For a small country, England certainly packs in a lot of stuff! Medieval castles, historic buildings, wild and rugged moorland, stunning coastline, charming villages – England has it all in abundance. In fact, the visitor to England may well wonder where are the 50 million or so people that live here as there is so much green space!
At the south west tip of England lies Cornwall where the climate is generally mild all year round and this can be an ideal place to take a winter break. Holiday cottages are found in abundance and you can take your pick from waterside properties or flats and cottages in the major towns of Penzance and Truro.
Still in the South West, Devon is one of the most beautiful counties with two coastlines and Dartmoor National Park. There are interesting National Trust properties such as Killerton Gardens near Exeter with its beautiful old house and its gardens which are open all year. For children, nearby Crealy Park offers entertainment for all weathers including being able to handle small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Dorset is England’s only World Heritage Coastline, so called because of its varied geology depicting many periods in the world’s history. The beach at Charmouth is the place for fossil collecting – crack open a rock and you are almost certain to find one.
Somerset is a lesser-known county, but the visitor will find much of interest. To the North East lies the beautiful city of Bath with its Roman baths and visitors’ centre. Bath lies in the basin of an extinct volcano and the Bath Skyline is a walk right round the top of the city taking in the views. There are several beautiful and immaculate parks right in the centre of the city and the shops are individual and quirky. The Somerset Levels is an area of flat land where willow is grown. This area is outstanding for birds and wildlife.
The South coast of England has always been known for its seaside resorts such as Brighton which is only an hour by train from London and which has an interesting arts scene. The East of England is lesser known but no less beautiful. Lincolnshire holds many secrets and Lincoln Cathedral is well worth a visit. For the boating enthusiast, the scenery of the Norfolk Broads is relaxing and unspoilt.
Mention the North of England and many people think of factory chimneys. But the visitor to this area is in for delightful surprises which come in the form of the Forest of Bowland, the Yorkshire Moors and the Pennines. These areas of England are sparsely populated and offer scenery unsurpassed anywhere in the world. For the railway enthusiast, the Settle to Carlisle Railway is a world-famous railway journey and takes in some of the highest railway stations in the country. A great way to enjoy this rail trip is perhaps to cycle one-way and catch the train back.
The rolling hills of Cheshire contain the historic city of Chester. The city is full of things to do and see. One of the most impressive sights is the Rows which is a two-tier shopping gallery dating from the Middle Ages. Cheshire is an ideal county to explore on foot. Rocky ridges and wide river valleys form natural routes for the walker, and there is a network of over 3000 kilometres of footpaths and other rights of way which encourage the visitor to discover quiet corners of the countryside
On the border with Wales lies Herefordshire, a county of unspoilt countryside and distinctive market towns as well as a wealth of varied landscapes – from the historic city of Hereford to fascinating villages. A visit to Herefordshire would be incomplete without experiencing the taste of the local cider. The “cider route” takes people around to the cider producers in the area and there is a cycle route too!
Lancashire, away from the major towns, is a county of rolling hills and pretty towns and villages. Its historic past can be witnessed by the huge amount of Victorian factory buildings that remain – many of which have since been converted into apartments. Blackpool on the coast is unique and attracts millions of visitors to its winter spectacle which is The Blackpool Illuminations. Three miles of the sea front are transformed into a brilliant display which is different every year. Blackpool Illuminations are considered to be the best free light show on the planet. The Illuminations offer a host of ways to view the lights. Many visitors drive through by car or coach but there are open top trams or rides in a horse-drawn carriages. Or you may even decide to walk through the Illuminations with a bag of chips!
Once you holiday in England and realise quite how much there is to see, you may decide never to leave these shores again!