As they say, if you’re tired of seeing London, you’re tired of life. From magical West End Musical to the famous red double decker busses, the heartbeat of Britain - London - has got it all. Think of it as the L.A and New York of Britain, a thriving coral reef of mankind, complete with the beautiful chimes of Big Ben in the background. Some of London’s top attractions include Stonehenge on the outskirts, The Shard with its viewing platform (Western Europe’s tallest building), Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the Tower of London, Europe’s biggest Ferris wheel - The London Eye, and the ever-impressive London Zoo.
Top Attractions in London
The House of Parliament and Big Ben
The iconic Big Ben has been a touristic hotspot for well over 150 years, and if you don’t see it while you’re in London, your trip would be incomplete. Make sure you visit the adjoining Houses of Parliament with its Westminster Hall that dates back to 1097. Other interesting sights here include the robing hall of the Queen and the Lords Chamber.
The Tower of London
It’s been a prison, a palace, a treasure vault, an observatory and even a menagerie, which is why the Tower of London is considered one of England’s most important buildings. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site of which the White Tower is the showcase building. Here you’ll get to see exhibitions like the Line of Kings, which happens to be the world’s oldest visitor attraction. But you’ll also see the Crown Jewels exhibition, the Yeoman Warder Towers and the Royal Mint to name just a few great sights on these 18 acres of land.
Canterbury Cathedral is located in the heart of the historic city of Canterbury and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the Cradle of English Christianity and also home to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The cathedral dates back to 597, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can see and do in Canterbury. The city is home to some amazing shopping complexes, cafés and galleries, not to mention Chaucer’s medieval England attractions and the tangible Roman past that lingers in the air.
Located on Salisbury Plain, just 10 minutes from Salisbury, Stonehenge is definitely Britain’s most famous ancient site. Make sure you purchase you tickets well ahead of time to ensure you get to see the marvel and splendor on offer here. Stonehenge covers 8 square miles of land and these “hanging stones” date back to 3000 BC. The stone circles that were used in the Bronze Age is a great sight, but to get all the info you need pop in at the Visitors Center where you can browse some great exhibitions and enjoy a meal at the café afterwards.
North, South, West and East Riding are what make up the historic Yorkshire. The region is home to some of the most beautiful towns and cities in all of England. Durham, Beverly and York are three of the most beautiful with their half-timbered houses and shops, their medieval guildhalls and churches and their romantic streets surrounded by impressive town walls. The nearby countryside of Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors are well worth exploring too.
Britian’s most beloved Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called Chartwell home from 1924 up until his final days in 1965, and it’s not hard to see why it’s a popular touristic attraction. Churchill’s legacy can be seen all around the area with annually rotated exhibits telling his tale. You might also want to explore the gardens with their lakes and looped walking trails through the adjoining woodlands. Tip: you have to buy your tickets in advance if you want to embark on a visit inside the iconic home in Mapleton Road.
Bath is an iconic English city, and it’s so fascinating that it could suffice as the one and only city you really need to see in England. It’s probably most famous for its 2,000 year old Roman Baths that are built around the town’s hot springs, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t get to see the beautiful Georgian Townhouses on the Royal Crescent. The entire city of Bath has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its historically important buildings, but it’s also a great starting point from where you can venture into the English countryside. Nearby you’ll find the awe-inspiring Avon Valley, the Mendip Hills and some other pristine Somerset landmarks.
Yes, a university is really that important to see. The Cambridge University has an old-world charm that just can’t be missed, and it’s a massive touristic attraction for that reason. Cambridge is home to the world’s largest collection of historic buildings most of which are clustered in Cambridge University’s 31 colleges. On offer here is magnificent shopping and dining opportunities, spectacular events like the Midsummer Fair and the Cambridge Folk Festival and some of the most captivating experiences to be had in these parts.
The Eden Project
Eden Project is a breathtaking collection of artificial biomes that house plants from all across the world. You can find it in Bodelva, Cornwall, but don’t be surprised if you fall in love with this collection of huge domes that resemble an igloo-shaped greenhouse collection.
