Best Places to Visit in England

MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN ENGLAND TO VISIT

If you visit Europe but skip England, you are definitely missing out. England has so much to offer with its gorgeous landscapes, dazzling megacities, cute towns, and lots of history! And here are the best places to visit in England.

While everyone knows London, there are many more places to see and visit in England and here are some of the best things to do in England.

London

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

London is one city destination that must be on every Europe itinerary!

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London is a must-see city and one of England’s number one tourist spots: it’s fun and crazy with loads going on. In fact, there is so much to see and do that you have to visit for at least two days to get an idea of what all the fuss is about.

Best Things to Do in London: London is home to some of the top tourist attractions in England. So, if you want to knock some of the most famous places in England off your bucket list, you must do some typical sightseeing stuff.

This should include a visit to Buckingham Palace (one of the Queen’s many homes) and Oxford Street, a bustling shopping street that is one of the busiest and most popular places to shop in England. It houses luxury stores as well as more affordable ones and a wide variety of restaurants too.

London also offers other top sights in England, such as Trafalgar Square and the London Eye, one of the world’s highest observation wheels! You have to walk along the Thames too, and across Tower Bridge. Don’t forget about the iconic red double-decker buses either, as they’re great to hop on to for great views of Big Ben (aka the Elizabeth Tower).

What better way could there be to see one of the best cities in England?! If you have some more time on your hands, you can also pay a visit to colorful Notting Hill. Whatever you like doing, you’ll never be short of things to do in crazy, exciting London!

By the way, combining a London and Paris trip also works great!

Stonehenge

By Sam from As the Sparrow Flies

One of the most beautiful places to visit in England is Stonehenge. 

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Stonehenge is a hugely important Neolithic site near Salisbury and is one of England’s most popular tourist attractions. But don’t let that fact put you off – it’s one of the most era-defining prehistoric sites in Europe and one of the new seven wonders of the world, so it is one of the must-see places to visit in England. Despite the fact there are far more restrictions on visiting now to protect the stone circle, it’s still a magical and spiritual area.

One of the best things to see in England, the main attraction, is the ring of standing stones set within and around several burial mounds from the Neolithic era.

It is believed to have been constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC, and you can learn how this unusual stone structure came to be in the purpose-built visitor center, which gives you a real sense of the development of the area.

But it isn’t just a historic site – it’s still an important place of worship for pagans. If you ever get the opportunity to be at Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice, you’ll be in for a treat as it really is one of the best places to visit in England in Summer.

The cost is £16.50 per adult in advance via the English Heritage website and £17.50 on the day. You can also hire an audio guide for £3, but if you can, I’d recommend downloading it on either iPhone or Android in advance for free. There is a refundable charge of £5 per car if you have not bought a ticket in advance, but you get that back when you purchase tickets.

Chester

By Alex from The Wayward Walrus

Of all the holiday places in England, if you’re looking for the quintessential, small, English town, Chester is it.

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Founded in 79 AD as a Roman fortress, the ancient past’s relics are highly visible throughout the town. From the Roman amphitheater to the old city walls, you’ll feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of history.

In all their Georgian architectural glory, Chester Rows show a glimpse of England’s medieval bygone era and help make Chester not only one of the prettiest places in England but also one of the most visually interesting in England too. Seen nowhere else in the world, the Rows are covered storefront walkways and the first of their kind.

A unique place to put on your England tourist attractions list is Chester Cathedral.  Founded in 1092 as a Benedictine abbey, Chester Cathedral is a sight you won’t want to miss. Juxtaposing the Gothic structure, the cathedral houses some of the strangest art – including a taxidermied calf in blue liquid, a golden zebra, a stuffed chihuahua in a box, and multitudes of other modern art featured inside and out.

Fun Fact: The horse racecourse on the city center’s outskirts is Britain’s oldest sporting venue dating back to 1539 and is still in use today. If you can plan a trip around one of these races, you will not be disappointed.

