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Things To Do In England (United Kingdom)
England, the land of the English people, owes its making to King Alfred the Great (9th Century) and his Saxon warriors that defeated the Danish invaders time and again, and brought all small factions of the country under one rule. But do not confuse England with UK, because UK is a country that also consists of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. While you wish to tour England, your main focus should be on the castles and churches and abbeys, old English isles and hamlets with cobbled streets, the countryside as well as the football stadiums and homes of dead poets. Once you are ready to experience England in all its glory, you will find there are so many things to do here, as described below.
Go on a London Tour
An ancient port city made over River Thames, London or Lundune, as it was called in the ancient times, is a beautiful city that is deeply steeped and brewed in history. It is the most preferred and vivid city in England today, for its urban chic experience ensconced within historical buildings that were used by kings and queens. Go on a tour of London and visit the Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Big Ben, London Eye (ferris wheel), Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Abbey. Shop (re: splurge) at Oxford Street and enjoy an evening out at Hyde Park. Rom-com fans, don’t forget to visit the famous Notting Hill (yes, that Julia Roberts-Hugh Grant movie). The street is real, and is lined with Bohemian cafes, trendy bars, cute houses and of course, book shops!
Visit the Bard and other Poets
You cannot come to England and not pay a visit to Shakespeare! Neither can you miss Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Wordsworth or J. K. Rowling. Start with Stratford-upon-Avon street near London that is home to Shakespeare and runs regular plays by the Bard, put up by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Do visit the Dove Cottage in Grasmere to see William Wordsworth’s home and Portsmouth to meet the history of Charles Dickens. Potterheads, hold your breath for the last, because you can visit the cafe where it all started. Elephant House Cafe on the George IV Bidge in Edinburgh is the place where J. K. Rowling finished the first Harry Potter book; and the cafe also serves great coffee, sandwiches and pizza.
Circuit the Ancient Universities
England is home to some of the most reputed universities of the world, most of which are probably as old as the country itself. The foremost on the list, one that comes commonly to every layman’s tongue is the Oxford University (est. 1096 AD). Visit the town of Oxford, which is basically home to students, scholars, professors and very few local residents (most of whom work at the University). You must also tour the Cambridge University, University of Glasgow, Aberdeen University and Durham University. The University College London is another good stop on the tour, especially because it is the alma mater of Mahatma Gandhi.
Step inside a stone circle
That stone circles are time-travelling hedges, is a very ancient belief among pagan worshippers of England and Scotland. But one part of this belief is true; they do take you back in time. If not literally then figuratively. When in England, the first place you must visit to see the circle of stones is Stonehenge. Make sure to book in advance to avoid long queues. You can also visit the less famous Avebury Ring, a little distance away from Stonehenge. It is bigger and takes a mild hike to get there. Castlerigg Stone Circle in Lake District, Merry Maidens Circle in Cornwall and Long Meg in Cumbria are some other good ones.
Take a Harry Potter Tour
Fans of the Wizarding Franchise Harry Potter (books or movies), England is the setting of this fan series written by J. K. Rowling. Owing to the crazy cult fandom of the series, better known as ‘Potterheads,’ the Warner Bros Studios has a whole ‘The Making of Harry Potter Studios Tour’ in London, open to public. It is, easily, one of the highest visited attraction in London. The session is around 3 hours long and includes making of the movies, sets, intricately detailed scene settings (Hagrid's hut, the Great Hall of Hogwarts, Gryffindor common room etc) along with all that rich trivia that went with literally every scene of the movie. You have self-guided as well guided tours available.
Drink at England’s oldest Pub
Pub or public house, the name itself bears a very visible English stamp on it. The culture of pubs, erstwhile known as alehouses, has been of great importance in England. So it is only natural that you experience this for yourself. Head to England’s oldest pub, called the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Another pub, situated at the end of a mesh of caves beneath the Nottingham Castle, is The Trip, a frequently visited place by crusaders of King Richard. Drink a pint of dark ale here and go around the pub’s drinking room, cellars and bars that display some ancient relics.
Stroll down the English Seaside
Th English seaside is grossly underrated. Imagine this - pebbled beaches that transit into sandy stretches, blue as ice water that froths white, gulls mulling and sun shining in a greying sky. How romantic is such a setting! Try the Brighton Beach for a more Bohemian vibe while Blackpool beaches will give you more rusty hens-and-stags feel. There is also a collection of piers that extend from Eastbourne (Sussex) to Cromer (Norfolk). Build sandcastles on sandy beaches and stroll down pebbled ones; collect sea shells and oysters and pick up a portion of fish and chips from local vendors for a fun English beach experience.