7 Places to Visit in England That Aren’t London

There is so much more to England than London. Yes, it is a great city; arguably one of the most exciting in the world! From history to commerce, it’s certainly one of Europe’s epicenters. Whether you are a first time vacationer, or a business traveler on your “I’ve-actually-lost-count” visit to the area, we recommend venturing beyond the city limits.

There are so many more places that this country has to offer outside of the buzz and bright lights of London. Whether you fancy hiking, waterfalls, lakes, beaches, or just a city break in a different city, we have found the seven best places to consider if you’re searching for something a little different from “The Big Smoke.”

BristolBristol, England

Bristol and Clifton Suspension Bridge | ©Kristoffer Trolle/Flickr

Arguably one of the most exciting cities in England outside of London, Bristol’s incredible diversity is depicted in its university life, its bustling markets and its lively festivals.

  • Go on a walking tour of the city’s street art, specifically to explore that of Banksy, perhaps the city’s most notorious export.
  • Visit the Watershed, a multi-arts venue with three cinemas and a cafe bar in a warehouse overlooking the water.
  • Ship off to the SS Great Britain, a former passenger steamship and one of the most important historic ships in the world, that was also the most powerful ever constructed in its time.
  • Cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge and get an unobstructed, panoramic view of the awe-inspiring landscape around you.
  • When you get hungry, try Bristol’s street food. The city’s incredible diversity is showcased here, with Indian curries, Jamaican jerk chicken, Middle Eastern mezes, and of course, typical English foods and treats.
  • Just half an hour from Bristol is a quaint village called Castle Combe. Around every corner you find another view to please your eyes, and it’s not uncommon to see horses tethered to the market cross. Though small, Castle Combe boasts fine dining options and even some laid back lounges and bars to enjoy after a stroll along the river Bybrook.

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ManchesterOld Trafford, Manchester

Outside Old Trafford | ©Eirik Refsdal/Flickr

Manchester is a beautiful compilation of wild sports fans, a rich industrial history, a vibrant nightlife, and lots of family-friendly activities to enjoy.

  • Visit the Museum of Science and Industry for a chance to see the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station.
  • Explore the Manchester Museum and discover one of the best Egyptology exhibits in the country.
  • Try a typical English breakfast at The Koffee Pot.
  • Old Trafford is the third largest stadium in the UK and the home of Manchester United. This 74, 994 seat-stadium offers an in-stadium museum with tours, plus, of course, matches that can’t be missed if you visit during soccer season.
  • Shop ’til you drop at Trafford Centre, the second biggest shopping center in the UK, complete with 280 stores and eateries. You can literally spend a day or two here!

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YorkshireLeeds, Yorkshire, England

©mcdarius/Flickr

Every small village, town and city in Yorkshire has its own special charm. Though there is much to see here, these are some highlights you can’t miss:

  • Traditional pubs for pints of local ales and Sunday roast (it originated in Yorkshire!) while breathing in the fresh air of the spring or cozying up by a wood burning fire in the winter.
  • Visit famous locations from some of the most iconic books in the history of literature, like the moors of Wuthering Heights and Whitby Abbey’s link to Dracula.
  • The beaches are breathtaking, especially in the seaside village of Staithes.
  • For the history buff, Leeds and York are must sees. Dungeons, castles and stunning architecture await around every corner.
  • The Yorkshire Dales has some of the most beautiful and dramatic waterfalls in the world. Seriously.
  • Visit Scarborough in a deep forest green cambric shirt for some saltwater, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

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Lake DistrictLake District, England

Buttermere, Lake District | ©john mcsporran/Flickr

Rolling Hills, expansive lakes and breathtaking views make up this not-so-widely known region of England. Stroll through picturesque villages, visit the country pubs and see the area’s historic sites, all while enjoying the great outdoors in this extraordinary National Park.

  • Enjoy an afternoon tea before visiting William Wordsworth’s former home, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere.
  • The most beautiful, yet most daunting route of the Lake District is the Kirkstone Pass. Photo opportunities are few and far between, and the drive is recommended only for experienced drivers, but the views are life changing.
  • Left to the National Trust by the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter, Tarn Hows is one of the most famous spots in the Lake District. Accessible by wheelchair and perfect for a picnic or a walk with the family, this man-made lake is where you need to go for a relaxing afternoon.
  • Voted in 2007 as “Britain’s Favourite View”, Wastwater is the Lake District’s deepest lake and is surrounded by the towering Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England meant only for the most experienced of hikers.

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BirminghamGas Street Basin, Birmingham

Gas Street Basin | ©David Merrett/Flickr

Birmingham is the second biggest city in the UK and, fun fact of the day, manufactured 75% of the world’s pens during the 19th century.

  • Get some culture at the Library of Birmingham which is a whopping 10 floors!
  • Visit the Pen Museum for a taste of the city’s pen history and try your own hand at writing with steel pens, original typewriters, and feather quills.
  • Vintage fairs and center of the city’s alternative and creative revolution, The Custard Factory is a beautifully restored Victorian factory in the city center and is full of unique food shops and events and digital businesses.
  • Explore Cadbury World, one of the biggest chocolate factories in the world. Visitors get to tour 14 different zones and even have the opportunity to create their own type of chocolate praline.
  • The Bullring, Birmingham’s largest shopping center, is built on the exact spot where commercial life was introduced to the city in the Middle Ages.
  • Feel like an honorary member of the Peaky Blinders with a tour of the city that hits the actual places they used to live and cause chaos. The city even has a Peaky Blinders themed pub!

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Cornwall
Kynance Cove, England

©Robert Pittman/Flickr

Arguably one of the most wanderlust-inducing (and largest) landscapes in England, Cornwall is known for its many picturesque, coastal towns and wide open spaces in between. 

  • Stand at westernmost point of Cornwall at “Land’s End“, where England’s edge meets the Atlantic.
  • Visit St. Ives and enjoy a traditional Cornish pasty.
  • Believed to be the location of the initial occupation during the Romano-British period, Tintagel Castle has been one of Cornwall’s most visited attractions since the 19th century.
  • Take in the contrasting views of the dark serpentine rock along the white sandy beaches of Kynance Cove, one of the country’s most secluded beaches.
  • Explore the massive biodomes that house the largest indoor tropical forest in the world at The Eden Project.

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