England continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world (especially since post-Brexit, the pound has weakened and the country has become cheaper to visit). London in particular is one of the most visited cities and draws people in with its charm, history, and pubs. England’s smaller cities, like Bath and Oxford, are equally as fascinating with a lot of culture and fewer crowds. Liverpool, birthplace of The Beatles, boasts a rich musical history. You have the beautiful mountainous north, the rolling hills of Lancaster and Cornwall, Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall, and Tudor cities like Chester! The countryside has fascinating estates and natural beauty. Once you get outside of London, prices drop dramatically. I personally think the best the country has to offer is outside its capital anyways.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in England
2. Enjoy the shore
5. Enjoy summertime in The Lake District
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen of England, is a fascinating sight and, at 11:30 am, the changing of the guards happens. If you want to check out the palace, admission is 37 GBP, with discounts available for seniors, students, groups, and families. (It’s a bit too expensive for me so I just enjoy the free grounds!)
2. Visit the Tower of London
Here you can see the crown jewels of England, the typical beefeater guards, and check out where England’s most famous prisoners were held. It’s expensive to visit, though, at about 25 GBP and lines are long so plan ahead.
3. Go to Brighton
Brighton is a great little town for a weekend trip. There are lots of shops, boutiques, cafes. The streets are narrow, creating an intimate atmosphere as you walk around the lanes. The city is a famous and a popular summer destination for locals who come here to relax on the beach, enjoy the fleeting summer sun, and wander the pier where there are amusement rides and a few carnival style stalls to check out.
4. Learn in Liverpool
Liverpool has spectacular museums, but the real reason to come here is for the music, or more specifically, for The Beatles. Besides the music, Liverpool has a rich history and fun pubs, so don’t sell it short.
5. Check out the Chatsworth House
Located in Derbyshire, this amazing home was originally built in 1549 for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. While there are many beautiful houses and castles throughout the UK, this is one of the most astonishing. There are also a stunning garden and farmyard to walk around.
6. Oxford University
There are many colleges within Oxford and all of them are beautiful. Most cost a few dollars to get a tour during your visit, and you can even see the one where they filmed Harry Potter. I thought they were beautiful, and the tours provided a fascinating history of education as Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the world.
7. Attend the festivals
England is known for its festivals, especially during the summer. Be sure to check out the famous (and muddy!) Glastonbury festival. There are also a lot of big summer festivals in England, so do your research and check out the lineup.
Stonehenge, located in Salisbury, is one of the oldest man-made structures in the world (it dates back to 2,500 B.C.!). You can’t go up to the stones anymore, but it’s quite a fascinating site, especially since we still have very little idea how they dragged the stones there. The audio tour is definitely worth getting so you can get some historical context to the stones.
Located on the North Wales coast, this is a quaint little village that was constructed between 1925 and 1975. There’s a hotel and several holiday cottages to stay at, as well as a tiny teahouse and a single restaurant. This is a great place for a weekend getaway, but there isn’t much going on.
10. Old Trafford
This stadium in Manchester contains a famous club, theater, and sports arena. I highly recommend a visit. The tour is awesome, and takes you below the stadium seating, into the player’s lounge and even the pitch side dugout. A visit to the onsite museum will give you some soccer history as well.
11. Gaze in awe at Ely Cathedral
Also known as the ‘Ship of the Fens’, this cathedral is visible everywhere in Ely and from miles around. Originally built in the 12th century, it’s renowned for its Romanesque architecture, complete with a stunning entrance and an octagonal lantern tower. The Lady Chapel is the largest in all of England.
12. Relax in Greenwich Park
Considered to be one of London’s largest parks, it is also one of the most beautiful — a perfect escape from the city bustle. There are several historic sights here, as well as a rose garden, excellent pathways, a tea house, the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime museum, a café, and even a deer park. It is the oldest enclosed royal park in London.
13. Hike Hadrian’s Wall
Declared a Word Heritage Site in 1987, Hadrian’s wall has been standing since the 2nd century. It was used to keep out the Celts from Roman England (it didn’t work so well). While you can make a brief visit to see the fortifications and ancient wall in many spots of the country, if you’re up for it, you can also hike the entire 135km length of the wall itself!
14. Museum hop
All the museums in England are free, and some of them are considered the best in the world. Get your art and history fill without spending a dollar.