1. The Lake District
This area is stunningly beautiful to walk around, ride a ferry, sail, or just sit and read the Romantic Poets: Coleridge, Wordsworth, et al. Spend a long weekend in the Lake District to get the true flavour of this stunning destination.
Bath is one of my favorite places for its links with Jane Austen, its gorgeous Georgian architecture, the amazing Roman Baths, the Abbey, the lovely shop-covered Pulteney Bridge, and also its recently renovated spa where you can swim in the centuries old Cross Pool, or in the more modern rooftop outdoor pool.
3. Oxford or Cambridge
You must take a tour of famous university towns Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford is more of a city, while Cambridge is surrounded by fields and trees. Both have rivers, but Cambridge is famous for its punting – shallow, narrow boats on which you can drift along the river. In Oxford, visit Christ College which is open to visitors and has many Harry Potter film locations. In Cambridge visit Kings College Chapel, home to the famous choir.
4. Windsor Castle
A visit to a royal castle is crucial and Windsor is still one of the Queen’s residences, which makes it a working castle (unusual these days). It has great exhibitions – currently one on Prince Philip to mark his 90th birthday – amazing art, and lovely park surroundings. Alternately head to Brighton and see the Royal Pavilion. No longer a royal residence but an incredible folly of money-spending by the Prince Regent around 1800, before he became King George IV.
York Minster is the biggest church in England and the largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe; it’s stunning. The center of York is a tangle of narrow, cobbled streets full of cafes, which have names like The Shambles. Don’t forget to pop into a quaint cafe for English tea and cream scones! The town still has much of its medieval wall too.