Discovering The Best of The UK: Places to Visit in All Four Corners of England
While the UK weather sometimes puts a dampener on Britain's holiday destination status, there is no denying that England is brimming with beautiful places! Come rain or shine, this historic nation is well worth exploring. So, even if you have to buckle up and throw on a windbreaker, don't let the elements keep you from planning a visit and experiencing some unforgettable outdoor adventures! From quaint villages and world-famous landmarks to green open spaces and numerous Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this little country has lots to offer visitors! Hidden treasures lay in all directions, which is why we thought we'd draw together a list of must-visit places from all four corners of England. So, whether you choose to venture north, south, east or west, it's time to put Britain on your bucket list!
Head north to York – one of the best historical cities in the UK
If you're in quest of a small but delightful English city, then we suggest you head northwards to York. Just a two-hour train ride from London, this modestly sized metropolis is a popular tourist destination, and for good reason. Its picturesque streets are steeped in history, recalling Roman and Viking rulership, and its timber-clad houses and quaint independent shop facades make it one of the United Kingdom's prettiest hubs of activity. However, it's not just the quintessentially English aesthetic that results in York being loved by people the world over. It's primarily a great place to visit because it offers so much to see and do! This northern centre has a thriving cultural landscape that appeals to people of all ages, from all walks of life. With thirty renowned museums and countless historical sites – including the National Railway Museum and Clifford's Tower built by William the Conqueror – this special spot has something to peak everyone's interest. The York Dungeon in particular promises fun for all the family and will thrillingly send shivers down your spine. On top of all the fascinating history and art galleries that can be encountered here, no trip to York would be complete without a visit to York Minster cathedral. A beauty to behold, this world-famous place made out of handcrafted stone has stood at the heart of the city since the 7th century. It comprises the largest medieval stained-glass masterpiece in all of England – check out its Great East Window – and is, to put it lightly, an awe-inspiring piece of architecture altogether. While the city centre can be sufficiently covered over the course of a weekend, if you've got a few days to spend here then yet more fun awaits. We'd highly recommend breaking beyond the city's ancient walls to venture deep into nature. The gloriously green Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors lay on its doorstep, offering an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and lose yourself in a peaceful oasis, with stunning views as far as the eye can see. York is one of those areas that has it all! So, pack your bags and discover this beautiful place for yourself.
Unsure where to go for a day out in the UK? Go south to Stonehenge – a must-see famous landmark
Both mysterious and fascinating, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge is one of those notorious landmarks that you quite simply must see at least once in your lifetime. Situated in the South of England, on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, this prehistoric monument – likely an ancient place of worship – dates all the way back to the Bronze age (around 2500 BC), making it a particular hit with history buffs. While the splendour of Stonehenge undoubtedly stems from its Neolithic origins, there is also an inherent artistic beauty to this iconic stone circle. It's intriguingly composed of two main types of stone – large sarsens and smaller bluestones – arranged in mystifying concentric circles. Though barely visible to the naked eye, some of the stones are magnificently engraved with depictions of axes and daggers, although the meaning behind their markings, despite much speculation, remains unknown. Enigmatic and enchanting, it's not hard to see why Stonehenge deserves a spot on every Brit's bucket list. For an eerily atmospheric experience, this beautiful place is best visited at daybreak or sunset. While Stonehenge is sure to take your breath away year-round, many visitors flood to see this remarkable monument on summer solstice since, quite majestically, it is orientated so that the sun rises directly behind its Heel Stone on this particular day. Despite being the area’s major attraction, the stone circle does not in fact stand in isolation. 350 burial mounds and other prehistoric monuments like Woodhenge and Durrington Walls dot the landscape surrounding Stonehenge, making this corner of England all the more worthy of discovery!
Venture east and explore the sites of Suffolk – where some of the best English beaches are!
