Things to do in England

Things to do in  England

Look right, not left

England is a small yet mighty country brimming with culture, history, and charm. London, the jewel of England’s architectural crown, reigns supreme over the south and enjoys a close proximity to the 5,000-year-old Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath. Elsewhere, Oxford and Cambridge encompass intellectual grandeur; York’s Gothic abbey exudes a ghostly ambience; and coastal gems such as Brighton, Dover, and Cornwall offer family-friendly attractions and the chance to visit Britain’s beaches. Whether you want to experience the bright lights of London, the tranquil beauty of the Lake District, or the deep-rooted history of English cities, England’s cultural diversity offers something for everyone.

Top 15 attractions in England


An archaeological marvel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the world’s most enigmatic tourist attractions, Stonehenge draws up to 1.3 million visitors annually. The site itself—a circle of gigantic stones standing in the heart of the English countryside—is made even more impressive by its mysterious history. Although Stonehenge’s original purpose remains unknown, onlookers gather to admire the 3,500-year-old structure and ponder its astronomical, spiritual, or even supernatural meaning.More

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence and administrative office of the British royal family since the 19th century and is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world. Access for the public is limited and exclusive but worthwhile for those who arrange a visit.More

Tower of London

From medieval torture to grim executions and infamous royal prisoners, the Tower of London has long found itself at the center of the city's dark history. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, the historic castle has served as a Royal Menagerie, Her Majesty's prison, an execution site, a royal observatory, a Royal Mint, and a military storehouse over the course of its existence.More

Westminster Abbey

A UNESCO World Heritage site, with a legacy dating back more than 1,000 years, Westminster Abbey is among London’s most historic landmarks. The Gothic church is best known for hosting headline-grabbing events involving the British royal family, such as the Queen’s coronation, Princess Diana's funeral, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.More

London Eye

The London Eye offers unparalleled views of central London's world-famous landmarks from its prime location on the Thames River waterfront, opposite Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The gigantic, 443-foot-high observation wheel was built to mark the millennium in 2000 and quickly became one of the most popular paid attractions in the United Kingdom.More

Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

Few landmarks epitomize central London as perfectly as Big Ben, the iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament that's officially known as Elizabeth Tower after the late Queen Elizabeth II. Heralding Great Britain's political nucleus in Westminster, Big Ben stands as the striking centerpiece of the Thames waterfront and is backed by the historic Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament.More

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle in the world that is still used by the monarchy. Since William the Conqueror built a wooden fortress here over 900 years ago, this has been a royal palace and residence. Despite its daily use for royal business, much of the palace is open to the public and well worth a visit.More

St. Paul's Cathedral

An architectural masterpiece with a magnificent dome, St. Paul's Cathedral is one of London’s most recognizable sites. The 17th-century cathedral boasts a rich history as host of the jubilee celebrations of late Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.More

Tower Bridge

With its Gothic towers and central bascule flanked by dramatic suspension bridges, Tower Bridge is both a remarkable feat of engineering and one of London’s most instantly recognizable landmarks. The famous bridge is a popular subject of London postcards, leading many to mistake it for London Bridge, which is actually the next one upstream.More

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square—the living, breathing, and beating heart of London’s West End—plays an integral part in local life as a site of celebrations, protests, performances, parades, and public gatherings. Overlooked by grand, stately buildings such as the National Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, this vast square is dotted with iconic fountains and statuary. Most famous among them is the 144-foot (44-meter) Nelson’s Column, which commemorates a British naval victory over France and Spain, and is guarded by four oversized bronze lions.More

Thames River

Flowing right through the heart of central London, the Thames River offers a dramatic backdrop to the city's famous skyline with landmarks lining its shores. Walk along the riverfront from Westminster to Tower Bridge and you'll pass London icons such as the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Southbank, Shakespeare's Globe, and the London Bridge.More

Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is a centuries-old tradition that marks the official shift change of the Household Regiment—the King's guards stationed at Buckingham Palace. One of the world's most famous ceremonies and a top London experience, this ceremony gives visitors the chance to witness the grandeur of a royal march. Dressed in their iconic red suits and bearskin hats, the guards exemplify classic British pomp in a showing that's not to be missed.More

