We have been feeling very patriotic here at SuperBreak HQ, with the Queen’s 90th birthday and St George’s Day all happening in the same week – and with the sun shining across the country this week too it has been ever more evident what a beautiful country England really is. Whether you prefer big cities, the rolling countryside or quaint towns, eclectic England is packed with so many amazing destinations right on our doorstep. Celebrating St George’s Day as an honorary Yorkshire lass this week, I decided to round up some of my favourite places in England and what to do while you’re there.
Ok, I may be a little biased given that SuperBreak HQ is based in York, but living in York is like being a short break every day, and when the weekend rolls around I love to explore the city as much as any tourist – just last weekend I took a trip the open-top hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. From strolling down the cobbled streets of the Shambles to taking in views over the striking city from the city walls, York is easily one of the most beautiful places in England when the sun is shining. But even if the rain does start to fall there’s plenty going on in York to keep you entertained, whether you choose to indulge in an elegant afternoon tea at the famous Betty’s tea room, cosy up with a roast and a beer in one of the city’s many traditional pubs or learn more about the history of the city in the Jorvik Viking Centre or York Dungeons, you’ll never run out of things to do. I live in York and I’m still constantly discovering new treasures hidden among the historic streets, from cocktail bars to quirky boutiques to ancient architecture.
Top picks for York:
Best for dinner: Rustique
Best for a pub lunch: Old White Swan
Best for a cocktail: Stonegate Yard
Best for the kids: York Dungeons
Best for the views: City Walls
Only around half-an-hour from York, Harrogate has all of the charm of its neighbouring city in an even more compact package. You can easily walk around Harrogate and back round again in one day. With plenty of cute cafes and kitsch gift shops, among the bigger high street stores one of the best ways to spend the day is simply wandering around the city’s plush streets. Or if you fancy a bit of relaxation head to Harrogate’s famous Turkish Baths for a day of pampering. With treatments including reflexology, reiki and hot stone therapy the Harrogate Turkish Baths are the perfect place to detox and destress. At night-time, you’re spoiled for choice in Harrogate – with restaurants of all cuisines lining the town’s streets, you’ll be wishing you had room for more than one dinner (I know I did). Let your dinner settle with a stroll around the town taking in the atmosphere, before settling in to one of the town’s many bars for a drink or two to end the night. Harrogate was voted the happiest place to live in the UK in 2015, and after just a few hours in the idyllic town you can easily wee why.
Top Picks for Harrogate:
Best for tea and cake: Jenny’s Tea Shop
Best for dinner: Imperial Chinese Restaurant
Best for history buffs: Royal Pump Museum
Best for culture: Harrogate Theatre
Best for drinks: The Blues Café Bar
The stunning Lake District is definitely one of, if not the, most beautiful places in England – in fact possibly even the entire UK. Sailing down Lake Windermere as the sun glistens on the water, taking in the blue, green and purple hues of the mountainsides is one of the most relaxing and picturesque ways to spend a lazy morning in England. The Windermere promenade is filled with cafes, ice-cream parlours and gift-shops which make for a traditional English coastal getaway, especially when the sun is shining. If you are lucky with the weather there are plenty of places to sit outside and soak in some rays with a cold drink in hand. For a relaxing getaway with your partner, enjoying the natural beauty of England you really can’t beat the Lake District.
Top Picks for Lake District:
Best for sightseeing: Windermere Lakes Cruises
Best for ice-cream: Sweet Stuff
Best for a pint: The Angel Inn
Best for dinner: Hooked
Best for the kids: The World of Beatrix Potter
Newcastle was voted Best City in the UK by Guardian readers in 2014, and with its perfect blend of modern culture and historical architecture, Newcastle has a lot to offer. First off, Geordie folk are notoriously friendly and every time I’ve been in Newcastle I’ve got chatting to at least one or two locals. My first ever visit to Newcastle was when I was planning my friend’s hen do – and the lively city proved the perfect destination for a group getaway, whether it’s a hen or stag do or just a catch-up with friends. The city centre is packed full of nightlife options whether you’re looking for a traditional pub, a swanky cocktail bar or a dancefloor where you flaunt some of your best moves. I left Newcastle after my first visit thinking it was a great party town, perfect for a getaway with friends. However, on my second visit to the city on a romantic break with my boyfriend I discovered the city was much more than a party town. In fact, Newcastle is filled with history which is evident in the architecture and monuments that fill the city centre streets. The city is also packed with museums, art galleries and theatres to keep any culture vulture entertained and of course the massive Metro centre makes Newcastle a shopper’s heaven. Whether you’re looking for nightlife, scenery, history or a culture, Newcastle is one of few cities which really can cater for all.
Top Picks for Newcastle:
Best for dinner: Pani’s Café
Best for cocktails: Browns
Best for scenery: The Quayside
Best for shopping: The Metro Centre
Best for entertainment: The Stand Comedy Club
Of course we couldn’t discuss the best places in England, without a mention of the capital city. The bustling city of London really is a hub of culture, which never fails to amaze upon each and every visit. Packed galore with attractions, museums, theatre shows, bars and restaurants you would never run out of things to see and do in London. From Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London, the capital is filled with iconic landmarks on every corner. One of my favourite things to do in London is bargain hunt at the city’s wide array of markets. From the massive Camden market where you’re guaranteed to pick up a few cheap finds to the smaller and more artistic Covent Garden, a weekend of market shopping would be reason enough to visit London. However, it would be a shame to spend time in London without taking in a theatre show. Nowhere else in England can quite rival the varied range of musicals, dramas, comedies and ballets which you can catch every night in London. And of course, there’s plenty of fun for families (or just big kids at heart) with the likes of Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Harry Potter World. Or if you prefer a dinner and drink you can’t go wrong in London with restaurants and bars lining ever seat, and open til late – making every night feel like a Friday.
Top Picks for London
Best for shopping: Old Spittalfields Market
Best for food: Planet Hollywood
Best for kids (and kids at heart): Harry Potter World
Best for drinks: White Lyan
Best for history: Tower of London
Have you been feeling patriotic this week? What do you think is the best place in England, let us know in the comments below.