English adventures outside of London

English adventures outside of London

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

While no one is about to contest that London is the heart and soul of England, there are certainly some fabulous places outside of the capital city that are worth a visit. Head for the coast or to a city that is entirely a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour castles and libraries or brave walking over a swaying suspension bridge. No matter what you decide, England is worth a trip beyond London! 

Check out these five amazing locations that deserve a stop during your United Kingdom adventure. 


The Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle. | Photo by Sara Winter.

Newcastle upon Tyne 

Located in northeast England on the River Tyne, this city is full of fun. Visit part of Hadrian’s Wall, which spans over 80 miles and was built to protect the Roman Empire. St. Nicholas’ Cathedral is a remarkable structure with a tower that features a 15th-century lantern spire. The castle in the city is a medieval fortress, which gives the city its name. Though the original castle no longer stands, you can still see structures from the 1200s. Visit the Castle Keep, battlements and the Black Gate. Additional architecture that may be worth a visit is the Bessie Surtees House, which is two merchant's houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. They feature restored Jacobean facades. In the heart of the city at the end of Grainger Street, you’ll find Grey’s monument. It stands at 134 feet tall and serves as an excellent meeting point in the city!


Pierhead and Millenium Centre in Cardiff.

Cardiff

This city is the capital of Wales and a must-see. Visit Cardiff Castle, an 11th century stone fortress with grounds, exhibits, a Norman Keep and bomb shelters. Cardiff Central Market has been going strong since the 1700s and is a great place for fresh produce, clothing, records and more. It’s located only five minutes from the castle. Also worth a visit is Cardiff Bay for a look at the Pierhead building and the Norwegian Church. Take a boat tour from Mermaid Quay or Penarth Barrage to see some fabulous sights. If the weather is less than ideal, consider heading to Cardiff International White Water Center. Here, you’ll find a plethora of indoor sports like white water rafting or canoeing. Try surfing on the indoor wave machine if you dare! 


The Great Bath, which is part of the Roman Bath. | Photo by Anthony Brown. 

Bath 

This city is so special that the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Obviously you can’t miss the historic Roman Baths, which date back to 43 AD. Thermae Bath Spa traces its origins back to around 863 BC. A visitor was cured of his skin disease after taking a dip in the natural thermal waters, which contain over 42 minerals. Today, you’ll find a completely modern spa with various treatments. For a taste of the local architecture, visit the Royal Crescent. Built from 1767-1775, this crescent-shaped structure overlooks Royal Victoria Park. It is a prime example of elegant Georgian architecture and spans 500 feet. Today, it is a five-star hotel, museum and private housing. 


The Bristol harbor. 

Bristol

The best way to get a feel for this city is to take a ferry tour of the harbor. Listen to the history of the area and peacefully glide through the waters. Don’t miss Clifton Suspension Bridge, which opened in 1864. It rests over Avon Gorge and is always open. Adventurous cyclists and pedestrians can cross the bridge for free, but beware, it sways and moves! For the best view of the bridge, go to the Observatory Hill in Clifton. Perhaps the best part about this city is the abundance of breweries. Take a tour of one of the local breweries to learn their secrets. Bristol Beer Factory, Moore Beer or Wiper and True are great places to start. 


All Souls College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford.

Oxford 

Of course, the name alone makes you think of the world-renowned university housed here. Take a University of Oxford tour and see bookish students wearing pullovers, scurrying from class to class. Go behind the scenes and see the Old Bodleian Library, lecture halls, the chapel and more. Visit the Oxford Botanic Gardens & Arboretum, the UK’s oldest botanic gardens. This lovely area covers 130 acres and offers the perfect escape from the city. View over 6,000 types of plants. Harry Potter fans will be absolutely spellbound by the filming locations tour. This magical adventure will take you to various sets from the movie. Another famous building in the area is Blenheim Palace. This Baroque-style country house has stunning gardens and is the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Travel beyond London at any one of these fabulous English locations and learn more about what the country has to offer its visitors. Whether on the water or inland, you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy. Grab some mates and get ready for a bloody brilliant time! 

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