Worst: January-February (wet, grey, and short daylight hours).
Minimum worthwhile stay, not incl. flights: London only - 2 days
Recommended: 10 days, London plus travel outside to 2 or 3 towns
and/or the countryside (e.g. Oxford, the Cotswolds).
London's Thames River and Tower Bridge.
and the South
***London, see London
an elegant though touristy city, with a real Roman spa bath, pump
rooms, cathedral and the finest example of Georgian Classical Palladian
architecture, in the county of Somerset, along with new age Glastonbury.
A group of huge megaliths (shaped stones) dating from 2100 BC, Stonehenge
was a centre for religious rituals. The site is couple of hours SW of London by car, near Salisbury
and well organised, with a free audio tour included on entry.
Nearby are other prehistoric sites, particularly the fantastic,
touch-friendly ***Avebury Stone Circle.
**Devon and Cornwall,
ranging from bleak peninsula moorlands to fluffy thatched cottages
on rolling grasslands or set amongst woods, kid-friendly little bays and beaches on the south coast and
good surfing on the north (Atlantic) coast.
Eden Project, Cornwall. Extraordinary, educational and artistic
biospheres housing over 100,000 plants and entertainingly aimed
at the general public; great for kids.
Agatha Christie and Thomas Hardy country. Castles (Corfe and Maiden),
beautiful harbour (Poole), great beaches (Poole and Bournemouth), Cerne
Giant, grand old houses (e.g. Longleat) and the ***World Heritage Jurassic
Coast with terrific clifftop walks on the 600 mile
Coast Path', Dorset to Somerset.
Cotswolds, typical English countryside with beautiful
rolling hills and charming villages such as Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water,
Painswick, and Castle Combe (picture above left).
Everything in this over-visited town from buildings to shops, restaurants
to cafes is linked to William Shakespeare.
a pleasant riverside city with its ancient buildings, notable university
and some prime scientific Museums. Don't miss King's College Chapel,
the Fitzwilliam Museum and a punt on the river.
the world's best-known university city, with stunning city centre
colleges including Christ Church, Merton and the Bodleian Library.
It's also a good base for Cotswolds holidays.
the finest medieval/Roman town in the UK, with a complete town wall
and an exquisite centre of timbered Tudor buildings.
Durham Cathedral, County Durham.
**Durham, the most striking cathedral
city in England with a magnificent 12th century edifice. If you
like cathedrals, also try Winchester, Salisbury or Canterbury.
***York, an historic walled city with one of the finest
cathedrals in Europe (York Minster); also a steam museum .
District, green hills and woodland with 16 lakes and
England's highest mountains is one of the most scenic landscapes
in Britain. It attracts not only hikers but literary pilgrims of
William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit).
**Haworth, the birthplace of the Bronte
sisters, is popular with literary fans. The adjacent North
York Moors and Yorkshire
Dales from 'Wuthering Heights' are bleakly beautiful and terrific
Wall, the ruins of Roman fortifications built between
AD122 and 130, stretch across the north of England for 73 miles.
The best preserved bit is at Housesteads.
Jan. 1, London parade
Last week of March, Oxford-Cambridge University boat race on the
Early May, FA Cup (football) Final, Wembley (London).
Last week of May, Chelsea Flower Show, the UK's best horticultural
First week of June, Derby week (classic horse racing) in Surrey.
Mid-June, Glastonbury Music Festival, one of the world's best, (wettest?!) and most enduring rock festivals
Also in mid-June Royal Ascot ( upper-class horse racing, famous for mad hats and restricted dress)
June, Stonehenge Midsummer Night Solstice Ritual.
Late June-early July Wimbledon Tennis.
Early July, Henley Royal Regatta rowing race.
Mid-July, British Open Golf Championship (Variable venues).
July-early Sept.The Promenade Concerts (classical music) at the
stunning (though acoustically questionable) Royal Albert Hall, London.
Last weekend of August, Notting Hill Carnival, fiesta with music,
dance, and parade by London's Caribbean community (West London).
See Sporting Events page for more information.
are also regional ceremonies and festivals throughout year, from
arts and culture to some strange ancient rituals and customs, such
as Monday Cheese Rolling (high speed and fairly dangerous), in Brookworth
on the spring bank holiday in May.
dates see: Eng'
A Pennine Way long-distance footpath, High Peak District National Park, Derbyshire.
Walking and Hiking: the Lake District
(Britain's largest National Park); the 100-mile 'Cotswolds
Way'; short and long walks all long the southwest coast, including
the 630-mile South
West Coastal Path, Britain's longest footpath, Dartmoor
National Park; North
York Moors and Yorkshire
Dales National Parks.
See Walking and Outdoor Activities
Climbing: Piles of good climbs, including
the Cotswolds and cliffs of the Dorset coast. See above link for
Biking: There are many new, car free
zones through scenic areas, developed by Sustrans, a UK government
body. The Whitby to Scarborough Trailway, 20 miles along the edge
of the North York Moors National Park, is one of the most spectacular
Surfing: Yes, really, but you'll need
a wetsuit! Especially Cornwall, Newquay's Fistral beach and St Ives are the
best known - and North Devon, such as Woolacombe pictured below (Atlantic/north-west coast).
Woolacombe beach, good for both surf and sand castles, on Devon county's north coast.
These are plentiful in England and often have good amounts of sunshine May-Sept.
Excellent walks abound, and the water is clean but always chilly.
Stylish Brighton is a Londoner's favourite, but the beaches are stony.
2 hours from London by car, has 12km of sandy beaches a great promenade
and pine-filled air connecting to Sandbanks and across to magnificent Studland and possibly the best beaches in the UK.
Both Devon and Cornwall's host excellent sandy stretches on two coasts, the wild north shore offering frequently windy and chilly Atlantic surf while the south coast is more kid-friendly with cute coves ringed with granite outcrops, caves, rock pools and soft sand, though some surf is often evident.
Newcastle, party central, north England, Tyne and Wear county.
Nightlife & Entertainment
cities in England such as London,
Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle have wild and varied clubbing scenes, though provincial places tend
to be extremely youth oriented and binge drinking is a problem.
are plenty of themed tours in England (both guided and non guided)
such as 'London Pub Walking tour', 'Liverpool Beatles Magical tour'
etc. Information and maps are available at UK regional tourist information
*Don't forget to have afternoon tea with homemade cream at countryside
inn or cafe.
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