19 Interesting places in England: London is not all there is

Very often, trips to England are limited to a short city break in London. The capital of Great Britain has Historic architecture, rich cultural offers, and very interesting museums. Visitors are favored by the fact that many of London’s attractions are free. However, it is not worth ending your visit only in the capital. There are many more…

Very often, trips to England are limited to a short city break in London. The capital of Great Britain has Historic architecture, rich cultural offers, and very interesting museums. Visitors are favored by the fact that many of London’s attractions are free.

However, it is not worth ending your visit only in the capital. There are many more interesting places in England. Charming towns, architectural wonders, beautiful landscapes – there is definitely a lot to choose from.

1 – York, Northern England

One of the most interesting places in England is the city of York in Yorkshire, at the confluence of the Ouse and Foss rivers, known mainly for its rich history. Over 2,000 were created years ago, and for a long time, it was the largest city in this part of Great Britain. In medieval buildings, traces of the Vikings and Romans are intertwined. The first captured the city in 866 and occupied it for 200 years. For the Romans, York was the main military base. Emperor Septimius Severus died in this city, Constantius I Chlorus – father of Constantine I the Great, and Constantine himself was proclaimed emperor here.

In addition to Roman monuments, the attractions of York are numerous churches and also pubs. Guides even claim that you can see at least one pub and one church from any point in the city within the city walls. The largest is the medieval cathedral, which in terms of size, is unmatched in all of England.

2 – Oxford, South England

Oxford is famous for being the oldest English-speaking university in the world. The name of the city comes from two words: ox (ox) and ford (ford). This is because, at Oxford, where the waters of the Cherwell flow into the Thames, it was possible to ford both rivers, most often by oxen-drawn cart.

The city has many tourist attractions, partly related to the university. While in Oxford, it’s impossible not to visit the Ashmolean Museum, which has a substantial collection of art and artifacts from archaeological excavations, as well as the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest university libraries. For a view of the city from above, it is worth going to the Carfax Tower, a tower located in the center of Oxford.

1 The University of Oxford attracts
The University of Oxford attracts not only students but also tourists, photo: Shutterstock.com

3 – Cambridge, South England

The second oldest university in England, the best in the country, and one of the best in the world are located 100 km away in Cambridge, one of the most visited cities in Great Britain by Poles. Today, almost all buildings of the university founded in 1209 are architectural monuments. Among the most famous are Trinity Hall, a college from 1350 that specializes in legal sciences, and King’s College from 1441, which is home to one of the most beautiful chapels in England. During a tour of the area, you can admire the houses, e.g., Stephen Hawking, physicist and cosmologist, and David Gilmour, musician.

There is an American War Cemetery in nearby Madingley, the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, and the home of the poet Rupert Brooke in Grantchester.

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4 – Cotswolds Hills, Central England

The nearly 80-kilometer range of Limestone Hills, among which the sources of the Thames are hidden, attracts idyllic landscapes. A trip to the Cotswolds will be perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Almost everything – from doghouses, garden walls, and houses to churches and castles – is made of material mined in local quarries. In the Cotswolds, straw-thatched buildings cover the buildings.

The northern part of the hills is considered more picturesque than the southern part due to the higher hills. At an altitude of 300 m, at the intersection of eight roads, there is Stow-on-the-Wold, one of the highest-located towns in England, which dates back to prehistoric times.

The architectural pearl of the Cotswolds is also Chipping Campden. The main street of the town has the shape of a gentle bend and consists of low medieval tenement houses tightly glued to each other.

The nearby town of Tewkesbury is famous for its beautiful inns, the oldest of which, “The Old Black Bear,” dates back to 1308, and the nearby “Under the Hops” was even immortalized by Charles Dickens in the novel “The Pickwick Papers.”

5 – Bath, South England

Bath is close to the only natural geothermal springs in the British Isles. The spa town, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, has excellently preserved Roman baths and pump rooms. The place also impresses with its Georgian architecture, e.g., sandstone buildings that perfectly blend in with modern buildings.

Bath has been a tourist destination for 2,000 years ago. The beauty of the spa and the beneficial influence of its waters on people again attracted tourists in the 18th century. A hundred years later, Bath became the center of English social life. Representatives of the elite began to come to the baths. Today, many visitors believe that Bath mineral water is a cure for various ailments.

In Bath, you can also admire squares with terraced buildings in the shape of bends and the famous Pulteney Bridge, which is one of the few bridges in Europe that looks like an arcade from the outside, and houses shops and boutiques inside.

