Visit England Now!

28/12/2016
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From its rich historical past to its beautiful landscapes, there is no end of reasons to visit England! Here are my own top 100 reasons to visit England, arranged in no particular order whatsoever. If you're looking for more specific parts of England, you might like to read about things to do in Essex, or London museums you've probably never heard of. Otherwise, go ahead with the list!

100 Reasons to Visit England- from history to culture to natural wonders.

100 Reasons to Visit England

1) The beautiful country landscapes. England has so many stunning places, especially considering what a small country it is. A few of them will be appearing later down the list, but this is probably one of the most popular reasons to visit England.

2) The London city skyline. in total contrast to the countryside, but still beautiful in its own way. London is a massive international city, and the skyline reflects that. The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe!

3) Historic buildings. England is full of buildings of all sorts of dates, from over 1000 years old  to brand new.

4) Wild moorland landscapes. These are the first of the beautiful landscapes on the list. The moorlands of Northern and South-Western England are harsh but lovely. Fans of the Bronte sisters might find this one of the most significant reasons to visit England!

5) Beautiful beaches- England has some gorgeous beaches, especially along the coast of Northumberland. Places like Bamburgh have miles and miles of beautiful golden sand. Visit England in summer or early autumn to see the beaches at their absolute best.

Durdle Door, Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset

6) Visit England for places of historical importance like Shakespeare’s Globe. Come on, Shakespeare fans- you must have dozens of reasons to visit England!

7) Rolling hills. Perhaps the most famous type of beautiful landscape in England. The soft green hills of southern and central England are criss-crossed with ancient hedgerows and dotted with picturesque villages.

8) Dramatic mountains. Head to Cumbria, and you’ll find Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England. It's surrounded by a whole mountain range of close competitors.

9) The stunning cliffs of Dover. An absolute English icon, the cliffs are surmounted by a beautiful twelfth-century castle. There are also WW2 tunnels in the rock beneath.

10) Huge and impressive castles. England is full of castles, including some remarkable giants like the Tower of London and Bamburgh Castle. You’ll find smaller castles dotted all over, from Colchester Castle to the tower houses of Northern England.

Visit England- Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle

11) Ancient monuments. Stonehenge might be the most famous, but England is covered in ancient monuments. Look out for burial mounds, stone circles, and prehistoric stone carvings.

12) Pretty little villages. Perhaps what England is best known for, and often as cute and charming as foreigners assume them to be. These sort of villages are probably what you expect to see when you visit England.

13) Vibrant and exciting cities. There’s more to England than pretty countryside! Our cities are modern and full of things to do.

14) Sailing. I don’t sail myself, but I’m told the south of England is great for sailing, especially the Isle of Wight.

15) Surfing. Ditto for Cornwall and surfing.

Visit England- Village church

St. Giles Church in the Village of Hartington in Derbyshire

16) Hiking. Hiking is something that I can comment on! England has fantastic hiking trails, such as the Coast to Coast Way. There are also mountainous or hilly areas which are extremely popular with hikers from all over the world.

17) Right of way. Unlike in so many other countries, in England you can walk pretty much wherever you want, and there are footpaths everywhere. Right of way means that you won’t get in trouble for trespassing if you take a short cut across a field (as long as you’re reasonable about it and don’t do any damage)

18) Country pubs. Every village, hamlet and crossroads in rural England has a pub.Some of them can be really fantastic, with beautiful medieval buildings and some excellent local beers.

19) Pretty medieval churches. Something else that almost every village has is a church. Some of them have been on the same site for over a thousand years, and many are substantially medieval in their surviving construction.

20) Elegant stately homes. England is dotted with beautiful stately homes, from late medieval manor houses to massive eighteenth-century country houses that belong in a Jane Austen film adaptation.

Visit England- Whitby

Whitby, North Yorkshire

21) Cute seaside towns. Little towns like Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay cling to the cliffsides of North Yorkshire, making for a stunning place to spend a summer’s day when you visit England.

22) We have place names like Robin Hood’s Bay. And Ugley. And Giggleswick.

23) Ice cream at the beach. Visit Southend in Essex for the authentic Rossi’s experience, but pretty much any seaside town has an ice cream shop on the beach, for an old-fashioned seaside treat.

24) Gently beautiful farmland. So much of England is covered in golden cornfields. The bright yellow fields of rape are a little less pretty, but it’s still all very picturesque.

25) Creative and unique market shopping. From the London markets at Camden and Spitalfields to the market towns of the Welsh borders, England is absolutely covered in fantastic markets. Visit these to buy local products and support small businesses.

Twelve Apostles stone circle, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Twelve Apostles stone circle, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

26) British farm produce. On a related line, British dairy and meat products are some of the best in the world. You should be able to buy British produce in any decent supermarket, or head to a farm shop.

