Throughout its long history, it's been a green and pleasant land, a sceptred isle and a nation of shopkeepers. It's stood as a beacon of democracy and a bastion of ideological freedom, as well as a crucible of empire and a cradle of class oppression. Magna Carta, the King James Bible and the welfare state were all dreamt up here, but then again so were beer bellies, Bovril and Mr Bean. It's a nation of tea-tippling eccentrics and train spotters, of dog lovers and footy fanatics, of punk rockers, gardeners, gnome collectors, celebrity wannabees, superstar chefs, free-wheeling city traders, pigeon fanciers, cricket bores and part-time Morris Dancers. To some it's Albion. To others it's Blighty. To many it's the most eccentric, extraordinary and downright incomprehensible place on earth. Welcome to England.
To journey through England is to journey through time (interspersed with several cups of tea) - from the ancient megaliths of Stonehenge to the space-age domes of the Eden Project in Cornwall. It's also a trip to the 21st-century: London is gearing up for the 2012 Olympics while cities like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle revel in their heritage and confidently face the future, with industrial buildings revitalised as waterfront galleries or trendy apartments, flanked by tempting bars, shops, restaurants and some of the finest music venues on the planet.
For visitors, the beauty of travel in England is the compact nature of the country. By spending less time going between places and more time in them, you can immerse yourself in the scenery, instead of just breezing through. Whether you're strolling the undulating hills of Oxfordshire, cycling in Norfolk, surfing off Newquay or rock-climbing in the Peak District, England is perfect for activity and adventure. And with time on your side, you'll get closer to understanding local sensibilities: relaxing with the locals in a country pub, enjoying a music festival or watching a cricket match.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in England
Great Britain travel guide
From the graceful architecture of Canterbury Cathedral to the soaring ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, via the mountains of Wales or the Roman ruins of Hadrian's Wall, Britain's astounding variety is a major reason to travel here.
Romantic London: where to take your date at any time of day
Paris might hold the crown of most romantic city in the popular imagination, but London isn't short of sensational spots for a smooch at any time of the day...
England’s greatest cities
England's historical top ten
England travel guide
Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Manchester United, The Beatles. England does icons like no other place on earth, and travel here is a fascinating mix of famous names and hidden gems.
Historic world city and British capital with outstanding arts, dining and nightlife.
Where to find the best bird's-eye views of London
Hold on to your hats - these are the most awe-inspiring places from which to check out London from on high. 1. The Shard London’s latest icon offers the capital’s highest viewing platform. From the first viewpoint at The View from The Shard (www.theviewfromtheshard...
Best places to eat in England
Lake District - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Lake District starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus indepth info on hiking, biking and boating this gorgeous region.
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath Day Trip from London
Don't leave London without taking this best-selling tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath, England's most beautiful Georgian city. Your day trip includes entrance to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath's Roman Baths and Pump Rooms. Pop in your state-of-the-art Vox headphones as your tour starts and listen to your guide talking clearly about each site.
Christmas in Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath
Do something different on Christmas Day and spend some time exploring the ancient sites of England. Start at the royal residence of Windsor Castle before exploring the mysterious Stonehenge circle - now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a traditional Christmas lunch, end your day discovering the beautiful Georgian City of Bath.
A craft beer lover's guide to London
In the last 15 years, London has seen incredible growth in its brewing industry from a mere two breweries in 1999 to more than 50 today. Almost all of these new enterprises are small, independent and produce high-quality, innovative styles of beer – an approach to brewing that’s been given the catch-all moniker 'craft'...
Great Britain - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Great Britain starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus a list of the fresh, the transformed, the hot and the happening places in Britain.