From medieval cathedrals to postmodern towers, from prehistoric stones to one-pub villages, England is a spectacular tribute to the strength, and flexibility of tradition. In the capital city of London and beyond, you can explore grand manors and royal castles steeped in history and gaze upon some of the most beautiful scenery Europe has to offer. Quintessentially English villages and small towns take you back to a bygone age but don’t worry; you’ll still get excellent Wi-Fi reception. "Award Winning Destinations bestows an amazing list of the best vacation destinations, created for all types of travelers to take away their stress of planning and have unforgettable travel experiences."
Cambridge is a charming English city located on the River Cam just north of London. As the home to one of the world’s top universities, the University of Cambridge, it has all of the cultural and entertainment options you might expect from a college town. Cambridge promotes itself as a “city for all seasons”. There is no shortage of things to do even on the coldest winter day and the options are seemingly unlimited when the warmer weather comes along. King’s College Chapel, situated along the River Cam, is considered a fine example of perpendicular Gothic architecture and is one of the most visited sights in the city. A number of tours are available to showcase the city’s sights, including daily two-hour official public walking tours, punting tours and ghost tours. From Michelin-starred restaurants, cozy cafes and charming pubs, there is something to tempt the palate of everyone.
Wandering lonely as a cloud isn’t quite as easy as it was in Wordsworth’s day – at least not during the summer. Located in north west England in the county of Cumbria, the Lake District is the second largest National Park in the UK. The Lake District National Park is a tourist-trampled beauty spot, its hedgerow-trimmed lanes clogged with caravans and cars, its fells snaking with Gortex-clad hikers, its lakes churned by pleasure boats and yachts. But even the crowds can’t detract from the jaw-dropping grandeur and picture-perfect dry-stone-walled prettiness. Camera-toting tourists are a gnat-sized irritation. These craggy fells have inspired poets, writers and artists from William Wordsworth, poet and painter, John Ruskin, two children’s authors, Arthur Ransome, writer of Swallows and Amazons and Beatrix Potter. It’s thanks to Potter that we can wander at will over so much of the landscape. When she died in 1943, she left 14 farms and 4,000 acres to the National Trust.
Snowdonia is an awesome national park. There is simply no other way to describe the stunning 360-degree views of the mountains, valleys and coast below. On a clear day, visitors can even see Ireland. Located along the coast of Wales, Snowdonia is home to Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and England, and the largest lake in Wales. It is the third largest national park in the United Kingdom. Snowdonia is a dream come true for hikers and mountain bikers, but even the less active can find walks suitable for them. Climbing Snowdon will challenge most hikers and not recommended without a guide but other trails can be walked comfortably by those wearing regular walking shoes. Snowdonia also offers a narrow-gauge railway for those who prefer to view stunning scenery in comfort. Some 26,000 people live inside the park in quaint villages that offer food, accommodations and local handcrafts.
Not far from the border with Wales, the city of Chester lies on the River Dee in Cheshire. The city is more than 2,000 years old, which means there is plenty of history, culture and architecture on hand spanning several eras. Distinctive 19th century black-and-white revival architecture can be found throughout the city. The Roman and medieval walls encircling the city are a big tourist attraction. A walk around the complete two-mile circuit takes about an hour, but most visitors will find plenty to stop and marvel at along the way. River cruises are a popular way of enjoying the city’s unique atmosphere and remarkable sights. Chester is the perfect place to find markets and handcrafted items as well as colorful cafes and pubs. The Cheshire Cathedral has plenty of architecture and art to admire, including woodcarvings, cloisters, Gothic columns, and spectacular stained glass. It is open daily and entrance is free.
Cornwall is charming and quaint, yet rugged and isolated. Located in the westernmost point of England, Cornwall is a peninsula that offers rocky cliffs overlooking the sea on its northern side and golden sand beaches that are loved by tourists on the south. Pirates and smugglers called Cornwall home in days gone by. Surrounded by water, except for the boundary with Devonshire, Cornwall’s beaches were perfect for such activities and after a hard day smuggling they would quench their thirst at one of the many small and quaint pubs tucked away in the charming villages. The legendary home of King Arthur of Camelot can be found at Tintagel Castle. The famous Sherlock Holmes encountered the Hound of the Baskerville out on Bodmin Moor so be sure to let someone know if you plan a midnight walk! St. Michael Mount sits on a tidal island 400 yards off the coast. Time your visit carefully, since the causeway to the island is open only from mid-tide to low water.