In addition to its intriguing history, Chester has the added benefit of great shopping and foodie spots like The Faulkner and the Pierogi Shop right outside of the city center. If you want to take a relaxing walk along the River Dee, cross the bridge and head to Chester Meadows. Spending some time quality time strolling through the meadows is the perfect ending to a day in Chester.

Cambridge

By Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

One of the best places to go on holiday in England when the weather is nice is Cambridge, and I definitely recommend getting out on the River Cam in a boat. In Cambridge, the most popular type of boat is a punt.

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Punts are square-ended boats with flat bottoms similar to a gondola and are usually propelled with a long pole.

You can rent a punt by the hour and do the punting yourself or, if you are looking to relax and enjoy the scenery, you may prefer to hire someone to do the punting for you.  Punting is not as easy as it looks – if you are not careful, you can fall into the water – but it is a lot of fun. You may also bump into other punts, especially on a busy day.

Punting on the Cam is a great way to see a bit of Cambridge. You will pass by some famous Colleges, admire the beautiful weeping willows, and duck under beautiful bridges. I’ve heard several stories about how the Bridge of Sighs got its name, but I believe it was because Queen Victoria thought it looked like the one in Venice. This is a testament to the fact that Cambridge is one of the most pretty places in England! Punting in Cambridge is definitely a unique experience you will remember forever.

Cambridge is located about 50 miles north of London. You can easily do a day trip as it takes about an hour to travel from London to Cambridge by train.

Beachy Head

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

If you’re looking for good places to go in England on the South Coast, try Beachy Head!

Stunning Cliffs in Eastbourne
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Hiking Beachy Head is another must-do activity in England and is one of the best hikes you will find here. Close by. You can visit Eastbourne which has a beautiful promenade where on clear days you will have amazing views.

You can either hike up to Beachy Head or, as many people do (including me), get there by open-top bus, get off at the top and walk your way towards Birling Gap. Here you will encounter stunning views, see the white cliffs and the famous lighthouse, and if you walk towards the end, there is also a restaurant where you can relax after your hike (which doesn’t take much more than an hour).

It’s easy at the end of your day to get a bus back into Eastbourne, and it’s definitely one of the must-see places in England!

Whitby

By Nikki from Yorkshire Wonders

Whitby is a picturesque harbor town on the Yorkshire Coast in England.

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The route over the North York Moors to get to Whitby is breath-taking and one of my favorite drives. It’s bleak, windswept, and just one of the most beautiful places in England. You can also stop off at the village of Goathland, where you will arrive at a heritage railway station – part of the North York Moors Railway – featured in the early Harry Potter films.

Another literary connection to the area is that Whitby was, in part, the inspiration for the Victorian Gothic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Wandering up to the ruined Abbey at dusk, it is easy to see why Stoker was so enamored with the area.

The novel Dracula at Whitby similarly influenced Whitby’s most popular weekend events, The Whitby Goth Weekend. This takes place twice a year and attracts thousands of costumed Goths to the area.

Whitby was also the home of Captain James Cook, whose ship, the Endeavour, sailed to New Zealand and Australia in the Eighteenth Century. In Whitby, there is both a monument and a museum devoted to this famous Yorkshire explorer. You can even take the Captain Cook Experience Cruise, where you will learn more about his life and adventures.

A final must-do on the list for Whitby is to sample as many fish, and chips dinners are you can – even better if they are eaten straight from the paper, smothered in salt and vinegar!

Cornwall 

By Paul from A Luxury Travel Blog

If you’re looking for one of the best places to visit in South England, look no further than Cornwall for the perfect UK getaway.

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Not only will you enjoy one of the best climates in the British Isles, but you’ll also be spoilt for choice with beaches, surfing and other watersports, coastal walks, and beautiful views.

