England Travel Guide
From the iconic Tower Bridge and Big Ben to the tranquil nature spots of the Lake District, England has more than enough attractions to warrant battling with the rain and unfriendly population. You may need to take out a bank loan to experience England’s old world charm, but you are sure not to regret a visit to the birthplace of Shakespeare.
Why You Should Go
What’s Cool: London nightlife, shopping, and history, picturesque green valleys, England’s growing multiculturalism, strolling in Hyde Park, the stunning skyline view from the London Eye, the Changing of the Guard, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, the Beatles’ Liverpool.
What’s Not: Rainy weather, London crowds, reserved society, soccer riots, England’s culinary reputation, Royal family scandals, the 2005 London public transport bombings, referring to Wales and Scotland as part of England.
When to Go
Despite England’s rainy reputation, the weather is typically pleasant between Easter weekend and September. Summers are usually warm, but very crowded, especially at seaside resorts, national parks, and major cities. Late spring and early autumn are perhaps the best visiting times since crowds are fewer, weather remains mild, and most attractions are still open. Winters are cool and cloudy, although temperatures rarely drop below freezing.
Getting There & Away
Most of the world’s major airlines fly into London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with many also offering flights to Manchester and Birmingham. Heathrow and Gatwick are both easily accessible by London Underground, bus, and express trains. England’s rail service is the most relaxing and reliable way to travel around the country but can put a dent in your wallet. Driving in England can be tough since city parking is a nightmare.
Health & Safety
England is fairly safe, although violent crime is high in some city neighborhoods, most of which are easily identified and far from popular tourist destinations. Special precautions are recommended at night in crowded public places where pickpockets operate. Avoid riding in deserted Tube carriages and unlicensed minicabs, which are known to scam tourists and present a threat to lone females.
Food & Hospitality
Despite England’s unflattering culinary reputation, locals and visitors alike enjoy local dishes like beef Wellington, fish and chips, and full English breakfasts. English cuisine has improved dramatically during the past 30 years, and lasagna and curries have become regular pub fare. England’s legendary pubs are the best places to meet locals and enjoy a pint of beer. England’s hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites are similar to those elsewhere in Europe but often of a smaller size.
- A week provides enough time to scratch the surface of all England has to offer, but at least two weeks is recommended to thoroughly explore the country.
- At least three or four days are recommended to see Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and London’s other main attractions.
- Historic Windsor Castle is worth the 30-minute train trip north of London.
- Two days are recommended to explore Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, and perhaps see one of his plays.
- A day to explore England’s answer to Versailles and Sir Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, and Henry VIII’s former residence, Hampton Court Palace.
- A day to see the ancient Stonehenge monument dating from 3000 BC.
- The historic port of Plymouth, home of Britain’s best marine aquarium and the starting point of the Mayflower’s journey to the New World, is also worth a daytrip.
- The Cotswolds region is home to many of England’s most picturesque villages and can be explored in a day or two.
: this 90-minute guided tour on a traditional double-decker bus is the quickest way to see London’s main attractions.
and : located next to each other, this famous park and gardens is a perfect spot to relax and soak in the scenic green meadows.
: visitors of all ages will enjoy the ride and stunning panoramic view from the world’s largest observation wheel.
Brighton: this popular seaside resort features the Royal Pavilion and a boardwalk filled with attractions.
: considered the finest of England’s many medieval castles, Warwick includes beautiful rose and water gardens, as well as a less beautiful dungeon and torture chamber.
Bath: the Circus, Bath Abbey, the Pump Room and Roman Baths, and the Theatre Royal Bath are just a few of this historic spa town’s popular attractions.
: home of the stunning Salisbury Cathedral and Wilton House, as well as a short drive from the ancient Stonehenge monument.
Stratford-upon-Avon: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Mary Arden’s House, the Stratford Butterfly Farm, and the Teddy Bear Museum are just a few attractions in the famous bard’s birthplace.
Hill walking: England is filled with public footpaths, but the most challenging hikes are found in the Peak District and Lake District national parks.
Golf: Sheringham, Cromer, and Fakenham are the finest of England’s numerous golf courses.
Boating: England’s rivers, canals, and lakes provide perfect destinations for leisurely boat trips, especially the Norfolk Broads.
Cycling: England is full of signposted and designated cycling routes, many of which pass through villages, towns, and beautiful countryside.
Sunbathing: despite England’s rainy reputation, Devon and Cornwall’s beaches have been compared to Californian and Australian shorelines.
Smelling the flowers: England contains some of the world’s most famous and gorgeous gardens.
Traveling through history: England’s numerous castles, churches, and historic sites will make visitors feel as though they’ve traveled through time.
Festivals & Events
England may have a reserved reputation, but locals and visitors know how to have fun during these festivals.
March or April: over 250,000 people watch England’s two most famous universities battle it out each year at the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
April: William Shakespeare’s April 21st birthday is celebrated in grand style in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.
June: the Glastonbury Music Festival evolved from a small concert at a dairy farm to England’s annual answer to Woodstock.
August: London’s Afro-Caribbean community celebrates its culture at the Notting Hill Carnival.