From the grandeur and bustle of London, to the pastoral countryside that inspired Wordsworth, to some of the quaintest towns you'll ever experience, England delights. Stand in a desolate field and ponder an ancient stone circle. Strike up a conversation just to hear the Queen's English. Bite into a scone smothered with clotted cream, sip a cup of tea, and wave your pinky as if it's a Union Jack.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ London Thriving metropolis packed with world-class museums, bustling markets, and cutting-edge architecture. Enjoy the city's cuisine scene, parks, grand squares, and palaces. Live theater takes center stage at night.
▲▲▲ Bath Genteel Georgian showcase city, built around the remains of an ancient Roman bath.
▲▲▲ York Walled medieval town with grand Gothic cathedral, excellent museums (Viking, Victorian, Railway), and atmospheric old center.
▲▲ Windsor and Cambridge Good day trips from London include Windsor, starring the Queen's impressive home-sweet-castle. Cambridge, one of England's best university towns, features the stunning King's College Chapel and Wren Library.
▲ Canterbury Pleasant pilgrimage town with a lively, compact core that attracts more pedestrians and shoppers than pilgrims.
▲ Dover and Southeast England The imposing Dover Castle, famous White Cliffs, and grand Channel views. Nearby are the lush Sissinghurst Gardens, the hill town of Rye, and the historic site of the Battle of Hastings.
▲ Brighton The flamboyant beach resort on England's south coast, with its amusement pier, Royal Pavilion, and viewpoint tower, makes a fun stop.
▲ Portsmouth Revitalized shipbuilding city with top nautical sights at the Historic Dockyard, plus Roman ruins and stately Arundel Castle nearby.
▲ Dartmoor Mysterious, desolate, moor-cloaked national park with wild ponies, hiking paths, and an ancient stone circle.
▲ Cornwall Feisty peninsula littered with prehistoric ruins, plus the seaside resort towns of Penzance and St. Ives, King Arthur's supposed Tintagel Castle, the tip of England at Land's End, and other offbeat sights.
▲▲ Glastonbury and Wells With its Holy Grail and King Arther lore, Glastonbury has a mystical, New Age vibe. The enjoyable town of Wells has an ingeniously fortified cathedral. Both towns are easy to visit from Bath.
▲▲ Avebury, Stonehenge, and Salisbury For spine-tingling stone circles, see famed Stonehenge and the smaller, less touristy Avebury. Nearby is Salisbury and its striking cathedral.
▲▲ Oxford Stately university town with Blenheim Palace — one of England's best — on its doorstep.
▲▲ The Cotswolds Remarkably quaint villages — including the cozy market town Chipping Campden, popular hamlet Stow-on-the-Wold, and handy transit hub Moreton-in-Marsh — scattered over a hilly countryside.
▲ Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare's pretty hometown and top venue for performances of his plays.
▲ Warwick and Coventry England's best medieval castle, in pleasant Warwick, and the stirring bombed-out husk of an ancient cathedral, in Coventry.
▲ Ironbridge Gorge Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, with sights and museums that tell the earth-changing story.
▲ Liverpool Rejuvenated port city and the Beatles' hometown.
▲ Blackpool England's tackiest, most fun-loving beach resort.
▲▲ The Lake District Idyllic lakes-and-hills landscape, with enjoyable hikes and joyrides, time-passed valleys, William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter sights, and the charming home-base town of Keswick.
▲ North Yorkshire Smattering of ruined abbeys, desolate moors, and seaside towns (including bustling Whitby and tiny Staithes).
▲ Durham and Northeast England Youthful working-class town with magnificent cathedral, plus (nearby) an open-air museum, the Roman remains of Hadrian's Wall, Holy Island, and Bamburgh Castle.