England Pictures Guide, UK 2017-05-01T13:56:46+00:00

England Pictures Guide, UK

a traditional Cotswold village hotel, England, UK

Bibury, a traditional English village in the Cotswolds of of dull grey stone to match the traditional sky. Photo by W. Lloyd MacKenzie.

South East England Pictures

Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace, London, England, UK

London city (and the City of London! eh?)

The south east, an easy day-trip from London by train, offers two high quality urban sights. The first is medieval Canterbury with its 1, 000 year-old walls, massive cathedral and other ancient buildings, all in a pretty compact centre.

The second attraction is London’s favourite beach resort, lively Brighton, with its tacky but cute pier, scenic but stony beach, bizarre Royal Pavilion and humming night life.

Brighton, England, UK

Brighton town

The leaning house of Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

The leaning house of Canterbury, another unusual structure in a 1,000 year old city with a magnificent range of architecture and of course the famous Canterbury Cathedral.

South England Pictures

This area is a good starting point for out-of-London travels as roads are relatively uncrowded and attractive, particularly if you sometimes take ‘A’ roads (for example the A3) instead of motorways; sights are plentiful.

Some attractions

Stonehenge, England, UK

Stonehenge site

An hour or two from London is Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, with its Neolithic standing stones (untouchable) and nearby Avebury‘s smaller (but touchable) stones and the medieval cathedral towns of Salisbury or Winchester.
In the vicinity are rolling Dorset hills studded with iron-age forts such as Bradbury Rings and Maiden Castle, White Horses carved in chalk and the hugely naughty but nice Cerne Giant. Alien crop circles too, if you’re lucky.

Corfe Castle, Dorset, England

Corfe Castle village in Dorset county

About an hour from Salisbury is the pleasant south coast beach resort of Bournemouth with magnificent beaches if chilly water, merging into Poole.

Poole Harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour after Sydney’s, has a short and attractive ferry ride across the harbour mouth at Sandbanks which leads into the gorgeous rural coastal area of the Purbeck Hills and Corfe Castle.

Dorset’s beaches are some of the best in Britain and blessed with a better climate than just about anywhere else in the UK.

Studland beach, near Sandbanks in Dorset, England

Shell Bay beach, near Poole in Dorset. England’s Beaches

Bath, Somerset, England, UK

A Roman bath in Bath city, Somerset county

South-West and West England Pictures

St Ives town in Cornwall county

St Ives town in Cornwall county

This area offers a pretty good climate and many great beaches, or head to Devon’s Dartmoor for short or long hikes; Cornwall’s Eden Project to visit the inspired, massive biodomes housing a beautifully organised selection of the world’s tropical plants complete with trees, waterfalls and story-telling sessions.

Little quintessential Cornwall fishing villages such as St Ives is are perfect for those who seek an ancient feel or Newquay for surfing and clubbing fans; Land’s End? Nope – spoilt, disappointing and not worth the trip.

Somerset’s Glastonbury is for spiritualists who are chasing dreams of Avalon, King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and Ley lines that meet at the Tor mound as well as rocking neo-hippies who have managed to acquire summer festival tickets.

Elegant old sandstone Bath, still running with warm mineral waters that the Romans enjoyed 1, 000 years ago. You too can bathe there.

This delightful walk of 630 miles (1014 kms) stretches from Poole Harbour, Dorset through the fossil-loaded ‘Jurassic Coast’, along cliffs, beaches and valleys, past fishing villages and resorts to Minehead, Somerset.

The Dorset section of the Southwest Coastal Path starts near the ferry, Studland village or Swanage town.

Old Harry Rocks, Dorset, England, UK

Old Harry Rocks, Dorset, on the South West Coast Path

Central England Pictures

Oxford College, England, UK

Oxford

Like the south, the centre is a not unpleasant drive from London and offers plenty of history and intellectual interest as well as some of England’s cutest traditional thatch or slate roofed villages over in the Cotswolds, Willy Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, the two great university towns of Oxford and Cambridge and medieval Chester.

Renovated Manchester and Birmingham are large and ebulliant cities with dramatic new architecture while Liverpool lives for the diminishing supply of Beatles fans. The watery flatlands of region are interlaced with traditional canals so canal boat trips are popular recreation here, and the Norfolk Broads over in the far east is a popular boating area with a  few  good beaches, though it’s hardly a top class tourist attraction.

Cambridge River, England, UK

Cambridge

Stratford-upon-Avon, England, UK

Stratford-upon-Avon

Chester city, England, UK

Chester city

North England Pictures

Inhabited by what many English people would agree are a friendlier species of native than in the sniffy south, even if they do have accents thicker than their dry-stone walls, the north hosts some very lively modern cities sporting fine art and architecture, such as Newcastle (upon-Tyne), as well as terrific old tourist-heavy burgs loaded with ancient buildings such as York and Durham.

Outdoors the Peak District is England’s central mountain group though the Yorkshire Dales, Moors and the Lake District are arguably more scenic and accessible.

Newcastle city, England, UK

Newcastle city

Lake District, England, UK

The Lake District, Cumbria

York city, England, UK

York city

Hadrian

Hadrian’s Wall fort. Photo by Nick.

Near the border with Scotland winds Hadrian’s Wall, a fine and walkable old fortified barrier against the rampaging Scots and a must-see if en route to visit those very same Scots, though slightly less rampant these days.

p. s. Britain’s most notorious motorway, the M1 from London to the north, is irretrievably dull and inevitably packed so make your trip quicker by avoiding rush hours (8-10 am, 4-6 pm and especially Friday afternoons).

England’s best seasons

The best time to visit England (along with the rest of the United Kingdom) is probably May, June, July and September(August can get overheated and will be overcrowded) but be warned, the weather is notoriously erratic so prepare for anything. Winter is frequently wet and grey.

Transport

Car rental is the easiest way to travel around since England is a small country and sights come thick and fast. Trains are pleasant if they run on time but pricey and will require taxis to reach primo sights, while coaches (long-distance buses) are the best value from A to B but, of course, don’t visit ‘sights’ – unless they are tour buses. So, for sightseeing in the countryside go for your own wheels if you can afford them and are happy to drive on the left. If not, or time is short, a guided tour would be advisable. More Transport

Great Britain vs United Kingdom

For those with a shaky grasp of the UK’s political structure, England is just one part of Great Britain, which also includes Scotland and Wales. Add Northern Ireland and the four countries become the United Kingdom (UK).

London, in the south-east of the country is England’s capital city as well as being the UK’s traditional financial, artistic, political, intellectual and architectural core, though as London rental prices have reached silly levels young enterpreneurs, artists, and other future movers and shakers are creating their own scenes in Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Most tourists to England will choose to spend quite a few days in London (‘The Smoke’ as it’s known to locals) before heading out to other sights.

The images and information on these pages are designed to act as a quick and easy holiday decision-making aid rather than a full-on travel guide. Most of the attractions mentioned also appear on Bugbog’s England and Wales Tourist Map.

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