Best things to do in England

updated 4/24/2019
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Are you wondering what are the best things to do in England you need to include in your trip? Read on to make sure you don't miss out on these big ones, taken straight from our travel guide The Rough Guide to England .

1. Discover the Lake District National Park

The largest national park in England is also many peoples’ favourite, boasting sixteen major lakes, including Ullswater (pictured here) and Windermere and scores of mountains, not least the country’s highest peak, Scafell Pike. Check out the best places in the Lake District in Cumbria to plan your trip, and for more practical information the travel guide Rough Guide Staycations: The Lake District.

Ullswater lake curves through the mountains of the English Lake District at Glenridding © Joe Dunckley/Shutterstock

2. Dartmoor

Dartmoor, the greatest expanse of wilderness in Southern England is perfect for hikers and riders alike.

© EvolvePhoto/Shutterstock

3. Houses of Parliament

One of the most majestic buildings in London are the Houses of Parliament, where you can see the “Mother of all Parliaments” at work from the public gallery or take a summertime tour.

River view of Big Ben and-Houses of Parliament © S.Borisov/Shutterstock

4. The Cotswolds

Take time out and relax in the Cotswolds, the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, poised between Oxford and Gloucester. Among the main attractions are rolling hills, honey-stone villages and great walking. Discover our picks for the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, and get practical information for your visit in the travel guide The Rough Guide to the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford.

© iPics/Shutterstock

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5. Northumbrian castles

Symbols of a turbulent past, Northumberland’s many fortresses are worth a visit, especially mighty Alnwick Castle (pictured), with its stunning medieval gardens.

© Gail Johnson/Shutterstock

6. Oxford

The Radcliffe Camera (pictured) stands at the centre of the old university town Oxford, famed for its sublime architecture and lively restaurants. For more information and practical details on Oxford, take a look at the travel guideRough Guides Staycations: Oxford.

© Pajor Pawel/Shutterstock

7. Avebury stone circle

Stonehenge might get all the publicity, but the stones at nearby Avebury have a raw appeal and are far more accessible.

© Marc Cid/Shutterstock

8. Hadrian’s Wall Path

Walk or cycle the length of this atmospheric Roman monument, which snakes its way for 84 miles over rough, sheep-strewn countryside.

© Dave Head/Shutterstock

9. Music festivals

Mud, mud, glorious mud... Glastonbury (pictured) may be the biggest and best-known music and arts fest, but every summer weekend sees celebrations of anything from folk to trance on greenfield sites nationwide in England.

© benny hawes/Shutterstock

10. Go Surfing in Newquay

The beaches strung along the northern coast of Devon and Cornwall offer some great breaks, with Newquay the place to see and be seen.

Surfers on the beach at Newquay © Mick Blakey/Shutterstock

11. Dip into a hot spring Roman bath at Bath

Admire England’s most elegant Georgian terrace, visit the Roman baths or do some serious shopping in Bath, one of the most beautiful cities in England. For more information and practical details, take a look at the travel guideRough Guides Staycations: Bath.

© RnDmS/Shutterstock

12. Taste the original Fish and chips

There’s nothing better than fish and chips, nor any better way to eat them than wrapped in paper and eaten on the beach.

© Andreea Tudor/Shutterstock

13. Visit the Eden Project

With its strong ecological thrust, the Eden Project as the West Country’s most spectacular attraction presents a refreshing alternative to the hard sell of most of the region’s crowd-pullers.

© Shutterstock

14. Stroll the New Forest

Famed for its ponies, the New Forest, an ancient hunting ground is a magnet for cyclists and walkers.

© Shutterstock

15. Shop local produce on one of the many Farmers’ markets

Plug into England’s sense of rural community at the growing network of markets where farmers and producers sell direct – not just fruit and veg but local cheeses, breads, pies, deli items, ales and more.

Broadway market, London © Shutterstock

16. Get awed by Durham Cathedral

Arguably the greatest Norman building in England, Durham’s imposing cathedral perches on a peninsula overlooking the city’s quaint, cobbled old town.

© stocksre/Shutterstock

17. St Ives, Cornwall

Bustling seaside resort with great beaches and the southwest’s best arts collection located in Cornwall.

© ian woolcock/Shutterstock

18 Punting on the Cam in Cambridge

A flat-bottomed boat that’s easy to fall out of, with no paddles but a pole… Unnecessarily complicated it may be, but punting on the River Cam is the best way to see some of Cambridge’s beautiful university buildings.

© Shutterstock

19. The Peak District

A stirring landscape of moors and peaks, deep-green dales, tumbling rivers and jagged cliffs, the Peak District attracts outdoors enthusiasts by the thousand for some of the most spectacular walks in the UK.

Walking in the Peak District ranks high on the list of best things to do in England for outdoor lovers and photographers © Glyn Swanson/Shutterstock

20. York Minster

Soaring above the medieval streets of York, Britain’s biggest Gothic church has a thousand-year history and treasures to match.

© Jez Campbell/Shutterstock

21. Stately homes

Blenheim Palace (pictured) near Oxford is one of England’s most majestic stately homes, but dozens more up and down the country offer cultured days out.

© ChristianZscheile/Shutterstock

22. Canterbury Cathedral

Mother Church of the Church of England, Canterbury Cathedral is famous for its shrine to the murdered Archbishop, Thomas à Becket, and the tales that Chaucer weaved round a fictitious pilgrimage to the martyr’s tomb.

© Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

23. Southwold

George Orwell didn’t like the place, but everyone else does: with its wide sandy beach and brightly painted beach huts, Southwold is the most beguiling of seaside towns. If you love a good day out at the sea, check out our list of the best seaside towns in Britain.

Getting out for a relaxed day at one of the many seaside towns is a top thing to do in England © Shutterstock

24. Nightlife in Newcastle

From chic wine bars to first-rate theatres, the nightlife in Newcastle is growing in sophistication – though there are still plenty of places for a traditionally raucous night out on the Toon.

© Michael Conrad/Shutterstock

25. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

George IV’s pleasure dome The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, designed by Nash, is a supreme example of Oriental-Gothic architecture.

© Alexey Fedorenko/Shutterstock

26. Get your art fix at Tate Modern, London

Housed in a spectacular former power station in London, Tate Modern is the largest modern art gallery in the world and simply awesome.

Tate modern London © cristapper/Shutterstock

27. The Seven Sisters

The soaring Seven Sisters cliffs are just one of the highlights of the southeast’s newly created national park, best explored on the long-distance South Downs Way footpath.

© Kanuman/Shutterstock

28. Afternoon tea

London’s top hotels are the most wickedly indulgent places for a calorific afternoon tea of sandwiches, scones and cakes – though a Devonshire cream tea can give the capital a run for its money.

Getting a proper afternoon tea is a great thing to do in England © Shutterstock

29. Durdle Door

This distinctive limestone arch of the Durdle Door is the highlight of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and sits on one of the loveliest stretches of the South West Coast Path, close to some fine beaches.

Durdle Door at the beach on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, UK © Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

Ready to travel to England? Find out about the best time to go, the best places to see and top things to do in England. For inspiration use the England itineraries from The Rough Guide to Englandand as well as the bookable itineraries created by our local travel agents in England. A bit more hands on, check out the map of England, learn about getting there, getting around England and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

We may earn commission from some of the external websites linked in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Travel advice for England

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updated 4/24/2019
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