There is so much we miss about England right now, and although we’re unable to visit our favourite places, we have pulled together an A to Z of England to inject a bit of wanderlust into your day. While this list only touches the surface of what can be experienced in England, it’s nonetheless a lovely start. Enjoy!
A is for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
England is blessed with 33 designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These luscious expanses are dotted across the country, from the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast to the Northumberland coast in the North East.
B is for Beaches
It may not be the hottest place all year round, but England has beaches to rival more exotic locales. From surfing in Cornwall to fossil hunting in Dorset, there are beaches to tempt every type of person.
C is for Castles
From bloody battles to medieval merriment, castles are iconic symbols of England. Many are now in ruins, but others are still homes to this day. Admire stately rooms and cultivated gardens, and uncover surprising and, at times, gory stories dating back centuries at hundreds of heritage attractions across the country.
D is for Drama
You don’t need to head to the West End to experience the best theatre in England. Whether it’s a seaside venue in Sussex or a cliff-side amphitheatre in Cornwall, there are plenty of places to see thespians tread the boards in amazing shows and spectacular settings. You can even learn a bit more by going backstage in Sunderland.
E is for Eccentricity
The English are a quirky bunch, with many weird and wonderful activities taking place throughout the year. Dorset has its nettle-eating contest, Gloucestershire has cheese rolling and woolsack racing, Manchester is home to the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships and Derbyshire plays a bizarre game of football quite unlike the Premier League.
F is for Flowers
The English garden is world-renowned. With more gardens open to the public than anywhere else in the world, sweeping landscaped lawns, ornate flowerbeds and fragrant rose borders are never too far away.
G is for Gin
Gin is now the trendsetter’s tipple of choice. With household names like Bombay Sapphire and Plymouth Gin opening their distillery doors, you can take a peek at how it’s made. Or if you fancy something a little bit more off the beaten track, there’s a myriad of independent distilleries mixing their botanicals for you to try out.
H is for History
Whether you want to travel back to the time of the dinosaurs, or maybe a somewhat recent era like the Roman Empire (Ok, that may not be THAT recent), England has layer upon layer of stories and intrigue to discover. Pick anywhere on the map and you’ll find a tale there.
I is for Islands
While Britain is an island in itself, England is also home to many other smaller islands and archipelagos, each with their very own distinct personality. The Isles of Scilly, for example, has a chilled-out vibe, and the Isle of Wight is famous for its outdoor activities and coastal landmarks. Plus, there are places like Lundy in the Bristol Channel, the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumbria, and many more that make up our interesting make-up.
J is for Jorvik
The Viking name for an iconic northern city, but which one? From Roman settlements and Viking invasions, to Shed Seven and a rich chocolate heritage, this city has plenty to keep you busy.
K is for Kew
Founded in 1840, Kew Gardens houses the "largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world". Explore Victorian glasshouses blooming with exotic cacti and palms, an arboretum made up of 14,000 trees and even a collection of carnivorous plants at this South West London oasis.
Head to green fields or above the treetops of England. Even if you’re not a fan of getting your shoes dirty, there are plush ways to get the best of both worlds. Check out one of the many nature reserves across the country – you can even go glamping in some of them.
O is for Oysters
Oysters are a renowned aphrodisiac and a highly sought after delicacy, but they were also once a staple part of the working-class diet in England. They are so legendary they even have their own annual festival in Whistable. Discover some of the best places to guzzle them, all washed down with a glass of bubbly.
P is for Postcard-perfect villages
England is home to some of the most beautiful villages in the entire world. The numerous hamlets that make up the Cotswolds and the model-like seaside village of Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire are just two magnificent examples. But, there are countless others to explore too, each with their own style of buildings, traditions and village life.
Q is for Queens
England’s queens have always been pillars of strength and they're revered through the ages – and, luckily for us, there are lots of places across the land where we can get a glimpse into their lives. The Isle of Wight is home to Queen Victoria’s holiday villa, while Hertfordshire’s Hatfield House, among other stately filming locations, features in Netflix’s hit series, The Crown, which portrays our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
R is for Roast dinner
Crispy roast potatoes, covered with a glug of homemade gravy. There’s nothing tastier, or more comforting, than a good old roast dinner. Head to any cosy country pub or sit on the banks of a river in the summertime for a foodie institution that is as English as it gets.
S is for Safari
England’s zoos and safari parks are a great way to spend a day out, especially with the kids. You can get up close to the animals with special experiences, find out more about how endangered creatures are being cared for, and maybe even have a monkey jump on your windscreen!
T is for Trains
Even if you don’t own an anorak, spotting trains in England can still be exciting. There are numerous steam trains still running across the country, many of which you can take a journey on. Travel through the luscious Pennines, enjoy gorgeous sea views at a slow pace or even help drive the train yourself. Choo choo!
U is for Underground
Deep below England’s quaint towns and thriving cities is a hidden world waiting to be explored. Here you can find music venues with unusual surroundings and giggle-inducing names for caves. You can even get down and dirty with potholing. Watch out though, some of England’s caves have got a demonic past.
V is for Vineyards
You don’t need to head abroad to sample amazing wines. England has more than its fair share of vineyards to choose from – from the shores of Scilly to the outskirts of York. You can even sample England’s answer to champagne with a glass of sparkling fizz near the Sussex coast.
W is for Wizards
A lot of England’s heritage is based on mythical folklore, from natural wonders attributed to magic and witchcraft, to the enchanting resting place of a King and his wizard. Though in more recent years, the wizarding world has made its grand return to the country thanks to a certain someone named Harry Potter.
X is for Extreme
Ok, so it doesn’t begin with X but it’s close enough! Believe it or not, England has plenty of places for adrenaline junkies. Leave the indoor climbing wall behind – instead, scale a crag or a carapace, or even something that has its own special name! For those of you who aren’t THAT daring, then you can always head out for a curry and crank the spice up a level. Hardcore!
Y is for Yachts
Whether you just want to sip champagne and watch the boats go by at the world’s biggest sailing regatta, or you’re raring to get out on the open water, sailing is a sport that was made for the English coastline. With specialist schools in places like Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, you can plan a whole trip around your love of the sea.
Z is for Zennor
This little village in Cornwall comes with quite a peculiar name and some rather striking views. The quarry in the village once serviced the building of nearby St Ives and St Just. If you stay close by, you’ll come across the curious Zennor Quoit as well as a wealth of history, complete with mermaids and princesses.
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