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England : places to visit, things to do

Updated on January 10, 2017
Impressive architecture
Impressive architecture | Source

Why England? Why not!

Explore this page to find out about the people of England, their land and culture.

England has lots of things to do and plenty of places to see.

Steeped in history, castles, cathedrals and museums, England is a fascinating country to visit.


Lake district fells
Lake district fells | Source

The land - a patchwork quilt of green

England is the largest of the countries comprising the island of Britain and covers approximately two-thirds of the island. With no place in England being more than 75 miles or 120km away from the ocean, it is a relatively short journey to see the sea.

Most of England's countryside is filled with rolling hills, lowlands and fields. From the air it looks like a patchwork quilt of different shades of green.

England's weather is changeable:

  • generally summers are warm
  • winters are cold but mild.
  • July and August are the warmest months, and the wettest
  • January and February is the coldest time of year.

The people

England's population is about 51 million, approximately 84% of the population of the United Kingdom.

The English people are descendants of a variety of peoples.

Hunter-gatherers arrived between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago, before the land broke away from mainland Europe and divided into islands.

Influences

  • The Celts were an ancient people from central and western Europe. Celtic tribes invaded from about 800BC to 400BC, although accounts of this time period differ.
  • Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisans were all tribal Germanic people. At first small raiding parties attacked and plunded coastal settlements. Returngin home with their stolen goods. Following Roman departure from Britain in 410 the regions were ruled by different people waring against each other, ignoring invaders. Leaving the Saxons and Angles to build more settlements further inland causing conflict over land with the Britons. As the Anglo-Saxon invaders were led by many different chieftains, Britain was divided into separate states for them to rule.
  • The Nors with Viking raids beginning in the 8th Century. A major attack occurred at the Lindisfarne monastery which was a target both being of easy access and a wealth of treasure.
  • The Roman Empire included England and Wales. The Romans brought straight paved roads to southern England from which garrison towns lead out from London. Roman culture introduced new ways of living with villas adorned with frescoes, mosaics and warmed by central heating; their technology included underfloor heating systems
  • and the Normans have had a great influence on the people of England - all by conquest.

The English still derive most of their current genetic inheritance from the same source as the Irish, Welsh and Scots.

People from many other countries have come to live in England

  • Approximately 5% of people have migrated from India and Pakistan.
  • About 2% of the population are from the Caribbean.
  • Chinese and British Chinese people are also part of the population.

Jorvik Viking Festival 2012
Jorvik Viking Festival 2012 | Source

Stonehenge

One of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the name "Stonehenge" originates from two Old English words "stan" meaning "stone", and "hencg" meaning "hinge" (the larger stone lintels hinge on the vertically placed stones).

Located in the English county of Wiltshire, construction on the great monument began about 5,000 years ago. The stones that stand today were put in place about 4,000 years ago. Archaeologists now believe that three tribes built Stonehenge over three different time periods.

The reason for the stones construction and early use has been lost. Much speculation exists about the meaning of the stones. One theory is that it is a calendar of the stars.

A markerWhere is stonehenge? -
Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, UK
get directions

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's wall
Hadrian's wall | Source

The Wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to keep the 'barbarian' Picts of Scotland out of Roman Britain.

Hadrian's Wall is a World Heritage Site running for approx 150 miles from Arbeia at South Shields to Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast.

Once over 30 forts marked the Roman frontier, with 16 on the line of the Wall, along with turrets, a ditch to the north and great earthworks to the south.

Today you can visit forts and museums stretching across the north of England, with the Wall itself visible at some major sites and at many places in-between.

Glastonbury Tor

Dark skies and sunlight at Glastonbury Tor.
Dark skies and sunlight at Glastonbury Tor. | Source

The Tor

While the Tor is part of a peninsula, it would have appeared to be an island from other viewpoints. The name originates from Celtic to mean the Island of Glass.

