Try describing England in one sentence—we dare you! This small country consistently escapes neat summary. It has an enjoyable mosaic of cultures, cities and landscapes, and regardless of how long your holiday in England lasts, your time will add up to significantly more than any stereotypical descriptions and expectations of the country.
In England you will discover a country where a culture of tolerance and diversity rules the day and where wittiness and polite manners are celebrated. If you come to England expecting a nation of stodgy tea drinkers rooted in antiquated traditions, expect to leave with an entirely different notion of who Englanders are and how much more there is to the country.
Anywhere you go in England you’ll be met by welcoming locals who are ready to include you in their culture. Beyond the fabulous London (which needs no further introduction), England is stocked to the gills with cities that will have you extending your holiday for a chance to stay longer. From Liverpool where football rules, to Bath where history comes alive, to Brighton where quirks and uniqueness are celebrated, there is a town and city that every traveller will feel connected to. There is no shortage of places to visit, experiences> to have, and famous landmarks to visit.
Liverpool has reinvented itself in the past couple decades. It became the European City of Culture, and in recent years Liverpool’s transformation has created a city with lots to offer. The waterfront has been redone, huge and influential museums have popped up and brand new hotels and restaurants have snagged up property in downtown Liverpool. Now, the city is a vibrant hub of activity and of course—music.
When you visit the limestone-clad Bath, you’ll have to pay a visit to its namesake—the Roman baths in town. Once you emerge from this famous landmark you may want to try a bath for yourself. Try Thermae Bath Spa for a high-class, unreal experience. You can unwind in their open-air rooftop pool all afternoon and watch the sun dip below the horizon in utter bliss. If you’re a literature fan, then make a beeline for the Jane Austen Centre, a museum dedicated to Bath’s most famous resident.
Brighton is a bohemian paradise. This seaside town is perfect for a long weekend where you can wander the little shops, take a leisurely walk along the beach, and enjoy fresh fish and chips. If you want to see something truly unique, then be sure to visit Brighton's Royal Pavilion - the former seaside home of King George IV. It’s an odd yet enchanting building where every nook and cranny has been adorned with Chinese and English furnishings.
Britain's capital is one of the greatest and most diverse cities in the world. Pick and choose from a gigantic list of museums and galleries. Or, spend lazy afternoons in London’s never-ending choice of shops and markets. Once the sun sets, indulge yourself at any of the countless bars, pubs, restaurants and night clubs in every part of the city. Then, when you’re ready to tackle the long list of world-famous attractions that London is home to, try hopping on the London Eye to get a quick bird’s eye view on the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the Tower of London, London Bridge, Parliament Building, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and many more.
Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world; its doors have been open since the 11th century. Cambridge University was founded in 1209. Both are great cities full of cosy pubs and architectural gems, but Oxford may take the top prize as it is larger and has a more cosmopolitan feel than Cambridge, which is smaller and dominated by the university and its students.
Stonehenge is a trifecta of interest: mysterious origins, world-wide attraction and a place in ancient history. The great formation was erected between 3000 and 1600 BC and the stones, which stand at 6.7m high, attract hundreds of visitors every day, who come to marvel at construction of such a site. Questions remain about how these early settlements moved and positioned the great stones without any of the modern tools and power available to us today.
A stereotype of the weather in London will have you reaching for your umbrella and in this case, the stereotypes tend to hold true. If you will be visiting London, you are likely to find that the city is treated to frequent rain showers. This will make the sunny days (they exist, we promise!) all the more spectacular. Generally, pack layers (and at least one waterproof item) to help you transition from cool, overcast mornings to warmer, sunny afternoons. Sturdy shoes are also a must in London as it is imminently walkable city and you’ll be putting a lot of pavement under your feet as you explore, learn and discover the city.
If you are travelling elsewhere in England, particularly to the North, be sure you bring plenty of warm sweaters and socks for the winter (November-February) and light breezy cotton options if you are travelling during the summer months (June-August). The more layers you bring, the more comfortable you will be during your time in England.
England is a country that rewards the curious, whether that means ducking into a pub for a casual chat with the locals or heading out into the country. No wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular destinations. Protect your time in England with travel insurance from Cover-More so you can focus on the fun.
Image courtesy of Flickr user thegarethwiscombe