Home to some of history’s most famous sights and modern cultural exuberance, England offers a melting pot of opportunity for the traveller. From the best sights in London to the inspirational landscapes of the Lake District, there are so many things to see and do you need to plan carefully. Join us now for some great ideas to make your England trip an unforgettable one.
“This tour pack can be done in 3 days or more. I managed it in 3. The pack is so worth the money and is great for a taster of London. I tacked this on at the end of a 33-day Contiki around Europe, and it's all self-paced which made everything simple and easy. London is SO easy to get around, especially on the tube. Did this tour pack on my own and so greatful i did. Definitely worth it, I highly recommend this to anyone who has a few days in London on the way back.”
“he trip blew away my expectations. It was my first time traveling alone and my first time out of the United states and it was absolutely amazing. I ended up doing my own thing more than doing the planned trips but I still felt part of the group when we did things together. I really got to make this my own trip with the safety and comfort of being with a group and an amazing tour manager. I definitely suggest adding time to the trip as it went by so quickly! All in all though I saw more in the 7 days then I had even hoped to. It was the best experience of my life. The hotels were very nice as well and the food was phenomenal.”
“Words cannot describe the amazing time that I had in the UK and Ireland. I strongly recommend this trip to any person, whether your 18 or 35. I had the time of my life. From the scenery to the night life, everything was amazing! I met a lot of great people and would not trade this experience. I now have an extended contiki family!”
The sheer range of tourist attractions in England means there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here’s our pick of must see things:
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Glastonbury – The world’s most famous festival has been going since the 1970s and each June sees one corner of the beautiful Somerset countryside transformed into the largest outdoor performance and contemporary arts festival in the world. How big? Try 170,000 people! True, Glastonbury is almost as famous for its unpredictable weather as for its incredible programme of huge artists, crazy performers and awe-inspiring installations but this is one must-do English travel experience.
For more information on Glastonbury, click here.
2. Notting Hill Carnival – For two days in August, West London plays host to one of the world’s most incredible street parties. Founded by a community seeking cultural identity and togetherness back in the 1960s, the festival now attracts well over 1 million people. A massively important event in England’s social calendar, expect your senses to be shaken, stirred and inspired by the infectious rhythms of the nation’s proud cultural mix.
For more information on the Notting Hill Carnival, click here.
3. ‘Obby ‘Oss – This bizarre pagan festival takes over the beautiful harbor town of Padstow in Cornwall. Staged during the national bank holiday in May, thousands of people line the quayside while two locals dressed as hobbyhorses dance around the town to the sound of accordions and incoherent vocal whooping. Infectious and eccentric nobody quite knows what the true meaning of the event is but if you want to experience Cornish tradition then this is one of the essential things to do in England.
For more information on the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, click here.
4. Festival of Speed – Set in the glorious grounds of Goodwood House, this weekend event celebrates all things rapid. Showcasing everything from to Formula 1 to super bikes, airplanes to prototypes, this is a must-see event for speed demons. The legendary Hill Climb is the centerpiece, and sees competitors put their nerves to the test as they race through the grounds.
For more information on the Festival of Speed, click here.
5. Bestival – This wonderfully playful music event on the Isle of Wight attracts top acts from around the world and is famed for it’s massive fancy dress party on the Saturday. With creatively decorated spaces and some of the world’s best music acts on the bill, this is an absolute must for those with an appetite for fun. The short ferry crossing to the site adds the sense of adventure and gives you the chance to make new friends before the festivities begin.
For more information on Bestival, click here.
1. Tate Modern – Part of the Tate group that includes Britain, Liverpool and St Ives, this iconic former London power station houses some of the world’s best examples of modern and contemporary art. Noted for its colossal scale, the old Turbine Room has hosted some memorable installations and has become one of the top London attractions.
For more information on the Tate Modern, click here.
2. Natural History Museum – Located in the London Royal Borough of Kensington, the Museum of Natural History is home to a significant collection that is renowned the world over. From plants to mammals, this colossal institution makes for a fascinating day out. Admission is free so make sure this top London attraction is top of the list when visiting the capital.
For more information on the Natural History Museum, click here.
3. Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts – Situated in the beautiful city of Norwich, the striking looking SCVA houses a varied and important collection of historic and contemporary visual arts. Built by Lord Foster the site is also a centre for education and research and one of the must see places in England.
For more information on the Sainsbury centre for the visual arts, click here.
4. The British Museum – With a colossal collection of artefacts spanning the full range of human history, the iconic British Museum is one of the must see places in London. A whopping 8 million exhibits mean you can’t hope to cover it all, but a visit here is never less than fascinating. 7 million visitors a year can’t be wrong, right
For more information on the British Museum, click here.
5. Science Museum – SThe Science Museum London houses a playful collection of varied exhibits for the young and not so young alike. From the birth of steam power to glimpses of future technologies, this institution is a playground for the mind and one of the most popular London attractions. Prepare to be amazed.
For more information on the Science Museum, click here.
England has a proud and diverse population, which is reflected in the wonderfully varied choices available. From fine dining at exclusive London restaurants to the street food appearing in pubs and bars the length of the country, you will discover a world of flavours to entice the taste buds and inspire the mind.
When it comes to the traditional foods expect welcoming dishes that reflect the nation’s cool climate and warm personality. For a true taste of England, start with these:
Fish and Chips – It is impossible to think of English food without the ubiquitous meal of Fish and Chips. Best served alfresco and eaten with a small wooden chip fork, the dish consists of battered fish and sizzling chips plied with lashings of salt and vinegar. Fish and chips is sold absolutely everywhere, meaning the only real question is small, medium or large?
Best eaten at -Steins Fish & Chips, South Quay, Padstow
Tikka Masala – This special curry originated in Birmingham and has reputedly overtaken fish and chips as England’s favourite dish. With an irresistible aroma, Tikka Masala is a rich sauce of yogurt and tomatoes blended with aromatic spices. Each restaurant will boast its own twist on the recipe but is always delicious served with fragrant pilau rice and a clay oven baked naan bread.
Best eaten at – Al Frash, 186 Ladypool Road, Birmingham
Pie and Mash – Pie and Mash, a traditional meal comprising of a meat pie with a generous scoop of buttery mash and gravy, is a proper London culinary institution. For those seeking a truly traditional experience a side of jellied eels is a must. A true London East-End ‘Cockney’ classic that is synonymous with the nation’s capital.
Best eaten at –G Kelly, 526 Roman Road Market, Bow, London E3 5ES
Sunday Roast – The classic English Sunday lunch tradition, the roast features beef, chicken, lamb or pork with a side of roast vegetables and gravy. Want to make like the locals? Find a local pub, grab some Sunday newspapers and idle away an entire afternoon.
Best eaten at – The Blue Pig, 69 High Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1NS
English Cream Tea – Trust the English to have found a way of making tea drinking even more ceremonial. The classic cream tea involves chowing down on scones with clotted cream, and jam in preferably genteel surroundings. A quintessential English treat that’s devilishly good for the heart if not quite so good for the waist.
Best eaten at – Betty’s Tea Rooms, 1 Parliament Street, Harrogate, HG1 2QU
Raincoat - The rumours are true – it will rain while you’re in England. Be prepared!
Sense of humour - Show the locals you like to laugh and they will warm to you forever.
Good walking shoes - Essential for exploring some of the beautiful landscapes, coastlines and waterways that the country has to offer.
Headache Tablets - The nation loves a pub and drinking is a bit of a national pastime so these may help you put the night before behind you.
ID - When going out many venues will want to know who you are for safety reasons. Don’t get turned away before you’ve had a chance to indulge.