Cool pubs, parks in all shades of green, breathtaking coastlines, hundreds of historic castles, honey-colored houses, what more could you ask for? Whether you want to explore iconic landmarks, enjoy bustling city life, or spend time in stunning nature, England has a little something for everybody. Here are the 15 best places to visit in England.
1. Let loose in London
As one of the most vibrant cities in the world, London is a must-see destination on a trip to England. You’ve probably seen its iconic red phone booths and double-decker buses, but the city has much more to offer. World-class museums and galleries, fascinating historic sites, and some of the world’s most famous attractions all call London home.
From its posh west end to the trendy, hip areas out east, London is vast. Looking to get a feel for the city all at once? Jump on a hop-on hop-off bus tour or river cruise to make the most of your sightseeing time. Want to get one of the best views of the city? Take a ride up the London Eye, Europe’s tallest observation wheel. Looking for a touch of magic? Harry Potter fans can explore the wizarding world. Of course, always leave time for some afternoon tea.
2. Relax in Bath
A UNESCO World Heritage city that certainly deserves its title, Bath is one of England’s most beautiful cities. Located in the county of Somerset, the city owes its name to the ancient Roman Baths built in 60 A.D. Visitors from around the world flock to the city to walk through history. From the famous Bath Abbey and Royal Crescent to the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, the city is home to some of the most incredible sights in England.
While history lovers are sure to love Bath, you don’t have to dig around much to enjoy your time in the city. Do yourself a favor and spend a day at Thermae Bath Spa, treating yourself to some rest and relaxation.
3. Discover the mystery of Stonehenge
One of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery. Dating back to the Neolithic Age, nobody knows why or how the massive stones were assembled. Of course, more impressive is the fact that they’ve stood on their own after 5,000 years.
While there’s plenty that’s unknown about Stonehenge, it’s no wonder why the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the country’s most visited destinations. Travelers love exploring the Neolithic houses and guessing why and how the structure was built. From the incredible history to the stunning sunsets, a trip to Stonehenge is guaranteed to leave you in awe.
4. Enjoy the countryside in the Cotswolds
For picturesque villages and beautiful nature, make your way to the English countryside on a trip to the Cotswolds. Known for its honey-colored cottages made of limestone, narrow streets, and vast greenery, the area is the perfect escape from city life.
It’s no wonder the region has been an inspiration for some of the country’s most famous authors, like Jane Austen and Lewis Carroll. Make sure to stop at towns like Bibury, Buford, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold, for quaint churches and delightful markets.
5. Hit the beaches in Bournemouth
While England might be known for its rainy and cloudy days, you can still find places to get a sun-kissed tan. Head south to Bournemouth for a relaxing time at the beach, or if you’re up for some surifng, catching some waves.
Make your way to the pier, an iconic symbol of the city and perfect spot for a couple of pints. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like walking around after a delicious plate of fish and chips (or a couple more pints). You can always kick back, watch the sunset, and enjoy the fireworks over the water.
6. Charm yourself in Cambridge
Known best as the home to the world-famous Cambridge University, Cambridge is more than just your typical university town. The city’s history stretches back 2,000 years and showcases some of the most incredible architecture in the country. Just walking around Cambridge is impressive enough, but there’s plenty to do and see.
While the five colleges at Cambridge University are home to students from around the world, just as many people simply stop in Cambridge to visit. A stop at King’s College Chapel is an absolute must, finished in 1515 and considered a prime example of Gothic architecture. Don’t forget to explore Trinity College and Great St. Mary’s Church.
7. Explore the best of Oxford
More than a dictionary, more than a shirt, Oxford is truly one of England’s most cosmopolitan cities. Home to Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the city is home to students from all over the world.
You could spend all of your time in Oxford admiring the buildings. From the Radcliffe Camera to the Ashmolean Museum, the city is home to every style of English architecture. For history lovers, make sure to stop at Oxford Castle, where the watchtower is believed to be a part of an original Saxon-built gate of the city.
8. Live it up in Liverpool
While you might have trouble adjusting to the Scouse accent, there’s no doubt you’ve listened to people from Liverpool all your life. Known as the hometown of the Beatles, the city is rich with music history and well worth a visit. Dive deep into the Fab Four’s history on a trip to The Beatles Story Museum.