27) Jacket potatoes. An American woman I met once in Ireland told me that this was one of three things that she’d loved while living in England but was having trouble finding in Ireland. Jacket potatoes are actually just another name for baked potatoes (presumably because the potato is cooked still in its ‘jacket’)

28) Roast dinners. This was the second of the two, and the most English type of food ever invented.

29) Ploughman’s lunches. And this was the third. It’s a type of giant cheese sandwich lunch plate that just about every pub in England will serve.

30) Medieval architecture. I’ve probably mentioned medieval architecture about 15 times already, and there’s going to be more. But we have a lot of it, and it’s beautiful. It's worth paying a visit to England just for the buildings that line the sides of ordinary roads.

The village of Turville, Buckinghamshire

The village of Turville, Buckinghamshire

31) Royal palaces. Whatever your opinions on the royal family, they have some very nice palaces. Buckingham Palace is the best known, so see if you can get tickets to a garden party there. Otherwise, Windsor Castle, along the Thames, is open to the public. Other European countries have royal families, of course, but visit England to see the homes of the world's most famous royals.

32) Incredible, world-class museums. The British Museum is one of the best museums in the world. There are a number of other fantastic free museums in London, such as the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. The rest of England hasn’t been left out, though, and there are world-class museums in other cities, such as Leeds and Liverpool.

33) Gorgeous country gardens. This partly comes along with the stately homes. England is covered in gorgeous landscaped gardens, perfect for relaxing in.

34) Lazy afternoons watching cricket. Every village ought to have a cricket ground. Go and soak up the sunshine while occasionally dodging stray cricket balls, and pretending you understand the score.

35) Pimms. A requirement of summer cricket, or pretty much any summer event whatsoever. This alcoholic drink is an English staple, and sadly quite hard to get hold of anywhere else. An excellent reason to visit England.

Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire

Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire

36) Rowing. The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and Henley Regatta are the two biggest events, but the English summer is full of rowing events.

37) Horse racing. The same goes for a summer of horse racing, with big events like Ladies’ Day at Ascot. You can catch horse racing for most of the year though if you visit a racing town like Newmarket.

38) The perfect summer temperatures. England is very rarely too hot, but generally pretty warm in the south. Admittedly it rains fairly often, but nowhere’s perfect. Definitely try and visit England in the summer!

39) The birthplaces of your favourite writers, musicians and poets.

40) Beautiful shopping streets. There are so many towns with gorgeous old high streets packed full of chain and independent shops. Cambridge jumps to mind here.

A busy street in London

A busy street in London

41) An ancient (and beautifully housed) Parliament. Definitely visit England if you have an interest in parliamentary history. Our Parliament has been meeting at Westminster Palace for centuries, although the building was almost entirely rebuilt in the Victorian period after a catastrophic fire. The medieval great hall still survives and is open to the public.

42) Fantastic beer. It's worth paying a visit just for the beer! England has some incredible craft ales, lagers and bitters. Ask in your local pub for a recommendation.

43) Even more fantastic beer festivals. An alternative is to go to one of the beer festivals that pop up all summer. You should be able to try out loads of different beers that you wouldn’t otherwise have come across.

44) Morris dancing, and other old traditions. These aren’t necessarily a reason to visit England in themselves. Morris dancing is a little strange. But it’s kind of amazing how well some of these traditions have survived in England, and it certainly adds a bit of entertainment to an evening in the pub. Church mystery plays are another one of these strange old-fashioned things that sometimes happen.

45) Cadbury’s chocolate- because American chocolate is terrible. I will allow that some other European countries may make equally excellent chocolate.

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

46) An incredible historic capital city. London dates back to at least the Roman period, when it was the centre of administration for the province of Britannia. There are still some Roman ruins, including the remains of the Roman amphitheatre.

47) Equally vibrant smaller cities. There’s so much more than just London! Try and see a little more of the country when you visit England.

48) Roman remains. England is full of remains from the Roman occupation of the country, from forts to villas to bath houses. A lot of big towns and cities have Roman roots which are still visible today- for example, parts of the Roman city walls of London are still standing.

49) Great public transport. We like to complain about the public transport, but it’s better than a lot of other countries. Admittedly it gets worse the further you go from the big cities, but it’s possible to reach most places without a car, as long as you’re well organised.

50) Really great cups of tea. Goes without saying, really.

Mounts Bay, Cornwall

Mounts Bay, Cornwall

51) Mild winters. For much of England, winter is rarely very harsh at all, especially by the standards of central Europe or the US Midwest. There might be snow, there might not. The north of England is quite a bit colder, but temperatures are still bearable if you visit England in winter.

52) Gorgeous autumn colours. We can boast some stunning autumn views as the trees turn to rich shades of red and orange. Obviously the colours depend on the weather, and can vary each year, but you can generally expect a beautiful October and November.

