England is divided into many areas for various purposes such as governmental control, and local council administration. The most common divisions are counties, and these have an important impact on how the country is run.
However, there is also a less commonly known set of divisions – the regions of England. In this guide, we look at the regions of England map, and give you various info about each region such as popular locations, and tourist destinations.
Your Guide to the Regions of England
So, what are the regions of England, and why are they important?
England has nine regions:
- East of England
- East Midlands
- Greater London
- North East
- North West
- South East
- South West
- West Midlands
- Yorkshire and the Humber
These regions do not have any use in terms of administration, governance, and running the country. Originally, the notion of regions spans back to around 500 AD, when England was split into Anglo Saxon territories – indeed, many of these have the same boundaries as their regions today. Examples include East Anglia (roughly the East of England), and Wessex (Roughly the South West).
Since then, there have been many attempts to established proper regions in England that had their own governments, However, this has never come to fruition or been long-lasting. Instead, the regions of England are used more for statistical purposes and they fall into the classification of ITL 1 Statistical Regions (International Territorial Level subdivisions, which is used by the EU).
Regions continue to be used for statistical purposes only and not for administration, as this is typically done in England at the county level. For example, each county has their own council that is responsible for various public service duties.
East of England
The East of England is renowned as being the flattest area in the country. This may not seem something to celebrate, but it has resulted in a unique landscape containing rolling fields, fens, and of course, the immense Norfolk Broad waterways. The economy is centered on agriculture, power supply, and food manufacturing.
- King’s Lynn
- Great Yarmouth
The Norfolk Broads is one of the main reasons people holiday in the East of England. This is an immense waterway network that stretches for hundreds of miles. The canals, rivers, and streams boast some beautiful scenery and people typically rent canal boats or small yachts to sail the Broads at their leisure.
The city of Ely is of great historical importance and people often travel to it as a day trip from Cambridge or surrounding areas. The main attraction in this city is Ely Cathedral. The cathedral was built originally in 1083 and has had numerous facelifts and alterations since. Today, it stands as a majestic building with Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The interior is also quite stunning, with epic frescoes on the ceilings and vaulted archways.
Cambridge University Botanic Gardens
Cambridge itself is a remarkable place to visit in the East of England, and it is packed full of historic architecture. One of the top attractions, however, is the University Botanic Gardens.
The grounds are spread over 40 acres, and within the gardens you can find a collection of over 8000 plant species. There are different themed areas and photographers will love the array of colors, shapes, and presentations.
The east cost in this region has a wealth of charming seaside resorts, and Cromer is perhaps one of the best-known. This beautiful coastal town is a great place to visit if you want the quintessential British seaside experience. You can buy fish and chips, play games in arcades, take a walk along the beach, or admire the views from the epic Cromer Pier.
The East Midlands is often a forgotten part of the Country, as it doesn’t contain major cities on the scale of the other areas. However, it has some of the most stunning countryside and natural landscapes you can find. This region also has a rich heritage relating to mining, textiles, and the industrial revolution.
Nottingham Castle lies in the center of the city and was built by William the Conqueror in 1068. The current castle was a later model construction in the 1670s. It is relatively complete and includes gate houses, walls, and the Ducal Mansion. The castle now includes a museum and remains one of the top tourist attractions in the county.
Nottinghamshire is shrouded by tales of Robin Hood, and it is said that he operated from Sherwood Forest. Today, although the forest is not the size it was, it is still an epic place to wander. Places like Sherwood Pines and the Major Oak offer incredible walking opportunities.
The Peak District
The Peak District is the most beautiful National Park in England and is a must-visit place in the East Midlands. It has incredible locations like Ladybower Reservoir, Dovedale, Stanadge Edge, and Bakewell and is a walkers paradise.
Chatsworth House and Gardens
Within the Peak District lies the stunning and historic Chatsworth House and Gardens. It is owned by the Duke of Devonshire and is a delightful place to visit. You can take tours of the house, and wander round the acres of manicured gardens and see features like the Emperor’s Pool and The Cascade waterfall.
