Guest writer Rachel Summers identifies the places that she feels best demonstrate the beauty of the English landscape for first-time visitors
While so much of the hype surrounding England as a tourist destination focuses on London, it is easy to forget the other beautiful places scattered around the country. The cities are dynamic, however the countryside and coastline also has it’s own specific charm and rugged beauty. While there’s no denying the fact that it can be a thrill to see Big Ben and the London Eye, the following five places are well worth considering next time you’re free to explore Britain.
Many people overlook the beauty and history of Northern England. Despite the fact that York was once the capital of the country, and home to Ancient Romans and Angles, it can be overlooked by people looking for a day out. In present day, York is green, and can provide some great walking, hiking, and cycling routes for anyone looking for fresh air, particularly around the Yorkshire dales and moors. As well as the moors, there is also some beautiful beaches. While the beaches in the North are not generally used for sunbathing, the cliffs and shore at Whitby are dramatic and provide some amazing scenery. York city centre also makes a great place to meander through if you want a break from the countryside.
2. The Cotswolds
While many people may associate proximity to the Thames with London, the river extends outside of the city, and the hills around the river bank lead to the Cotswolds. Some beautiful and historical cities are located within this area, including Bath, home of Jane Austen, and Stratford upon Avon, home of Shakespeare, though most people consider the natural environment the main attraction. The Cotswolds are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There’s rare stone forming the area, and swarms of butterflies float around. For anyone serious about hiking, there is a foot path stretching for a hundred miles along the Cotswolds, which is loved by campers. Castles, manors, and abbeys from centuries ago are scattered around the area, and make for amazing points of interest while you explore this historic area.
Devon is also in the South of England, and is situated right on the South West Coast. It’s home to the old and architecturally lovely city of Exeter, and is a great spot for history buffs who may be interested in the Roman, Celtic, and Saxon settlements that were once located here. For most visitors the main attraction is the area known as the ‘English Riviera’ where the dramatic Jurassic coastline meets the beautiful views of the countryside. Many of the small towns have quaint and cute tourist resorts, which thrive during the good summer weather.
4. Lake District
Defined by the cute villages, icy cold bodies of water, and the rugged hills that surround the area. The Lake District is superlative as a spot of beauty in the UK, given that Windermere is the longest body of water, Wastwater is the deepest, and Scafell Pike is the highest mountain, with views that extend to Wales and Northern Ireland. This is often visited by literature fans, who appreciate the poets who used to describe the area, or families who love the Beatrix Potter stories that are set here.
Much of Cornwall is composed rugged British seaside, and a popular holiday destination for Brits not looking to go abroad. The weather is more pleasant here than the rest of the country, the beaches are beautiful, the harbour villages are historical and beautiful, and the cliffs on the shore are majestic. This is a great place for some classic fish and chips followed by an ice cream.