53) Incredible music festivals. Heard of a little place called Glastonbury? England also has the Isle of Wight Festival, Reading Festival, and numerous other big music festivals spread throughout the summer.

54) Equally fantastic literary festivals. My local event is the Ilkley Literary Festival, but some other big names are the Hay Festival and the Port Eliot Festival.

55) World-class universities. Cambridge and Oxford are obviously the best-known, but some of the London universities are equally prestigious, and England is full of other excellent universities, such as Durham and Exeter.

King's College, Cambridge

King's College, Cambridge

56) Great transport links to the rest of Europe and the world. Whether by train or by plane, it’s easy to travel to and from England. It might be odd to suggest that you visit England just to leave again, but it does make things easier.

57) Welcoming and friendly attitude. The English might not have a reputation as the world’s most forthcoming people, but they can be fantastically friendly and welcoming - especially in a pub.

58) Beautiful ancient woodland. Some areas of English woodland have been maintained for thousands of years, and are still full of centuries-old oak trees. They are majestic and beautiful places, whether you consider yourself interested in trees or not.

59) World-class shopping. On a totally different note, London is one of the shopping capitals of the world. There is pretty much nothing that you won’t be able to buy when you visit England, and the range of shopping areas and styles will suit every taste and budget. Every other English city also offers a huge range of shopping, although perhaps not on the same scale as London.

60) Countryside and city all in one. England is a brilliant mix of urban and rural. The cities are connected to the countryside by great public transport links. Even in the middle of London the huge parks can make you feel like you’re in the countryside. There are even a few small farms and horse riding stables in East London!

Visit England- beautiful countryside

English countryside

61) Big lakes, little lakes, and all sizes in between. From majestic Lake Windermere to tiny local park lakes, England is full of beautiful areas of water.

62) Amazing musical tradition. Chances are, no matter where in the world you’re from, you can name a few English bands. For such as small country, we have produced an incredible amount of world-famous music, and at certain points have completely dominated the music industry.

63) Child-friendly days out almost anywhere. England is a brilliant place to bring children. The vast majority of tourist destinations are extremely child-friendly, and there are free or cheap places to spend the day with children all over the country. Visit England for a great family vacation!

64) The National Trust. This national institution preserves historical buildings and beautiful or rare areas of land, and opens them up to the public. There is a small charge to enter most of their properties, so if you plan to visit a few, an annual membership can be a great value.

65) English Heritage. Similar to the National Trust, this registered charity focuses more on historical buildings. Many of England’s great castles are managed by English Heritage.

Medieval house in Chester

Medieval house in Chester

66) Boots the Chemist. One of the shops that dominates the British high street, this is an absolutely invaluable place to know if you visit England. There is a branch pretty much everywhere, and it sells medicines, toiletries, makeup, lunch or snack food, and all kinds of useful odds and ends.

67) Marks and Spencer food. Another British high street giant, M&S is a great place to pick up good food, particularly salads and sandwiches (or microwave meals, if you have somewhere to heat them up). Tourists tend to take to it pretty quickly!

68) National newspapers, in a range of qualities and political angles.

69) Reasonable prices (outside London). Compared to a lot of north-western European countries, England is pretty nicely priced. Bear in mind that there can be a substantial difference in costs between central London and the rest of the country.

70) Stunning ancient and modern architecture. From Anglo-Saxon churches to Tudor half-timbered houses to modern brick and glass, England not only has some amazing architecture but has learnt to combine tradition and innovation.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

71) Pretty flowers. England’s charming villages are world-famous, and this is partly due to the beautiful flowers that often cover them. There are actually competitions for the best-kept villages and plenty of local flower competitions! England also has a tradition of beautiful floral gardens especially in stately homes.

72) Bonfire Night. The closest thing England has to a national holiday, this slightly odd event celebrates the time the British parliament and king weren’t blown up. People celebrate with bonfires and fireworks, whether town events or individual family parties. It's a fun time to visit England!

73) Bank Holiday Mondays. A British institution, these are the occasional Mondays off work that everyone looks forward to. They usually result in extremely busy pubs on a Sunday afternoon and evening.

74) London Fashion Week. For those interested in fashion, London is one of the leading international centres for designer fashion. Many of the biggest names in fashion choose to show at London, and it has a reputation for being particularly avant-garde and exciting. If you work in the fashion industry, this would be a great excuse to visit England.

75) British magazines. Britain has a branch of pretty much every big international magazine, as well as a few of its own. As might be expected from a city with such a huge fashion industry, the quality tends to be pretty high. It's definitely worth picking up a couple of these magazines when you visit England.

The London skyline

The London skyline

76) Huge ancient oak trees. Parts of England still contain ancient medieval oaks. Some have fantastic stories attached, such as the oak that is claimed to have hidden the young Charles II as he fled to France. They have a very long pedigree in England, with many of the country’s medieval ships and buildings being built from English oak.

