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.
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Best places to stay in England
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.
Top 10 London for first-timers
London is huge, fast-paced and packed with things you’ve been told not to miss. It's a great city, but it can be hard for a first-time visitor to know where to start. Here are our recommendations for the top ten places to make a priority. The Tower of London. Image by Tammy Lo / CC BY 2.0 1...
England’s greatest cities
England's historical top ten
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.
Historic world city and British capital with outstanding arts, dining and nightlife.
Alderney, Sark and Herm: exploring the lesser-known Channel Islands
How much adventure can you fit into a few square miles? When it comes to the least explored islands of the English Channel, the answer is far more than you might think...
Best places to eat in England
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.
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath Day Trip from London
Discover Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath on this 11-hour coach tour from London. Leave the city behind you and travel by air-conditioned coach to Windsor Castle, home of the British Royal Family for the last 900 years.
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.
What’s on in London in summer
Something magical happens when the sun flickers into the British capital’s sky. Vitamin-D-starved Londoners emerge across the city, parks, pavements and pubs fill with convivial drinkers, and smiles spread across once-tight lips...
England - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to England starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus in-depth planning info on some of the country’s best walks.