Things to Do in England - page 2
Made up of three unique performance spaces, the Brighton Dome is a pillar of the English south coast’s cultural heritage. First the stable block of a young George IV, then a World War I hospital, the 200-year-old venue is now known as a champion of Brighton’s creative scene.
Flowing right through the heart of central London, the Thames River offers a dramatic backdrop to the city's famous skyline with landmarks lining its shores. Walk along the riverfront from Westminster to Tower Bridge and you'll pass London icons such as the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Southbank, Shakespeare's Globe, and the London Bridge.
From medieval torture to grim executions and infamous royal prisoners, the Tower of London has long found itself at the center of the city's dark history. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, the historic castle has served as a Royal Menagerie, Her Majesty's prison, an execution site, a royal observatory, a Royal Mint, and a military storehouse over the course of its existence.
Discover a symbol of Liverpool and gain insight into the city’s history with a visit to the National Heritage-listed Liverpool Cathedral. As the largest religious building in Britain, the Anglican cathedral boasts neo-Gothic architecture, distinctive artwork, and a 328-feet (100-meter) tower that provides sweeping views across River Mersey.
With more than 1,000 machines from 170 manufacturers, the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham has the world’s largest collection of British motorcycles. Visitors can gain insight into British engineering, learn about the vehicle’s history, and see motorcycles from classic models to 21st-century superbikes up close.
Dating from between 2900 and 2600 BC, Avebury is the world’s largest Neolithic stone circle. Originally composed of three stone circles—the largest of which comprised 98 standing stones (though only 27 now remain)—Avebury is truly immense. Though the function of Avebury is not fully understood, it was likely used for pagan ceremonies.
Located in the heart of Oxford, the Radcliffe Camera is one of the city’s most recognizable and photographed landmarks, with its unusual shape and impressive dome. Completed in 1749, it was the first rotunda library in England, and today it is one of the main reading rooms of the Bodleian Library complex.
The oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford is the main draw to the riverside town of Oxford. With a history dating back to the 11th century, the university’s many colleges offer a wealth of gorgeous historical architecture—not to mention settings for movies including theHarry Potter series.
Climbing up the hillside from the waterfront, the maze of shopping streets known as “The Lanes” make up Brighton’s most atmospheric quarter. The pedestrianized area is home to more than 200 independent shops, galleries, and antique stores, along with a great selection of cafés, restaurants, and historic pubs.
With ancient woodlands, windswept heathlands, and freshwater lakes hemmed in by grassy sea cliffs and sandy beaches, Brownsea Island crams a startling variety of scenery into its small landmass. The mostly uninhabited island, which is run by the National Trust, is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour.
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Anfield Stadium, home turf for Liverpool Football Club, is hallowed ground for fans of the Reds. The 54,000-capacity venue not only hosts matches, but also contains the Liverpool FC Story, a museum chronicling the club’s history, and the Steven Gerrard Collection, comprising memorabilia relating to the former captain.
This Beatles-centric museum is stuffed full of Fab Four memorabilia, from George Harrison’s first guitar to John Lennon’s orange-tinted glasses. Exhibits trace the journey of Liverpool’s hometown heroes and the rise of Beatlemania, and include a full-scale replica of the famous Cavern Club and a walk-in yellow submarine.
Few landmarks epitomize central London as perfectly as Big Ben, the iconic clock tower that stands at the east end of the Houses of Parliament. Heralding the location of Great Britain's political nucleus in Westminster, Big Ben—or the Elizabeth Tower, renamed in honor of the Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee—stands proud as a symbol of London and the striking centerpiece of the Thames waterfront. The Palace of Westminster, the home of the Houses of Parliament, is another historic monument, as behind the grand Gothic facade, politicians have dictated local laws since 1215, when King John's Magna Carta signified the birth of parliament in the United Kingdom.
Attended by leading luminaries across the centuries—and in possession of an art museum, soaring cathedral, and stately quad—Christ Church is among Oxford’s largest, grandest, and most prestigious colleges. Famously used as a set for theHarry Potter films, it is now also a pop cultural attraction.
With its Gothic towers and central bascule flanked by dramatic suspension bridges, Tower Bridge is both a remarkable feat of engineering and one of London’s most instantly recognizable landmarks. The famous bridge is a popular subject of London postcards, leading many to mistake it for London Bridge, which is actually the next one upstream.
Winding its way through the Warwickshire countryside in England’s West Midlands, the River Avon is perhaps best known for its namesake town, Stratford-upon-Avon, famously the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The scenic river passes through the heart of the medieval town and boat tours offer a new perspective for visitors, passing waterfront landmarks like the
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre, Holy Trinity Church and Lucy’s Mill Wier.