2 Bath is one of the most interesting places in England
BathBath is one of the most interesting places in England, photo: Shutterstock.com

6 – Lake Land, Northern England

In the Lake District in Cumbria, we will see a lot of natural curiosities, e.g., the deepest lake in Great Britain – Wastwater (86 m), the highest sea cliff between Wales and Scotland, and the highest mountains in England with the Scafell Pike peak reaching 978 m above sea level. Numerous species of owls can be observed in the 11 nature reserves on the Land, but its biggest attraction is the lakes: there are nearly 20 of them here, including the largest and deepest in England – Windermere.

This place has been described many times by Romantic poets who drew inspiration from it, e.g., Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome, and William Wordsworth. Wordsworth’s house in Grasmere is now open to the public. It is because of them that the Lake District, part of which is protected by the national park, is a cause of concern for ecologists. A large number of visitors, which exceeds 15 million per year (!), threatens, among others, the rapid exploitation of water.

7 – Stratford-Upon-Avon, Middle Of England

The town in Warwickshire on the River Avon is known as the birthplace and death place of William Shakespeare. Literature lovers have been flocking here since his death in 1616, and the site is today the literary sanctuary of England’s greatest playwright. Stratford is also home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, which usually performs the master’s plays in the city before London premieres. The biggest attraction in the city is the house of the playwright, in which a partly original interior has been preserved.

Nash’s House & New Place in Stratford is also worth a visit. This is the first home of the husband of Elizabeth Hall, Shakespeare’s granddaughter. Original furniture, paintings, and wallpapers from the Tudor era have been preserved here. Stratford is also home to Halls Croft, the former home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband, Dr. John Hall. To this day, visitors can admire the living rooms and the doctor’s office with stylish furniture and historical medical tools.

Less than two kilometers from Stratford, in Shottery, tourists can see Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the family home of Shakespeare’s wife. Many family memorabilia have been preserved in the farm building with thatched roofs.

About 5 kilometers from the center of Stratford lies the home of Mary Arden – Shakespeare’s mother. On the farm, you can see what life was like in the countryside.

8 – Lake District: The most beautiful national park in England

The most beautiful national park in England
©Michael Conrad

Located in the North West on the Irish Sea, the Lake District is one of England’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Here are England’s highest mountains and largest natural lake, Windermere. You can go on long hikes through original forests, to green mountain peaks, and to extensive lakes. When fog banks run through this primeval-looking landscape, it becomes particularly magical. No wonder the Lake District was also used as a film set for the seascape of the planet Takadona from Star Wars.

9 – Big Ben: The most famous bell in the world

The most famous bell in the world
© Free Photos

You know you’re in London when you hear Big Ben chime on the hour. Actually, only the 13.5-ton bell is called that. But when you say Big Ben, you usually mean the magnificent Clock Tower in which the bell hangs. As you cross the Thames on Westminster Bridge, the most iconic view of London lies before you. You see the Westminster Palace in the Gothic Perpendicular Style and the Elizabeth Tower, as the Clock Tower has been called since the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

10 –  Stonehenge: Mysterious monument from the Stone Age

Mysterious monument from the Stone Age
© Sally Wilson

North of Salisbury is Stonehenge, a stunning testament to the Neolithic period. Erected thousands of years ago, the stone circle still stimulates people’s imaginations to this day. Was Stonehenge an astronomical observatory, cemetery, or place of worship for an ancient religion? Arranged in a horseshoe shape, the stones are an unforgettable UNESCO World Heritage Site. The long walk from the informative visitor center to the prehistoric site is well worth it. Plan time to let this place of power have an effect on you.

11 – Seven Sisters: Dreamlike cliff coast in Sussex

Dreamlike cliff coast in Sussex
© Roman Grac

The South Downs range of hills characterizes England’s youngest national park. This impressive chalk landscape lies in the counties of Sussex and Hampshire on the country’s south coast. Gradually, much of the stony substance was removed by erosion. You can hike through this fascinating terrain with its lush green meadows and gnarled forests and even swim below the proud Seven Sisters. If you continue hiking in the direction of Beachy Head, you will find this magnificent white shimmering cliff at your feet.