For culture vultures, you can take in a production at the stunning Minack Theatre, perched on the amazing cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. Visit St. Michael’s Mount, a small tidal island, and Cornwall’s answer to Mont St. Michel.

For botany enthusiasts, Cornwall is one of the top places to visit in England, and it is a must to spend a day at the Eden Project, with its two incredible biomes housing a diverse range of plants. Explore the Lost Gardens of Heligan, world-renowned gardens typical of the 19th Century.

Marvel at the National Trust’s Tintagel Castle, a dramatic medieval fortification on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, and learn about the site’s connections with the legend of King Arthur.

Surf on the world-famous Fistral Beach or one of many of Cornwall’s other stunning beaches.  Learn to windsurf in one of the more sheltered bays or estuaries. Or spend a day at the seaside with the family.

Walk the South West Coast Path – one of the world’s best long-distance walks.  Take in the dramatic views at Bedruthan Steps – a personal favorite of mine. There is something for everyone in England’s southernmost county.

 Manchester

By Lisanne from Chapter Travel

Manchester is definitely an incredibly cool place to visit in England.

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There is such a passion for sports, culture, music, and food here, and when talking with locals, you can tell that they have a true love for their own hometown.

There are plenty of fun activities to try out during your visit! For instance, if you’re a football fan, one of the best places to visit in England is Old Trafford. Go to one of the football matches or take an Old Trafford stadium tour. Old Trafford is home to Manchester United, one of the biggest sports teams in the world. Even if you’re not the biggest football fan, it’s still imposing to be there.

Secondly, I definitely recommend a stroll around the Northern Quarter. You can find many great bars, restaurants, street art, and quirky shops in the Northern Quarter. It’s a great place to find vintage clothes, rare vinyl, and other unique items.

Lastly, if you’re an art lover, visit the Manchester Art Gallery, where they regularly showcase exciting exhibitions. A bonus is that their entrance is completely free, so it’s good for your budget!

For a very comfortable stay, I recommend the Lowry Hotel. The location was perfect, the room spacious with a huge bed, and I had a delicious breakfast in the morning.

Dover Castle

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

England is so rich in history that you cannot visit England without learning about its past. 

Dover Castle - Best view over Dover from Dover Castle
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Dover Castle – Best view over Dover from Dover Castle

While book learning and museums will give you some of this information, a better way to learn is to visit a place of historical significance. This is actually more fun, and you can often make a gorgeous day out of it with amazing views.

One of these places to see in England is Dover Castle. It is known as the door and key to England and is located in the south of the UK, close to the French border. Set on a hill, it offers you fantastic views, and a castle is a must-see place in England. You can even see the interior where there are the living rooms of former kings and queens. It all looks pretty unrealistic and fake, but it’s still an amazing way to learn about England’s history.

While the most scenic way to arrive at Dover is via ferry from Calais, you can also do a day trip from London or spend a weekend there.

While you are in Dover, you should hike the White Cliffs of Dover too!

Lake District 

By Christina from Travel for Wildlife

Craggy peaks, rolling hills, ancient trails, deep glacial lakes, and picturesque villages are the Lake District’s soul.

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The Lake District was established as a national park in 1951 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. It is the second-largest and most visited national park in the UK and, therefore, one of the most popular holiday destinations in England.

Being one of the most beautiful places to visit in England, the Lake District is the perfect destination for a romantic break, an active weekend, or a family trip. It’s also perfect for a day trip less than two hours from the cosmopolitan city of Manchester. A packed day in the Lake District could include a stroll in the picturesque village of Windermere, a boat trip around Lake Windermere, and a visit to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top house.

The Lake District is a dream destination for active folks as it is packed with hiking trails. One of the most popular, the Seathwaite Trail, takes hikers on an ancient packhorse route where goods were transported for centuries. This hike has the perks of stunning views and the opportunity to cross Stockley Bridge, a famous protected bridge, due to its special historic interest.

