With the exception of a few periods of my life where I have worked or studied overseas, I have always lived in England. And I think when you live somewhere you don’t always appreciate all that it has to offer… which is why it’s great fun sometimes to pretend to be a tourist in your local area – you see things differently and find lots of great things to do that you just hadn’t noticed before! Hence why I am writing a bit about some of my favourite places to visit and things to do in England…
As the capital of England, London is the financial and, arguably, cultural hub of the country. There are so many museums, galleries, monuments, etc to see in London that you could spend a month there and only see a tiny fraction of what is on offer. If you are short of time, take one of the guided bus tours around the capital – they are not cheap but you get to see such a lot in a short space of time. And don’t forget to check out some of the fantastic markets in London (see A few of My Favourite London Markets). My previous post, My Top 15 Things To Do in London offers some tips on things to see and do…
I love York – it is without doubt one of my favourite cities in England. I love to walk around the old town walls and down the cobbled streets around the Minster. And York is also home to two of my favourite museums – the Yorvik Centre and the Castle Museum – both are fantastic for adults and children alike. And make sure you walk down The Shambles and enjoy an afternoon tea in one of the many tea rooms in York…
Explore the Peak District
I am slightly biased here in that I grew up in Sheffield, right on the outskirts of the beautiful Peak District. If you love outdoor pursuits, it is a great place to spend some time. But if you prefer quaint, stone villages, farmers markets and craft shops you will also love visiting the Peak District. Lovely Castleton is its heart and is a very popular day trip from surrounding areas – as you will see if you visit on a sunny, summer weekend!
Get Outdoors in the Lake District
The other hub for outdoor enthusiasts in England is the Lake District, which offers stunning scenery and plenty of walking/climbing/water-sports to keep you entertained. The main hub for outdoor activities is Keswick, which offers plenty of shops, restaurants, hotels and campsites. The scenery in the Lake District is some of the most beautiful in the UK – take a boat trip on Derwentwater or Windemere whilst admiring the views or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not get your walking boots on and head up to the top of Scafell Pike (England’s highest peak) for some truly amazing views?
Pretty Stratford-upon-Avon is a lovely weekend destination – it’s obvious attraction being that it is the home of William Shakespeare and if you have any interest at all in the Bard you will find everything you want to know about his life in his houses in Stratford. But as well as the Shakespeare connection, it is a lovely town to wander around as the town centre is very compact and all the main attractions are in walking distance. See my previous post for more details on things to do in Stratford-Upon-Avon: A Few Days in Stratford-upon-Avon
Go Surfing in Cornwall
As a holiday destination, Cornwall is hard to beat. It has beautiful beaches, stunning coastlines and lots of family-friendly activities. But, what it is most famous for, of course, is surfing… Head down to Fistral Beach near Newquay and watch experts and holidaymakers alike riding (or attempting to ride in some cases) the waves. And if you are tempted to give it a go, there are a number of surf schools to teach you all you need to know.
Go Sailing off the South Coast
There is nothing nicer on a sunny day than sailing around the south coast of England, enjoying the wind in your hair whilst admiring the views and catching some rays (if you are lucky!). I used to particularly love sailing to the Isle of Wight during Cowes Week… the Solent is a mass of small boats bobbing around on the horizon.
Go to a Festival
Festivals have been a big part of my summer for a long time… you can’t beat sitting in the sunshine listening to live music – I love it! There are many different festivals in England, from small, local events to the big festivals with equally big-name headliners (and ticket prices!). As a heavy metal fan, my favourite is Download Festival, but if that’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other options to choose from…
Visit a Castle or Stately Home
Go and visit one (or maybe more) of England’s many beautiful castles or stately homes. Wherever you are in the country you will find a castle or stately home to explore… some are in ruins, some are still inhabited and some are museum-like, but all have interesting tales attached to them and often have equally beautiful gardens to enjoy. Check out the National Trust or English Heritage to check what there is to see near you…
Oxford is a beautiful city to wander around, with it’s beautiful architecture, fantastic museums and lovely tea rooms. Make sure you check out the college buildings and the incredible Pitt Rivers Museum – it is full of unusual and fascinating artefacts from around the globe. Like art – then check out the Ashmolean Museum. For more information, check out my post: A Postcard from Oxford.
These are just some of my favourite things to do/places to visit in England… can you add any to my list?