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Things to see and do in England

Tourist offices

VisitEngland

Address: 1 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5HX
Telephone: +44 20 7578 1400.
Website: http://www.visitengland.com

Attractions in England

Admire architecture and art in York

With its medieval architecture, magnificent minster (northern Europe's largest church) and ancient city walls, York demands a stop on any English itinerary. York Museum will reveal the city's Viking past, whilst the surrounding countryside and smaller towns are showing a burgeoning cultural revolution, spurred by the new Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park nearby.

Delight in delicious Devon

Clear the cobwebs on a blustery walk along the spectacularly rugged North Devon Coast, exploring its castles and coves. If you are feeling brave enough, try a spot of surfing, before sating your appetite with a delicious Devonshire cream tea – a pot of tea drunk with a combination of scones, clotted cream and jam.

Discover the illustrious past of Leeds Castle

Located in Kent (rather than the northern city it shares a name with), Leeds Castle is built on two islands in a lake. Over the centuries, six medieval queens and Henry VIII have called the castle home. Famed for its aviary, which includes black swans, the castle features fine art and tapestries as well as a maze, vineyard and Culpeper Garden outside.

Experience the high life at Chatsworth House

Visit the opulent Chatsworth House, perhaps the country's finest country home. Set in the Peak District, among sculptures, parks and woodland full of deer, this stately home was once used as a prison by Elizabeth I. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire, the house is an insight into the British aristocracy through the ages.

Find the Fab Four and much more in Liverpool

Liverpool is a city transformed. Once the butt of Scouser jokes and stereotypes, it's now a flourishing, cultured city. The arrival of the Tate art gallery, the waterfront and Albert Dock regeneration and the Museum of Liverpool have reshaped the city into a dynamic hub. Thankfully, its musical heritage still remains – see where the Beatles first performed at the Cavern Club.

Head for the bright lights of Blackpool

Blackpool has been attracting holiday visitors since 1735 when the city's first guesthouse opened. Today, the Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park draws in tourists of all tastes and ages with rides and rollercoasters. The 156m-tall (518ft) Blackpool Tower houses a ballroom, an aquarium and viewing deck and dominates the skyline along Blackpool's lively promenade. 

Learn about Poole Harbour's pirate past

Poole Harbour is a vibrant quay on England's southern coast that bustles with an array of bars, cafes and restaurants. Follow the Cockle Trail to discover myths and legends about Poole's smugglers and ghosts of yesteryear, culminating at the Waterfront Museum. Adventure-seekers can try watersports in and around the harbour or take a ferry to the National Trust's Brownsea Island.

Play on the pleasure pier in Brighton

Shop around the bustling Laines in the bohemian seaside town of Brighton, before picking up some fish and chips and taking a long shore-side stoll. Set in lavish gardens is the ornate former seaside home of George IV, Brighton's Royal Pavilion. On the beach Brighton Pier brims with life, whilst the burnt-out bones of the West Pier cut a forlorn figure.

Re-live history at Warwick Castle

Imagine life in the imposing Warwick Castle, first built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Along with Leeds in Kent, it is one of the best-preserved castles in England. See the castle come to life with mediaeval re-enactments, tours of the Dungeons, and interactive experiences such as Merlin: The Dragon Tower.

Ride the roller coasters at Alton Towers

Alton Towers is the UK's most popular theme park, attracting young and old alike with its vast selection of whizzing rides and flashing attractions. The park, which opened in 1980, also includes 200 acres (81 hectares) of landscaped gardens, live entertainment and the historic towers building which was the residence of the Talbot family (the Earls of Shrewsbury) until 1923.

Rove London, England's greatest city

Britain's capital is one of the world's greatest. Visit a huge range of museums and galleries; melt the credit card in its shops and markets, and (over)indulge in its restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs. Look out over the city from the gigantic Shard building or spend an afternoon ogling the crown jewels in the Tower of London.

See a traditional British seaside in Southwold

Situated on the north Suffolk coastline, Southwold is a traditional seaside town that forms part of the Suffolk Heritage Coast. With its brightly painted beach huts, working lighthouse, harbour and bustling fish markets, Southwold is a quintessential English resort town of yesteryear without the brashness of a pleasure beach.

See some Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon

Catch a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Set on the banks of the River Avon, Stratford makes a delightfully picturesque setting for numerous festivals and events over the year, including a literary festival in April and a river festival in July.

Speculate at Stonehenge

Erected between 3000 and 1600 BC, Stonehenge is a giant stone circle that stands on Salisbury Plain and is one of the most famous surviving sites from the ancient world. Marvel at the stones and the ingenuity of the construction; the interactive visitor centre has various theories about how the structure came to be and houses over 250 prehistoric treasures.

Stroll the beautiful city of Bath

Visit limestone-clad Bath and enjoy high-end boutiques and lovely restaurants before submerging yourself in the city's famous Roman baths. Perfectly preserved Georgian terraces embody a genteel reputation, with the Royal Crescent a must-see, whilst literature fans will want to visit the Jane Austen Centre, a museum dedicated to Bath's most famous resident.

Stroll, swim and sail at the scenic Lake Windermere

At 17km (10.5 miles) long and plunging to 61m (200ft) deep, Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England. It forms part of the Lake District National Park and is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with numerous stunning walking trails, although many visitors prefer to explore the lake from the water itself.

Study the sights at Oxford and Cambridge

Visit the two most important seats of learning in the country: Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, having existed since the 11th century. Cambridge University was founded in 1209. Both are beautiful cities full of centuries-old colleges, cosy ancient pubs and architectural gems with the larger, Oxford, full of cosmopolitan zeal.

Visit royalty at Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth II and is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Painstakingly restored after severe fire damage, the castle has been continuously inhabited by Britain's monarchs since its construction by William I. The remains of numerous British sovereigns lie here too including Henry VIII, Charles I and George V.

Walk the causeway to St Michael's Mount

Perched proudly on a rocky island, St Michael's Mount is one of Cornwall's best-known attractions. Built in 1135 by the Abbot of Mont St Michel, legend claims it was constructed by a giant called Cormoran. The castle is open to the public and at low tide it's possible to walk the causeway to reach it. Check local tide times first.

Wonder at the majesty of Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is a masterpiece of Romanesque and gothic architecture. Inside, visitors can see stained glass windows dating from the 12th century and the medieval tombs of King Henry IV and Edward the Black Prince, as well as those of numerous archbishops including Thomas Becket, who was murdered in the northwest transept in 1170.

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