rent a little cottage for a few days in the English countryside to truly soak up the culture and traditions.
But sadly many people forget to seek out the typical English cuisine, since there is such a variety of exotic foods in Britain.
In London, especially, will you be able to find Chinese and Indian restaurants much easier than a traditional restaurant serving British cuisine.
But by making that extra effort, we can promise you won’t be disappointed. Here are three cheap eats that will give you a true taste of England, and will be easy to find…
Eel, Pie and Mash
if you ever find yourself in London – which you likely will on a holiday to Britain, you might want to try something which is very much a London-invention.
Eel, pie and mash is a traditional London working class food, dating back over 300 years.
In the 18th century eels were cheap, in fact they were just swimming about in the Thames, but strangely enough the dish didn’t become popular until later on when there were no longer any eels in the polluted river.
Today you get other variations with fillings like minced beef and onion.
Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are fillets of deep fried fish served with French fries.
The chips are plain and doused with salt and vinegar, which are great when on the move, and barely have time for a full course meal.
They serve the fish in tartar sauce, a white sauce made of egg yolk based mayonnaise, finely chopped prickles.
You will find this dish in pubs as well as fish and chip shops all over the country, but have a look online for some recommended places in the city you’re in because quality varies highly!
Scones with Cream And Tea
Visiting a proper tea house on a visit to Britain should almost be customary.
The afternoon tea is more than just a snack in Britain, it’s an important and respected tradition, and the tea houses like to keep it traditional.
Order a pot of tea to share, and a couple of scones with cream and jam (often there will be a range of different kinds of scones, our favorite are the date scones!).
Visiting a tea house is a fun experience that you will want to do more than once.
Having the Proper English Experience
To really make the most out of your holiday and experience English culture to the fullest would be to stay in one of the traditional Northumberland cottages and always make time for some afternoon tea and traditional English cuisine.
Pinnacles in Seahouses offers some of the best traditional fish and chips in the county, so that would be a perfect place to start!
The best place for your afternoon tea is at Earl Grey Tearoom at Howick Gardens, a traditional tea room which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time!