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Dazzling structure, historic streets, and postcard-worthy sights… these are a few of the most lovely cities in England.
England is stuffed with gorgeous areas. From the long-lasting buildings of the capital to hidden gems just like the nation’s smallest metropolis… there are numerous bewitching magnificence spots to discover!
A few of these cities are particular for his or her historic structure: from historical Roman partitions to regal Georgian cityscapes. Uncover Medieval castles, half-timbered Tudor buildings, and dramatic Norman cathedrals dotted round these enchanting metropolis centres.
Others are constructed on the banks of magnificent rivers, or surrounded by picturesque countryside. However all of them are exceptionally lovely and crammed with unbelievable picture ops!
Whether or not you’re on the lookout for a dreamy metropolis break vacation spot or a easy day journey, these picture-perfect English cities might present the proper setting. Take pleasure in…
15 Most Stunning Cities in England
Don’t have time to learn the entire publish? There’s a fast model of the checklist, and a map, on the finish of the web page!
1. Bathtub, Somerset
With its dazzling, UNESCO World Heritage metropolis centre crammed with honey-coloured Georgian structure, the spa metropolis of Bathtub is really one of the vital lovely locations in England.
Town’s protected centre is residence to some 5,000 listed buildings, so looks-wise, Bathtub has modified little or no for the reason that Georgians had been right here “taking the waters”. These historic, 18th-century streets have been the setting for dozens of interval films and TV exhibits – most not too long ago the hit Netflix present Bridgerton.
In addition to gorgeous structure, Bathtub is famed for its pure thermal springs, which have been used for his or her restorative and supposed therapeutic properties for hundreds of years. The traditional Romans based a spa city right here within the 1st century AD, and you may nonetheless go to their brilliantly preserved bathtub home immediately.
Stunning sights in Bathtub
- The Royal Crescent – a crescent-shaped row of 18th-century terraced townhouses.
- Roman Baths – a few of the best-preserved historical Roman structure on the earth.
- Pulteney Bridge – a lovely Palladian-style bridge overlooking a horseshoe-shaped weir within the River Avon.
- Bathtub Abbey – a medieval abbey with a putting tower and beautiful fan-vaulted ceilings.
- RECOMMENDED TOUR: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour (from £22.50pp)
- READ MORE: Plan the Good Weekend in Bathtub
2. Metropolis of Westminster, London
It was tempting to incorporate London as an entire on this checklist of probably the most lovely English cities. The capital is, in any case, our most well-known metropolis, and is crammed with elegant buildings – from the glittering skyscrapers of the town centre to the tranquil parklands in further-out boroughs like Greenwich and Richmond.
However a lot of London’s most iconic and sumptuous buildings are discovered throughout the Metropolis of Westminster. Proper on the coronary heart of London, Westminster is definitely a metropolis in its personal proper – in addition to being a London borough.
Though it’s a reasonably small borough, Westminster is crammed with dazzling historic structure and immediately recognisable sights. So you might simply spend a number of days exploring.
Stunning sights in Westminster
- Buckingham Palace – the Royal residence. Click on right here to verify ticket costs for visiting the State Rooms.
- The Palace of Westminster – the Homes of Parliament – and the well-known clock Large Ben alongside them.
- Westminster Abbey – the place royal coronations and weddings are held.
- READ MORE: Issues to do in Westminster
3. York, Yorkshire
A small, quirky metropolis within the north of England, York is stuffed with historical past and tradition. It’s additionally a vibrant, vigorous metropolis with two universities, common festivals, and an estimated 365 pubs – one for every single day of the yr!
Surrounded by Medieval metropolis partitions – the longest in England – the compact and leafy metropolis centre is crammed with historic buildings. There are Roman ruins, Medieval halls, and Norman castles – in addition to many unbelievable examples of Georgian and Victorian structure.
Stunning sights in York
- York Minster – a Gothic cathedral constructed between the twelfth and Fifteenth centuries.
- The Shambles – a slim, flagstone avenue lined with tiny, distinctive outlets.
- Museum Gardens – a reasonably metropolis centre park residence to the evocative ruins of St Mary’s Abbey.
- River Ouse Metropolis Cruise – from £14pp.