Due to the population and importance of London, it has its own region too. It is the capital of England, and the main economic and administrative area of the entire United Kingdom. London is also a global city and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
- Greater London
- London City
The British Museum contains possibly one of the most impressive collections of human history and culture in the world. The building itself is magnificent, but the exhibitions inside are marvelous too. You can see hundreds of artifacts from ancient history including Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, such as pieces of architecture from the Parthenon.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is an historic castle that has stood in some form since 1078. It is of major historical significance and the White Tower has been home to various famous prisoners including Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes, and Rudolf Hess.
London is packed full of iconic buildings, but one of the most recent editions is The Shard. This epic skyscraper looks like a shard of glass and has an impressive all-glas exterior. It is currently the tallest building in the UK standing at 1016ft tall.
The North East is the smallest region in terms of population and is possibly one of the least-known too. Its history is entwined with industry including ship building, glass making, coal mining, and salt making. Today, people visit the rugged coastline, and the major port cities like Newcastle.
- County Durham
- Tyne and Wear
- North Yorkshire (Part)
The Holy Island (Lindisfarne)
The Holy Island is both a place of pilgrimage, but also of historical significance. Lindisfarne lies off the east coast, north of Bamburgh and is accessible via an incredible temporary road that is only accessible at set times. Originally, Lindisfarne was the centre of Celtic Christianity after the Viking invasion.
The Emperor Hadrian constructed an epic wall in AD 122 that stretched from the west coast to the east with the aim of keeping out Scottish raiders. At it’s peak, it was manned and had complete fortifications and guard towers. Today, you can walk along many stretches of the wall remains in the North East of England.
The site of Bamburgh Castle has had various settlements, including the current iteration, build in the 11th century. It is perhaps one of the best-preserved castles in England and is complete with walls, guard towers, and a huge keep. The beach-side setting is also incredible and adds to the beauty of the place.
The Angel of the North
Originally, the Angel of the North was despised by the population of the North East. However, it now stands as an iconic landmark and one of the most recognizable statues in the country. This 75m tall weathered steel angel dominates the skyline and often marks your entry into this region of England.
The North West is an extensive region that covers large cities like Manchester and Liverpool, but also further norther into Cumbria and the Lake District. As a result, it has some fantastic coastal towns, metropolitan cities, and amazing natural landscapes.
- Greater Manchester
Ambleside is perhaps one of the best-known towns in the Lake District and a must-visit place if you are heading into Cumbria in the North West. It has traditional architecture and is nestled on the shores of Lake Windemere. Ambleside is also an excellent starting point and base camp for exploring the wider Lake District.
Lake Windemere is one of the great lakes in the Lake District and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the North West. It is incredibly beautiful and has a number of quaint villages and towns on its banks.
There is nothing quite like taking a leisurely boat trip on the lake or sitting back and enjoying a traditional high tea in one of the tearooms or cafés in Bowness on Windemere.
Blackpool is a traditional English seaside town that is famous for it’s epic tower and the annual illuminations. It is the 125th tallest free-standing tower in the world at 158m.
At night, it is illuminated with various colors, and at specific times of the year, the main promenade and streets of Blackpool are decorated with an outstanding array of neon lights.
The South East is essentially the land that surrounds London apart from the North. It encircles London on three sides, including the main outlet of the River Thames.
The south coast of this region has some superb towns and also the main ferry crossing to France – Dover. Many of the towns and villages in this region are homes for people commuting into the capital.
- East Sussex
- Isle of Wight
- West Sussex
The White Cliffs of Dover
One of the first sights you see when heading to England from Calais is the immense White Cliffs. These are a British landmark and incredibly significant. They mark entry into the country and are impressive to look at.
The cliffs also feature some remarkable walking trails, and you can hike for miles from Dover to Folkestone and beyond.
Uffington White Horse
Throughout the UK, you can find strange hill figures made from white chalk. These are bizarre phenomenon, and one of the most famous in the South East is the Uffington White Horse. This is a huge white chalk horse carved on the top of White Horse Hill near Swindon. The original outline was created sometime between 1380 and 550 BC during the Bronze Age.
