Great Places to Visit in England (that aren’t London)

Many visitors to England never see much beyond the cityscape of London. Don’t get us wrong, we love London and it’s one of the world’s great cities without a doubt. But there is so much more to England: more countryside, more culture, more castles, more antiquities, more pleasant oddities, more of everything. So sit back and let us show you a few of our recommendations for your next visit to get you out of familiar London and into a true Anglophile experience! Pack light, and use the excellent English train and bus system to travel the country.

  • Oxford


    There is no end to the wonderful world that is Oxford, a city awash in its history. The 38 colleges that make up Oxford University each have their own character and legacy and the architecture spans literal centuries. Wonderful walking tours will easily ground your sense of place and notable landmarks like the Bodelian Library will keep your inner GPS properly aligned. If you are familiar with the Inspector Morse TV series from the BBC, you will likely spot some set locations, and there are many old pubs to delight both your inner beer drinker and historian (be sure to visit the White Horse and The Eagle and Child). You can take a brief cruise down the river or climb the steps of the tower of St. Mary’s on High Street. Oxford Castle, in the heart of downtown, built in 1073, was a working prison until the 1990’s and has become a major attraction. Favorite: Just outside of Oxford is the stylized prehistoric Uffington White Horse.

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  • Bath


    The city of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The naturally hot waters percolating to the surface of the earth there drew Roman soldiers to the location where they founded a spa with the name of Aquae Sulis. All of the history of England can be found in the city’s streets, from the Roman baths to the newly built Thermae Bath Spa serving today’s adventurers. Georgian townhouses line many of the streets and nearly 500 buildings are considered of great historical value. There are many archaeological sites throughout the city, and Bath Abbey with its flying buttresses and pinnacles is a lovely example of 16th century architecture.

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  • Glastonbury


    How to describe Glastonbury? A home simultaneously to aging hippies, new age psychonauts, tarot card readers and witches. Did I leave anything out? This ancient city carries on its back legends of King Arthur and Joseph of Arimathea who legend has it brought Jesus to Glastonbury as a young boy. Glastonbury Tor towers from its hilltop location over the village and at the foot of the hill is the Chalice Well. The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, supposedly the first Christian church in England, are a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, where Henry VIII continued his dissolution of the monasteries. Favorite inn: The George and Pilgrim. Favorite B&B: Covenstead, a witchcraft themed B&B. Just outside of town is the venue for the annual Glastonbury Festival.

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  • York


    Travelers love Yorkshire because of the amazing food and drink. In fact, there are more Michelin restaurants here than anywhere else in the country outside of London. Yorkshire’s history is old and deep, and it is known for its Roman and, yes, Viking ancestry. Vast and unexpected expanses of open countryside greet the visitor, and there are three national parks touching its borders. Some of England’s most beautiful villages and towns are here, including York and Durham. The walled city of York provides a great place to use as a base camp while exploring Yorkshire’s “ridings”. Bolton Abbey and Bolton Castle are here, as well as Castle Howard and the Harewood House and Gardens just outside of Leeds, but let’s not overlook Skipton Castle, Scarborough Castle or Ripley Castle and Gardens. If you are so inclined, the National Coal Mining Museum is located at Caphouse Colliery, and the Richard III Museum is worth taking in as well.

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  • The Lake District

    The Lake District

    The Romantic poet William Wordsworth drew his inspiration from England’s Lake District and so will you. The centerpiece of the region is Lake District National Park. Carved by great glaciers in the last ice age, lakes, mountains, hills, pastures and valleys all combine in a most walkable and magnificently beautiful setting. Small market towns like Keswick and Ambleside provide accommodations to those who set out to explore the region which covers about 1% of all the land area in Britain. Home to England’s highest peaks there is plenty of opportunity for hiking and biking.

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  • Nottingham


    Here is the land of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest. The ground underneath Nottinghamshire is laced with a network of caverns, many of which can be explored and at least one of which serves as an excellent location for a pub. Some of the caves have preserved Ice Age art on the walls, and the village of Edwinstowe is the location where Robin Hood and Maid Marian supposedly wed. Nottingham Castle provides a great starting point for your explorations. A 104 mile trail, “Robin Hood Way”, connects Nottingham Castle to Sherwood Forest. The Aboretum in Nottingham was the inspiration for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and the Galleries of Justice museum hosts a ghost tour and was once home to the Sherriff of Nottingham. The Summer Nights Film Festival draws an international attendance and Wollaton Hall was the setting for Wayne Manor in the Batman movies.

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  • Brighton


    The beach town of Brighton is a lively and eccentric destination and a visit here should be timed to your own personality’s inner clock. Summers can find the town packed with tourists with children in tow while September can find the locals more available and the crowds less boisterous. The annual Brighton Festival in May is well attended and the streets are filled with music, dance, film and theatre. The world’s tallest observation tower, the British Airways i360 is here and sports the world’s first vertical cable car. Brighton Pier’s Amusement arcade is a big attraction for the kids and the Royal Pavilion is a beautiful small palace with a lavish interior décor and serene gardens for an evening walk. North Laine provides some excellent independent shops to peruse and the twilight bike tour of Brighton is a highly recommended way to acquaint yourself with the town as a whole. It can be windy down by the beach front, so wear appropriate clothing except in the area east of the Marina, which is a naturist (nudist) beach.

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  • Stratford-Upon-Avon


    2016 was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, but there are at least 800 years of history packed in to this small village. The Bard’s birthplace is here, and the town is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare houses, five tudor structures all directly linked to Shakespeare and his family. There are year-round performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company and a wide variety of shopping and dining venues. The River Avon runs through the town and boats provide tours and dining opportunities. Weekly farmers markets and an annual Christmas market are highlights. The Stratford Town Walk will familiarize you with the town, and the Compton Verney is an art gallery housed in a magnificent Georgian mansion on 120 acres. Also noteworthy: Mary Arden’s Farm. The home of Shakespeare’s mother and a photogenic working farm, preserved as it would have been in Shakespeare’s day.

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