England may be part of the United Kingdom, but it still deserves an article in my series “10 Best Places To Visit In …”. After all, this set of posts about the best European cities and villages has already covered countries like France, Italy, and Spain.
So, I leave you the ten best places in England, that are completely different from each other. In England, there are destinations for all tastes, from those who prefer large cosmopolitan centers to those who can’t dismiss landscapes by the sea. Or maybe you prefer medieval cities? Let’s find out!
So, do you want to know more about the 10 Best Places To Visit In England (Besides London)? Keep reading!
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Best Places to Visit in England
The capital of England (and the United Kingdom) is naturally at the top of this list of the best places to visit in England. After all, London is one of the most important cities in Europe, as well as one of the most popular among tourists and travelers.
From Buckingham Palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral, passing through the British Museum and Tower Bridge, there are plenty of places to visit in London. For example, close to the royal palace, you’ll find Hyde Park and St. James’ Park, as well as other iconic monuments in England: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the London Eye. Next to Tower Bridge is the Tower of London, a former castle that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
However, my favorite activity to do in London is to watch musicals in the West End. This entertainment district is unique in England and can only be compared in the world with Broadway in New York. Among the countless theaters and venues of this artistic center, the most important ones are the Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House.
I’ve already had the opportunity to watch “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Misérables”, on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre and Queen’s Theatre, respectively. Not only are they both fantastic, but I hope to be able to return to England’s capital to see other musicals!
Bath is, as the name implies, a city dedicated to “bathing” and one of the most popular destinations in England. Located in the county of Somerset (in southwest England), it’s mainly known for its Roman Baths.
Legend has it that the Romans believed the water flowing here had healing properties, so they built a spa on the site. Since then, many people have come to Bath in search of small miracles, although the resort was first intended for the wealthy in England.
The city became particularly popular during the Georgian era (1714-1830), giving rise to numerous buildings of the so-called “Georgian architecture”. Among them, The Circus (1754-1768) and Royal Crescent (1767 and 1774) complexes stand out. Consisting of semi-detached houses, they are arranged in a ring and a half-moon, respectively.
Finally, it’s important to note that the city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, due to its historical and architectural importance. The picturesque Pulteney Bridge, the Abbey in Gothic style, and the various parks, museums, and galleries are other places that you can include in your visit to Bath!
Bristol is located about half an hour from Bath, so it’s recommended to visit these two places on the same trip through England. A port center since its foundation, Bristol was one of the most important English cities for several centuries.
Despite that, with the Industrial Revolution, places like Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham benefited from rapid growth, replacing Bristol‘s relevance on the map of England. Still, there are several tourist spots you can visit on a day trip.
Firstly, the Clifton Suspension Bridge (in Victorian style) is the symbol of the city. In the same way, the iconic Bristol Port is also a must-see. It’s often called Floating Harbor because the water level remains constant and is not affected by river currents.
In this same port, you find the SS Great Britain, a transatlantic ship that when it was opened in 1843, was the largest in the world! In the historic center, you can explore the Cathedral, the St Mary Redcliffe Church, the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, and the Cabot Tower.
The city of Cambridge has become one of the most eclectic places in England, thanks to its University, founded in 1209. It’s the second oldest university in England (and in the United Kingdom), right after Oxford. Among the most important figures who studied at Cambridge are physicists Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking, naturalist Charles Darwin and philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell.
There has been a rivalry between these two English universities since the Middle Ages, but Cambridge can be proud to have originated more Nobel Prize winners, among scientists, writers, and politicians. In addition, its colleges are truly impressive monuments.
Of the 31 current colleges, the best known is certainly King’s College, whose chapel is one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture in England. But there are others with a worldwide reputation in academic terms, such as Trinity College, Trinity Hall, Jesus College, Clare College, and Christ’s College.
In the historic center, there are several museums, parks, and squares that you can visit, even though the University is the highlight of the city. Due to its proximity to London (about 80 km), many tourists choose to visit Cambridge on a day trip from the capital of England.
Halfway through this list of best places to visit in England, I decided to include York, as it’s a unique walled city in the country. Located in northern England, it is, for example, a perfect place to stop on a road trip between London and Edinburgh (in Scotland)!
The York Cathedral – better known as York Minster – is the largest Gothic cathedral not only in England but also in northern Europe! Besides, it has the best views over the city. As for the Walls and York Castle (which once served as a prison), they are ideal places to understand the city’s history.