York is a walled city with a rich heritage located just a two-hour train ride away from London. One of the city’s landmark attractions is York Minster. This commanding stone cathedral is filled with remarkable works of art. One of the more unique offerings in York is the JORVIK Viking Centre. This recreation of a Viking city captures the sights, sounds, and even the smells that existed a thousand years ago. The medieval Clifford’s Tower, which was built by William the Conqueror and rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th century, is a great vantage point for panoramic views around the city. York Museum is home to impressive collections of archaeology and geology. An authentic recreation of a Victorian street is one of the highlights of the Castle Museum. The Railway Museum is a free attraction that explores 300 years of rail history, including interactive displays that capture the attention of visitors young and old alike.
Stonehenge, one of the most popular sites in the world and found in Wiltshire and also one of the most mysterious monuments in the world. Unfortunately, archaeologists have not been able to find data supporting any one purpose for the construction and use of Stonehenge. Archaeologists agree that Stonehenge was built in three stages, the first stage, built in approximately 3100 B.C. Archaeologists view the second building stage of Stonehenge as the most dramatic with construction beginning in approximately 2150 B.C. With no records to explain the reason why it was created, Stonehenge is a mystery. Some feel it was a healing place while others believe it was a burial site. Some believe that it was a solar calendar while others feel that it was a sacred ritual area. Some even believe that aliens created it. Fortunately, visitors have controlled access to this megalithic monument.
Yes, London could be # 1 on the list but let’s give other places a shout out! London is a fascinating city laden with history, filled with museums and art galleries, beautiful green parks, fantastic shopping and dining, a vibrant theater scene, and, of course, royalty. London is truly a city that has it all. The English capital is a city that is steeped in history, from its museums and palaces to historic buildings such as Westminster Abbey, the final resting place for many of the country’s greatest individuals, from writers to statesmen to royalty. London is home to some of the most famous museums in the world: the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Tate Gallery, all of which offer free admission. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is a not-to-be-missed experience, as is watching the minutes tick away at Big Ben, probably the world’s most famous clock. Visitors with an interest in other royal events may want to visit the Tower of London where Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was beheaded. Another London must is riding a double-decker bus across Tower Bridge over the River Thames.
Oxford’s museums are world-class; none more so than the titanic Ashmolean on Beaumont Street which is Britain’s oldest public museum with free admission. Oxford rings with music; choirs raise the roofs of college chapels, chamber ensembles swell the Holywell Music Room and thumping gigs pound the O2 Academy, but the most memorable venue is the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street. This beautiful building – Sir Christopher Wren’s second major architectural design – hosts an unparalleled concert schedule throughout the year. Sit in the gallery and let the music transport you. During the day, don’t miss a visit to the cupola: climb through the dome rafters for an extraordinary rooftop view. Oxford city is packed with bookstores that one can get lost in and to help clear the dust from your throat, drop into one of the many, and famous pubs for a well deserved pint.
One of the less famous destinations on the tourist map is the magnificent New Forest covering about 220 square miles. the New Forest is one of southern England’s favorite rural playgrounds, attracting some 13.5 million day-visits annually. The forest was requisitioned by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a game reserve and today the New Forest enjoys a unique patchwork of ancient laws and privileges alongside the regulations applying to its National Park status. The most conspicuous species of New Forest fauna is the New Forest pony that you’ll see grazing nonchalantly by the roadsides and ambling through some villages. Perched on the south coast of England, the New Forest National Park is Britain’s smallest National Park but its small, but its 220 square miles are packed full of ancient woodland, heather-clad heaths, bluebell trails and picturesque villages. The town of Beaulieu has something for everyone, with the 13th-century Beaulieu Abbey, Beaulieu Palace House and Gardens and the National Motor Museum.