More of a sports fan? Liverpool F.C. is one of the world’s most popular football clubs. If you can’t catch a match, you can always tour Anfield Stadium and learn about the club’s history. Of course, there’s more to discover. Visitors can make their way to the Albert Dock, explore the cathedrals, and learn more about the significance of the Mersey Ferries.
9. Make your way to Manchester
Another city well-known for football and music, Manchester is one of the biggest cities in England. Known for a lively rivalry, the city is home to both Manchester United F.C. and Manchester City F.C. If you don’t feel like picking sides, sports enthusiasts can also stop at the National Football Museum.
Beyond the football pitch, Manchester is known for its architecture and cultural events. It’s no surprise that the city holds a special allure for those interested in art, theater, music, and museums. Many of England’s most iconic musicians got started in Manchester, like Oasis, the Chemical Brothers, The Smiths, and many more.
10. Go royal in Greenwich
One of the more historic boroughs of London, Greenwich is a UNESCO World Heritage site and well worth a visit. As the birthplace of many members of the Tudor family, the area was declared England’s fourth Royal Borough in 2012. Additionally, the borough is well-known for its maritime history and history lovers will love a stop at the National Maritime Museum.
Of course, there’s more to the borough than old history. Greenwich Market is an excellent spot for finding artwork and and street food while enjoying a stroll on the Thames.
11. Dig into Dorset and the Jurassic Coast
Many of England’s most famous attractions and sites feel like they take you back in time, and the Jurassic Coast is no exception. Located in the south of England, this UNESCO World Heritage Site features rock formations from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
An excellent destination for observing rock formations, visitors should make sure to stop at the famous the Durdle Door. Located right on the sea, you’ll have no problem taking the perfect pictures of the stunning scenery. If you’re not too tired after a day of hiking, make your way back to Dorset and explore historic buildings like Corfe Castle.
12. Visit Lake District National Park
One of the most beautiful natural destinations in the country, the Lake District is home to the second biggest national park in England. A convenient trip from Manchester and Liverpool, you’ll find sheep, rolling hills, and, of course, lovely lakes.
In addition to the wildlife, visitors can spend time in the many villages in the area. The areas around Grasmere Lake and Windermere Lake are the perfect places for relaxing afternoons spent in cozy cafes.
13. Brighten up your trip in Brighton
While the city may be small, Brighton is full of energy. The coastal beach town is well-known for its pier, curving alleyways, and vibrant nightlife. Located on the southern coast of England, Brighton features a beach over 8 kilometers (5 miles) long. If you’re not up for a walk on the beach, make your way to the city’s center to explore the local shops. Make sure to stop by and see the Royal Pavilion, which is over 200 years old.
While Brighton used to be a relatively silent fishing town, the city boasts a lively music scene these days. Artists like Fatboy Slim, Royal Blood, and The Kooks have all called Brighton home.
14. Combine Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover
Calling all fans of Chaucer. Canterbury is a small, historic city in southeast England. Perhaps best known as the setting of “The Canterbury Tales” and the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the city has played a major role in England’s history. The Royal Museum and Canterbury Cathedral, a fine example of Gothic architecture, are guaranteed to impress.
Only 30 minutes by train from Canterbury, the White Cliffs of Dover are one of England’s most famous natural features. The iconic coastal cliffs have played a large role in England’s history, facing the most narrow strait of the English Channel. Perfect for history and nature lovers, alike, make sure to stop at Dover Castle and Samphire Hoe Country Park.
15. Wander over to York
The “new” version may be bigger, but the original is well worth a visit. A small city, York is a delightful destination in the northern part of England. Surrounded by distinctly medieval city walls, exploring the city feels like walking through history.
In addition to the city’s iconic walls, the city is well-known as the home of the York Minister, one of England’s most important churches. Conveniently, many of the city’s must-see attractions are centrally located, making sightseeing a breeze. If you’ve had enough of the medieval spirit, make your way to one of the city’s excellent museums, like the National Railway Museum.