- READ MORE: Prime Issues to do in York (a neighborhood’s information)
4. Oxford, Oxfordshire
A historic city recognized for its world-famous faculties, Oxford feels just like the quintessential British metropolis. Nicknamed the “metropolis of dreaming spires” by Victorian poet Matthew Arnold, Oxford is a peaceable metropolis of honey-coloured structure, picturesque streets, and gently flowing rivers.
Courses started at Oxford College in 1096 – with the faculty formally forming in 1200 – making it the second-oldest college on the earth. Uncover the town’s historic faculty buildings and iconic libraries, discover the river on a conventional punt (a gondola-like, flat-bottomed boat) or take a Harry Potter strolling tour (click on right here for costs) to see areas used within the films.
With its mix of gorgeous structure, wealthy historical past, and up to date city centre crammed with some unbelievable bars and eateries, Oxford makes for a unbelievable English metropolis break.
Stunning sights in Oxford
- Schools of the College of Oxford – the oldest of those historic faculty buildings dates again to the 14th century. Guided excursions begin from £19.95 – click on right here for costs.
- Oxford Botanic Gardens and Arboretum – fairly, peaceable gardens.
- River Cherwell – rent a conventional punt to discover this tranquil waterway.
- Bodleian Library – one of many oldest libraries in Europe, opened in 1602.
- READ MORE: Finest Issues to do in Oxford
5. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
With its wonky laneways, good-looking Gothic structure, and serene river dotted with wood punts, the attractive college city of Cambridge is definitely one of the vital lovely cities in England.
Based in 1209 by students who left Oxford for political causes, the College of Cambridge is among the oldest and finest on the earth. Each universities share many traditions – together with their well-known annual Boat Race – and the 2 cities share quite a few traditions.
Essentially the most spellbinding a part of Cambridge is The Backs – a big swathe of inexperienced, lower by the River Cam. Punting on this tranquil waterway affords chic views of the long-lasting buildings that make up the historic faculties.
Stunning sights in Cambridge
- King’s Faculty – probably the most well-known faculty constructing, recognized for its putting Gothic tower.
- The Backs and the River Cam – a stunning inexperienced space behind the college buildings.
- Bridge of Sighs – a coated stone bridge over the river at St John’s Faculty.
- RECOMMENDED TOUR: Strolling & Punting Tour, from £60pp
6. Canterbury, Kent
The picturesque streets of Canterbury are steeped in historical past relationship way back to the Roman instances. Divided in two by the tranquil River Stour – certainly one of England’s most historic waterways – Canterbury is understood for its fantastically preserved Medieval structure and Roman metropolis partitions.
This can be a metropolis of quaint cobbled streets lined with timber-framed buildings, quirky unbiased outlets, and historic pubs. Like Oxford and Cambridge, Canterbury can also be well-known for punting on the river. These flat-bottomed wood boats provide a novel option to discover the town centre.
Stunning sights in Canterbury
- River Stour – take a river cruise or go punting on this tranquil metropolis centre waterway.
- Canterbury Cathedral – one of the vital well-known cathedrals on the earth and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Outdated Weaver’s Home – a half-timbered Sixteenth-century constructing overlooking the river.
- Guided Strolling Tour of Canterbury – from £15pp
- READ MORE: Issues to do in Canterbury (a Native’s Information)
7. Chester, Cheshire
First based as a Roman fortress in Northwest England, close to the border with northern Wales, Chester is a reasonably, vigorous metropolis with a really historic centre. It’s additionally a reasonably small English metropolis, affording easy accessibility to the encompassing Cheshire countryside.
Many traces of the 1st-century Roman metropolis stay, such because the in depth metropolis partitions constructed from native purple sandstone. Town centre can also be residence to the most important Roman amphitheatre in Britain.
Stunning sights in Chester
- The Rows: a 700-year-old buying district crammed with Tudor half-timbered buildings and coated arcades.
- Chester Cathedral – residence to Europe’s most interesting instance of medieval carvings.
- RECOMMENDED TOUR: Half-Hour Metropolis Cruise – from £8.50pp
8. Durham, County Durham
A small, fairly metropolis within the North East of England, Durham is surrounded by rolling English countryside. The Cathedral right here is alleged to be top-of-the-line in England, overlooking the scenic River Put on which flows by way of the town centre on its manner from the Pennines to the North Sea.
