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Get lost in the busy streets with your England travel buddy. Big Ben, royal palaces, stunning countryside and dramatic coastlines. England has something for everyone. Have biscuits for breakfast, and beer for lunch. You won’t run out of things to do in England!
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England travel buddy
England is a tiny but mighty nation. It’s a little smaller than Greece but has five times as many people. If you and your England travel buddy love the sea, England is a place for you. With the English Channel below it, the North Sea to the left of it and the Irish Sea bordering its southwestern side, there’s no point in England more than 120 kilometers away from the sea. This location is one of the reasons England became a naval superpower in the 17th century. Plus, the country is veined with calm rivers and streams. When you think of outdoor pursuits, you mind’s eye must see crew teams rowing in perfect form on still waterways. So many songs, poems and paintings have sprung from English waters.
One cool way of exploring England is by doing a road trip. Road trips are a fun way of exploring a country and getting to know its locals. If you need some help in planning one, check out our blog about tips on how to plan a road trip. And if you're already a pro in planning, maybe you just need help with packing. We've got you! Read our blog on 9 things you must pack for a road trip.
The Lake District
England’s Lake District is famous for, of course, the large number of lakes it holds and for being the home of the country's highest point — Scafell Pike in the Cumbrian Mountains. In the northwestern corner of England, a circle of mountains envelops a series of lakes and bucolic woods, towns and villages. Windmere, Coniston, Ullswater and Derwent Water are the four major lakes in the area. You and your England travel buddy can:
- Walk or cycle along the 3,100 kilometers of lanes
- Canoeing, windsurfing, kayaking and paddle boarding
- Cruise on a steamboat or modern boat
- Visit Roman ruins, ancient and mysterious stone circles, historic houses and gardens
- Tour sites that were once major forces during the Industrial Revolution
- Learn mountaineering skills
England is relatively flat. While the borders aren’t holding imposing mountain ranges, England has some beautiful, rolling hills. The Cotswolds region in south-central England is famed for its quiet beauty. Here are a few of the things your England travel buddy and you can do in the Cotswolds:
- Wander through historic houses and gardens, such as Blenheim Palace and Berkeley Castle
- Tour ancient castles, churches and country houses
- Take a ride on an authentic train driven by steam
- Surf at the Severn Bore. The bore is a small inland waterway that creates very strong waves as a result of its funnel shape and location.
- Walk over green hills, through river valleys and country lanes
- Bike through the countryside
- Dine at charming tea rooms
This petite nation has created a lot of what the world consumes. Not just strong cheddar, beer and alcoholic cider, but pop music, high-octane football and unique fashion. Like most islands, England developed its own styles at its own pace. England only borders members of its own United Kingdom, which is composed of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. After adding pieces of the cultures from countries it had colonized, English style became something interesting to people from many nations. This makes English style so interesting to citizens of other countries.
Sports bring the world to England. Your England buddy partner and you can catch amazing matches in Liverpool (Liverpool and Everton), Manchester (both Manchester City and Manchester United are traditionally good), Leicester, and London (Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Crystal Palace are the top teams), Sheffield and Newcastle. Every June, Wimbledon draws tennis enthusiasts from around the globe. The next month the Henley Regatta, the world’s largest rowing competition, takes over the waterways not far from Oxford.
England is also a place for city lovers. After World War II, it evolved from a nation focused on rural areas to one centered on cities. Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle, Bristol and London each have more than a half million residents and are surrounded by large clusters of villages and towns. With England's extensive rail system, it’s easy and fast (maybe not so reliable) to move the country.
Since the Beatles went international, English bands have been making their mark on pop music. As a testament to the connection between England and pop music, the first Hard Rock Cafe was set in London. The Manchester Sound dominated the radio in the 1980s and 1990s. Joy Division and its later form, New Order; The Smiths; Morrissey; the Happy Mondays; and the Stone Roses. During bus and walking tours, you and your travel buddy can visit the Hacienda Club, where these legendary bands played; the offices of Factory Records, which produced these groups; the homes of the musicians; and other places that helped mold the music and the musicians.
Both Liverpool and London are bursting with attractions connected to the Fab Four. Please don’t be one of those people who block traffic in northwest London, so that they can re-create the Abbey Road album cover.
England even has flavors of hip hop that originated here — drum & bass, garage, and grime.
Then there’s London.
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” You and your travel buddy will find that these words are as true today as they were when writer Samuel Johnson said them in 1777.
London is expensive, dirty, loud and rundown, but there’s beauty in the mix of cultures that create cool visual art, restaurants, fashion, music, dance, theater, poetry and nightlife. New York rivals London for its diversity but London beats the City that Never Sleeps for its accessibility. Government support for the arts allows for lower prices and, thereby, more people can attend West End masterpieces, symphonic and operatic works and dance performances. London is home to several free world-class national museums and galleries, including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the Science Museum.
There was a time when English pubs closed up at 11 p.m., so there was an after-work crush to over-indulge before “time” was called. It seems crazy that in 2005 people worried that lifting the ban would lead to violence in the streets. Now you and your England travel buddy can leisurely sip cocktails at cool rooftop bars, neighborhood bars and gastropubs, not gulp down as much as possible as quickly as possible.
Also, in the not-too-distant past, the entire London’s subway system (the Tube) ground to a halt around midnight. Now five lines — Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines — run all Friday and Saturday. These are in addition to the Night Bus routes. All-night Tubes and buses make nightlife much stressful. London has clubs for every type of music, attitude and budget. Smart city dwellers live by TimeOut magazine or its website. It has schedules and reviews for nightclubs, comedy clubs, radio performances, theatre, dance and music.
Over the last few years, the people in London and other English cities have left the dance floor and headed to more recreational pursuits. Indoor minigolf, trampolining, bowling, darts, table tennis have nightspots devoted to them.
See, Samuel Johnson was right: London has it all.
London is the perfect place for a short getaway. The city is quite expensive so it's cool for a long weekend where you can explore and discover all the main sights without feeling like you're missing out on a lot. To plan a weekend trip to London, read our blog on important tips for planning a short trip.
Like its capital, England has a lot of pursuits to make you and your travel partner happy. There is no “best” time of the year to come. Come in winter to climb the Cumbrian Mountains and enjoy the Christmas markets that take over both big cities and small towns. Check out Premier League football runs from August through May. Summer has a full roster of music festivals, like Reading, Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, Wireless and Download. Autumn was a time of harvest festivals. Food festivals have sprung up all over England in their places.
If you want to get more inspiration for a trip, check out: