Top 10 places to visit in England

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 26 October 2018

England is one of the most-visited international destinations for South Africans. Here are 10 places you should visit in the good ol’ UK.

1. Bristol

In this southwest city that is home to some quirky ideas and inventions, you’ll encounter a lively and diverse cross-section of life.  There’s a lot to keep you out of your hotel room, with harbour vistas and great views from and around the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Glimpse the art (including the famous work of graffiti artists) or drop by the Bristol Zoo and gardens for a bit of history and some monkey business.

 

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2. Liverpool

There’s so much more to this major maritime port city than Beatlemania and legendary football. These days it’s a bustling hangout that boasts spectacular urban views, honouring its rich history and culture in all manner of museums and art galleries. Don’t worry about company – this city’s abuzz with life, and as all the fanatical Kopites (Liverpool FC supporters) know – you’ll never walk alone.

 

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3. London

While it’s unlikely that you’ll miss out on the capital, don’t forget to fit in some downtime between visits to museums and all the usual tourist attractions; embrace the vibrant but relaxed market life, hunt down hidden bars and pack a picnic basket and walk through London’s many garden escapes.

Also read: London on a budget: 18 local secrets from a South African

 

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4. Newcastle

Newcastle has really got something for everyone. The Geordies don’t just party either – beyond the city’s urban infrastructure, historical and sporting offerings, there’s a well-established arts and culture sector and this is the gateway to various British World Heritage sites and attractions.  The outdoor offerings will keep you ‘well fit’ too, whether its on the beaches or nature hiking trails.

 

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5. Bath

Bath (in Somerset) is a one-of-a-kind city, and also the only in England to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The influence of the ancient Romans’ settlement there and the Georgian architecture contributes to its rich history and otherworldly beauty.  The water of the city’s namesake – the hot springs and baths – are known to contain many minerals that possess healing properties. Make a point of visiting the various baths and spas, but if you fancy a bit of sightseeing you’ll be kept quite busy checking out the many buildings that still resemble those of antiquity, and you can take in a bit of the countryside as well – all so good for mind and soul.

 

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6. St Ives

This seaside town and port in Cornwall is a surfer’s dream, with its fairly exposed beaches (Porthmeor being the most popular) and surf-ready weather conditions pretty much all year round. It’s got quite a lot to offer in the way of outdoor leisure activities (land and sea) and also has a thriving cultural sector with local art gallery, the Tate St Ives, at the helm.  You’ll probably just want to be outside in this pretty seaside resort.

 

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7. The Lake District

Spring and autumn are good seasons to visit the Lake District and the area will give you a break from the bustling cityscapes. It’s one of the oldest tourist spots in England, made famous by poets and writers who made it their retreat in the late 18th and 19th century. Get in touch with nature and hike or cycle the open fields, forests and mountains that converge to create dreamy landscapes – in the true Romantic fashion.

 

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8. Birmingham

One of the largest UK cities, you might not know where to begin in what was the seat of the industrial revolution. Birmingham still offers beautiful natural scenery, with diverse wildlife. We can see why it served as the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings saga. Follow the famous Tolkien Trail and find some peace between the abundance of cultural offerings in busy Birmingham.

 

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9. York

Beautiful and multifaceted York offers a real journey through time and is the seat of a wealth of heritage sites that echo various chapters in world history.  The city still commemorates its Viking presence in the days of yore. If you fancy something a bit more recent, take a walk down the narrow, cobbled Shambles – a preserved street from the late Middle Ages that gives the feeling of being on some medieval film set, but it’s 100% the real thing.

 

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10. Brighton

In this popular seaside-resort city you’ll find the Royal Pavilion, which was the summer home of the flamboyant King George IV. Take it easy on a stroll on the pebbly beaches or along the promenade; if you prefer a more active holiday you’ll be able to take part in sailing, kayaking, hiking, kite surfing or cycling.

 

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