Best England Itinerary – 7 Days in England
England (or better yet, the UK) is one of my favorite countries in Europe – yes, there is a lot of weird things going on (politically) right now, but so far, I still have very fond memories of England.
So, if you plan to visit England for 7 days, this England itinerary helps you discover different areas and see England´s different faces.
Whether visiting the north or the south, whether visiting cities like London and Manchester or visiting cute towns and villages like Chester and Hastings – I was never disappointed and I like to share some of the most beautiful places in England.
Even nature in England is lovely – even stunning (e.g. Dover) – and while I have visited England many times, I have not posted much about it here on my blog.
However, this is about to change and this England itinerary will hopefully help you to plan 7 days in England. So, this England itinerary is surely not my first England post, but it is the first giving you an idea on how to spend one week in England – about the best places to visit and see and the best things to do in seven days.
So, whether you road trip England or use public transportation – it is quite easy to get to these places, and unlike some of my other itineraries, this does not include a lot of crazy driving. It is a busy and fun itinerary, but it will not leave you breathless.
This one-week England itinerary starts in London and then you´ll head to the south – exploring the beautiful coasts of England with their pretty coastal towns.
With only one week in England, it took me a while to think about what other places to visit besides London – because there are beautiful places all over the country.
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ENGLAND TRAVEL TIPS
So, before discussing your 7-day England itinerary, here are a few travel tips so that you have a wonderful time in the country – including tips on how to get around, where to stay, and more!
Best Time to Visit England
Have you heard about England (and Britain) being gray and rainy? Well, unfortunately, this is true. Whether I visited England in the summer months or during other seasons, the weather is moody and rain is quite common. But the sun does visit England, too – sometimes.
However, this should not stop you from visiting – you just have to pack accordingly.
For this itinerary, I suggest visiting in the summer months. Normally, I advise visiting in the off-season, but due to the places on this itinerary and the weather, the summer months – let´s say from May to late September – are the best months to visit England in one week.
How to Get to England
I recommend starting and ending your trip in London for this itinerary.
London has several airports and you can fly into London from many airports in Europe, Asia, or the U.S.
But if you drive with your own car and come from Europe, you might want to start in Dover.
If you come from France, you get to Dover by train/ferry.
How to Get Around
The reason why I would never road trip England is that I cannot drive on the left side of the road. Having a self-diagnosed “difficulty telling left from right” (that does really exist), I don’t dare drive on the left. However, I enjoyed quite a few bus rides and did the exact same route several times (to be precise, 4 times, as this was the route we took with our graduating classes – as you probably know, I am a teacher and we visit England as a final trip with the graduating classes for 6 days).
So, the views are nice – sometimes it is a bit boring, but sometimes the views are even nicer than nice. The streets are not very busy and seem to be in good condition overall. Some streets are narrow and there are some mountain roads included – but no high mountains and nothing crazy like in Central Europe, for example.
Renting a car in England is – apparently – relatively easy, but not cheap, and pre-booking a car might help you save money.
Gas is quite expensive in England and so are parking fees.
My tip: If you want to road trip, rent your car after your time in London because in London itself, you will not need a car. Public transportation is superb and you will save yourself money and, more importantly, stress.
Public Transportation in England
While I did not use public transportation in the south of England, I used it on other occasions many times – and it is pretty good. After doing some research, I have some good news: you can visit the places on this itinerary via public transportation. Of course, you are less flexible, but you do not have to worry about parking spaces and such.
So, from London to Canterbury, you can take the train (about 90 minutes) and then from there, take buses/trains. It’s important to note that you probably will need to check timings in advance as not every bus runs hourly.
In London, you are surely better off without your own car – public transportation is great and the best way to get around.
England is not cheap as a travel destination – London especially is expensive, but so are many other places in the country. However, I still think it is cheaper than some other European destinations in Central and Northern Europe.
Accommodations will probably eat up most of your budget. For train rides, booking early might be the best financial option.
Food can be costly, but also very affordable – and I do not mean just Fish & Chips (a traditional British favorite). You will find many take-away restaurants that offer great (international) food for reasonable prices.
Where to Go and What to See in England in 7 Days
London – 3.5 Days
London is surely a very interesting city – and it has so much to offer. You could easily spend a week here (and of course longer) and would not get bored. However, for this England itinerary, I suggest staying about 3 or 3.5 days in the city, so you have enough time for the southern coast of England.
London is so rich in history, stretching back to Roman times – the capital of England has something for everyone.
Do you like shopping? Then head to Oxford Street or Regent Street.
Do you prefer lively squares? Then visit Picadilly Circus or Trafalgar Square.
Do you like to admire beautiful architecture? Then check out places like the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower).
Do you prefer relaxing in the park? Then stroll St. James Park or Hyde Park.
Do you enjoy more hip and colorful neighborhoods? Then explore Nottinghill.
I could go on like this forever, but I guess you get my point (and let´s not forget about the Royal Family that just recently became a bit more internationally glamorous with the new Dutchess of Sussex – Meghan Markle).
With all the pubs (pretty pubs to be more precise) and clubs in London, it is also a great place for those who enjoy some nightlife and partying.
Stroll the Thames River and enjoy views from the London Eye – one of the biggest Ferris wheels in the world – and experience the city from a different perspective (for a birdeye’s view that is free, head to Skygarden).
I actually have a 4-day itinerary for London, but again, see how much time you want to spend in in the city.
Personally, I would leave early on the fourth day and head to Canterbury, so you have more than half a day there to explore this pretty city.
You can either drive to Canterbury or get there by train (which should take less than two hours either way).