Another must-see spot is the charming county of Suffolk, sitting in the east of England and bordered by Cambridge, Norfolk and Essex. This area is blessed with an incredibly diverse landscape that includes low-lying rolling hills, chalk ridges, heathland and (best of all) stunning sandy beaches. It boasts an impressive 50 miles of coastline – part of which has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – perfect for soaking up the sun and sea. For a traditional seaside experience, head to Loewstoft Beach, split into Lowestoft South Beach and Lowestoft North Beach. The first has a classic backdrop of a beach-hut lined promenade and is an ideal location for practicing watersports, from surfing to jet skiing. The second is encapsulated by two piers (Claremont Pier and South Pier), providing waterfront views that are as pretty as a postcard. Alternatively, head to Suffolk’s infamous Aldeburgh Beach to enjoy fresh sea air, and even some fish and chips! If you're seeking a wilder, more windswept beach experience then perhaps make your way to Kessingland instead. This vast stretch of sand and shingle, surrounded by towering cliffs, will give you the opportunity to enjoy an unspoilt coastline in utter tranquility, free from crowds. It's a dream spot to take a dip, so ensure you've got your swimwear to hand. Bathing yourself in these blue waters is a guaranteed highlight of a visit to Suffolk! Other things to do while you're here include visiting Bury St Edmunds, along with its abbey and cathedral, and taking a woodland wander through Dunwich Forest. A place of prosperity throughout the medieval period, Suffolk is nowadays an area of agricultural activity, well known for its foodie appeal, its racing stables and its more industrial Port of Felixstowe. It is home to a variety of festivals and has a cultural calendar that's jam-packed year-round! Plus, it is well kitted out for visitors; whether you choose to stay in a coastal hotel or embrace a more rural existence by opting for glamping, you're sure to love your stay. With no end of attractions to suit all tastes, Suffolk is a prime holiday-at-home destination.
Veer (north) west and discover the Lake District – you'll no longer be left wondering what the most beautiful part of Britain is!
England's much-loved Lake District is another great place to visit if you're keen to uncover the gems of the British countryside. This popular National Park, which encompasses glistening lakes, endless walking trails and all ten of the highest mountains in England, attracts millions of visitors each year. Hop on the trend and plan a trip here today – just make sure you've got your backpack, hiking shoes and activewear at the ready. Spanning an impressive 2362 square kilometres, the Lake District is overflowing with natural beauty, and the best way to soak up its spell-casting sites is from on high. To find out which peaks are most worth conquering, take a glance at our UK mountain guide. In our opinion, Scafell Pike is a must! It's not all strenuous slopes and uphill hikes though. The Lake District is a great place for cycling, rowing and paddle boarding, as well as just ambling through stunning scenery. It's hard to pinpoint what the best places to visit here are, since every inch and acre of this National Park contains something special to see, but here are a few spots that you definitely don't want to miss... Lake Windermere – the largest of the lakes – is no doubt one of the most famous places in this north western area of the UK. Worth seeing just for its impressive watery blue expanse, so much lies off its banks too, making it a favourite location for travelers. Its western shore is ideal for family-friendly cycling and many short, easy walks sprawl from this lake in all directions. What's more, the historic market town of Ambleside sits just north of Windermere, home to great restaurants, cutesy shops, many walks of its own and even a 70ft waterfall! Coniston Water and nearby Hawkshead Village are other highlights of a visit to the Lake District. Featuring weaving cobbled streets, original works by Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth's schoolboy signature engraved on a desk in the local grammar school, the latter is a bucket list location for literature lovers and anyone who appreciates the relaxing ambiance of a quaint English town. Last but not least, if you're an outdoors enthusiast, then you'll want to ensure you stop off at Langdale Valley during your time in the Lakes too. One of the best places for camping and a walker's paradise, it promises magical views of an undulating landscape. There's a reason why the Lake District is such a famous place. If you've never been, then make it a travel priority. It really is the perfect place to enjoy England to the full.
Home is where the heart is: with so many good places to see, set the time aside to explore England and uncover some of the prettiest parts of the UK!
Whichever direction you choose to orientate yourself in, every corner of England holds something that's wonderful to witness. Rich in culture and blessed with such varied landscapes, this small but delightful country promises people-pleasing day trips, weekends away and week-long breaks for all the family. While York, Stonehenge, Suffolk and the Lake District are four key places to pinpoint on your map, in reality there are so many more places equally worth uncovering. If you're hungry for more travel inspiration, why not peruse our guide to the best English picnic spots or broaden your horizons by reading our guide to the best dog walks across the whole of the UK? Wherever you step foot, you'll be blown away by Britain's breathtaking beauty.