Within the nineteenth century, County Durham was a hub of coal mining exercise, and that trade left a robust mark on the town. The historic Durham Miners’ Gala remains to be held yearly on the second Saturday of July, celebrating the realm’s proud mining heritage.
Stunning sights in Durham
- Durham Cathedral – attractive Norman cathedral which was used as a filming location within the first two Harry Potter movies.
- Durham Citadel – you possibly can truly spend an evening on this historic fort, which is a part of Durham College.
- READ MORE: Issues to do in Durham
9. Ely, Cambridgeshire
Mendacity simply northeast of Cambridge, Ely is far lesser recognized however equally as fairly. This small, quiet metropolis on the banks of the River Nice Ouse is good for a calming getaway.
Take a riverside stroll to identify conventional narrowboats crusing previous, discover the historic structure of the town centre, and uncover a vibrant unbiased meals scene.
It’s not simply the town which is gorgeous: Ely can also be recognized for the peaceable countryside which surrounds it. Town sits on a clay “island” on the coronary heart of The Fens: a flat, marshy area in Jap England recognized for its wealthy wildlife. There’s additionally an intensive river community – good for canoeing and crusing journeys.
Stunning sights in Ely
- Ely Cathedral – a surprise of medieval engineering accomplished in 1342.
- Oliver Cromwell’s Home – the oldest a part of this half-timbered historic residence dates from round 1215.
- Wicken Fen Nature Reserve – a big wetland space simply south of Ely with wealthy birdlife.
10. Exeter, Devon
Whereas lots of the cities on this checklist had been based by the Romans, Exeter pre-dates their arrival. But it surely was the Romans who actually formed this historical metropolis on the banks of the River Exe.
Surrounded by Roman Metropolis Partitions, the capital of Devon is a tranquil riverside metropolis with a thriving unbiased scene and a captivating, leafy centre.
Don’t miss the prospect to discover the waterways whereas in Exeter. Take a scenic cruise alongside Exeter Canal, or kayak right down to the favored Double Locks Pub. Alternatively, cycle the Exe Estuary Path by way of countryside and riverside cities so far as Dawlish Warren.
Stunning sights in Exeter
- Exeter Cathedral – eclectic Norman and Gothic-style cathedral. Don’t miss the carved picture display screen on the facade, relationship from the 1340s – or the world’s longest medieval stone vaulted ceiling inside.
- The Quayside – redeveloped waterside space on the canal, the place unbiased outlets are tucked into historic warehouse cellars.
- Gandy Road – a slim, cobbled buying avenue recognized for its unbiased boutiques and eateries.
11. Worcester, Worcestershire
The house of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, composer Edward Elgar, and the long-lasting Royal Worcester Porcelain, Worcester is a vibrant and proudly unbiased metropolis on the River Severn.
There are numerous fantastic heritage sights and historic buildings to discover – together with a number of historic pubs, such because the 14-century Cardinal’s Hat! In addition to fascinating structure abounding with British historical past, there’s a wealthy programme of occasions and festivals showcasing Worcester’s thriving cultural scene.
Stunning sights in Worcester
- Worcester Cathedral – a lovely Eleventh-century cathedral on the banks of the River Severn.
- Worcester Metropolis Artwork Gallery and Museum – a free museum housed in a chic Victorian constructing.
- Medieval and Tudor timbered buildings – corresponding to The Commandery, Greyfriars Home, and the Tudor Home Museum.
12. Norwich, Norfolk
An historical metropolis with roots going again to the Iron Age, Norwich is crammed with historical past. Uncover Norman, Medieval, Georgian, and Victorian structure on this quirky, culture-rich metropolis.
As a consequence of its literary background, and the excessive variety of graduates from the native College of East Anglia’s inventive writing programs, Norwich was listed as England’s first UNESCO Metropolis of Literature in 2012.
Not solely is Norfolk one of the vital lovely cities in England, it’s additionally the one metropolis in a Nationwide Park. The Broads Nationwide Park is a water-filled space of rivers, broads, and lakes – in addition to historical monuments and greater than 1 / 4 of Britain’s rarest wildlife.
