Things to do in England see 1 to 50
1-50 Things to do in England
There are many amazing things to see and do in England. Whether you like visiting museums and cathedrals, checking out haunted castles and pubs, or exploring old ruins, the country is filled to the brim of interesting places to visit. Some things may take full days to see, while others can be done in just a few hours. So whatever spare time you have, there will be something on this list that you can see.
1. Buckingham Palace: The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour
You can combine a trip to the palace with a guided tour of the State Rooms and the gardens. Guided tours take place in English, and they include the Exhibition of Royal Gifts, and the Music Room (a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales).
If the weather permits then you should definitely try to see the magnificent gardens, and allow a full day for this tour.
2. The Tower of London
You will find this on the north bank of the River Thames. It was founded in 1066 and played a great part in the Norman Conquest of England.
You will see exhibits of royal armour, the amazing Crown Jewels, the Royal Mint, and exhibitions of executions. The building cover 18 acres so be prepared for a lot of walking!
Plan on spending a whole day here.
This was the home of Winston Churchill and is a very popular attraction. Churchill lives here from 1924 until his death in 1965 and you will be able to see hundreds of photographs and momentoes. The gardens are worth taking a look at, as they include lakes and walking trails.
Tickets to the house are times, so buy them online or as soon as you arrive so you have less waiting time.
Allow at least a half day to see this.
4. Cambridge University
This is the fourth oldest surviving university in the world. Trinity College is famous for the carved chapel, which is a masterpiece of Baroque style architecture.
Today the university has a population of 18,000 students on its 31 campuses.
You should allow a half day to see this.
5. The Eden Project
The Eden Project offers an incredible collection of plants from all around the world, along with some amazing works of art. It also plays host to many music events.
The domes are located in a reclaimed quarry and look similar to igloo shaped greenhouses. Each dome has a different environment inside. The Eden project is the home of invaluable conservation research.
You can buy an advanced annual passto receive 10% off full ticket price.
Plan on spending the entire day there. There are snack bars and restaurants where you can grab a bite. As it covers 10 hectares, wear good walking shoes!
When you first see this magnificent house, you may be reminded of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’, which is all about life in Victorian England. Rebuilt after a fire in 1881 it is complete with roasting ovens and warming cupboards. It even has a flushable toilet!
Look for the drawing room which is packed with antiques and artwork. The kitchens were some of the first to have a refrigerator room, while the Long Galley is well renowned for the ornate plaster ceiling.
The porcelain collection dates back to the 18th century and you will find many pieces by Josiah Wedgwood.
Allow at least a half day here, although you may spend longer if you eat your lunch outside in the magnificent gardens.
7. City of Bath
There are many attractions in the city of Bath. 500 of the city’s buildings are of historical importance, and the entire city has World heritage status. Visit the Royal Crescent to see the honey coloured Georgian houses. Spend some time exploring the Roman Baths which are 2,000 years old.
Bath also makes a very good location to visit further afield to places like the Avon Valley and the Mendip Hills.
You should plan to spend more than a day here, depending on whether you plan on using Bath as your base and exploring other areas.
8. The Malvern Hills
If walking, rambling, and hiking are what appeals to you, then head for these hills. 3,000 acres of spectacular beauty. Some areas of the rocks are the oldest in Britain and date back 680 million years.
Worcester Beacon stands at a height of 1,394 feet and will give you one of the best views in the area.
The hills comprise of the counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and a small section of Gloucestershire.
If you prefer to take your RV or camp then you will find informationabout camp sites in the area.
Allow yourself at least half a day to hike or ramble, although you may do one of the many trails which take all day.
9. Hadrian’s Wall
The fortification was built by the Romans in AD122 and stretches from the west coast at Ravenglass across to Wallsend on the east coast.
There is still a large portion of the wall standing with the longest sections being between Newcastle and Carlisle. Look out for signs for Chollerford or Walton as this stretch is in good condition. You will notice many remains of forts as well as a temple which was dedicated to a goddess named Mithras. You will find this at Carrawburgh.
