Birmingham, the Midlands & the Marches
Few other places come so close to the dream of England as here, the country's heart. If you're searching for green valleys and chocolate-box villages of wonky timbered houses, the legend surrounding Nottingham's Robin Hood, or stately homes that look like the last lord of the manor just clip-clopped out of the stables, you'll find them here.
Devon offers freedom. Its rippling, beach-fringed landscape is studded with historic homes, vibrant cities and wild, wild moors. So here you can ditch schedules and to-do lists and hike a rugged coast path, take a scenic boat trip, or get lost in hedge-lined lanes that aren't even on your map.
With a population as big as Scotland's and an area half the size of Belgium, Yorkshire is almost a country in itself. It has its own flag, its own dialect and its own celebration, Yorkshire Day (1 August). While local folk are proud to be English, they're even prouder to be natives of 'God's Own County'.
Manchester, Liverpool & Northwest England
If you’re looking for clues as to what once made Britain great, you’ll find plenty of them in the Northwest. Dominating the region is Manchester, a paradigm of reinvention that has transformed itself from 20th-century industrial hulk into a modern city with accompanying distractions – from football to fine food.
Northern Highlands & Islands
Scotland’s vast and melancholy soul is here: an epic land with a stark beauty that indelibly imprints the hearts of those who journey through it. Mist and mountains, rock and heather; long, sun-blessed summer evenings are the pay-off for so many days of horizontal rain. It’s simply magical. Stone tells stories throughout.
The country’s historical roots are deeply embedded in the sandy soils of Central Scotland. Significant ruins and castles that chronicle the region’s charismatic history pepper the landscape. Key battlegrounds shaped the country’s fortunes around Stirling, and Perth is the former capital where kings were crowned on the Stone of Destiny.
Though wise folk are well aware of its charms, for many southern Scotland is just something to drive through on the way to northern Scotland. Big mistake. But it does mean there's breathing room here in summer, and peaceful corners. Proximity to England brought raiding and strife; grim borderland fortifications saw skirmishes aplenty.