Of course, it’s well known that the Lake District is also one of the best holiday destinations in England for outdoor activities. You can go sailing on Lake Windermere, kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

For an indulgent Lake District break, stay lakeside at the Storrs Hall, where you can enjoy a night of stargazing from the grounds. With two designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the Lake District is perfect for stargazing holidays. Bring your star map and marvel at the Milky Way. Get your wish ready for when you spot a shooting star!”

Hastings

By Arzo from Arzo Travels

Even though the sun never shines in England and it rains 365 days a year, which of course is totally exaggerated (well, not totally but a little bit), checking out at least one of the beaches in England should be on your England bucket list.

Beautiful Hastings - Coast of Hastings
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The pebble beaches are not to everyone’s taste, and the water is not as warm as in the Indian Ocean, but the beaches in England are still pretty. I like the beaches in Hastings, in particular, it has a new pier which is very beautiful, and it is a typical UK beach in my opinion. Pack some towels and warmer stuff as it can get cold quickly, but if you are well prepared, a day at the beach in England but become a fantastic day!

The beaches here are often very close to the town center – and Hastings is a cute little town where you can explore its narrow cobbled streets and little independent stores.

Ritz-Carlton for High Tea

By Sherrie from Travel By A Sherrie Affair

The delicate and delicious ceremony of High Tea in London was started back in the 1800s.

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 The story behind the High Tea tradition began when one of Queen Victoria’s good friends discovered she had a “sluggish-sinking” feeling in the late afternoons. Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, was a prominent figure in London society. When she began to have her late afternoon tea with some sweets, it became a tradition followed by Londoners.

Today, High Tea is a little more elaborate than back in the 1800s. Many prominent hotels and restaurants offer amazing High Tea. High Tea’s practice at the more popular hotels such as The Ritz, The Sanderson, and the Mondrian are experiences you will not soon forget. The Ritz is very traditional; delicate china, held in a very elegant, decorated Palm Court, and has a dress code to attend.

The Sanderson is unique in every way as they have a Mad Hatter theme! Yes, everything for your High Tea experience is designed around the Alice in Wonderland theme.

The Wyld Tea in the famous Dandelyan bar at the Mondrian has a more botanical theme and serves cocktails to accompany your experience.

Although the atmosphere will be different depending on where you go for High Tea, the outcome will be the same: you will have more food than you know what to do with!  A three-tier display will be presented with many different kinds of finger sandwiches to choose from. However, you also need to have your scones with your cream and preserves. Finally, you have sweets; all kinds, delicately decorated and detailed. Most important is the tea itself. Locations usually provide a wide selection of flavors. This will definitely hold you over until a later dinner!

Participating in a High Tea experience in London can really make you feel part of London traditions. So, become a Londoner for a day and enjoy a High Tea, it really is one of the top things to do in England!

York

By Henriette from Travel Around With Me

York is one of England’s most beautiful and popular small cities with many English people wanting to live there.

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The entrance to the center is great. You can walk on a section of the three and a half kilometer long medieval city walls of York. This way you can say that you have walked the longest city walls of England! This historic city is also only accessible to pedestrians, which is ideal!

An area of York called The Shambles is one of the best-preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe. Not everything comes from the Middle Ages, but some properties date back to the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. One of the reasons why The Shambles’ streets are so incredibly narrow is that it avoided subjecting the meat in the many butcher’s shops there to direct sunlight.

Walking on the city walls will lead you over the bridge into the center of York, after which you can see in the distance the eye-catching York Minster, one of the top attractions in England. It is famous worldwide and can count itself among the largest medieval gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe.

Discover York’s Chocolate Story: did you know that York is the birthplace of many chocolate brands such as Kit Kat, Smarties, Aero, and Terry’s Chocolate of York? York’s Chocolate Story is an interactive attraction that tells the story of famous York chocolate.