You should allow at least a half day, although if you are an avid rambler, then a day may suit you better.
10. Durham Castle
Erected during the 11th century, this castle was a strong point for king Norman. It is now part of University College, Durham. You can still see the early bailey and motte style castle.
The castle is open to the public although you must pre-book a guided tour.
The view from the top of the hill is of Durham Peninsula across the River Wear. On a clear day you will be able to see Durham Cathedral.
Plan on spending a half day here.
11. York Minster
The Minster is the largest in Northern Europe, and considered to be one of the finest in the UK. Look for the Chapter House and the Gothic Nave, both of which have magnificent stained-glass windows dating back as far as medieval times.
Be sure to check out the Five Sisters Window which stands over 52 foot high! The construction of the Minster was started in the 14th century, and has an attached school and library which were added in the 18th century.
You can check out the planned eventsso as not to miss anything.
This visit will take you a full half day. Be sure to climb the step right up to the top and walk across the viewing platform, where you will see the most amazing views of the town and countryside.
12. The British Museum
The museum has over 8 million pieces of artifacts on display, some of them are permanent collections. Here you will find some of the most comprehensive collections in the world, from many different parts.
The museum was first established in 1753 and displayed collections from the scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It was open to the public in 1759.
Allow yourself a full day here, as there are many floors to see. Comfortable shoes are a must!
13. Royal Observatory
The observatory was first established in 1675 by King Charles II. The main function of the observatory was to ‘rectify the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, and find the longitude of places to be able to master the art of navigation’.
You may look from the vantage point over the River Thames. The observatory is maintained by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
Plan on spending a half day here.
14. Stratford upon Avon
Visit the home of Shakespeare and see where he lived since his birth in 1564. There are still some remnants to remind us of his life there. The house is still in very good condition, although is small by today’s standards.
Many still regards Shakespeare as the most celebrated writer in the world of English literature.
The house itself will not take very long to see, but if you allow yourself a half day, you will also have time to explore the beautiful town.
15. Canterbury Cathedral
Without a doubt one of the most popular things to see in the UK. Founded in 597, and then reconstructed between 1070 and 1077, you will find the Gothic style fascinating. The shrine of Thomas Becket is there. He was the Archbishop until 1170, when he was murdered.
You can check out online the upcoming events and plan your visitso that you miss the crowds in the peak times.
Make sure you take your camera, and any extra batteries you may need, as the shop does not sell batteries, and you will be taking a whole lot of pictures! Allow yourself a half a day, take the guided tour if you choose to, and then spend the afternoon exploring the town, which has many other delightful things to see.
16. Warwick Castle
The castle was built by William the Conqueror and dates back to 1068. Originally it had a wooden motte and bailey but the present one was rebuilt in the 12th century using stone.
The architecture is thought to be of the best of 14th century military construction, and this is evident as it was used as a stronghold in the 17th century.
The castle is huge and there is plenty to see and explore, so allow yourself a day to do it.
17. Lake District National Park
This is also sometimes called The Lakes, as it is made up of lakes, mountains, and forests. The poet William Wordsworth used to frequently walk around the countryside.
Apart from the scenery, the lakes are home to the deepest and longest lake in the UK, namely Wastwater, which is 3 miles long and 258 feet deep.
It is best to allow at least a day to explore the area, but if you have time, check into one of the many bed and breakfast places and stay a little longer. Each village has something different to see. Be sure to try a piece of Kendall Mint Cake, which you will find at every village store.
The Lake District is the perfect place to take your RV, or to camp and you will find a list of
to visitand stay longer in this beautiful area.
18. Madame Tussaurds
The museum was opened back in 1884 in London, although now there are other branches around the world. You will find the most life-life figures depicted there, including royalty, film stars, models and infamous criminals.