Glastonbury Tor is a spiritual place and has been recognised as a holy hill for centuries. Topped by a 14th Century church tower, Catholic pilgrims journeyed to Glastonbury Tor in the middle ages.

Long associated with myths. One Celtic legend gives the name of Avalon to the Tor, a meeting place for the dead. Early Christian stories about the Tor hint of the hiding of the holy grail.

A visit to this place brings feelings of peace, magic, freedom and mystery. The amazing views from the Tor mark it deep within the landscape as an extraordinary site.

Scarborough beach

Alexander the donkey
Alexander the donkey | Source

There is only one place the British want to be when the sun breaks through the clouds and that is at the beach.

One of the most popular beaches in England is to be found at Scarborough. Part of Yorkshire, Scarborough is on the east coast of England. The shoreline is surrounded by cafes and amusements.

Donkey rides are available on the beach. The beach has fine, soft sand and calm water. The bay has a southerly face which draws in the sun.

Scarborough Lighthouse

Scarborough Beach
Scarborough Beach | Source

The lighthouse is a notable landmark at Scarborough. Built in the 18th century it was manned 24 hours a day up until 1997. Nowadays it has an officer on duty during the summer season only.


Scarborough castle

Scarborough Castle
Scarborough Castle | Source

Not only does Scarborough have a beautiful beach, it also has a castle. Sitting on a high point of the coast, it is impressive looking out to sea.Three of its sides are protected by the steep cliffs and the sea, so it has an excellent vantage point.

Jewellery, axes and pots found at the site indicate that before the castle was built, the area was first settled in the iron age. The Romans also used the spot for a signal station. The signal station, constructed in the 4th Century was one of a number built along the coastline to warn of sea-raiders

Anne Bronte's grave, Scarborough

Anne Bronte's grave, Scarborough
Anne Bronte's grave, Scarborough | Source

For literary buffs, Scarborough is the final resting place for one of the Bronte sisters. Not far from Scarborough castle, the small grave of Anne Bronte lies in St Mary's Church graveyard.

Anne had traveled to Scarborough with hopes of the sea air doing her good, but died there of consumption on 28th May 1849 aged 29 yrs. South Bay in Scarborough was well known to the Bronte's and Anne last visited the beach two days before her death. Anne is the only member of the Bronte family not buried at Haworth.

Peasholm Park

Peasholm Park
Peasholm Park | Source

Peasholm Park is well worth a visit. It is well kept, has a good variety of trees, flowers lawn and places to sit walk. There is a lake and bridge. It has a great cafeteria too. There is a large seating area around part of the lake where various birds congregate in the hope of receiving bread from visitors.

South Bay, Scarborough

Tours

There are a number of options available to you for touring England. From day trips out of London, multiple day tours, small group tours in minivans as well as coach and rail tours of longer duration's.

I found it suited me to arrange my own tours, as I enjoyed the planning. You might want to leave the decisions to a ready made tour. The advantages of tours are many, you get to meet other people plus you don't need to worry about hiring a car or booking hotels.

London

London
London | Source

London

The capital of England is host to a plethera of attractions. It probably deserves a page all of its own...

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    • Barbara2659 profile image

      Barbara2659 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. My son travelled to England with a junior tennis group years ago. His pictures are awesome and he loved the trip. He also had an opportunity to go to matches at Wimbledon! My mother-in-law is from

      England, so I have heard a lot about it from her too!

    • profile image

      placestovisitinlondon 5 years ago

      London is my absolute favourite place in the UK. I have been living there for 5 years and created a great site about things to do in london for free

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes and i believe the north of England is the best place to be

    • profile image

      agent009 5 years ago

      It's amazing seeing all the ancient structures like Stonehenge which have been around for centuries and millenia. Almost feels like you're back in the past!

    • lilmuchang1 profile image

      lilmuchang1 6 years ago

      I'm a student at Brunel University at Uxbridge, West of London :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great travel postcards and other products here. I've never been to Scarborough, we live near Brighton on the Southeast Coast.