12 –  Hadrian’s Wall: Ancient northern border of the Roman Empire

Ancient northern border of the Roman Empire
© Colobus Yeti

Hadrian’s Wall once stood near the Scottish border. Built in the 2nd century, it was intended to protect the Roman province of Britain from invaders. Many sections of the wall are well preserved. Some impressive walls, towers, and forts have been reconstructed, such as at South Shields. You can walk along Hadrian’s Wall and reflect on the former greatness of the Roman Empire. Game of Thrones fans can discover many parallels in the series. The 117 km long wall is supposed to be a role model and inspiration.

13 –  Buckingham Palace: The heart of the British monarchy

The heart of the British monarchy
© visitlondon.com/Jon Reid

Buckingham Palace, the London residence of the British monarch, has 775 rooms. Do you want to visit some of them? It is possible to walk through the magnificently furnished state rooms in the summer months. Don’t miss the changing of the guard in the bright red parade uniforms. Nearby, the grandiose Westminster Abbey awaits you. Built entirely in the Gothic style, it has been England’s coronation church since the Middle Ages. Admire the magnificent tombs of English rulers and the centuries-old coronation chair, and let the truly unearthly vaults have an effect on you.

14 –  Durdle Door: Huge rock arch on the Jurassic Coast

Huge rock arch on the Jurassic Coast
© allouphoto

The spectacular coastline stretches from the county of Dorset to East Devon in southwest England. The fascinating cliffs of the 150 km long Jurassic Coast have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a good reason. In particular, the chalk cliffs and pillars of the Old Harry Rocks and the “Durdle Door” towering out of the sea are majestic natural monuments. “Old Harry” is a term for the devil, but these million-year-old rocks were simply formed by erosion. As a result, many fossils are found here and on the adjacent western Devon coastline.

15 –  Tower Bridge: Distinctive landmark of London

Distinctive landmark of London
© visitlondon.com/Antoine Buchet

Tower Bridge spans the River Thames to the east of the City of London. This bridge with the massive Neo-Gothic towers dates from the late 19th century. The lanes can be folded up for larger ships. If you walk across the bridge on the upper pedestrian walkways, you have a great view of the Tower of London, a huge medieval castle. Kings once resided here, and their enemies languished in dungeons. The British Crown Jewels are also kept in the Tower.

16 –  South West Coast Path: Longest long-distance footpath in England

Longest long-distance footpath in England

The county of Cornwall is the most southwestern region of England, with a sometimes almost Mediterranean climate. Walk the South West Coast Path, and you’ll experience the magnificent coastal scenery first-hand. The 1,000-kilometer-long path was created to curb smuggling. If you hike sections of the route, you can discover fascinating sights: Tintagel Castle is considered the residence of King Arthur. Wizard Merlin is said to have lived in a hole below. Land’s End is England’s most south-westerly point with legendary views.

17 –  Windsor Castle: Largest continuously inhabited castle in the world

Largest continuously inhabited castle in the world
© Roman Grac

Windsor Castle is located west of London. This is where the elderly Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, retreat when they get too busy in the lively capital. High-state guests are received in the venerable medieval halls, but many areas are also open to visitors. Don’t miss St. George’s Chapel, a magnificent church in the playful English version of Gothic. Shakespeare was also inspired by Windsor Castle. In his play The Merry Wives of Windsor, the castle is one of the main symbols.

18 – Brighton Beach Huts: Colorful beach huts in Hove

Brighton Beach Huts Colorful beach huts in Hove

Brighton is 80 kilometers south of the capital on the English Channel. Formerly a fisherman’s nest threatened by erosion, England’s most famous seaside resort is also called “London by the Sea.” There is always something going on here: You can get an overview of the historic pier from the Brighton Palace Pier. The Royal Pavilion exudes a touch of India: on the outside, it looks like a Mogul palace, but on the inside, it has been furnished in Chinese style. The Brighton Beach Huts in Hove are a real photo hotspot. The brightly colored square wooden huts are lined up for miles along the beach. A walk along the promenade from Brighton to Hove is particularly worthwhile.

19 – Northumberland National Park: Rugged hills

Northumberland National Park Rugged hills
© film photo

The Northumberland National Park is considered an insider tip among fans of English natural landscapes. The rugged hills attract hikers and climbers in the very northeast of England. If you are looking for peace, you are definitely right here. A special highlight is Bamburgh Castle, right on the coast. This legendary castle is situated on a 150 m high hill and offers wonderful views over the sea. Be sure to plan a little more time and head south. Alnwick Castle is about 30 minutes drive away. This is where Harry Potter swung his broomstick for the first time. Deja vu is guaranteed.

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