Despite its small size, England has a mind-boggling array of natural wonders, cities, historical sites and more. It is bursting with different cultures, languages, and regions.
From the bustling metropolis of London to the idyllic coastline of Cornwall and the rolling hills of the Peak District.
If you are thinking of traveling here and want to plan an itinerary, we have listed 20 reasons to visit England in the below guide.
We have to start with the capital – the big smoke, London. This is the central financial, economic, and governmental region of the country and everything happens here. It is the home of the royal family, of parliament, and many important events have taken place here.
Not only that, but London is also an incredible place to visit. It is packed full of historical architecture, beautiful parks, and modern attractions. Examples include the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, The Shard, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. You could easily spend a week in London and still not see all it has to offer.
London Hotel Options
London is a good starting point to explore the rest of the England. Here are some hotel options:
Deep in the heart of south-west England near the town of Salisbury, you can find the epic stone circle of Stonehenge. This is often one of the main reasons to visit England once people have visited the capital. It has worldwide acclaim and brings flocks of tourists year-round.
Stonehenge is an ancient, prehistoric stone circle that continues to baffle scientists and archaeologists to this day. The stone columns stand tall and are an incredible weight. This has made people question how it was build when at the time, humans had no lifting technology or specialized equipment.
It is a marvel to see, particularly at sunrise and sunset. Furthermore, the neighbouring Stonehenge Museum is packed full of interesting exhibits and history.
York is one of the most popular cities in North Yorkshire due to its charm and history. It is also a brilliant place to stay if you want to visit Yorkshire and the North Yorkshire Moors.
One of the top reasons to visit England and York is the castle and walls. The old walls enclose much of the city and you can still walk on the ramparts. The JORVIK Viking Centre is also incredible and gives you a realistic look at what life under Viking rule would have been like including the sounds and smells!
Together with Cambridge, Oxford is the other renowned university city in England. These two educational institutes offer the highest levels of study in the country. While the university is famous, Oxford is also a charming place to visit.
The river Thames runs through it, and it has some excellent architecture, museums, and sites. The various colleges and their traditional buildings are something to behold, but other building like the circular Radcliffe Cinema, and the Bridge of Sighs are equally as impressive. We also recommend a trip to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History which has some magnificent displays, exhibitions, and specimens.
5. Jurassic Coast
Dorset lies in the southwest of England and is a beautiful part of the country to visit. It is great for camping and caravanning holidays. Possibly one of the most popular areas within this region is the Jurassic Coast. This is a World Heritage site that stretches from Exmouth to Studland Bay,
It is characterised by epic cliffs that have eroded over time to expose ancient rock formations from the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods. As a result, many fossilised remains of animals have been found including dinosaurs.
The coastline is amazing and there is also some superb walking trails and beautiful beaches. One of the most famous sites here, however, is the stunning Durdle Door. This is a natural rock archway that juts out into the sea and creates some sublime sunsets.
Cambridge is possibly the best-known university city together with Oxford and it is a fantastic place to visit. It is located to the north of London and has great transport links on the M11. Indeed, you could easily plan a day trip from the capital if you wanted to visit this charming and historic city.
Cambridge is possibly best-known for its university but it also has some incredible buildings and parks. Possibly the most popular is the King’s College Chapel. This iconic building sits close to the banks of the river Cam and it is here that the world-famous King’s College Choir perform and hone their skill. Cambridge also has some fantastic museums including the University Museum of Zoology, and the Museum or Archaeology and Anthropology.
If you want to see a part of England that has links to ancient Rome, we recommend a trip to Bath. As you would expect, this city is famous for its Roman bathhouses and you can visit some of the ancient remains.
Furthermore, Bath is jam-packed with incredible and traditional architecture. Examples include Bath Abbey, the Royal Crescent the Guildhall, and Pulteney Bridge. If you are visiting Somerset and want a day trip, Bath is highly recommended. Aside from the fantastic architecture and history, the city is also incredibly beautiful too with the river Avon running directly through it to create some charming waterside scenery.
8. St Ives
St Ives is the quintessential Cornish seaside town and is one of the most popular destinations in the county. It is blessed with three incredible beaches, but also has charming architecture, and some great sights like the Tate Museum, and the harbour.
If you want a traditional Cornish experience, this is the place to visit. You can also partake in a range of water sports here, and only a short drive or walk, there is also the immense Hayle Beach and golden sands that stretch for miles along St Ives Bay.
9. Lake District
High up in the northwest of England, below the Scottish border, you can visit the epic Lake District. This national park and region is renowned for its beauty and is often considered one of the most attractive locations in the country.
The Lake District is made up of many hills, mountains, and of course lakes. Some of the great lakes include Windemere, Buttermere, Grasmere, and Ullswater. These magnificent bodies of water are truly magnificent and surrounded by breath-taking scenery, and charming towns like Bowness on Windemere. If you love hiking and boating, and want to experience English countryside that poets have written about, look no further than the Lake District.
If you want an authentic English seaside experience when visiting London, Brighton is a great place to travel to. From the capital, it is approximately a 2-hour drive. However, there is also a direct rail line between the two places and the journey is inexpensive and takes just over an hour.
Brighton is a seaside town and thus has all the traditional delights you can imagine – ice cream, fish and chips, arcades, and a long stretch of golden beach. Brighton Pier is also a must-visit attraction and you can walk along the length of the pier and visit the theme park at the end complete with rollercoasters and rides. Don’t forget to check out the remains of the fabled west pier too that still stand in the water and show a bygone era of Victorian Brighton.
