England Travel, UK

the moated walls of the Tower of London, London, England Travel

Reading up on the Tower of London, England travel.

England travel main attractions

London and the South

The Millennium Wheel, London Eye, South Bank Walk of London, England Travel

The Millennium Wheel, beside the Thames River and near Parliament, London.

***London, see London city guideCheap hotels in the UK.

**Bath, 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.

***Stonehenge. 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.

The Eden Project, Cornwall. Extraordinary, educational and artistic biospheres housing over 100, 000 plants and entertainingly aimed at the general public; great for kids.

***Dorset, 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 ‘South Coast Path‘, Dorset to Somerset.

***The Cotswolds, typical English countryside with beautiful rolling hills and charming villages such as Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Painswick and Castle Combe.

North of London

Chester city centre, England Travel

Chester city centre, in Cheshire county, northwest England, near Liverpool. Photo by Rept0n1x.

**Stratford-upon-Avon, Everything in this over-visited town from buildings to shops, restaurants to cafes is linked to William Shakespeare.

**Cambridge, 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.

**Oxford, 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.

***Chester, the finest medieval/Roman town in the UK, with a complete town wall and an exquisite centre of timbered Tudor buildings.

**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 .

***Lake 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 for walking.

**Hadrian’s 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.

England Travel:  the weather!

The best season is April-September
Worst: January-February (wet, grey, and short daylight hours).

Length of stay:
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).

England Festivals

Jan. 1, London New Year Parade
Last week of March, Oxford-Cambridge University boat race on the Thames.
Early May, FA Cup (football) Final, Wembley (London).
Last week of May, Chelsea Flower Show, the UK’s best horticultural event (London).
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).

*There 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.

For dates see: Eng’ Speaking Festivals

England Activities

The Lake District (National Park), Lake Ullswater in extreme northwest England. Photo by Chris Schoenbaum.

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 page.

Climbing: Piles of good climbs, including the Cotswolds and cliffs of the Dorset coast. See above link for more info.

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 routes.

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  (Atlantic/north-west coast).

English Beaches

Durdle Door beach in Dorset in July, England Travel.

Durdle Door on Dorset’sJurassic Coast‘ in south England.

Fine sandy beaches with character are plentiful in England and often have good amounts of sunshine May-September. Excellent walks abound, and the water is clean but always chilly, and the further north the chillier it gets.

Stylish Brighton is a Londoner’s favourite, but the beaches are stoned, as are many of the local youth.

Bournemouth, 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.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Regional 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.

*There 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 centres. *Don’t forget to have afternoon tea with homemade cream at countryside inn or cafe.