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'A Tale of Two Cities'

Updated on February 26, 2020
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has published a selection of travel articles and destination guides, accompanied by a wealth of photographs.

The Mayflower Steps, The Barbican, Plymouth

The Mayflower Steps - of great significance to many American tourists in search of their origins
The Mayflower Steps - of great significance to many American tourists in search of their origins | Source

Provincial Pursuits

Many tourists visit England and never venture far from the capital but there are many other great cities apart from London that can make your trip to England a memorable one. With over fifty cities to chose from there is no better reason to visit England.

England offers the opportunity to explore many cities of historical importance and places of outstanding natural beauty within a relatively small area. The rail and road network is swift and efficient which means no traveller to England will have to miss any of the sights that are not close to the capital.

In England, a city is larger than a town and usually boasts a cathedral or a university. Often there are no obvious features that define a city to make it distinguishable from a town.

This article will discuss two cities that will be sure to delight the discerning tourist with the wealth of attractions on offer throughout the year. They are also chosen by the author as being close to several areas of interest in the English countryside as well as some excellent beaches being well within the scope of a day trip.

Plymouth City Centre, Devon, UK

The civic centre was rebuilt after World War II
The civic centre was rebuilt after World War II | Source

Plymouth in Devon:

Plymouth is one of the few English cities by the sea. Together with Brighton - which is much closer to the capital - it can be an ideal location for a traditional English seaside holiday.

Located on England's south-west coast between the mouth of the River Plym (hence the name) and the Tamar, Plymouth is a popular city to visit. The English Channel makes a voyage to France possible in a few hours (courtesy of Brittany Ferries) and even Santander in Spain is only twenty-four hours away by sea. Thus a trip to Plymouth and England's West Country can easily be combined with a journey to Europe.

Plymouth has a rich maritime history and is the perfect place from which to embark on any sea journey. Think of a few names from history. - Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Darwin - and in more recent times Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Robert falcon Scott - all of whom have sailed from Plymouth; some to discover the 'new world' and indeed the globe and others to fulfil their spirit of adventure.

On one side, Plymouth enjoys a rural backdrop and on the other, the sea lures locals to 'a life on the ocean wave.'

Americans particularly may want to explore their ancestry as Plymouth is where the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from. On Plymouth's famous Barbican you can see The Mayflower Steps which were erected in commemoration of this historical event of 1620.

The Tamar creates a natural boundary between the counties of Devon and Cornwall and lends itself to river trips being an idyllic setting for a relaxing summer's day in the great outdoors.

Plymouth boasts the proximity of Dartmoor National Park, an unspoilt area that is rare to find so near to a bustling city. Visitors can enjoy a vacation here that offers the best possible scope for outdoor activities. There is pony trekking, camping and hiking on Dartmoor's delightful beauty spots and all this can be conducted from a hotel based in Plymouth if you desire the night-life only a city can provide.

Plymouth has a wealth of historical landmarks and a recently rebuilt shopping mall at Drake's Circus that offers the best to those who agree retail therapy is an important part of a stay in a typical English city. There is something here to please everyone whatever their age and expectations.

Since wartime, Plymouth has been virtually rebuilt and is now one of Europe's most modern cities. It is home to the national marine aquarium where you can see all manner of sea life in a wonderful setting. The City is clean and modern and has all the facilities that can be expected from a thriving metropolis which caters well for its population but also deals admirably with the inevitable summer influx of tourists.

Plymouth Hoe

The Hoe and seafront have views over one of the best natural harbours in the world.
The Hoe and seafront have views over one of the best natural harbours in the world. | Source

An Introduction to The City of Plymouth


According to a 2013 survey, York was voted ‘Best small city' in Britain. It is a great spot for history buffs and boasts a wealth of attractions for the entire family as well as being a site of antiquity dating back to pre Roman Britain. Seven million visitors from all over the globe visit York annually.

Yorkshire is England's largest county - 'God's own county' as the locals love to call it - and thus a stay in York offers the opportunity for visitors to discover many rural locations as well as enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. A trip to the Yorkshire coast is within the scope of a day trip when staying in York.

The city centre is virtually traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly; dominated by the York Minster and the amazingly intact city walls, there is much to fill your day. In spring the daffodils along the banks beneath the walls are a delight to the eye. The river Ouse adds to the attractions especially during the summer months when river cruises are available. A wealth of retail outlets too including the designer outlet near Fulford, offers the best possible experience for tourists and locals alike.

York is home to the National Railway Museum so anyone with a keen interest in trains will be happy to visit York. The proximity of The North York’s Moors railway is also a delight for the discerning tourist who has a love of the age of steam and is great fun for younger members of the family too.

History buffs will love the 'olde worlde' feel to the city especially the quaint Elizabethan houses in the area near the market known as The Shambles. Round off a day's sightseeing with a high tea in Betty's famous tea shop. You may have to queue but it will be worth it.

Summer evenings in York can be spent by taking a ghost hunt around the centre to discover more of the city's unique history. Learn about the famous and somewhat notorious people who contributed to York's rich history by visiting the Yorkshire Dungeon. Here the whole family will see history come to life and hear tales of Guy Fawkes, Dick Turpin and other historical figures. who had a unique connection with the city.

Take the Kids to the The National Railway Museum in York

The kids will love the railway museum in York and learning about the history of steam can be fun
The kids will love the railway museum in York and learning about the history of steam can be fun | Source

York Minster

York minster dominates the town and is open to the public
York minster dominates the town and is open to the public | Source

A Stunning New film of The City of York

A visit to The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a Great Day out for all the Family

The Beauty of City Life

In conclusion, it is not difficult to see why both York and Plymouth are popular cities to visit for tourists the world over. Each city has its own individual history and unique connections with historical figures. This combined with modern-day amenities and leisure facilities ensures that the discerning tourist will not be disappointed with their stay.

Canals are a Feature of the Yorkshire Region

A canal trip will be the highpoint of your day. This is the Aire and Calder navigation canal at Whitley lock
A canal trip will be the highpoint of your day. This is the Aire and Calder navigation canal at Whitley lock | Source

The River Ouse at York

York is a popular city for tourists and a great place to live
York is a popular city for tourists and a great place to live | Source

The Walls And Gates Of York Are Still Intact

The centre of York
The centre of York | Source

The River Ouse Flows Through York

York River Scene
York River Scene | Source

© 2015 Stella Kaye


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