From the countryside in Cotswolds that seems to come out of a Jane Austen book, to the traditional English breakfast in the morning, England has changed its past bland food history and in the recent years, many places that offer great food blossomed in the country. You can now experience simple but tasty gastropubs and great restaurants alongside with the traditional afternoon teas and fish and chips or pies. If you are visiting Dorset or Cornwall, we recommend tucking in the fresh fish produce (mussels are a number 1!) at places like Rick Stein’s restaurants. If you are planning a visit, do not forget to put down in your list Dorset, Seven Sisters, Cornwall and get a taste of Wales at Rhossili Bay.
Discover now the 10 tips that will make you wish to book a flight to Great Britain
There is an island situated in the north of Europe and called Great Britain, it is part of the United Kingdom and sometimes it is wrongly called England. This island is frequently associated just to the city of London, but it is in fact a far more diverse and intriguing place to visit. So diverse that in this post we will not mention London nor will even have space to talk about Scotland, who will have a separate space.
This post will share more diverse places in England and Wales. Let’s start!
When thinking about England outside London I immediately get back to school memories and the famous novels by Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters. I read most of those novels but my favourite one is Pride and Prejudice, the story of how a man and a woman from different classes fall in love. They will have to fight against their own pride and what is expected by the society: the prejudice of the late 18th century. (Buy it on Amazon) . Well, if you had ever wished to get back in time to see how England looked like those years, the Cotswolds is definitely the place to go.
Located not too far from Oxford, you can visit it starting from Cheltenham. If travelling in summer and with some more time than a weekend available, you can visit the area travelling by bus and hiking. But if you have limited time, the best option is renting a car.
There are many small villages worth visiting, among these I would definitively recommend Chipping Campden, Stow-on- the-Wold, Upper and Lower Slaughter. These can all be very popular destinations in summer and especially around school holidays, but with a car, it will be easy to find spots or small pubs far from the crowded path.
For a back in time overnight there are many options to choose from, most of which are on the expensive side, so brace yourselves.
We decided to stay at the Burford House Hotel, which was a coming at a reasonable price and maintained the local charm.
We would recommend it, brownie points also for the English breakfast that was great.
Speaking of classy and traditional English landscape and heritage, Bath is for sure another must visit.
Easily connected to London via Paddington, it is a University City and an extremely popular destination for couples and hen’s dos.
The city is mostly famous for its Roman built baths and hosts the main (and probably the only) thermal centre in the country.
You can book your pampering thermal experience here at Thermae Bath Spa. And then spend the rest of the day strolling around, amongst beautiful honey-coloured stone houses, Georgian buildings’ heritage and the magnificent abbey.
Don’t forget to visit beforehand the Roman Bath, of course.
And make sure you don’t leave before you tried the traditional Sally Lunn Bun: a world famous tea and eating house in one of the oldest buildings in Bath.
3. Seven Sisters (and Brighton)
Seven Sisters is one of the most iconic places in England, the white chalk cliffs located on the south coast of England will indeed enchant you.
There are a lot of opportunities to hike in the area and a trip here is perfect to also have a look at the main ‘beach’ destinations of Brighton and Eastbourne that sit at the two ends of the National Park.
There are many ways to travel around, from local buses to car rental, find full planning information at the Seven Sisters website.
If you decide to stop at Brighton, get lost in the small streets full of vintage shops and have a stroll on the Pier, part of the DNA of this creative and bohemian city.
For a sky view of the coast consider booking a ride on the new British Airways i360 experience.
A fairly expensive but pretty cool trip to the top, enjoy a drink at sunset to get the most out of it and feel like a real jet-setter.
Located just before stunning Cornwall, the Jurassic Coast in Dorset is a great destination for a weekend and quite quick to reach from London if driving by car or by train getting up to Dorchester.
You would think of the Jurassic Coast as a funny name but the reason behind it, it is that it stands on fossils and the coast is World Heritage. You will see many people searching for fossils on the beach.
Spend your first day in Lyme Regis, the capital of fossils, for a stroll on the beach and the fantastic fish and chips from Herbies Dino Bar.
On your second day, you can start your trip back from Dorchester to London stopping at Lulworth Cove and the famous Durdle Door.
If you kick off your day quite early you will arrive in Poole in time for lunch.
A tray of mussels and chilled white wine is waiting for you, alongside with our recommendation not to miss out on this local delicacy (if you are not the designated driver of course!).
