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From the monarch’s thousand-year-old castle at Windsor to hiking trails that scour the Lake District. From village cricket matches on summer afternoons to some of Europe’s best club nights. England manages to be ancient and contemporary, unique in culture, and stunningly beautiful. No England itinerary can do it all, so check out our recommendations for how long to spend in this unmissable country of contrasts.
Per square mile, England probably has more attractions than anywhere else in the world. Its relatively small size and efficient public transportation make travel from London’s airports to the university city of Cambridge or landscapes around Stonehenge easy. It is, therefore, possible to get a sense of the country in a five-day England itinerary. However, with so many historical, cultural, and natural sights, the longer you can make your trip, the better. We suggest an English sojourn lasting ten days to two weeks to make the most out of this destination.
With no time to lose, jump straight on a train from London and head to England’s southwestern corner, where the perfect sandy beaches and surfing culture of Cornwall meet the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue your five days in England itinerary with an exploration of Bath, whose butter-colored stones built both the famous Roman Baths and the city’s Georgian Crescent. Then head to Glastonbury Tor in the Somerset Levels for quintessential landscape views, tales of the Holy Grail, as well as one of the world’s top music festivals. The mystery continues in Stonehenge, the prehistoric standing stones dating back around 5,000 years but still not entirely understood. Take in one of England’s largest and finest medieval cathedrals in Salisbury, where you will also find a copy of Magna Carta, a document on which western democracy has been constructed. End your time in England by watching the spectacle of the Changing of the Guard outside of London’s Buckingham Palace or absorbing hundreds of years of history with a tour of the Tower of London.
Take the short trip from London to Oxford, home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the treasures of the Ashmolean Museum, among other attractions. Use the city as your base for day trips to Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Winston Churchill and one of the finest stately homes in the country – and the Cotswold Hills, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Then continue north, stopping at Warwick Castle en route to the contemporary delights of Liverpool. The city where the Beatles formed remains a thriving northern hub for the arts. Though no longer the border between England and Scotland, the 2,000-year-old Hadrian’s Wall remains an impressive sight as it stretches for 84 miles towards Newcastle Upon Tyne. Looking south, you will want to reserve at least two days of your ten-day England itinerary for hitting the streets of the British capital. The River Thames provides the perfect spot from which to admire the likes of the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our 10-day England itineraries.
If the sun is shining, there is no better way to start a one-week England itinerary than on the shores of the English Channel in the ever-trendy Brighton. Take in the delights of the historic pier by day and stay on for the nightlife. London beckons on the second day, with a tour of Kensington Palace high on the list of many, alongside walks beneath the trees of the Royal Parks and explorations of top-class museums. If there is one destination in England that can compete with London in history, it is York. Watched over by the immense Minster, the medieval streets around the Shambles provide a unique place to shop, while the ancient walls that continue to ring the city provide endless photographic opportunities. Day five could see you cross the country to Manchester, with soccer fans well catered for by the National Football Museum and Manchester United’s Old Trafford grounds. Others might like to take advantage of the incredible culinary renaissance which has taken place over recent years in the city. End your week-long stay in England in Winchester, a pleasant market town dominated by an ancient cathedral.
Take a look at our 1-week England itineraries.
Make the most of your two-week England itinerary by discovering some of the country’s lesser-known gems in addition to its top-rated historic attractions. Start with a few days in the Lake District, where pleasant boat trips combine with almost endless walking opportunities. Enjoy the countryside of moorland and hills in the Yorkshire Dales, easily accessible from Leeds, where you will find the Royal Armories Museum. Travel east and you will soon be in the Norfolk Broads, where it is possible to rent small boats to explore an area once home to pirates and smugglers. On your way to London, you can then stop at Saffron Waldon, full of centuries-old half-timbered buildings, and Cambridge, home to numerous sights including Kings College Chapel. You should not miss the shopping opportunities on Oxford Street and the tradition of afternoon tea at one of the city’s leading hotels while in the capital. Then jump aboard the overnight train down to Cornwall. Alighting in Penzance, and you are only a short distance from Saint Michael’s Mount, the art galleries of the Newlyn School and Land’s End, the most westerly point in England.