The Best of England

The Best of England, (photo by Corrie Wingate)
The Best of England


With English Tourism Week about to kick off, we take a look at some of our favourite parts of England and recommend a few snacks along the way…

Devon and Cornwall

Many miles of wonderful coastal scenery, spectacular beaches, wild moorlands and great gardens make this the place to be outdoors. The Eden Project is Cornwall’s most popular attraction, while at Tate St Ives, you can see the painting and architecture the landscape has inspired. Torquay is an elegant resort with perfect examples of Edwardian seaside architecture, while the handsome Devon town of Dartmouth is the pride of the Navy. Exeter has a majestic Cathedral and nearby Topsham is the perfect place to while away the hours in antique shops.

Don’t leave without trying: Cornish pasties – traditionally filled with chuck steak, turnip, potatoes and onion, these are the real deal. 


Lake District

Well loved, well walked and wildly romantic, the Lake District is one of the best-known corners of Britain. From Wast Water, the most austere and spectacular of the lakes, to Lake Windermere, the ideal leisure lake, the beauty of Lake District is breathtaking. Its literary heritage is impressive too – from Dove Cottage, once the home of William Wordsworth, to the enchanting World of Beatrix Potter.

Don’t leave without trying: Cumbria is renowned for the quality of its pork – be sure to sample some sausages or pork pies – and don’t forget to put a bar of Kendal Mint Cake in your rucksack before you set off into the hills.


The Cotswolds

This quintessentially English area of rural Britain is peppered with stone villages tucked into lush river valleys and graced with elegant, historic towns. Chipping Campden and the Slaughters are almost too beautiful to be true, while Snowshill Manor is surrounded by gardens inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. For lovers of all things Shakespearean, Stratford-upon Avon is a shrine to the immortal bard. Cheltenham is noted for its shopping and Regency splendour, while Gloucester is renowned for its sublime cathedral and historic docks. The stunning National Arboretum at Westonbirt was planted in the 19th century and is a celebration of trees from all around the world.

Don’t leave without trying: You’ll find excellent dairy products in the Cotswolds, from home-made ice creams and yoghurts to local cheeses such as Single and Double Gloucester and North Cerney goats’ cheese.


Norfolk and Suffolk

Big skies, beaches, boating and birding make Norfolk and Suffolk a haven for outdoor enthusiasists, but they also offer historic churches, fine dining and cosy pubs. Hire a boat for the day and explore the Norfolk Broads, take a boat trip to see the Blakeney seals, or seek out birds and other wildlife at Minsmere RSPB Nature Reserve. The magnificent Ely Cathedral towers above the Fens, while Sutton Hoo is the fascinating site of an Anglo-Saxon burial ship.

Don’t leave without trying: the sweet, tender Cromer crab is justly famous – try the dressed crab at Davies Fish Shop in Garden Street, Cromer.


Bath

Magnificent Georgian architecture, historic attractions, modern spa facilities, and a host of cultural festivals… there are plenty of reasons why Bath is one of the few cities to have achieved Unesco World Heritage Site status. The Roman Baths are a vivid reminder of exactly what the Romans did for us, and modern-day visitors can soak in the thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa. Pulteney Bridge is a beautiful bridge-cum-shopping arcade over the River Avon, while the city’s Abbey is where Edgar, England’s first king, was crowned.

Don’t leave without trying: Sally Lunn buns have been baked here for centuries and are still available at the restaurant of the same name.


York

From its awe-inspiring cathedral to its picturesque medieval streets and a recreated Viking world, this charismatic northern city is one of England’s must-sees. The glorious medieval York Minster dominates the city, while the City Walls are the longest medieval walls in Europe. Lined with half-timbered buildings, The Shambles are York’s most photogenic street, while Stonegate is one of its liveliest. There’s also plenty to see at the National Railway Museum, the York Castle Museum and the Jorvik Viking Centre.

Don’t leave without trying: chocolate! Names like Rowntree’s and Terry’s are deeply rooted in York’s social and industrial development and there’s even a Chocolate Trail you can follow.


Oxford

From punting on the River Thames to grandiose historical colleges and the oldest botanic garden in Britain, the ‘city of dreaming spires’ is crammed with inspiring buildings and cultural heritage. The city’s landmarks include the Ashmolean Museum (the oldest museum in the country), the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre. Christ Church, Oxford’s largest college, is also home to the city’s cathedral, while the University Museum next to Keble College is packed with fascinating natural history exhibits.

Don’t leave without trying: a pint at one of the city’s historic drinking holes, such as the Eagle and Child or the Lamb and Flag, both on St Giles.