While spending your days off in bed or chilling out in your local area — maybe in your new favourite cafe or a leafy park — why not mix it up a bit? It’s much more rewarding to pack your free time with trips far and wide across the country to see what England has to offer elsewhere.
You can jump on a roller coaster, hike the hills above a gorgeous lake, discover a Roman bath town still booming today, or take a deep dive into royal heritage. There’s no end of cool, cultural and natural sights to see across the country; here are some ideas to inspire your trip.
The Eden Project
If you’re looking for something botanical to fill your days off, but also for something that will wow you, look no further than The Eden Project. Set inside a former quarry, The Eden Project consists of several different domes in which you can find a handful of carefully curated biomes, from rainforest to Mediterranean.
You can easily spend hours wandering around these natural yet artificial wonders, snapping pics of your favourite plants and learning about the incredible flora, and how humans have depended on plants since day dot.
If you’re into thrill rides, you’ll be pleased to know that England has a decent number of these scattered across the country. Some of the better-known places for thrills and spills include Thorpe Park in Surrey, Chessington World of Adventures (Greater London), and Alton Towers up in Staffordshire.
No matter which one you choose, expect themed zones, crazy roller coasters, spooky experiences and family-friendly experiences. There’s also on-site accommodation at many of them, meaning you can make a whole weekend of it; Alton Towers has an actual stately home you can stay in.
Isle of Wight
This island county can be found just off the south coast of England. Once a favourite holiday destination for Queen Victoria (and later her home), the Isle of Wight remains a popular summer retreat for a cross-section of British society.
Easily accessible thanks to a number of ferry crossings, the Isle of Wight has a whole range of things to see and do: wild beaches, cliffs, cute towns, wonky churches, and dramatic scenery. There’s even a stretch of heritage steam railway here.
Playing host to a wonderland of eye-popping landscapes, England’s Lake District has long been a jewel in the crown of the country’s natural credentials. Taking a trip here provides a breath of fresh air away from city living, from the lofty heights of Scafell Pike to the magical waterside wanderings to be had at Lake Windermere, there’s so much to see here — and a lot of prime hiking to be done too.
There’s one thing that England is not short of, and that is the countryside and all the charming villages you can find dotted around it. The Cotswolds is probably the most famous example of this, drawing in visitors from around the world to marvel at its chocolate-box cottages and postcard-perfect canals.
But it’s actually a huge area, which spans almost 800 square miles and crosses the borders of five counties. The best thing to do is to hone in on one area, such as the portion of the Cotswolds where you’ll find Bourton-on-the-Water, and Upper and Lower Slaughter. Get ready to be transported into a bucolic vision of the quintessential English countryside.
Beautiful Bath has long been attracting visitors to its elegant streets. Visiting here on your days off means taking time out to step inside the Roman baths (yes, they’re that ancient); you can even take a dip in the spa, which still amazingly exists.
The Circus is famed for its curving architecture, while elsewhere the town drips in Jane Austen heritage, Georgian buildings, cosy tearooms, ornate restaurants and plenty of places to take the selfie of your dreams.
A thoroughly royal day out can be had at Windsor. Home to the English monarchs for over a thousand years, this town is obviously most famous as the setting for Windsor Castle. But there’s plenty more going on here than the royal connection. Located on the banks of the River Thames, Old Windsor charms with cobbled streets, Mediaeval buildings and old marketplace.
But back at the castle, a stroll along the Long Walk affords views and a countryside setting, while across the river Eton is similarly attractive, with old buildings and its famous college.
It’s so great to see our UK Pub Co. members travelling to all these places on their days off while working in hospitaliy in the UK. What other places should be included on this list?