England


I love England...
so, so much.

I have my favorite places in London listed here,
my favorite places in Oxford listed here,
and this page is for all the other glorious places you might want to see.


BRIGHTON


Why You Should Go:

Brighton is an easy train trip from London
and really is one of the most unique places in England.

You'll feel like you've landed in a bizarre city
where England has collided into Bollywood via Coney Island.

How Long You Should Stay:

One day.

What You Should Do:


Hit up the pier for Coney Island style delights.
Take a tour through the bizarrely delightful, Brighton Pavillion.
Eat fish & chips on the coast.

Oh... I really like the charity shops there, too.
I've found some really good stuff there.




STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

Why You Should Go:

This is one of my favorite places in the sunshine.

Combine small English towns with Shakespeare
and boats that sell ice-cream...
you have my heaven on earth.

How Long You Should Stay:

A day or two...
but if you can arrange it,
go for the annual celebration of Shakespeare's birthday.




The town is alive with parades & flowers,
and it's a great day to see loads of people dressed as old Willy.

What You Should Do:

Visit Shakespeare's birthplace
(conveniently located in the centre of town),
grab a coffee-oreo milkshake from Blue Cow across the street,
and walk along the river until you hit Holy Trinity.

Donations are requested to get to the front,
but if you drop in a pound,
you'll be able to see the burial place of Mr. Shakespeare.

If you have time, 
rent a paddle boat and muck about in the river.




Or grab a chair along the water and snooze in the sun.

For Harry Potter fans,
there is a store that is eerily similar to Rowlings "Leaky Cauldron"
that is next to Shakespeare's birthplace, called "The Creaky Cauldron."

It has potions, wands and even a cafe that sells butter beer.




But make sure to not reference the Leaky Cauldron...
as the owner claims to have been around long before the famous series.


YORK


Why You Should Go:

I like York for several reasons...
the first being is that it's incredibly interesting
and the second being how well priced everything is there.

The York Minster, the quirky people & the famed pudding 
make York a great place to spend a lazy weekend.

How Long You Should Stay:

One full day... maybe a second
if you want to trek to Hadrian's Wall,
which I would recommend if you are up that way.

What You Should Do:

Take a tour of York's famed Minster,
meander through the "Bloody Shambles,"

and walk along the city walls (bring coffee to perch at Robin Hood's lookout).

I like to stay at Hedley House.
It's well priced, run by the sweetest staff,
and a 5 minute walk to everything.

{Plus, if you eat there- the food is quite tasty.}


CANTERBURY


Why You Should Go:

The Canterbury Cathedral is there, of course.
Plus, the town is adorably cute.
It's a day trip that will leave you historically satisfied
while the town's food & retail options will keep you very entertained.

How Long You Should Stay:

One day.

What You Should Do:

Obviously, the cathedral is the most important site.
Thomas Becket was murdered there, 
and it is where the Archbishop of Canterbury presides.

{I especially like the catacombs.}

If you have time, find one of the cute young men off the high street
that are selling boat tours and buy a ticket.
Grab something fun to eat & drink and make merry.

Tiny Tim's TeaRoom is pretty darn cute. 
Grab a pot of tea & some homemade cake there to refuel.



STONEHENGE

Why You Should Go:

Because everyone says you should...
and you'll always want to until you just do it.

There are bus tours you can take from London
 or, if you want your freedom,
 you can rent a car.

How Long You Should Stay:

1.5 hours...
Though, if you are a big "Aliens-left-rocks" buff,
don't miss nearby Avebury. 

There are tons of rocks in a giant row.
If that's your thing, you'll be left light headed.

Just watch out for all the sheep poo.
It's open grazing around the Avebury rocks.

What You Should Do:

Walk in a circle with an audioguide...
take pictures...
 and head off to Salisbury for a lunch in a pub
and quintessentially English second half of your day.



BATH

Why You Should Go:

The combination of the Roman Baths, Jane Austen museum
& great historic town make this the perfect day trip from London...
or weekend retreat.

I think I've only ever seen Bath in horribly wet weather,
and I'm still terribly charmed by it. 

{Read my post on Bath for more info.}

Plus, the trains make it a very easy-to-reach destination from London.
with only an 1.5 hour train ride getting you to the "Bath Spa" train station,
the main station in town.

How Long You Should Stay:

A day or two.

What You Should Do:

See the Roman Baths... get the audioguide 
and spend a couple of hours getting lost in history.

Be fancy and have tea in the pump room.
Why not? You came all that way. Do it right.

Visit the Jane Austen museum.
It's £6, and I've never made it past the downstairs gift shop...
but for diehard fans, it's a favorite.

{You can also visit her house outside of town if you can find transportation.}

Eat at the Raven- a cozy pub in the centre of town,
with great pies from Pieminister.

If you have the money- which I do not-
splurge on the sunset package at the Bath Spa...
just take a look at what it involves & you'll want to do it, too.


THE LAKES DISTRICT

Why You Should Go:

You'll feel like you've stumbled on an untouched portion of the earth...
and, of course, because it's completely breath-taking.

Plus, it will make you feel like you are that much closer
to being just like Elizabeth Bennett.

{Read my post about our trip here.}

How Long You Should Stay:

At least two nights, preferably three.
You'll really need to rent a car to get the full experience
and being there for any less would be a bit of a waste.

What You Should Do:

See Beatrix Potter's quaint home, Hilltop Farm
{and eat in the delicious neighboring pub.}

Visit William Wordsworth lakeside home, Dove Cottage
and wander into Grasmere to taste Gingerbread in it's birthplace
at Sarah Nelson's tiny gingerbread shop.

Stay in Ambleside for the coziest weekend you've ever had...
and have a proper start to your day at the Apple Pie Bakery.

I have stayed at this hotel & eaten at the Italian restaurant, Tarantella, below.
I can recommend them both as nice & cozy.

I have also stayed in Grasmere at the Red Lion Hotel
and thought it was really cute and quaint,
though the town is much quieter at night
with few restaurants open in the evening.

(We went to Potted Out for dinner and thought it was really tasty.)

Spend a day in Windermere moseying through shops,
feeding the giant swans,
and taking a boat out on the gorgeous lake.



DOVER

Why You Should Go: It's got a little bit of everything: cute town, seaside, medieval castles,
and WWII history. It's a win/win destination!

What you'll want to do: Read my post here for the full run down of a day in Dover!









Posted on April 22, 2010 and filed under "England", "shakespeare", "travel tips", "travel".