York also gives great importance to art and culture, with numerous museums and galleries scattered throughout the city. This is the case of the National Railway Museum, JORKIV Viking Center, Yorkshire Museum, and York Art Gallery, just to exemplify.
If you’re looking for an authentic English experience, then head to The Shambles, one of the best-preserved medieval streets in the world! With historic houses converted into shops, coffee shops, and pubs, The Shambles is part of a labyrinthic network of narrow streets in York.
Liverpool is a city in the northwest of England and one of the best-known in the country. Its fame reached worldwide proportions in the second half of the 20th century, due to the iconic pop-rock band that was formed here: The Beatles.
But centuries before the Beatles‘ phenomenon, the city of Liverpool was already becoming an important port center in England. In fact, with the discovery of America, the Port of Liverpool started to serve as a starting point or stop for very important transatlantic ships, such as the RMS Titanic.
Currently, Liverpool is one of the best places to visit in England because of its entertainment tourism. The Albert Dock is a large leisure complex set in the old Victorian docks, but there is also Saint George’s Hall for concerts and events.
As far as museums are concerned, the most popular ones are The Beatles Story, the Museum of Liverpool, and the Tate Liverpool, a modern art gallery. If you’re a fan of this pop-rock band from England, you should visit the Cavern Club, the first pub where the Fab Four performed.
Brighton is, in fact, the most important part of the city of Brighton and Hove, which was created from several cities and villages in 2000. It’s included in this list of “10 Best Places To Visit In England” as an important tourist center by the sea.
Since it lives a lot on beach tourism, it’s advisable to visit Brighton during the hottest season – even with the crowds coming from all over England and abroad. After all, its pebble beach is one of the most popular in southern England, welcoming millions of Londoners in the summer.
The Brighton Pier (or Brighton Palace Pier since 2016) is a landmark in England and a postcard of the city, with numerous options for entertainment and leisure. It’s over 500 meters long and includes arcade games, roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, and other fairground attractions.
The place is also featured in many films and television series, such as Tim Burton‘s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. Along the beach, there are also several bars, restaurants, Sea Life, and the Brighton Wheel, which operated between 2011 and 2016.
The small town of Durham is the most northerly place on this list of best places to visit in England, so it deserves an independent visit day. And if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, then you’re in the right place! That’s because the Durham Cathedral was used as a set for not one, not two, but three Harry Potter movies.
This iconic Romanesque monument, along with the Durham Castle, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Between the two buildings, there is the so-called Palace Green, a large lawn that was added to the English UNESCO list in 2008.
Also worth visiting are the Crook Hall gardens, although they’re very popular among tourists. This medieval hall is one of about 600 protected buildings in Durham and one of the main spaces chosen for wedding receptions and other events and ceremonies.
Take the opportunity to stroll through the historic streets and squares of Durham, as this is one of the most picturesque cities in England. On either side of the Wear River, there are traditional shops and pubs, as well as the Durham Museum and Heritage Centre.
Nottingham is mostly known for being the birthplace of Robin Hood. This outlaw, who lived during the 12th century, ended up becoming a mythical hero of England. This is because, according to legend, Robin stole from the rich to give to the poor.
If you visit Nottingham in this context, then you should visit Sherwood Forest, less than 40km away. This is where the so-called “Prince of the Poor” and his gang lived in hiding.
As for the city itself, Nottingham is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in England. In summary, Nottingham Castle is the main attraction of this city in the center of the country. Also, you can’t miss one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods: The Lace Market.
In the past, this area was the center of the lace industry of the British Empire – hence the name. Today, the Victorian brick warehouses survive, converted into fashion stores, restaurants and pubs. Take the opportunity to visit the National Justice Museum, Nottingham Contemporary (art gallery), and the City of Caves, in the same neighborhood.
Despite being the last on my list of “10 Best Places To Visit In England”, Manchester is known worldwide. Located in the northwest of England, about an hour from Liverpool, this city is an important industrial and economic center.
Manchester is also very popular due to football, as it’s home to two of England’s high-competition teams: Manchester United and Manchester City. Both the Old Trafford Stadium and the National Football Museum are among the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Other than that, Manchester stands out from the other destinations in England for the importance given to art and culture, with numerous museums and art galleries. Just to illustrate, you can choose between the Manchester Art Gallery, The Lowry (cultural center), or The Whitworth (art gallery).
And you also have other museums like the Museum of Science and Industry, the Manchester Museum, and the Imperial War Museum, more focused on the city’s history and legacy. Finally, you’ll find the Manchester Cathedral on the banks of the Irwell River.
Map of the Best Places to Visit in England
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