This famous Neolithic stone circle is a must visit when tripping around in England but, in complete transparency, can disappoint.
Once you drive for 2+ hours to get there, you might realise that you are just visiting a bunch of stones surrounded by plenty of people that spoil all the magic and the mystery of the location.
You can get a decent view of the site also without paying the entrance fee, if you wish to support the site you can pay the ticket and walk not too far from the stones but some people might feel that a view from the outside is good enough – choose your team once you get there!
Indeed Stonehenge remains a very famous site and for that reason it is generally quite busy, we suggest to take a look at the Stonehenge website for more information when planning your visit.
After visiting and hopefully satisfied by the mystical view, jump back into the car and head to Avebury, a small village with its own stone circle built around the church and the main pub.
It offers a great atmosphere and it is perfect for Halloween nights celebrations, as it is one of the spookiest places I have ever seen.
The local pub, the Red Lion Inn, is said to be haunted. No place for scaredy-cats!
6. Fish and Chips
This is one of the national dishes in England and definitively worth trying especially when coasting around.
It is as simple as a battered fried fillet of fish, where you can generally choose between haddock, hale or cod and then served with a tonne of chips, tartare sauce (delicious!), vinegar as extra dressing and optional mushy peas.
There are a lot of jokes made about English people and tea and until living with them you kind of think it is a myth, an exaggeration, even an act of subtle racism.
Well no, it is true. All so true.
English people do love their cup of tea, a good one that balances the strength of the English breakfast with the right level of milk.
In the morning, before lunch, at lunch and after lunch.
Always a good time for a cuppa!
And when in the afternoon on a day off no better way to spend a couple of hours with friends and indulging on sandwiches and scones.
Everyone aware, they ARE serious about tea.
Speaking of tea, there is actually no better link to adorable Cornwall, probably the most stunning region in England and where your afternoon cuppa is a tradition in itself.
Plan at least 4 days for your exploration and be ready for stunning nature as well as indulgent and tasty food experiences.
Cornwall is definitively a mini journey in the journey.
Fistral and Watergate beach
Land comfortably in Newquay with Flybe from London and test your surfing abilities in the British Cali on the stunning Fistral beach.
For a bite after your surfing efforts, you can either stay at the pub or move to Watergate Beach instead, where you can treat yourself to a delicious meal at Jamie Oliver’s FIFTEEN.
You’ll not only have a good meal but you’ll contribute to a good cause – Read about the Apprentice programme offering jobs to local people on the website.
Once fallen in love with Watergate Beach you will have 2 chances: move along or book a night (or two) at the amazing Watergate Bay Hotel if you are in the mood to splash the cash. Check their website for 2 or 3 nights offers. We did not stay there but we enjoyed a drink from the terrace and the place looked fabulous.
St Ives, Lizard Point, Bedruthan Steps and Padstow
If on the move, continue your trip driving South to the lovely St. Ives (there is a Tate gallery to visit as well!), feeling thoughtful at Land’s End (now a little bit turned into a touristic park) and heading further south to Lizard Point via St. Michel Mount (yep, this is the British version) and the Minack Theatre at Porthcurno.
When heading back to Newquay make sure you don’t miss the Bedruthan Steps and have a couple of hours to spend on the beach (but check tides beforehand as you can get access to the beach only when the tide is low!) and finish in glory with a lunch or dinner at Rick Stein’s in the adorable Padstow.
9. Rhossili Bay (Wales)
Enough said about England, we do not want to upset the Welsh!
If you are looking for stunning long deserted beaches surrounded by gorgeous nature you will definitively have to head to Rhossili Bay, in the Gower peninsula.
Easily reachable from Cardiff or Swansea, the only roadblock you could find here would be the weather.
Check the tides to ensure you can make the walk up to Worm’s Head.
Information to plan here: Rhossili Bay
10. Cardiff (Wales)
If you think of London as crazy on weekend nights, you have clearly not experienced Cardiff.
Probably one of the first choices for stag and hen’s do as well as any other loud or shameless celebrations you can think about, Cardiff is a place where people drink harder and play even harder. Don’t you believe us? Check Cardiff After Dark – a great street photography project from Maciej Dakowicz that captures the essence of nightlife in Cardiff.
Get ready for a wild night, whilst you can get lost in the castle and the Grand Victoria Arcades for some shopping.