Oxford is one of the most prestigious universities in the UK and also has incredible architecture. It is worth a visit, as is the historic town of Oxford. The University grounds are expansive and you can also visit the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
The South West of England is a region that has a vastly different culture, traditions, and lifestyle to the rest of the country. This is typified by the counties of Cornwall and Devon – if you didn’t know, you could think they were different countries entirely. The South West has the best beaches and coastline in the UK, but also rolling moors, and some important locations like Glastonbury.
Stonehenge is possibly the best-known tourist attraction in the UK, and a must-visit site if you are visiting the South West. This prehistoric stone circle monument still baffles scientists and archeologists today, and no one quite knows how it was built. It is also an important place of pilgrimage for Druids and those who are interested in Folklore.
Like Stonehenge, Glastonbury is a place steeped in mystery, legend, and ancient history. It has ties with the legendary King Arthur and Merlin, and is also of course the home of the iconic Glastonbury Music Festival. The town is pleasant to visit, and you must take the climb to the top of Glastonbury Tor for epic views of the town, and to see St. Michael’s Tower.
The Lizard Peninsula
Cornwall has some wonderful coastal locations and it is difficult to pick one. However, the Lizard Peninsula on the south coast is renowned for its beauty, coastal walks, and idyllic Cornish landscapes. If you love walking, you can trace the South West Coast Path along the entire length of Lizard and pass many gorgeous beaches, coves, and seaside villages.
The West Midlands as you would expect is located in the central belt of England and is part of the wider area known as the Midlands (East and West). It has a highly diverse geography and ecosystem and includes rural areas like Herefordshire and Shropshire, combined with heavily industrial and metropolitan areas like Birmingham.
- West Midlands
- Leamington Spa
Warwick Castle is one of the largest, best-preserved, and best-known castles in England and was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. The current castle is unbelievably impressive and has complete walls and towers and a large keep. A visit here is enjoyable for all the family and they often have medieval reenactments too.
Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon is a charming and quaint market town and is best-known as being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a must-visit attraction, and even more so if you can see an actual performance here. The also has some astonishing architecture like the Clopton Bridge, and the 15th Century Guildhall.
This large village is located in Shropshire and is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It is here that Abraham Darby first perfected the technique of smelting Iron and Coke which made iron production much cheaper. The village is an interesting place to visit, and it is also worth visiting Ironbridge Gorge.
Yorkshire and the Humber
Yorkshire as it is usually known is renowned for it’s friendly people, its amazing coastlines, and its beautiful natural scenery. This region is packed full of things to do, including outdoor pursuits, city breaks, and visiting sites of historical importance. Who can also forget the famous Yorkshire Puddings – we recommend trying these on a carvery dinner in an authentic Yorkshire pub!
- East Riding of Yorkshire
- North Yorkshire
- South Yorkshire
- West Yorkshire
- North Lincolnshire (Part)
- North East Lincolnshire (Part)
York Castle and Walls
York is a fine place to visit for numerous reasons, and one of the best is the castle. The main keep – Clifford’s Tower, sits on a man-made hill in the center of the city and can be seen for quite a distance around. It is also incredibly fun to walk along the ramparts of the various remaining castle walls that still encircle York today.
The Humber Bridge is a homage to human ingenuity and is possibly the best-known suspension bridge in the UK. At the time of opening in 1981 it was actually the longest bridge of its type in the world. It spans across the Humber for a distance of 2220m. Driving over this structure is quite the experience, as is viewing it from the walking paths either side.
Flamborough Head has perhaps one of the most dramatic and naturally beautiful coastlines in the UK. It is made up of a series of rugged cliffs with some unusual shapes, drops, and landmarks. Walking paths stretch for miles, and this is a brilliant place to see nesting birds.
Whitby is a traditional English seaside town that also has some fantastic architecture and a unique character. High on the east cliff, you can climb the famous 200 stairs and visit the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Alternatively, you can walk along the streets and visit the many quaint and unusual shops that line the pavements.