The basement contains the Chamber of Horrors which shows characters from the French Revolution such as King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before their executions.
Allow yourself a half day to see this. Be prepared for it to get crowded in the summer seasons it is very popular.
19. Westminster Abbey
You will find Westminster Abbey in the City of Westminster, London. It is a splendid example of mixed architectural styles. This is where coronations take place. It is also the burial site for British Monarchs.
Events are well advertised in newspapers and online so you can plan your tripto this amazing place.
You will find the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the west end of the nave. Apart from royalty, look out for Chaucer, Dickens, Hardy, Tennyson, Kipling, Dr Johnson, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Bronte. Look further and you will see the resting places of Handel and Sir Isaac Newton.
It is an active Abbey so respect the silence rules at all times. Plan to spend a half day there.
20. Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall.
Lizard Peninsula is a peninsula in the southern part of Cornwall.
Be sure to include a look at the engine house as well as the views!
This peninsula used to be known as the ‘Graveyard of Ships’, because so many were wreaked on the treacherous rocks. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The name ‘Lizard’ is a corruption of the Cornish ‘Lyds Ardh’, meaning ‘high courts’. The area became inhabited after the discovery of burial mounds and stones.
This is a great area to either camp or take your RV. You will find plenty of
camp sites with great facilitiesto make your stay memorable.
Pack a good pair of walking shoes, and plan on going for a long walk along the coast. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent views!
21. Jurassic Coast, Dorset
The Jurassic Coast stretches from East Devon to Dorset, covering a distance of some 95 miles. You will see some rock formations which span three of the Earth’s time zones, namely the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, totalling 185 million years!
You may either plan to hike or ramble stretches at a time, or take the train which will give you a bird’s eye view of some of the formations.
It is a great idea to take an RV here, or even pack a tent. There are many
great campsiteswith good facilities, so you can take as long as you like to explore the area.
22. St. Michaels Mount
This island is one of Cornwall’s most iconic sights, with the Abbey being an unforgettable sight.
Catch the ferry at high tide, although the novelty is to arrive at low tide and walk across the causeway, in the way pilgrims did centuries ago.
The monastery has been there since the 5th century although the present monastery was built in the 12th century by the Benedictine Monks.
During the winter months, the island is only accessible by boat. How long you spend there, depends on whether you intend to walk there and back or catch the ferry.
You can check out the causeway opening timesto make sure you get back safely.
23. The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are made up of rolling hills, dotted about with small, pretty villages and towns. Most of the stone used is called Jurassic limestone.
The highest point is Cleeve Hill at1,083 feet and just north of Cheltenham. The area is comprised of the prettiest counties, namely Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
The best way to explore the Cotswolds is to hire a car, explore the many beautiful villages such as Castle Combe, Chipping Norton and Tetbury, or stay in a bed and breakfast and use it as a base to hike around the area.
You may decide to take your RV and explore. You will find campsites and RV parks to make a base for you to explore the area from.
The Cotswold Way covers 10 miles and will give you amazing views of the Severn Valley and Vale of Evesham.
24. Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace is one of the largest homes in England, and was built between 1705 and 1722. In 1987 it was designated a World Heritage Site. It represents the principal abode for the Dukes of Marlborough. It was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
The landscapes were designed by Capability Brown, and the house was opened to the public is 1950. It is closed between December and February.
Allow yourself a half day to see the house and the garden.
25. Natural History Museum
Until 1992, the Natural History Museum in London was known as the British Museum.
It plays host to over 70 million life and earth science specimens, and visitors can witness collections which are related to zoology, mineralogy, entomology, and paleontology.
Make sure you check when the dinosaurs are at home so you canvisit them as they sometimes go away to be maintained.
It is one of three museums on South Kensington’s Exhibition Road, and a number of the collections possess great scientific value such as specimens that were collected by the preeminent English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin.
Doors open between 10 a.m. and 5.50 p.m. Monday through Sunday and admission is free of charge.
