From Roman ruins and rugby to wild outdoors, the birth of punk, thatched cottages and rolling hills.
Welcome to your starter kit for exploring the best places in England.
The Best Places to Visit in England: Getting Started
Make no mistake, any collection of the best places to visit in England will be long but diverse. She may be a small country but she holds a labyrinth of travel destinations inside.
Perhaps you've heard of her ivy-clad crumbling walls and cloisters. Of Big Ben, red buses and signs that say "Mind the Gap" in London.
Maybe you live here and have grown complacent, not realising that fashion, food and UNESCO world heritage sites pulse through hidden parts of this land.
First Timers and Aficionados in England
Whichever way it is, here's an inside guide to the best places to visit in England. I've divided it into a section for first timers and one for repeat offenders. I've sought opinion from travel experts for the few corners I don't yet know.
And I've included a section for the latest articles on England here on the blog. It seems only fair that as I discover more about this country of my birth, I share it quickly, easily and concisely here with you.
So, let's go! The list of the best places to visit in England awaits!
The Latest Articles on Travel in England
The Best Places to Visit in England: The Cities
A global city that speaks more than 300 languages and has more than 2000 years of documented (and tangible) history, London is a world class city and travel destination all on its own.
Like millions of others, I was born here, studied here and worked here and it remains one of my favourite cities after all these years of travel.
BUT. The mistake I see made is that people come to visit London and leave it at that.
Why?! England - and the UK - is so much more than that. So. Use these articles, enjoy the city at large, but do make sure to see more of England than that. Especially if you didn't find London much to your taste. The rest of the island is very, very different.
Beautiful Bath bathes in honey-gold stone and the legacy of Jane Austen and the Romans. Quite literally. There are Roman Baths right in the centre of this pretty city.
Unlike so many places in England, Bath's city centre and attractions are compact. Many visitors zip in from London and back but it's a stretch. If at all possible, I'd recommend spending at least two nights here as a gorgeous weekend break.
Bristol's city life has been ruled by navigation, in the shipyards where Isambaard Kingdom Brunel designed and built world record shattering feats of engineering to the Bristol Museum of Aviation where Concord now rests.
But it's also an edgy, arty city, full of controversial artists, like Banksy, vegan eateries and a thriving music scene.
Salty in more ways than one, Brighton marches onto England's pebbly southern shore beneath a rainbow flag and quest for reinvention. It houses Victorian grandeur like the Royal Pavilion, subversive sweets like Brighton Rock and the country's only Green MP.
The other city of Dreaming Spires where Sir Isaac Newton worked out gravity, Watson & Crick discovered the secret of DNA and, well, I spent a great time there as a student in my youth (!)
Compact and walkable, Cambridge works as a day trip from London, although, as ever, you'll see more and find more if you can manage to stay overnight.
Inexplicably the more famous of England's two old university towns ;-) Worth visiting in its own right, Oxford also serves as a gateway to the Cotswolds, an expanse of rolling green and thatch. At a push, you can also visit Oxford as a day trip from London.
The Best Areas of Natural Beauty
From rolling hills to death-drop cliff falls, England excels at natural beauty (well, apart from the sunshine part.)
The Cotswolds in south central England mix hills and meadows with quaint market towns and honeystone walls. This area is perfect for walkers and cyclists, with plenty of award-winning hotels, pubs and many festivals.
The Lake District
In the northwest of England, the expansive Lake District National Park basks in the glory of its World Heritage Site Status awarded in 2017. Between the many hills, woodland, and valleys, poetry and heritage from Wordsworth drifts through.
The Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean is a more quiet nature experience for outdoor lovers. Tucked in between Bristol and Wales, it is characterised by dense forests, historic mining operations, mystical walkways and some surprisingly good food.
You'll find fantastic cycle paths, kayaking routes and hiking trails.
The Yorkshire Dales
At the other end of the country lies North Yorkshire, Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales.
Beloved by the Russian Tzars and murder-mystery genius Agatha Christie, Harrogate became a world famous spa destination and scenic location. The water contained iron, sulphur and sea salt. The countryside filled out with the deep valleys and winding roads of the Dales. Cycling and hiking through the heather moorland continues to attract visitors today. The sour tasting water, not so much.
Devon and Cornwall
Back in the southwest, the bays and seaside towns of Devonshire and Cornwall charm in a clotted cream and cider kind of way.
The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site
Running 95 miles from East Devon to Dorset, the Jurassic coast earns its World Heritage status and wears it with pride.
This coastline is truly stunning and is, not surprisingly, one of the most popular destinations in Britain. Iconic towns speckle themselves along the coast, amid fossils and skyscraper steep cliffs. With many of the towns and villages connected, cycling is very popular, along with fossil hunting and hiking.