11. Peak District
The Peak District is perhaps the most beautiful natural place in England next to the Lake District. I personally prefer the Peak District, but I live only a short drive from it and has spent many days exploring the landscape.
This National Park is located in central England in Derbyshire and Yorkshire. The scenery here is sublime and you can expect to see rolling hills, verdant valleys, and rugged peaks. There are so many places to visit in the Peak District that it is difficult to name them all. Popular examples include Dovedale, Ladybower Reservoir, Stanage Edge, the High Peaks, Kinder Scout, and Monsal Head Viaduct. If you want to see the natural wonders of the country, the Peak District is one of the top reasons to visit England.
If you visit Stonehenge, it is not unrealistic to also take a day trip to Glastonbury. This charming town is famous for numerous reasons and is a fascinating place. Primarily, it is known for the legendary Glastonbury music festival where performers like David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and Metallica have left their mark.
However, the town of Glastonbury is also steeped in myth and English legend. It has links with King Arthur, the knights of the round table, and Merlin. There are also crusader links and myths about the fabled Holy Grail that sprout here. You will find the town infinitely interesting, and we also advise climbing the top of Glastonbury Tor for epic views of the southwest countryside.
The east coast of England is home to some fantastic seaside towns including Mablethorpe, Skegness, and Scarborough. However, Whitby is one that stands out and has a completely different character and charm.
Whitby is located further north, at the edge of the stunning North Yorkshire Moors. It is a quaint town that is bursting with history and offers a perfect mix of traditional English seaside attractions, together with historic architecture.
On one cliff, you can climb the 200 steps to see the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Alternatively, why not head down to the harbour and walk along the embracing arms of the two harbour walls? Don’t forget to try some fish and chips at Magpie Café, spend some pennies in the arcades, or take a walk on the west bank beach.
14. Forest of Dean
If you want to see one of the remaining ancient woodlands in England, a visit to the Forest of Dean is an absolute must. This area spans some 110 square kilometres and was once a royal crown forest where hunting was permitted.
Located near the Welsh border and the River Wye, the Forest of Dean has miles of walking trails that snake through this verdant woodland. If you love hiking, and immersing yourself in nature, this area will be a treasure trove.
15. Norfolk Broads
If you travel to the east of England into Norfolk, you can visit the immense waterway network and wetlands that is the Norfolk Broads. This region is covered in beautiful fens and has miles and miles of peaceful canals, rivers, and waterways.
As it is one of the flattest regions in the UK, the Broads is ideal for boating. Indeed, many UK residents rent boats and enjoy a week or two of pleasant sailing on the waters. You can hire modern boats, or even traditional canal boats. The experience is like nothing else, and the waterways are lined with many traditional English pubs and places to visit.
Liverpudlians are a breed unto themselves and many people visit this area of the country simply to hear the distinct Scouse accent. However, Liverpool City is also a brilliant destination and one of the top reasons to visit England.
It has a magnificent riverside setting against the backdrop of the river Mersey, and if you can sail down this waterway, the Liverpool docks are very impressive. Aside from that, Liverpool has some great attractions such as the Maritime Museum, the Titanic Memorial, and the legendary Cavern Club where the iconic English rock and roll band The Beatles once performed. Indeed, you cannot escape the fab four when visiting Liverpool and The Beatles Story is certainly worth a visit too, even if you aren’t an avid fan.
17. Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales is another superb National Park and one of the largest in England. It sits below the Lake District, but above the Peak District and is on the edge of both Leeds and Manchester. The Dales is home to the tallest mountain in England – Ingleborough, together with other mighty peaks like Pen-y-Ghent, and Skiddaw.
Aside from the potential for epic mountain hikes, the Yorkshire Dales also has some incredible scenery and sites. For example, you can visit the Ribble Valley and see the mighty industrial revolution construction of Ribblehead Viaduct or climb to the top of Malham Cove to see where some scenes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was filmed.
England has had a turbulent history in which it has been invaded and conquered multiple times by the Vikings and of course, William the Conqueror. During this history, one place has remained resolute and stood as a beacon of English religion and traditions – that place is Lindisfarne and is one of the top reasons to visit England.
The Holy Island as it is commonly known is in Northumbria has a history spanning back to the 6th century AD and is one of the most important sites of Christianity in the UK. It is a brilliant place to visit and is only accessible via a road that is submerged by tidal water for most of the day. On the island you can see Lindisfarne Castle, various lighthouses, and also the rugged nature reserve.
19. Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight sits off of the southern coast of England directly below Southampton and Portsmouth. It is only a short ferry ride from Southampton and is an interesting place to visit. Despite being part of England, the island has its own culture, traditions, and it provides a unique experience.
The Needles is a must-see natural attraction on the western coast of the Isle of Wight near Yarmouth. This is a series of chalkstone rock stacks that jut out into the sea. What’s more, is that eventually these rocks will simply erode into the water and be lost to time. A visit to Alum Bay is also highly recommended as here the cliffs have an amazing array of different colored sand ranging from red and yellow, to purple, and orange.
20. Land’s End
Cornwall has some beautiful, rugged coastlines and it is one of the most popular holiday destinations for UK residents. This is due to the aforementioned coast, the idyllic beaches, laidback lifestyle, and quaint fishing villages and seaside towns.
One of the most popular attractions here is Land’s End. Located near Penzance, Land’s End is literally the most southwestern point in England. Go any further, and you are taking a dip in the Celtic Sea! The coastal landscape here is magnificent and dramatic. The rocky cliffs are battered by the sea, and you can see thousands of seabirds too. Don’t forget to eat a Cornish Pasty here or try some delicious and fattening clotted cream ice cream!