Sep 12, 2017
Writing about travelling in England is as difficult as it is easy. As soon as I think of places to visit in the U.K. an almost endless list of possibilities spring to mind. The catch is trying to decide where to begin. If we start south and work northwards then Cornwall seems pretty deserving of mention. A very popular summer destination spot for decades, its beaches and increasingly pleasant weather make it an attractive proposition. The cities of Plymouth, and on the way, Exeter, Bath and Bristol also all stand out.
London is an obvious must see for almost all visitors to the UK. With its museums and galleries, events and activities, trying to list anywhere in particular would seem a disservice to the sheer variety on offer. Put simply, for the sheer range of sights and the ease with which one can get around, the capital is a great location to explore. Equally attractive are the university cities of Oxford to the north west and Cambridge to the north of London. Both are very easily accessed by train and both offer impressive architecture and reasons to explore.
East Anglia, for the Norfolk broads and countryside life, and places like Warwick and Nottingham for the history and legend are also appealing for a number of reasons. With history in mind, organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust are worth investigating for the number of sites under their management. From castle ruins to country estates the diversity and spread of locations are impressive and could provide a holiday plan backdrop with ease.
Slightly further northward the areas of natural outstanding beauty become standard. From the Peak District to the Lake District stunning views become the norm. You also have the former industrial belt cities that spread across the country from Liverpool, a prominent shipping port, to Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds slightly further eastward. There is also York, a principal historical location for centuries. In fact, the south, midlands and north divides can be reasonably well traced by considering the geographic locations of the cities and the role many played historically.
Further northward still and other historical features become apparent such as Hadrian’s Wall. Built to keep out the tribes from former Roman territory this engineering feature appears to be as much symbolic as it was practical marking land rights in an apparent and obvious fashion. Today the cities of Middlesborough, Sunderland and Newcastle also form a residential cluster as cities which developed over the industrial era and still do in terms of shared regional culture and geographic proximity.
In short, England, despite its relatively small size is impressively rich when it comes to diversity and experience. I’ve only really scratched the surface of what is available, and have omitted for space reasons obvious highlights such as Tintagel, Stonehenge and Avebury and yet again these are illustrations from just one region, the south west. I can’t really stress enough just how much there is to do and see in England. The possibilities are vast, whether it is excitement and adventure one is after or peace, tranquility and culture. Factor in ease of travel and short travel times, alongside the ability to control costs, and it’s well worth visiting.
About the Column
Gareth Morris is a university language teacher. He is also a part-time doctoral student. Gareth first moved to China in 2005 and, after spending a couple of years back in the UK studying for his PGCE and Masters, has now returned to the city he calls home. During his time in China Gareth has travelled extensively. His travels have taken him from Beijing and Xian to Kunming and Haikou. He has also spent time in Hong Kong and Macao. In addition to this, Gareth has lived in a number of countries across Europe, North and Central America and Asia. Closer to home, Gareth has enjoyed visiting numerous localities within Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. His Livingsu column will explore local places of interest found within walking distance of Metro line 1.