A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreamsHerb Caen
I had the utmost pleasure to live in England for over a year. I moved there to pursue my master’s degree and while doing that I explored as much of the country as possible. Most people I had met there told me that I probably explored more of England than they had, which is something I am very proud of.
England stole my heart. London is fun, but it’s where everyone goes. Yes, go visit England, but to really dive into the country and culture, go adventuring in the lesser visited places. They are just as, and in my opinion more so, interesting and worthwhile than overrated London.
Location: Cornwall (southern England)
Why: History, legend, and nature collide in this incredibly beautiful location. Known as the birthplace of King Arthur, the mystery that surrounds the area makes it a powerful draw for those who love history and the views keep people exploring for hours.
- Tintagel Castle — Bring your walking shoes and your camera. You will need both. Check the English Heritage website to make sure the weather conditions do not close parts of the castle.
- Merlin’s Cave — Make sure to time your visit with low tide so you can visit! The cave found fame when author Tennyson described it as the cave where Arthur drifted ashore and Merlin carried him to safety.
- qThere are tons of local shops that dot the main street leading to Tintagel Castle. Take some time to support them and explore the hand crafted goods and food!
Location: East Midlands
Why: Leicester will always have a large piece of my heart. I spent over a year here and I’m pretty sure I still never saw everything. If you like Roman ruins, cathedrals, great walking paths, and/or museums, this is the place for you. It’s also one of the Queen’s favorite places to visit. Enough said.
- New Walk — This is the name of the museum and the best street in town. The museum is great for anyone of all ages and particularly for those who love art. The street is full of shops and architectural views and an all around great way to explore the town at first.
- Richard III Museum — The archaeological dig that uncovered his remains happened when I was studying for my archaeology master’s degree. It was cool ya’ll. Go see it.
- Market — It’s not quiet, but it is fun and delicious. Everyone is yelling the prices of their produce and it still makes me happy thinking about it. Want an entire basket full of produce for 1 pound? Go there.
- Jewry Wall Museum & Ruins — 2nd century Roman ruins anyone? Don’t mind if I do! Bonus points if you go to St. Nicholas’ Church next door and see the many different centuries of construction visible in the architecture.
- Abbey Park — SO many ruins and a gorgeous place to walk and spend the day.
Location: East Midlands
Why: Somehow I have no idea where all of my photos of this glorious but tiny town went… That being said, a visit to England should at least include this quaint town once, if not more. Known for its cathedral and castle, this town has no shortage of history. Be prepared for one of the biggest hills you will find in the Midlands. It’s worth it though.
- Lincoln Cathedral — This 11th century Gothic cathedral is 100% worth a visit!
- Lincoln Castle — The fortress was also built in the 11th century and guided tours are available to learn more about its interesting history.
- Steep Hill — The English are fantastic at naming things, just look at their pubs! Steep Hill is not a joke. It’s steep, but it’s the only way to get to the most famous attractions in town. The good news is there are tons of local shops to explore on the way up to catch your breath in.
Location: Northeast England
Why: I loved visiting this city and I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a variety there was when it came to things to do. This viking town (Yorvik) has grown exponentially since its start, but it’s still got old world charm.
- Yorvik Viking Museum — It’s stinky but it might be the best museum I’ve ever been to. The creators reimagined what museums are and take you through an immersive adventure through the old city and what it would have been like during the Viking Age, smells included.
- Chocolate Festival — YES PLEASE. Every kind imaginable and all of it delicious. Plan your trip around this event.
- York Minster — This cathedral can boast of beginnings in the 7th century. It’s also one of the largest in England. After you’ve seen Westminster Abbey, this should be next on your list.
- Clifford’s Tower — Once a medieval castle, fortress, prison, etc, it is now the ruins of York Castle and commonly referred to as Clifford’s Tower.
- Fat Rascals — Originating in the 19th century, Fat Rascals are similar to a scone. They are super unique to York and no trip is complete without one…or several.
Location: East Midlands
Why: Shakespeare lovers beware! You’ll fall in love and never want to leave. Welcome to the birthplace of the man who changed literature forever. Plays? There’s plenty. Scenery? Plenty of that too. Statues of famous characters? Lots.
- Shakespeare’s Birthplace — Need I say more? It’s still standing and it’s not insanely crowded.
- Anne Hathaway’s Cottage — Home to the wife of Williams Shakespeare. After several centuries of staying within the family, it is now open to visit as a museum.
- The Swan — One of the more famous of theatres associated with Shakespeare and home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Seeing a play is an absolute must.