You might need to be a train fan to want to visit York’s National Railway Museum, but if you are, it has a lot to offer! The National Railway Museum is home to the only Shinkansen Bullet train outside Japan, the Flying Scotsman and even some of the Royal family’s old carriages are here.

Portsmouth

By Sian from Growing A Pair

England is a country chock full of fascinating history. If you are looking for a hefty slice of British naval history, wrapped up in a seaside town, then you have to head to Portsmouth on the south coast of England.

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The Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth is home to loads of fascinating historic ships.  A visit to the dockyard takes you on a journey through centuries of British history.  Step aboard Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, built in 1765. It’s the most famous warship in the Royal Navy.

Here you can hear lots of gruesome stories from the Battle of Trafalgar, like how to preserve a body in rum. Or you could explore HMS Warrior 1860, Britain’s first iron-hulled, armored battleship, built in Victorian times.

You’ll also find another of the top tourist sites in England here: King Henry VIII’s favorite warship, the Mary Rose, raised from Portsmouth’s seabed in 1982 and the only 16th-century warship on display anywhere in the world!

These are just three of the attractions in the Historic Dockyard. There are loads more, including boat tours of the harbor, world-class museums, and hands-on activities for kids.

When you are fully history-ed up, Portsmouth has a fantastic seafront with a beach, a Victorian pier to stroll along, King Henry VIII’s Southsea Castle, and the massive 170m tall landmark, the Spinnaker Tower, with panoramic views over the city and the Isle of Wight.

The Isle of Wight itself is only a hovercraft ride away too. All this and top-class restaurants, cinemas, and theatres make Portsmouth a pretty good bet for any UK trip.

Portsmouth is only an hour and a half away from London by train so that you can visit as a day trip.  Not bad for a 14 square mile island city!

Scarborough

By Lavina from Continent Hop

If the sea calls to you and you’d prefer to explore the lush moors in the North with a sea a few steps away, then one of the best places to visit in England for you will be the resort town of Scarborough.

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It is a tiny town with family-friendly activities and lots of cafes serving traditional fish and chips. It’s a lovely spot to spend a weekend at the beach or head to the moors for long walks for the day.

Peasholm Park is a great spot if you’d like to meet friendly squirrels, go paddle boating or watch boats battle each other in summer. There’s also Scarborough Castle to explore, and on a sunny day, you can see right up to Flamborough Head.

You can also go hunting for fossils around town or the beach!

If you’d still prefer doing more, the harbor town of Whitby, which was where Bram Stoker’s Dracula was created, is about 20 miles away. The heritage coastline provides dramatic views, and once you’re in Whitby, you can easily view the Abbey that looks down upon the town.

On a dull rainy day here,  you’ll get why Whitby inspired Dracula!

Greenwich

by Teresa from Brogan Abroad

Everyone agrees that London has a lot to offer, but few visitors venture outside of Central London and explore other neighborhoods.

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There are a lot of areas outside of Zone 1 that is often overlooked. In South East London, Greenwich is one of those areas, despite being the perfect destination for a day out.

Its maritime history is evident worldwide. The 500-year-old Old Royal Naval College incorporates the magnificent Chapel of St Peter and St Paul and the spectacular masterpiece that is the Painted Hall and the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, an iconic 19th-century tea clipper.

You can also find Queen’s House within the college grounds, which houses a spiral staircase that is so geometrically perfect that it’ll make you dizzy. And let’s not forget Greenwich Park, with the Royal Observatory at the top of the hill and possibly the best views over London.

Greenwich more than deserves visitors’ attention, and if you are visiting London for more than a couple of days, make sure you include it in your itinerary of places to visit in England.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST PLACES IN ENGLAND TO VISIT

England has a lot to offer – and though it is not part of the EU anymore – making travel more difficult for many people – it is definitely worth a visit. From coastal towns to vibrant cities, England has something for everyone. Hopefully, the list has helped you find out about the best places to visit in England.

STAY SAFE!

Safe Travels, Arzo
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