Exploring the Best Places to Visit in England

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England is a land of rich cultural heritage, where past and present mix seamlessly to create a vibrant atmosphere. From the rolling hills of the countryside to the bustling streets of London, England is a place that offers something for everyone. This destination is brimming with plenty of sites for each type of vacationer, whether a history lover, adventure seeker, or an artist. England is a part of the British Isles, and it consists of historic sites at every nook and corner.

Whether you're planning a short weekend break or an extended stay, you can check out our list of the 10 best places to visit in England and make the best out of your trip to England.

Top Places to Visit in England

Let’s start with a quick look at some of the best places to visit in England -

Best Places to Visit in Summer Best Places to Visit in Winter Best Places to Visit with Family
London London London
Oxford Cambridge Bath
Bath Salisbury York
Canterbury Bath Stratford-upon-Avon
Brighton Stratford-upon-Avon Cotswolds
York Brighton Cambridge

1. London

The national capital of England, London is also considered one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is filled with plenty of popular as well as hidden gems - every time you are here, you can discover a new side to the city!

London has numerous museums and art galleries that have preserved the rich history and culture of this city. Moreover, if you’re a foodie and/or shopaholic, you should consider this city a must-visit due to the plenty of world-class restaurants and colossal shopping centres here.

Make sure you visit the places mentioned below while in London:

  • Tower of London: The Tower of London is an iconic fortress and palace in the heart of London. It has a fascinating history, having been used as a royal palace, prison, and even a zoo. You can take a guided tour with a Beefeater, one of the famous Yeoman Warders who serves as both a guide and a guardian of the Tower.
  • Westminster Abbey: A stunning Gothic church and one of the best places to visit in England, it has been the site of coronations, royal weddings, and the burials of famous figures throughout history. You can take a guided tour of the Abbey and explore its various chapels and tombs. You can also witness the tombs of renowned famous figures such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, and more.
  • Buckingham Palace: Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the King of England, is among the most iconic places to visit in England. You can tour the State Rooms during the summer when the Monarch is generally not in residence. You can see the Grand Staircase, the Throne Room, and the Picture Gallery, which houses some of the Royal Family's priceless artworks.
  • British Museum: One of the world's oldest museums, the British Museum houses over 8 million works of art and artefacts from around the globe, including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. As a visitor, you can take a guided tour of the museum or explore it independently.

2. Bath

Bath has popularly been referred to as the “Original Wellbeing Destination” by travellers. Built to provide relaxation and rejuvenation since Roman times, you will be drawn here towards the ancient Roman Baths and the modern Thermae Bath Spa consisting of natural thermal hot springs.

Bath is a visitor-friendly centre that has various places to eat and drink, not to mention some fine shops that provide you ample opportunities to shop to your heart’s content!

Here are some of the ‘must-visit’ places in Bath -

  • Roman Baths: Among the most popular destinations in Bath are the Roman Baths, which date back to circa 70 AD. These Baths are great if you want a glimpse into the ancient past of the place. The complex includes the Great Bath, where visitors can see the hot spring flowing for over 2,000 years, the Roman Temple, the Sacred Spring, and the museum.
  • Pulteney Bridge: Pulteney Bridge is a picturesque and iconic landmark in Bath. It was built in the 18th century and is one of the few bridges in the world to have shops built onto it. You can stroll across the bridge and enjoy the views of the River Avon and the city.
  • The Royal Crescent: The Royal Crescent is lined up with a row of Georgian townhouses from the 18th century. You can tour the houses, learn about their history, and enjoy the stunning architecture and views.
  • Bath Abbey: Bath Abbey is an exquisite and historic Anglican Parish Church that dates back to the 7th century. You can take a guided tour of the abbey, climb the tower for stunning city views, and attend church services.

3. Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is a picturesque town in England and the birthplace of one of the world's most celebrated playwrights, William Shakespeare. Located in the exquisite Warwickshire countryside on the river Avon’s banks, the city has a rich history and several attractions for visitors. Whether you’re looking for a short break or a vacation, Stratford-upon-Avon is a must-visit and one of the best places to visit in England in winter.

  • Royal Shakespeare Theater: A trip to Stratford-upon-Avon is incomplete without catching a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theater. The theatre hosts a year-round program of productions and tours, providing you with a good peek into the world of theatre.
  • The MAD Museum: As one of the best places to visit in England with family, this museum in Stratford is the only permanent one in the country where you can spot works of mechanical art. True to its name, MAD - Mechanical Art and Design - the museum displays innovative works of kinetic art.
  • Anne Hathaway's Cottage: Not the renowned Hollywood actress we’re talking about! Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare and this is the place where she was born. This place was constructed 500 years back and still consists of Hathaway’s original bed and other furniture. 
  • Holy Trinity Church: When exploring Stratford-upon-Avon, you can certainly visit the Holy Trinity Church, which is the place where Shakespeare was buried. The church is an impressive piece of architecture and is a tranquil spot to reflect on the life and works of the great playwright.