26. Windsor Castle
This is the favourite weekend residence of the Queen, and is also where state visits take place. It is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and it is built around two courtyards.
Entrance fees include admission to the State Apartments, which are closed when the Queen is there, so you should check beforehand.
You will be able to wander through the Great Park – which is also clearly visible as you are flying into Heathrow. It is 6 miles long and can be clearly seen.
You should allow a half day for the Castle, although if you want to wander through the park, then possibly allow yourself a full day.
27. The Bodleain Library
This library in Oxford ranks as one of the oldest in the world. It is certainly one of the most impressive you will see!
Entrance fee of £1 will allow you into the Divinity School. The rest of the complex can be seen through guided tours only. You can book your tickets in advance, online, or at the desk on arrival.
The library has a collection of books from the 15th century, and still has an agreement to receive a copy of every single book published in the UK! The total amount of books currently stands at over 12 million!
The library has 117 miles of shelving and a seating area for about 2500 readers.
If you are in time to witness it, every Wednesday some 5,000 books arrive, every one of which must be catalogued and stored.
28. The Great Dorset Chilli Festival
This festival takes place in Wimborne St Giles, and is locally known as the ‘hottest day out on Dorset’. It is a two-day event, and you will be able to taste fiery food of all types.
Chilli plants and seeds are sold, as well as jams and chutneys – all spiced with chillies. You can watch demonstrations and enter the various competitions.
This event takes place on the first weekend in August, and if you plan to stay in the area, you are advised to book early as it is very popular.
29. Glastonbury Festival
This five-day festival raises money for organisations such as Oxfam, WaterAid, and Greenpeace. It attracts in the region of 175,000 people.
You may often see celebrities such as Paul McCartney, David Bowie and Elvis Costello.
This is by ticket only and they come on sale in October in the year before, while the festival takes place in the last week of June.
You can choose how many days you spend there. Bear in mind that accommodation should be booked early.
30. Porthleven food and music festival
This festival is three days long with music and food, literature and crafty stalls. It is run by volunteers, and the theme changes every year.
The festival commits to promoting local food, culture, and artists.
Because it is very popular, you may want to book accommodation early so as not to be disappointed.
31. Salisbury Cathedral
The Cathedral was constructed in the 13th century. You may also know it as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A point to note is that this cathedral has the tallest spire in the whole country, standing at 404 feet.
You will also be able to see the world’s oldest working clock, which was made in 1386. Another interesting thing to look for is the best surviving copy of the Magna Carta, which is held there.
Plan yourvisitto include some of the many events held there.
Allow yourself a half day to explore the cathedral and the outside areas.
Although the exact dates remain debated, this is thought to have been constructed around 3,000 to 2,000 BC. The stones are up to 30 feet high and weigh up to 25 tons. Stonehenge is thought to be one of the most amazing sites in the world.
There is an excellent visitor centre, which includes a café and a gift shop. You should allow yourself 2 – 3 hours to walk around.
33. China Town
China Town is more of an area than one single spot. If you head for Shaftsbury Avenue, you will find some of London’s finest and most authentic Chinese restaurants and cuisine.
Originally the area was developed to cater for Chinese sailors who worked and lived around the Docklands.
Plan on spending some time walking around the area, and then stopping for a bite to eat at one of the many cafes or restaurants.
34. England’s oldest Pub
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, also known as ‘the trip’ was established in 1189, and is recognised as the oldest and most eccentric pub in the UK. Frequented by Richard the Lionheart’s knights, you may be lucky and catch sight of the ghost which haunts it.
Have a pint or two and perhaps you will feel brave enough to take the tour of the cellars and drinking rooms. You will find them full of interesting things.
Keep your eyes open for the cobweb-ridden ‘Cursed Galleon’. It is said to bring death to all who try to dust it!
Allow yourself a nice evening here, and make sure to get a taxi home after a good night out!
