Things to Do in England - page 5
Inhabitants at the National Sea Life Centre range from penguins and otters to piranhas and jellyfish, displayed in antarctic pools and rain forest habitats. At the dynamic center, viewers can learn about marine life from around the globe in a series of exhibits such as an underwater tunnel, tropical forest, and penguin enclosure.
At the heart of London’s historic Docklands, the waterfront district of Canary Wharf has transformed itself into a financial powerhouse in recent years. This area has become—along with the nearby City of London—one of the capital’s most important business centers.
One of the most-popular tourist attractions in the Lake District, “the Tarns,” as the locals call it, is a picturesque area visited by over half a million tourists per year since the 1970s. Rightfully so: not only is this an area of outstanding beauty, but it’s also yet another gem bequeathed to the National Trust by Lake District aficionado Beatrix Potter.
A tarn is a mountain lake that was formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier, which is later filled with rain or river water. Despite being an icon of the Lake District, Tarn Hows is not typical of the region in terms of landscapes; surrounded by thick conifer woodlands, the actual tarn is partly artificial, having been created by James Garth Marshall in the 1850s. It consists of three distinct tarns, which merged in the 19th century.
Located in the low-level valley nestled between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is now just more than half a mile long (just under 1 km) and 820 feet (250 meters) wide, and contains five islands. It is fed at its northern end by numerous valleys and basin mires and drained by several waterfalls that cascade down the Glen Mary Bridge.
Hikers and trekkers will enjoy the accessible 1.5-mile (2.4-km) path that circles the tarn, while fauna enthusiasts will appreciate the heavy presence of Galloway cattle and Herdwick sheep.
On the coast of the English Channel, the world’s oldest aquarium showcases the aquatic diversity beyond British shores. More than 5,500 creatures call SEA LIFE® Brighton home—including marine species and rain forest critters—while educational talks, tours, and events provide insight into ocean conservation.
Towering 978m over the surrounding lakelands, the craggy peak of Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain and it’s long been a popular challenge for hikers. Located at the heart of the Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike is one of a string of high fells that run between Wast Water and Buttermere lakes, including the nearby High Stile, Red Pike and Great End.
Tackling the mighty peak is a manageable challenge for hikers with a reasonable fitness level and can be completed in a day. The most popular route sets out from Seathwaite and follows the scenic Corridor Route from Sty Head to Lingmell Col, before climbing to the summit of Scafell Pike – an approximately 7-hour round-trip hike.
Crammed full of artisan foods, homemade goodies, delicious street dishes and fresh produce, Borough Market is the go-to destination for in-the-know London foodies. With a history dating back over 1,000 years, Borough Market is the city's oldest and most famous food market, and—in case you need any more convincing—regular customers include celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.
With its three lakes framed by a seemingly expanse of rolling hills and craggy peaks, Buttermere Valley is one of the Lake District’s most striking landscapes, and it’s been a popular spot for walkers and nature enthusiasts since the 18th century.
The tranquil Buttermere village makes the obvious basecamp, but most visitors come to hike the scenic lakeside trails or scale the surrounding peaks, which include the 851-meter Grasmoor and 806-meter High Stile, as well as Scale Force, England’s highest waterfall. Honister Pass is the main road running through the valley and during the summer months, swimming and rowing are popular activities on the lakes.
With a capacity of nearly 75,000, Old Trafford is the UK’s second-largest football (soccer) stadium and home of Manchester United since 1910. Beside Premier League fixtures, the venue has hosted Olympic games, rugby league finals, and several international cup matches. The on-site museum houses the team’s famous continental treble trophy.
One of London’s most famous addresses, 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the British prime minister. The chancellor of the exchequer, responsible for the UK’s money and economy, lives next door at number 11. On any given day, you can see streams of important politicians walking through the doors of these two iconic addresses.
Once the world’s tallest building, Lincoln Cathedral remains one of England’s most significant religious landmarks, housing one of only four original Magna Carta manuscripts in the world. At the intricately detailed cathedral, visitors can pray, attend service, light a votive candle, or simply enjoy the Gothic architecture.
More Things to Do in England
Nestled just north of the English border in Scotland, the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop is known for hosting the marriages of couples who had fled England’s restrictive marriage laws during the 1700s and 1800s. The quaint shop remains a wedding venue and draws visitors with its marriage rooms, museum, shop, and restaurant.
A state-of-the-art marine aquarium, SEA LIFE® Hunstanton takes visitors on an undersea odyssey filled with close encounters with a wide variety of sea creatures. The staff at the center, known as Rainforest Rangers, are happy to show off their jungle creatures and creepy crawlies to visitors.