4. York

Once a significant Roman site and later the site of Viking raids, York remains one of England's most beautiful historic cities. It is especially among the best places to visit in England for history buffs.

As a heritage city, York offers much to explore. This walled city is situated halfway between London and Edinburgh and consists of 30 attractive museums illustrating the history and culture of this destination.

Discussed below are the major attractions of York -

  • York Minster: One of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, this monumental building is also one of the most visited sites in England. York Minster boasts its iconic rose window, multiple side chapels, the breathtaking Great East Window, and more.
  • National Railway Museum: Housed in a remarkable building, the National Railway Museum celebrates the history of rail travel by showcasing a wide range of locomotives from different centuries. From steam trains to modern bullet trains, it is an ideal stop for rail enthusiasts to check out the progression of railways over decades and centuries.
  • Jorvik Viking Center: This is a perfect place to explore York's heritage, as you can take interactive tours around an authentic archaeological site in full character as Viking-costumed staff reveals stories about life in York during that period.
  • York Castle Museum: Another popular attraction in York is the York Castle Museum. One of its prominent features is the Kirkgate, a remodelled Victorian street. There is much more that you can learn about the history of the city here.

5. Canterbury

Canterbury is located in the southeast of England. This historic destination is the county town of Kent and has an interesting history dating back to Roman times. It is primarily famous for being the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was the head of the Anglican Church. Other than that, Canterbury is famous for its mediaeval architecture.

Let’s find out more about the places to explore in Canterbury below -

  • Canterbury Cathedral: The Canterbury Cathedral is one of England's oldest and most eminent Christian structures. It is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and has been the site of many significant events in English history. You can check out the cathedral's Gothic architecture, view colourful murals, and explore its archives and library.
  • St Augustine's Abbey: St Augustine's Abbey is the ruins of a Benedictine monastery founded circa 598 AD. It is a great place to visit in England with family and catch a glimpse into England's Christian heritage.
  • The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge: This museum houses an extensive collection of artworks worldwide and exhibits the natural history and archaeology. 
  • Westgate Gardens: You can stroll in the garden parallelly aligned to the River Stour. At the garden's north end lies the historical landmark, West Gate, which leads to the city. Note that the entry to the garden is free, and that this is an ideal place to sunbathe in winter.

6. Brighton

Located on England's south coast, Brighton has long been a popular seaside resort for those looking for a classic Victorian beach feel. Brighton is certainly one of the best places to visit in England in summer - with its pebbled shoreline and the iconic Victorian Grade II listed West Pier, you can enjoy stunning beaches, views, and a fantastic glimpse into England.

  • Royal Pavilion: The Royal Pavilion is a magnificent 17th-century palace with exquisite Indian-style architecture and design. Originally constructed for King George IV as a palace in the vicinity of the seaside, it was also used as a hospital for soldiers in the First World War. You can explore more such historical aspects here.
  • The Lanes: The Lanes refers to Brighton's narrow and winding street market filled with numerous attractive shops, cafes, and restaurants. It's also the perfect place to explore and find unique souvenirs to take home.
  • Brighton Pier: Brighton Pier is a popular place with amusement rides, games, and delicious seaside treats. As a visitor, you can enjoy thrilling rides or take a stroll and admire the views of the coastline, all of which make it a good place to visit in England with family
  • Brighton Beach: This beach is one of Brighton's top attractions, offering a long stretch of pebble beachfront that is perfect for a stroll or sunbathing. You can also relax and have refreshments, with plenty of restaurants and cafes along the beachfront offering cuisines and drinks.

7. Cambridge

Although popular as University Town with world-class universities, Cambridge has much more to offer than just sites of academic excellence. The city boasts winding cobblestone streets, boutiques, art galleries, and museums. You can also catch a glimpse of fascinating architectural sites here.