35. Isles of Scilly
These isles are the UK’s answer to a tropical paradise, and you will certainly agree when you see the palm trees, and clear, warm water.
There are over 100 islands, and they are situated about 30 miles from Cornwall. If bird watching interests you, then you will not be disappointed, as there is a wealth of wildlife here.
You can take the ferry to St Mary’s, which is the largest island. Here you will see seals and seabirds, possibly also Puffins. Sometimes basking sharks and dolphins will show up.
The Abbey gardens are a wonderful display of proteas, cacti, and exotic plants.
Allow yourself a full day to explore.
36. Tour Liverpool
Everyone knows the Beatles! You will be able to follow their footsteps on the magical mystery tour of their home town. You can take a look at the homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, dating back to the 1950’s.
The Albert Dock houses Tate Liverpool, one of the UK’s best art collections, and for one of the best views of the city, head to the Anglican Cathedral. On a clear day, you may see Wales.
There are always many events going on in the city.
Allow yourself a full day to explore the city as there are many cobblestoned side streets filled with memorabilia. The Cavern Club if literally full of ‘Beatles’ stuff’.
37. Penny Lane
This is not one spot but rather a general area known as Mossley Hill. This is where john Lennon and Paul McCartney grew up. They would meet at the intersection to catch the bus into town.
If you know the song and remember the words, you will spot the ‘shelter in the middle of the roundabout’, the fire station and the barber shop.
You will also see the Penny Lane Wine Bar, cafés, and bookshops.
Allow a morning or afternoon to explore the area, before stopping off at the wine bar to check out the interesting artifacts inside.
38. London Eye
This is London’s famous Ferris Wheel, where you can see the most amazing views of the city. Standing at 443 feet high, it offers a 30-minute ride is a glass pod. You will be able to see St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace, as well as many other interesting buildings.
The wheel moves slowly so walking around in the pod is perfectly safe, allowing you to take photos from all sides.
You’ll notice that there is no number 13 carriage! There are 32 carriages to represent the 32 boroughs of London, but because number 13 is missing, the last carriage is actually number 33.
Book your ticket online if possible, to avoid the queues.
While the Ferris Wheel only lasts 30 mins, you may want to allow yourself more time to see other attractions nearby.
39. Beatrix Potter Gallery
You will find the gallery housed in the town of Hawkshead, actually in what was the office of Beatrix Potter’s husband. You will be able to see favourite characters such as Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck.
The exhibits also tell the story of Beatrix Potter and her commitment to preserving the beauty of her beloved Lake District.
Hawkshead is about 20 minutes from Windemere so you may want to see the gallery and then go into the town to explore. In the town of Windemere, you will find the old grammar school which was attended by poet William Wordsworth.
40. Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
The clock stands at the end of the Houses of Parliament and is the centrepiece of the Thames waterfront. The clock is 315 feet high and beautifully lit up at night, so well worth an evening visit.
Unless you can request permission from a local member of parliament, you will not be allowed inside Big Ben, so the best way to see it is either from the Eye, or on a tour bus which will stop nearby.
The name Big Ben was originally the name given for the bell, although the clock has become known by that name.
Allow yourself an hour to get the perfect pictures, and then move on to explore other parts of the city.
41. Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge is classed as England’s largest gorge, and it is certainly one of the most impressive natural wonders. You will be able to explore the collection of limestone caves, which made the headlines way back in 1903 when the oldest skeleton was discovered there. He is named ‘Cheddar Man’ and is placed in the Natural History Museum.
Gough’s cave has the most impressive stalactites, while the Crystal Quest is filled with fantasy figures.
Plan on spending a half day there, as you will also be able to explore the surrounding area.
42. York Maze
This is a living maze, created with over 1 million plants. It is the largest maze in the UK.
Additionally, you will find over 20 different rides, attractions and shows. This is a great family day out.
