There is much more to England than its illustrious capital. Venturing outside of London’s crowds and into England’s rolling green countryside, up into the industrial Northern cities and out to the Jurassic coastlines, will allow you to see the diversity and beauty of the country’s rich heritage. Here is our pick of unusual things to do and places to visit in ‘alternative’ England.
Get Cultural in Liverpool
Made famous around the world by ‘The Fab Four’, Liverpool has undergone a modern evolution. Becoming synonymous with popular culture after being awarded European City of Culture in 2018, every year the city hosts various art and music events. For example, the month of May sees Liverpool host its annual Liverpool Sound City music festival. With a vibrant culinary and bar scene to explore by night, Liverpool has transformed itself from its industrial past into an edgy metropolis. Take a historic Beatles tour of the city, or explore one of the more modern art or culture installations taking place.
Visit the Roman ‘Wellness Retreat’ in Bath
Wellness travel may be a relatively modern concept, but the Romans were onto a trick, even way back then. With the only thermal hot springs that you can bathe in in the whole of Britain, Bath has long been a tourist attraction. Set amongst the rolling English hills, as well as the ancient Roman baths, the city is lined with beautiful Georgian buildings, housing independent gin bars, restaurants and retail stores.
Punting in Cambridge
For an easy day-trip out of London, take a short train-ride up to Cambridge where you can visit the world-famous University, which is responsible for educating the likes of Stephen Hawking, Sir David Attenborough and Charles Darwin. Weather permitting, spend the afternoon punting along the River Cam, for a quintessentially English day out.
Discover the Historic City of York
The ancient walled city of York harks back to a Roman era, but with strong Viking influences in its past. History-buffs will revel in York’s periodic stories and admire the Roman city walls and 800-year-old Minster, whilst foodies can enjoy York’s booming restaurant scene, with York’s Food and Drink festival taking place in September.
Enjoy lunch on a Cornish Farmstead
In the very South Western point of England, Cornwall has its own unique identity. Home to England’s longest coastline, Cornwall’s laid-back, rural way of life is far removed from the buzz of the inner cities. After a day of exploring the dramatic Cornish coastline of smugglers coves and fishing villages, stop for an exclusive Be My Guest lunch in a family farmstead. Learn about the 18th-Century farm heritage over a local meal and friendly ‘Cornish’ hospitality.
Visit the Resting Place of King Arthur and Guinevere
Surprisingly, Glastonbury Festival is not responsible for making this area of England legendary. Since Medieval times, Glastonbury Abbey has been a popular religious site, attracting visitors from far and wide because of myths, legends and historical links. It’s said that King Arthur and Guinevere were buried at this site, and the ancient abbey is one of the longest standing Christian sites in England. Visit this tranquil abbey on your trip around Somerset and England’s West Country.
A Royal Welcome to Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle from Royal Collection Trust
England has many famous castles and palaces to explore, but following the two recent Royal Weddings held here, Windsor Castle has taken its spot in the limelight. As one of the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castles, take a walk around the surrounding grounds, hire a boat on the River Thames or explore the English pubs and restaurants in the pretty town.
Get Bohemian in Bristol
Famous for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Balloon Fiesta and Banksy, the bohemian, easy-going city of Bristol was voted the best place to live in Britain in 2017 – and it’s easy to see why. With streets full of independent businesses, colourful houses, quirky street art and leafy green parks, Bristol has a very relaxed vibe compared to England’s other main cities. With two major universities housed here, the city is awash with arts and culture, but the city also houses Brunel’s SS Great Britain, a 19th Century steamship.
Where were your favourite off-the-beaten-path spots in England? Book a trip to England with Trafalgar and discover many more alternative destinations away from the bright lights and busy streets of the capital.