Piccadilly Circus is the meeting place of many of London's most famous roads. Here beautiful Regent Street (shopping heaven), famous Piccadilly (Fortnum and Mason's, The Ritz, the Royal Academy of Art), and cultural Shaftsbury Avenue (theaters, Chinatown) intersect. In the middle of it all is the famous 1893 statue of Eros, the winged messenger of love, which commemorates Lord Shaftesbury.
The circus was originally created as part of a plan to connect Carlton House, the home of the Prince Regent who became King George IV in 1820, to Regent's Park. When Shaftesbury Avenue was created in 1885, the area became busy with traffic and advertisers saw the potential for advertising; in 1895 London's first illuminated billboards were put up in Piccadilly Circus. For the next century it was London's version of Times Square but now only one building carries billboards. For history buffs, the name Piccadilly dates from the 17th century and comes from piccadill, a type of collar or ruff.
A museum dedicated to one of Britain’s best-loved authors, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the life and work of the 18th-century writer. Housed in an authentic period property, with actors in costume bringing the museum to life, the center immerses visitors in the days of the Regency era.
Once built to protect the medieval city of York, the well-preserved York City Walls have since become an emblematic landmark of the region and an easy-to-access point of introduction for historical York. While only three main sections of these 13th- and 14th-century walls are still connected, following the footpaths and scrambling up the ramparts remains a popular pastime.
Fans of the Yorkshire author and vet of All Creatures Great and Small fame won’t want to miss the World of James Herriot. Now an award-winning, interactive museum, Herriot’s former veterinary office—a fully restored 1940s home—displays a huge collection of Herriot memorabilia.
In the heart of London’s West End, Covent Garden is one of the city’s most popular dining and entertainment hubs. Home to the Royal Opera House; several top theaters, including the Lyceum and the Donmar Warehouse; world-class restaurants; and many major brand-name stores, most travelers to London plan to explore this area while visiting.
One of London’s eight Royal Parks, St. James’s Park is a verdant jewel located right in the center of town. Flanked by Buckingham Palace, Green Park, and St. James’s Palace, the green space stretches across almost 57 acres (23 hectares). It’s renowned for its pretty lake, vibrant flower beds, and for hosting several regal events.
Visit the modernist Metropolitan Cathedral and gain insight into Liverpool’s religious history as you explore its crypts, treasury, and unique structure. As you take in its unusual circular design, learn about the Catholic cathedral’s close relationship with its Anglican sister on the other end of Hope Street, or attend a service or concert for an immersive experience.
Perched on the banks of River Thames, Tate Modern is the epicenter of London’s contemporary art scene. It’s a culture lover’s paradise and one of the world’s largest modern art museums, complete with cutting edge works, thought-provoking installations, and dramatic think pieces.
Looming 30 meters (98 feet) over the Avebury countryside, the steep grassy slopes of Silbury Hill are an incongruous sight against the backdrop of gently rolling farmlands. This is no ordinary hill, however – the fascinating man-made structure dates back to around 2400BC and is the largest prehistoric monument of its kind in Europe.
Experts have long debated the significance of Silbury Hill, but while there are few indications of its actual purpose, its size (comparable to the Egyptian pyramids) and careful construction are none-the-less impressive. The mysterious hill also makes an intriguing addition to England’s UNESCO-listed Neolithic monuments, which include the Avebury Ring, the West Kennet Long Barrow and Stonehenge.
A lively market town within the North York Moors National Park, Helmsley is a popular day-trip from nearby York. The cobblestone streets of the town center—as well as quaint teahouses, ivy-covered traditional pubs, and an imposing 12th-century castle—add to the appeal of this traditional Yorkshire destination.
Drive along the Vale of York on the boundary of the North York Moors National Park and you won’t be able to miss the Kilburn White Horse, a gigantic artwork of a horse etched into the limestone cliffs of the Sutton Bank. Formed using more than 6 tons of limestone chalk chips to whiten the natural grey rock and featuring a lone grass patch for the ‘eye,’ the White Horse was designed by local businessman Thomas Taylor in 1857, inspired by similar designs in south England.
It might not have been the original, but it is the biggest – the Kilburn White Horse measures an impressive 97 meters long and 67 meters high, covering a plot of around 1.6 acres. Hiking routes and lookout points run along the hilltop around the White Horse (although walking on the horse is frowned upon as it damages the surface), but the most impressive views are from the bottom of the hill and on clear days, the landmark equine can be seen from as far away as North Leeds.
The Changing of the Guard is a centuries-old tradition that marks the official shift change of the Household Regiment—the Queen's guards stationed at Buckingham Palace. One of the world's most famous ceremonies and a top London experience, this ceremony gives visitors the chance to witness the grandeur of a royal march. Dressed in their iconic red suits and bearskin hats, the guards exemplify classic British pomp in a showing that's not to be missed.
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- Things to do in York
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- Things to do in Birmingham
- Things to do in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Things to do in Wales
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- Things to do in North West England
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- Things to do in Yorkshire