Dover is one of Britain’s principal cross-channel ports and is best known for its White Cliffs. You might have thought about just passing through Dover en-route elsewhere in the UK, but there are a lot of reasons why you need to linger just a little longer. Dover has a tangible Roman heritage, and as such boasts a number of Roman-era attractions like lighthouse on Castle Hill and the Roman Painted House, but to get behind the whole history there’s an abundance of museums and historic sites in and around town. Some of Dover’s other top attractions include the South Foreland Lighthouse (the first ever lighthouse to use electric light), the magnificent Dover Castle, the Dover Museum located in the Market Square, the tranquil 6 acre Pines Garden, the grand Deal Castle and the impressive Richborough Roman Fort to name but just a few.
Westminster Abbey is yet another hugely popular wedding venue, since it was where Kate Middleton became the wife of Prince William. But the Abbey is remarkable for much more than just being a wedding venue, the Gothic architecture will take you back to a time of ancient kings and queens.
Lake District National Park
England’s Lake District National Park covers roughly 900 square miles, and it’s a destination you can’t miss out on seeing. This is where you’ll find 12 of England’s largest lakes nestled in over 2,000 miles of explore-worthy terrain. You’d be mad not to see the abundance of fells like Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, the little towns and villages like Grasmere and boat excursion opportunities across Lake Windermere and Ullswater.
For those of you traveling with the kids, Warwick Castle has an amazing English family excursion on offer. Take a peek into life in the medieval times inside the castle located in the city of Warwick on the River Avon. This majestic fortress has been the dominant figure of the landscape for well over 900 years, and today boasts some of the best medieval fairs and events around. Warwick also makes for a great base from where you can explore Cotswold and other cities in the vicinity like Stratford-upon-Avon, Liverpool and Manchester.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral might be best known for the fact that it was where Prince Charles and Princess Diana said their vows, but it’s a site steeped in British history. The 1,200 year old history is almost tangible, and if you’re up for it, climbing the 237 steps to the top of the Dome offers you some truly unbeatable views of the surrounding area. Make sure you see the Whispering Gallery as you make your way up for the sight of the London skyline.
The Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts is located in the heart of London’s West End, and as such, is one of Britain’s oldest fine art institutions. If you’re looking to find a little calm amid the city buzz, this is the place to seek it at.
It’s been the summer residence of the British Royals since 1078, which makes Windsor Castle the largest inhabited castle in the world, and also one of the most beautiful. It’s built around two beautiful courtyards, and you can visit the castle with an admission ticket when the Queen is not at home. Nearby you’ll find the scenic Great Park, a 6 mile long park you might have seen if you flew in from North America’s side into Heathrow. The Changing the Guard in the Castle Precincts is an experience that’ll complete your visit to Windsor Castle.
Covering roughly 787 square miles, the Cotswolds’ is where you’ll find some of England’s prettiest counties like Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. It’s designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty by UNESCO mainly due to the limestone grasslands and old beech woodlands, but the whole picture would not be complete without The Cotswolds’ small towns and villages like Castle Combe, Chipping Norton and Tetbury. Discover the area by foot through the Cotswold Way, a 10 miles footpath that boasts some of the most aspiring views over the Sevem Valley and the Vale of Evesham.
What used to draw visitors to Durham was the iconic cathedral perched high above the River Wear, but with over 600 listed buildings, including the likes of Crook Hall, Kingsgate Bridge, Elvet Bridge and the Town Hall, modern Durham has a lot on offer for the avid tourist. Some of the old region’s top attractions include the Durham Cathedral (the Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham) that dates back to 1093 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll see the likes of the Galilee Chapel, the Norman Nave and the Monk’s Dormitory inside of the Cathedral. Don’t miss out on seeing Durham Castle that dates back to 1072, the tranquil Botanic Garden, the Durham Heritage Centre and Museum and the Durham Town Hall, which are all major, must -see sites. There’s also the nearby Beamish to explore, which is a 300 acre countryside area that gives you a look back in to the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. It’s much like a living museum with its costumed characters bringing the displays to life to tell the tale of the Industrial Revolution.