As well as being the lifeblood of Stratford-Upon-Avon, the River Avon is well connected to England’s waterways, joining the River Severn at Tewkesbury and linked via the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal to Birmingham.
An archaeological marvel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the world’s most enigmatic tourist attractions, Stonehenge draws up to 1.3 million visitors annually. The site itself—a circle of gigantic stones standing in the heart of the English countryside—is made even more impressive by its mysterious history. Although Stonehenge’s original purpose remains unknown, onlookers gather to admire the 3,500-year-old structure and ponder its astronomical, spiritual, or even supernatural meaning.
Standing on the Cotswolds escarpment, Broadway Tower was conceived by 18th-century landscape artist Capability Brown and completed in 1798. Notable for its stone turrets and rounded-arch windows, this Gothic folly boasts historical exhibitions and a rooftop with views across 16 counties.
Windsor is a handsome town in Berkshire, southeast England, with an ancient heart, a setting along the River Thames and a connection by bridge to Eton, home of one of England’s oldest and most prestigious public schools. St. George’s Chapel sits next door to Windsor Castle, which is both the largest permanently occupied castle in the world and one of the official homes of HM The Queen. The chapel was founded in 1348 by King Edward III and is a fine example of Gothic styling with flying buttresses, glorious stained glass and a vaulted interior of exceptional grandeur, as befits the place of worship of the Royal Family.
It is the burial place of 10 English kings including Henry VIII and George III, as well as many other members of the monarchy, and is also home of the Knights of the Garter; this is one of the oldest chivalric orders in the world and the highest ceremonial accolade in the UK. Members currently include the Queen, Prince Charles and former leaders of the armed services, captains of industry and ex-Prime Ministers; their heraldic banners hang high above the choir in the chapel. St. George’s is closed to visitors on Sunday, but all are welcome at any of the services throughout the week; they are held daily at 8:30am, 10:45am, noon and 5:15pm.
Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence and administrative office of the British royal family since the 19th century and is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world. Access for the public is limited and exclusive but worthwhile for those who arrange a visit.
This beautiful cathedral has a long history. It first opened its doors as a small parish in the 1420s and grew over the next 400 years, along with the city where it is located.
Intricate detail can be found throughout this building, which achieved cathedral status when a new diocese was created in 1847. Wood-carvings in and around the choir stalls tell a story of life in the distant past. Other historical artifacts include the Angel Stone, which is located in the wall of the South Porch and dates back to around 700. There are also more recent historical displays, such as the “Fire Window,” a window which was destroyed during WWII and then replaced, and depicts the Nazi attack.
The John Rylands Library is oft considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Resurrected in the 1890s and taking more than a decade to construct, the gothic and gorgeous library was designed by architect Basil Champneys. It opened its doors on the first of the year, 1900. In 1972, the historic library became a part of the University of Manchester.
Today, John Rylands Library is part of the third largest academic library in the UK, and the Deansgate building houses some of the most significant books and manuscripts ever written, along with extensive collections and rotating exhibits. One of five National Research Libraries, there are more than 4 million books and manuscripts in the library, along with 41,000-plus electronic journals, 500,000 e-books and hundreds of databases
Linking the two halves of Hertford College, the Bridge of Sighs (formally known as Hertford Bridge) arcs above New College Lane in the heart of Oxford. Despite its ancient-seeming exterior and leaded windows, it’s only a little over a century old. While it shares a name with the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, it actually looks much more similar to that city’s Rialto Bridge.
Stroll along the riverfront or take a punting tour along Cambridge’s River Cam and you’ll be sure to see the Mathematical Bridge, one of the city’s most photographed landmarks. The humble wooden footbridge crosses the river between the old and new buildings of the Queens College, and dates back to the 18th century.
Popular legend dictates that the bridge was the masterwork of Cambridge University alumni Isaac Newton, who built it to illustrate his theories of force and gravity, using only wood and no nuts, bolts or metal framework. In reality, the bridge was built by James Essex in 1749 to a design by William Etheridge. Officially called the ‘Wooden Bridge’, the Mathematical Bridge earned its famous nickname thanks to its impressive engineering design – using straight timber arranged in a series of tangents to create a self-supporting arc.
The bridge that stands today was actually rebuilt in 1905, but it’s become so well known that a replica has even been built at Oxford University, Cambridge’s notorious rival.
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- Things to do in Manchester
- Things to do in Oxford
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- Things to do in Cambridge
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- Things to do in Birmingham
- Things to do in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Things to do in Wales
- Things to do in Ireland
- Things to do in North West England
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- Things to do in Yorkshire