The maze is open through the summer holidays, and also for Halloween and Bonfire nights. There is a petting zoo and feeding area, a mini golf course and an arts area where kids can paint to their hearts content.
Adventure climbs, inflatable maze, water and sand play area, quad bikes and trampoline mean that this is a great family day out. Be sure to allow yourself a full day here.
43. Captain Cook Memorial Museum
You will be able to get a look at Cook’s attic room, complete with period furniture. There is also a collection of letters, ship models and maps on display.
The museum has great paintings of Cook’s voyages by Webber and Hodges. You will be able to read all about this iconic explorer and his legendary voyages.
You should allow a half day for this, although you may want to take longer and explore the town of Whitby.
44. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The dockyard was once the largest industrial site in the world. It is the oldest base in the Royal Navy, being established in 1495. These days it is part of Her Majesty’s Naval Base and houses 60% of the surface fleet.
Exhibitions you will be able to see are the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, HMS Alliance, National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Explosion Museum, Royal Marines Museum and Action Stations.
There are harbour tours with narrations of past times, and examples of how people lived back then.
This is still an active base, with just over 17,000 people working there. You should allow a full day to see everything, although you may want to stay overnight and see all the museums.
45. Bridge of Sighs
The bridge links Hertford College and New College Land in Oxford. It was finished in 1914 and is named the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ because it resembles the bridge in Venice, of the same name.
Legend says that because Hertford students were the heaviest, the bridge was closed so that they were forced to take the stairs to get more exercise. The truth is that the bridge was never closed at all!
Allow a morning to see the bridge and the surrounding area.
46. Science Museum
This museum offers something for all ages, with over 300,000 items on display, and 7 floors to look at. There are kids’ areas where they can experiment, and endless opportunities to learn.
You will find the world’s first jet engine here, as well as the Apollo 10 command capsule, the world’s oldest collection of clocks and watches, and the Spacelab 2 X-ray telescope – to mention a few!
Make sure you see the IMAX theatrefor stunning science films!
Allow yourself a full day here, there is a café where you can grab a bite to eat.
This skyscraper is also known as the ‘Shard of Glass’. It stands 1,016 feet high and is the tallest building in the UK, the fourth tallest in Europe and the 111th tallest structure in the world.
The Shard has the highest viewing platform in the UK, and you can see up to 40 miles away!
Plan on spending an hour or two checking out the various landmarks from the platform, then spend some time exploring the nearby streets and cafes, although there are cafes on level #72.
48. Bettys Tearooms, Harrogate
Bettys tearooms use tea sourced locally and all their products are handmade. Yorkshire tea is the brew of choice. Afternoon tea is very popular, there are two types you can choose from, one being the traditional afternoon tea, and the second being the luxury afternoon tea. Either way, you will not be disappointed at the selection of sandwiches and cakes on the menu.
Afternoon tea will take you an hour although you may need to get there a little early as it is very popular. You can spend some time in the gift shop before you are seated. Bettys delivers handmade gifts to all over the world and even offer some cakes to take away for later!
49. Denbies English Vineyard
This is a family run winery based in Dorking, Surrey. You will be able to learn about wine production in the UK, and sample any wine of your choice. Their sparkling wine has won multiple gold awards on international levels. They make and sell an English Rose wine and a Harvest Dessert wine, both of which have won prizes.
The gift shop is huge and packed with ‘all things wine’, well worth a visit!
There is a 7-mile walking trail through the vineyard, so bring your walking shoes.
Allow yourself a half day, and then perhaps spend some time exploring the area.
50. Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race
The annual boat race takes place in April, you should check online for the exact dates, as this varies year by year. It is well attended by over 300,000 people every year, although you will easily be able to find place to sit on the banks.
The start of the race normally is at 4.35 pm, but various activities go on along the bank all day, with beer drinking being one of them!
The area is very pretty to walk around in and explore, so you may want to arrive early. The course is four miles and starts in Putney, finishing in Mortlake.
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