Jolly pints on the green isle
During a tour of England, you are never more than 75 miles away from the ocean, or more than a day's journey to the capital city of London. In this green and pleasant land, size isn’t everything - you’ll find an unparalleled breadth of landscapes, cultures, and attractions. Chalk cliffs adorn its sunny southern coast, while rocky peaks and dark moorland extend along England’s northern backbone towards Scotland. Vast lakes, majestic mountains, and buckets of rain are to be found in the northwesterly Lake District, while the East of England is distinctly flat and much drier. Experience medieval castles, Victorian manors, and cosmopolitan cities in a single afternoon with a trip to England.
In merry England, everything is done slightly differently. The buses are red, the cabs are black, and don’t forget to look right before you cross the street for a pint at a local pub. This eccentric country is steeped in more than 5,000 years of history, during which it has been shaped by Roman, Viking, and Norman influences. Be sure to venture beyond its world-famous capital, London, to experience this. Relax in the Roman-built pools in the aptly named City of Bath, or explore the quaint villages in the surrounding Cotswolds region. Alternatively, grab a sword and head north to participate in York’s annual Viking Festival reenactments, as the ancient city celebrates its Norse heritage. Nearby Manchester was the world’s first industrialized city, and has now reinvented itself as a center for culture, sports, and music.
Every year, 15 million people visit Buckingham Palace, making it the most popular tourist attraction in London. Though you can only see the 775 interior rooms during the summer, the iconic changing of the guard takes place year-round—though not daily so check the schedule. Get there at 10:45 am to see the Queen’s Guard wearing the traditional bearskin hats hand over the watch with great pomp and circumstance.
Originally a timber rampart fortifying London’s seaward side, over the centuries the Tower of London became an infamous fortress and political prison where the likes of Ann Bolyn were publicly executed. From the White Tower outlook, get the best view of London Bridge—where the heads of decapitated corpses used to serve as a warning to the public that loyalty to the crown was non-negotiable.
Stonehenge is one of the most enigmatic sites in the world. The towering sarsens were transported over 140 miles and erected with painstaking accuracy using interlocking joints. Drive to the Wiltshire countryside to see the prehistoric monument for yourself. Most agree that the circle of stones is some sort of temple aligned with the solar movements, but beyond that, it remains a mystery.
Prepare to become a Romantic in the lush surrounding of England’s Lake District. Here, in the green peaks and wooded low lands of northwest Cumbria, impassioned poets like William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge drew inspiration. You won’t be required to write about your stay, but most visitors can’t help but wax poetic about their time in this precious, protected corner of England.
The iconic White Cliffs of Dover tower 350 feet above the English Channel, grabbing the eye of anyone traveling from continental Europe by boat. Walk or cycle along the chalky outcrop—home to various orchids and butterflies in the summer months. Tour the forgotten defences of Fan Bay Deep, a network of underground tunnels from the 1940s. Go back in time even further with a visit to the South Foreland Lighthouse, the victorian guidepost constructed in 1843 and active until 1988.
Nature lovers will want to pitch a tent in the Peak District National Park for a couple of days during a tour of England. Paraglide over Hope Valley or rock climb the black peaks of the Staffordshire Moorlands. Relax with a morning canoe through Tittesworth Reservoir and see if you can spot a red deer darting through the ash woodlands. Jane Austen fans may enjoy a visit to one of the area’s country manors, some of which date back to the 12th century.
In England, the weather is temperate, yet unpredictable. Sun and rain alternate year-round with summer being the warmest and busiest season for tourism. Temperatures range from the mid-60s to the high-70s, but bring your umbrella as it’s still likely to rain. Winter temperatures rarely drop below 32 degrees, but clouds and precipitation make it a less popular time for visitors. You may want to consider skipping across the pond in spring or autumn, for generally dry and pleasant weather.
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