Covent Garden

In the heart of London’s West End, Covent Garden is one of the city’s most popular dining and entertainment hubs. Home to the Royal Opera House; several top theaters, including the Lyceum and the Donmar Warehouse; world-class restaurants; and many major brand-name stores, most travelers to London plan to explore this area while visiting.More

London Shard

Piercing the sky like a gigantic shard of glass, the London Shard is every bit as spectacular as it sounds. This architectural wonder, designed by Renzo Piano, is not only one of the city’s most iconic structures—it also boasts the highest observation deck in London.More

Piccadilly Circus

Famous for its giant illuminated screens and near-constant stream of traffic, Piccadilly Circus in London’s West End has been featured in so many movies and TV shows that even first-time visitors feel they recognize the surroundings. Almost every visitor to London will pass through this major tourist hub at one point.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in England

Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London
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Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros. Studio with Luxury Transport from London
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Warner Bros. Studio Harry Potter Tour with Superior Transport from London
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Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford Day Trip from London
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Leeds Castle, Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Day Trip from London with Guided Cathedral Tour
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Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle Day Trip from London
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Guided Luxury Paris Day Trip with Optional Lunch at the Eiffel Tower
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Cotswolds Small Group Tour from London
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All about England

When to visit

The only thing guaranteed about England’s weather is that summer is warmer than winter and rain is always possible. July through August brings comfortable average highs of 73°F (23°C), but this season also brings big crowds. March through May sees temperatures around 64°F (18°C), extremely lush countryside, and quieter sights. From late September through November, fall’s foliage and mild temperatures compensate for regular rain. Summer is festival time, with events like Glastonbury Festival and London’s Trooping the Colour ceremony drawing crowds.

Getting around

Trains are fastest way of getting between England’s cities; check schedules online at National Rail and click into regional operators’ websites for tickets. Long-distance buses also cover the country, but they can be slow, and local bus services are patchy. If you want to explore rural England, the best option is to rent a car. In London, however, congestion and a lack of parking can make driving challenging; in the capital, take the London Underground (also known as the Tube), buses, and black cabs.

Traveler tips

Every November 5th, communities across the United Kingdom celebrate Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night) to commemorate the anti-monarchy Gunpowder Plot of November 5, 1605. While most places have some kind of fireworks display, things reach a fever pitch in Sussex. Here, “bonfire boyes" from different towns hold local processions, then gather in the country town of Lewes. Visit after dark to see spectacular torchlit processions, burning barrels tipped into the river, giant effigies, and lots of fireworks.


People Also Ask

What is the most famous thing about England?

The very thought of England summons visions of London’s landmarks and royal pageantry, from Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Other things forever associated with the country are ancient Stonehenge, handsome Georgian towns like Bath; and rolling green hills, medieval villages, and wood-beamed pubs.

What can you do in England for a week?

Devote two days to London must-sees such as Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and the city's museums. Then, explore the Georgian city of Bath, famous for its exquisite Roman baths; before admiring the mysterious stones of Stonehenge, and glowing lakes and fells of England’s craggy Lake District.

What kind of activities can you do in England?

Aside from experiencing top attractions like Tower Bridge, Bath, and Stonehenge, there’s plenty else. Visit museums, explore the elegant university towns of Oxford and Cambridge; roam stately homes and castles; absorb the rural beauty of regions like the Cotswolds; and experience culinary rituals like afternoon tea and fish 'n' chips.

What is the most popular outdoor activity in the UK?

Enjoying England’s great outdoors is a national hobby and visitor-must. Popular activities include hiking and cycling in National Parks like the Lake District and Yorkshire Moors; taking Thames sightseeing cruises; surfing and picnicking on Cornwall’s craggy and sandy beaches; and exploring coastal trails, nature reserves, forests, and stately parks and gardens.

How can I have fun in the UK?

The English have more fun than many tourists imagine. For your share, down pints at cozy pubs, hit a nightclub in any big city; or join those who go hiking, cycling, or wild swimming. Alternatively, watch a Premier League football match or sedate summer game of cricket on a village green.

What should I avoid in England?

In London, try to avoid traveling during weekday rush hours when the city’s roads and transport systems are typically clogged. It’s also wise to visit popular museums, cities, and attractions outside public holidays, when big crowds usually descend. Also, never push into a line of people: it’s considered extremely rude.

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