Some of the most popular destinations in the city are -

  • King's College and Trinity College: King's College and Trinity College are two of the most iconic and historic colleges (out of 31) at Cambridge University. You can witness some of the city's most impressive neo-gothic architecture here. Moreover, you can admire the stunning facades of the buildings, explore their lush gardens, and even attend concerts and services at the chapels.
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum: Opening its doors to the public in 1848, this museum houses a vast collection of art and antiquities worldwide, including works by famous artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and so forth. 
  • Cambridge University Botanic Garden: Making for a beautiful oasis of greenery in the heart of Cambridge, the botanic garden is home to over 8,000 plant species. You can enjoy and relax while strolling through the gardens and attend one of the many informational events held throughout the year. You can also grab a bite to eat at the Garden Cafe.
  • Grantchester Village: Located just outside Cambridge, Grantchester Village is a charming and picturesque destination known for its thatched-roof cottages and scenic countryside. You can have a peaceful stroll through the village or stop for a drink at one of the many quaint pubs.

8. Salisbury

Salisbury is a unique place in that its parishes have remained largely unchanged since the middle ages. This place offers you a glimpse into the centuries-old history of the country, although there is much more to explore besides the history and culture -

  • Stonehenge: Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the  Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. This iconic monument is a marvel of prehistoric engineering and intrigues visitors from all over the world. It is one of the best places to visit in England with family courtesy of its historical value - its earliest structures date back to 50,00 BC.
  • Old Sarum: The ancient Roman city of Old Sarum, recognised as one of the earliest settlements of Salisbury, is a great place to explore the country’s past. You can explore the ruins of the city's castle, walk its narrow streets, and visit its historic market square.
  • City Center: Salisbury's old city centre has quaint tea rooms, boutiques, and art galleries. This place is great for roaming on your feet and soaking in the pleasant views of its charming streets.
  • Mompesson House: Mompesson House is an elegant Georgian townhouse situated in Salisbury. You can explore the house and gardens and see the fine details of ancient furniture here. The house also hosts regular exhibitions and events.

9. Oxford

Similar to Cambridge, while Oxford is well-known for its prestigious university, the city is home to some of the country's best museums and galleries as well. Oxford is also famous for its role in the development of the English language and literature.

Let’s have a look at what this city has to offer-

  • The Ashmolean Museum: Oxford's Ashmolean Museum is a true gem for lovers of art and antiquities. Established in 1683, it is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and boasts an impressive worldwide collection. From ancient Egyptian mummies to Renaissance paintings and contemporary art, Ashmolean offers diverse exhibits to satisfy any art enthusiast. The museum's stunning architecture also adds to the overall experience.
  • Bodleian Library: The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, with its history dating back to the 14th century. Although a working library, it is also open to visitors who can take a guided tour of its magnificent historic rooms, which are filled with rare books and manuscripts, including original works by Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Oxford Castle and Prison: The Oxford Castle and Prison is a historic castle and prison complex dating back to the 11th century. You can take a guided tour of the castle and prison and check out the crypt, prison cells, and the tower.
  • Port Meadow: While Oxford has plenty of historic sites, you can always seek calm by heading to the north and west side of Oxford to Port Meadow. It is a peaceful nature reserve and a great destination for a relaxing walk or picnic. You can unwind and enjoy the view of the River Thames and spot wildlife such as swans and geese.

10. The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a breathtaking destination for visitors seeking a quintessential English countryside experience. This region of rolling hills, picturesque villages, and traditional pubs has everything from stunning landscapes to luxurious spas, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

  • Bourton-on-the-Water: Bourton-on-the-Water is a charming village situated on the River Windrush. Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, it is known for its low bridges and honey-coloured stone houses. You can stroll along the river and enjoy the picturesque scenery, visit the Cotswold Motoring Museum, or enjoy a traditional English tea at one of the many cafes in the village.
  • Sudeley Castle and Gardens: Sudeley Castle and Gardens, a prominent Tudor castle near Winchcombe, is famous for being the final resting place of Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII. You can explore the castle's history and tour the stunning gardens comprising a rose garden, a knot garden, and a pond garden.
  • Broadway Tower: Broadway Tower is a historic tower located on the highest point of the Cotswold escarpment. You can climb to its top and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Note that the Tower also houses a museum and an exhibition of work by the famous Arts and Crafts designer William Morris.
  • Cheltenham: Cheltenham is a charming spa town on the edge of the Cotswolds. It is famous for its Regency architecture, cultural festivals, and horse racing. You can have a good mix of activities here. For instance, you can enjoy a day at the races, explore the town's museums and galleries, and indulge in a spa treatment at any of the town's luxurious spas.

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As we saw above, you can find plenty of amazing places to visit in England as a tourist. Whether your interests include historical sites, cultural activities, or nature expeditions, the list above provides a great starting point for planning your next outbound traveller's adventure.

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