77) Funfairs. Every summer, funfairs pop up outside towns all over England, often staying only for a few days and then moving on. They can make for a great day out with families and friends!

78) Dramatic skyscapes. Whether city skylines, huge open skies, or dramatic mountains, England has an incredible variety of beautiful skyscapes.

79) Fenland and marshland. Alongside the rolling hills that England is best known for are plenty of other landscape types. One of the most incredible of these is the remains of the fenlands and salt marshes that once covered much of eastern England.

80) Incredible geological features. For such a small cluster of islands, Britain has incredible geographical diversity, and even just in England this leads to some unusual geological sites, like the Stiperstones in Shropshire.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

81) Very good cheese. Totally unconnected to the items before and after, but England makes some of the world’s best cheeses. Try Cheddar, Wensleydale or Red Leicester. Visit England just for the cheese.

82) Viking remains. These Scandinavian raiders occupied much of northern and eastern England and left plenty of signs of their presence. York is the best known Viking site, but there are Viking graves and settlements all along the east coast.

83) Historical places in just about every tiny town. It’s hard to find anywhere that doesn’t have an item or building of historical interest. The point here isn’t just that England has a lot of historical remains, it’s that they are absolutely everywhere, even where you wouldn’t expect to find them. Wherever you visit in England, there will be something of historical importance.

84) Friendly local churches and church halls. Every town and village has at least one church, usually with a church hall attached. They tend to be very friendly places, used to hosting all the local weddings and christenings.

85) Baked beans. A favourite English food that everyone should try.

Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle

86) Cooked breakfast. The Irish come pretty close, but an English cooked breakfast is the best in the world. Bacon, sausage, eggs, and a few other variables depending on taste.

87) Beautiful railway journeys. England has some spectacular railway lines. The train from London to Edinburgh, for example, goes right along the beautiful north-east coast. Plenty of other railway journeys will also provide you with beautiful views.

88) The North Sea and the North Atlantic. England only has a small Atlantic coast, but the beauty of Cornwall more than makes up for that! The east coast, on the North Sea, is also spectacular, with some stunning cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches. The water’s always cold, though!

89) Long summer days. England is far enough north (a lot farther north than the climate might suggest) that in summer the sun barely sets, and there are beautiful long twilights and dawns. As already suggested, try to visit England in summer!

90) Light winter snow. England’s winters might be mild, as already mentioned, but there is usually still a light dusting of snow, just enough to make everything look pretty without being too much of an inconvenience.

Broadway Tower, Fish Hill, Worcestershire

Broadway Tower, Fish Hill, Worcestershire

91) Beautiful old hedgerows. Some of these field boundaries are centuries old, and provide havens for a wide variety of plant and animal life. In many places, hedgerows are actually protected environments.

92) Ancient stone field boundaries. In areas where hedgerows are less common, stone walls tend to divide fields. These are often pretty old themselves, and have been carefully preserved from generation to generation.

93) Walkable towns and cities. The public transport has already been mentioned, but England is also a very walkable country, both in the cities and in the smaller towns. Most of the time you will find that, wherever you stay on your visit to England, you will be able to walk to local shops and pubs.

94) Bright green springtime. England in springtime is absolutely beautiful. The new spring leaves are a clear light green, mixed in with white spring blossom.

95) Misty mornings. Especially in autumn and winter, and particularly on the coast, England tends to get misty mornings. They often clear into sunny days, but still make a beautiful, mysterious start to the day.

Land's End, Cornwall

Land's End, Cornwall

96) Ancient graveyards. Many of England’s older churches are accompanied by equally ancient graveyards. They are a fascinating place to trace local or ancient history, or just to relax and soak up the atmosphere.

97) Beautiful poetry, fiction and drama. Whether you head to London’s West End or a small provincial theatre, England is full of fantastic drama and literary events.

98) Multiple languages and cultural traditions. England is full of people from all over the world. London, in particular, has an incredible number of languages. Plus there are still traces of the pre-English British languages, such as Cornish that you might come across when you visit England.

99) The brilliant range of regional accents. If you visit England looking forward to an ‘English’ accent, you may well be disappointed. Even in London, accents vary from area to area, and across the country as a whole, people can sound completely different from one another. This is just another sign of how much variety there is in England!

100) The sense of history. I know I’ve said it before, in one way or another, but one of the fascinations England has both for its inhabitants and its visitors is the richness of its history. This little country has been intensively farmed and settled for millennia. Each generation has left a layer of influence on the landscape, as far back as the Stone Age. Today, England is a tightly packed patchwork quilt of historical artefacts, architecture and landscape features, all jumbled in together. For me, that is the number one reason to visit England.

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