Stunning sights in Norwich
- Norwich Citadel – constructed by the Normans as a royal palace over 900 years in the past.
- Norwich Cathedral – an impressive, Romanesque cathedral set inside engaging grounds.
- The Lanes – a maze of slim alleys and cobbled pedestrian streets crammed with unbiased eateries, espresso outlets, and bars.
13. Salisbury, Wiltshire
A medieval metropolis with a surprising Thirteenth-century cathedral, Salisbury is a peaceable place that feels extra like a countryside village than it does a metropolis! Don’t miss the charming, historic excessive avenue lined with boutique outlets and unbiased eateries.
Salisbury is surrounded by unbelievable historic sights. Essentially the most well-known landmark in England, Stonehenge, is a brief drive away and a must-visit whilst you’re within the metropolis. However there’s additionally Outdated Sarum, the ruins of the unique metropolis of Salisbury, which was constructed on high of an Iron Age hillfort.
Most lovely sights in Salisbury
- Stonehenge – the long-lasting, 5,000-year-old stone circle shrouded in thriller. Click on right here to verify admission costs.
- Salisbury Cathedral – residence to Britain’s tallest spire.
- Mompesson Home – a lovely 18th-century townhouse which featured within the movie Sense and Sensibility.
14. Winchester, Hampshire
About an hour south of London, Winchester is a small and charming metropolis on the sting of the picturesque South Downs Nationwide Park.
The Excessive Road in Winchester is among the oldest – and prettiest – within the nation, lined with fantastically preserved Medieval and Tudor half-timbered buildings. The medieval Chesil Rectory dates again to 1425 and is the oldest industrial constructing within the metropolis.
Winchester’s city centre can also be recognized for its unbiased companies. Spend time shopping boutique outlets, or cease for espresso in one of many many unbiased cafes.
Stunning sights in Winchester
- Winchester Cathedral – this imposing Norman cathedral is surrounded by historic sights, such because the Fifteenth-century timber-framed Cheyney Court docket.
- The Nice Corridor – all that is still of a stone fort constructed for William the Conqueror in 1067. It’s additionally residence to a duplicate of King Arthur’s Spherical Desk.
- Winchester Metropolis Mill – a restored water mill on the River Itchen.
- RECOMMENDED TOUR: Historic Castles and Cathedrals Strolling Tour – from £12pp
15. Wells, Somerset
Tucked away in scenic Somerset, Wells is England’s smallest metropolis. With its cobbled streets lined with tearooms, pubs, and vintage outlets, this feels extra like a countryside city than it does a metropolis!
Sitting proper on the fringe of the gorgeous Mendip Hills AONB, that is one other metropolis that’s well-positioned for countryside explorations. You’ll want to get out into the Hills to discover the rolling countryside and peaceable woodlands – in addition to dramatic gorges and caves like those at Cheddar and Wookey Gap.
Stunning sights in Wells
- Wells Cathedral – a part of an essential British Pilgrimage route.
- The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens – 800-year-old Medieval palace surrounded by 14 acres of charming gardens.
- Cheddar – a cute village in a dramatic rocky gorge dotted with caves, simply northwest of Wells.
Map of England’s Stunning Cities
Most lovely cities in England: the Fast Model
- Metropolis of Westminster
Visiting England’s Most Stunning Cities
So, there you have got it: your information to probably the most lovely cities to go to in England. Whether or not you’re planning a day journey, a romantic UK getaway, or a fast metropolis break, any of those superb English cities could be the proper setting!
Most have practice stations, so can simply be reached by public transport. In the event you’re coming by automotive, search for Park and Trip carparks as a substitute of parking within the metropolis centre. These are often discovered on the sting of the town and supply free automotive parking in case you take the bus into the centre. This can prevent cash and assist you to keep away from congested metropolis centres – in addition to serving to alleviate air pollution issues.
I additionally strongly advocate you to discover as many unbiased companies as you possibly can. Not solely will supporting native companies assist actual individuals within the cities you go to, however it is going to additionally make your journey MUCH extra attention-grabbing. There are at all times distinctive outlets, fabulous eateries, and quirky espresso outlets to find!
Have I missed one of the vital lovely cities in England off this checklist? Scroll right down to share your favourites within the feedback!