Where to Stay in London
Here are some of the best-rated hotels for each budget:
Luxury Hotels in London – Ritz-Carlton is one of the top hotels – it is also conveniently located in the city center and quite close to Buckingham Palace. Click here for the best rates and more info.
Mid-Range Hotels in London: This 3-star hotel Hampton by Hilton Waterloo has decent reviews– find out more about this hotel and get the best rates here.
Budget Hotels in London : This hostel is well-rated, conveniently located and if you book a bed in a dorm you can actually get a bargain. Click here to get the best rates for YHA London Central
Canterbury – Half Day
Canterbury is a beautiful medieval city – a cathedral city that was once a famous pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Now, tourism plays a major role in the city and it is one of the most visited in England.
With a population of about 55,000, it is a cute, small city and perfect for spending half a day or a full day.
Located in Kent, Canterbury has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for several centuries – and is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, which include the Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church.
The city is known for its ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, with cobblestone streets, timber-framed houses, and cute shops and restaurants.
Despite London´s long history, you will not find the small and narrow streets there that you will find here in Canterbury.
There are riverboat tours as well as planned walks if you want to spend some time in nature – but the highlight is probably the Canterbury Cathedral, which was built in the 6th century and is one of the most stunning religious sites in England.
The cathedral is a mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic, and is one of the main landmarks in the city. You have to pay an entrance fee to explore the cathedral, the site of the shrine of Thomas Becket and the seat of the Archbishop.
The city center is small and you can get around on foot and see the main sights by walking.
Tip: Rent audioguides to get a better understanding of the cathedral´s history.
You can either stay here overnight or head to Dover and stay there so that you can start exploring Dover early in the morning.
Where to Stay in Canterbury
I never stayed in Canterbury overnight – in case you plan to spend a night here, check out this hotel. It was rated one of the best and is centrally located.
Dover – 1 Day
Dover is one of a kind in England – and I suggest spending at least a full day here.
It´s a small coastal town located in Kent – and it is an important port in England. It is a great place to learn about England´s history, but it is also perfect for hiking – it has some of the most stunning scenery in the country.
Dover is probably most famous for the White Cliffs of Dover and its harbor/port. If you arrive at or leave England by ferry, you´ll most likely do it via Dover – Calais (France).
But if you are in Dover, do not skip Dover Castle, which is probably the most iconic in England nowadays and actually the biggest castle in the county.
It was built by King Henry II in the 1180s and served as a fortress. You can visit the castle and explore it while learning about the country´s history – and best of all, it comes with amazing views!
You can also hike in this beautiful part of the world, choosing one of several hiking routes.
From there, head to Hastings.
Where to Stay in Dover
If you stay in Canterbury overnight, I suggest not staying in Dover but instead staying two nights in Hastings (so you do not have to change hotels too often). However, if you stay in Dover overnight, check out rates for hotels here.
Hastings – 1 Day
Hastings is a cute, beautiful coastal town with a long history. It is located about 80 km from Dover and is one of the lesser-known destinations outside of the UK.
Hastings is known for the 1066 Battle of Hastings (which was fought where Battle Abbey now stands).
If you do a short hike up (you could also use a funicular), you can enjoy the views from Hastings Castle of the English Channel. The castle itself was once home to William the Conqueror, and up there, you can also visit the Smugglers Adventure Museum (fun for kids, too).
Then you have the charming pebble-stone beach – though I came here many times, even in the summer months, I have never taken a dip as it can be chilly and windy all year round.
However, it is a popular beach destination in England and there is nothing better than strolling the promenade and visiting the really, really cute and colorful pier of Hastings.
From Hastings, it is time to head to Eastbourne.
Where to Stay in Hastings
I am not going to lie – the places I have stayed in Hastings were not great. The hotel standard here is not great. My tip is to stay at the hotel near the beach and near the old town – this is the best-rated hotel I have found in Hastings.
Eastbourne – 1 Day
Eastbourne is a lovely coastal town with a beautiful promenade. However, it is most famous for the Seven Sisters Hike.
The Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs – located midway between Seaford and Eastbourne (as you have seen in Dover). The hike is not overly challenging and can be done in a few hours – the views are incredible and the hike is probably one of the best hikes you can take in England.
There are different options (that also come with different lengths and difficulties). We did an easy hike (or walk) from there to Eastbourne.
If you want, you can also do the longer hike from Seaford to Eastbourne. The only thing to keep in mind is to be careful – it can be slippery, especially when it is wet, and you can fall (there have been casualties in the past).
If you follow this itinerary strictly (3.5 days in London, half a day in Canterbury, 1 day in Dover, 1 day in Hastings, and 1 day in Eastbourne), then your one week is already up. But if you have more time or want to skip one of the other places mentioned above, then think about visiting Brighton before heading back to London (if you fly out from there).
Where to Stay in Eastbourne
If you want to stay in Eastbourne overnight, check out this 5-star hotel in Eastbourne.
Brighton – 1 Day
Brighton is a famous resort town that is about 35km from Eastbourne and about 76km south of London.
Bigger than towns like Hastings and Eastbourne, Brighton offers more attractions and a busier atmosphere. Visit Brighton Pier, which opened almost 120 years ago and is where you will find carousels and food stalls.
Check out the Royal Pavilion, the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, and Old Steine – or spend time at the beach.
Brighton is also known for its nightlife, so if you want to end your England trip with a party, then Brighton is a good stop!
From there, you can take a train and be back in London within the hour!
Where to Stay in Brighton
If you plan to stay in Brighton overnight, then check out this 4-star hotel which is centrally located.
I know, England has many more beautiful spots – but with only a week in England I think, this would be my perfect itinerary that is perfect for spring, summer, and fall. Hopefully, this post has inspired you “how to plan an England itinerary”!