As a kid growing up, the first place that really interested me was the United Kingdom. I’ve always been an Anglophile and growing up I learned as much as I could about every region of the nation. England in particular resonated with me strongly, probably because of my family lineage, and it’s why it was the first place I visited as a young solo traveler after I graduated from college. That fierce love and admiration has never diminished; if anything it’s only been amplified over the years as I’ve learned and discovered more about this endlessly fascinating country. Today though I want to share a few reasons why I think NOW is a great to visit England, why it’s the perfect time to pack up your bags and discover this wonderful destination for yourself. This post was written in cooperation with VisitBritain as part of a project with iambassador, but of course all thoughts and opinions (and my fierce love of England) are entirely my own.
As I’m sure many folks know, right now is an amazing time to visit England thanks in large part to the conversion rates between the US Dollar and the British Pound. Rates are at astonishing lows, which means visitors can get a lot more bang for the buck. This makes a huge difference over the course of a trip and everything from eating out to hotel stays are suddenly much more affordable. But there are also many ways to enjoy England without breaking the bank. There are plenty of castles, museums and landmarks throughout England that are completely free to visit. Whether it’s Durham Cathedral in Northeastern England or the Tate Liverpool Museum or just wandering around the town of Avebury, there’s no shortage of free attractions. Also most cities in England have free tours available, whether it’s Bath or Manchester. To find more discounts on attractions and transportation be sure to check out the VisitBritain Shop website.
Easy to Reach and Get Around
Traveling to England from the U.S. is extraordinarily easy, affordable and there are plenty of options. British Airways, for example, flies from 22 US cities and its aircraft offer 4 classes of service, and of course that first warm English welcome of your trip. I’ve had the great opportunity to fly with British Airways several times, and everything about them makes the airline an easy and fantastic option. What you pay is all-inclusive, so there are no extra fees for anything, whether it’s bags or the food and drinks offered onboard. Once you reach England, you have plenty of options to get around this beautiful country. I’m a big fan of just renting a car and hitting the open road, but train and bus routes and schedules make not driving an equally easy way to discover England.
Amazing Towns and Cities
There’s nothing better than exploring the many great villages, towns and cities around England, from the hustling and bustling to the small getaways tucked away in the countryside or along the seaside. One of my favorite areas to explore is popular for many, the Lake District. Located in northwest England, the Lake District has long been a holiday retreat for city dwellers seeking lakes, mountains and beautiful forests. This area has inspired poets, authors and artists and it definitely inspired me. The Lake District is what we all perceive England to look like. Sheep dot the hills, which are rolling to the point of absurdity, almost like living in a Seuss book. Around every corner you expect Peter Cottontail to dart past and the region itself has a unique ability to calm even the most harried soul.
Food and Drink (Yes, really)
Historically, English food has not had the best public relations. And you know what, for a long time that was probably well deserved. But that hasn’t been the case in a long time and I’ll tell you why. First of all, I personally love the classic English dishes you can find throughout the country from local pubs to quiet little cafes and restaurants. There’s a lot to be said for a traditional Yorkshire pudding or a full English breakfast, and even my favorite dessert – sticky toffee pudding. But aside from the traditional, there’s also a lot of creativity and innovation happening everywhere with young chefs moving back home and creating menus that draw upon local foods and traditions, but with modern twists. Speaking of pubs, a traditional English pub is a cultural experience and not just one for a quick pint. There you can enjoy some tasty British brews, but also chat with locals and learn more about the communities; many of which are centered on pub-life. But there’s also innovation happening in the drinks culture, especially when it comes to gins. Throughout the country, small distilleries are popping up, creating new and tasty gins based on a variety of botanicals that speak to their regions. All in all, England is a fantastic place to visit if you’re a foodie and it really is one of my favorite places in the world to enjoy a great meal.
While I am a luxury traveler, I also love active experiences when I travel. Actually, that’s really what modern luxury is all about and England is one of the best places to find these activities. One of my favorites happened in the aforementioned Lake District when I took a canoe out on beautiful Derwentwater. Derwentwater is one of the largest lakes in the District and as I soon learned, also one of the most beautiful. While you can admire it from shore, the only way to really experience it is on the water. There are few things I enjoy more than being on the water, especially in a kayak. I always find the experience to be calming and relaxing while simultaneously active. It’s a great symbiosis of frenetic and sedate, making it a fun travel experience no matter where you are. For something even more active though, there’s no better option than the Via Ferrata in an old coalmine near Honister Pass. Even though I was too chicken to actually go through with the experience, there’s no doubt that if you’re an adrenalin junky, then this is the experience for you. In simple terms, the Via Ferrata course uses a series of metal cables, rungs, ladders and bridges over which adventurers scramble up the mountainside, mimicking the road to work miners used to take every day. It’s extreme, challenging and probably fun if you have no fear of heights.
Warm and Welcoming People
Ultimately though, at the heart of the travel experience are the people we meet or who help us along the way. My first experience with warm and welcoming English hospitality happened on my very first night in the country. Connected through an ambiguous connection of friends, I found myself spending a few days in the home of a complete stranger, more than happy to let me crash in an extra bedroom and show me around town. While we had mutual friends, we were strangers and letting me stay there would have been enough to impress me, but of course that’s not where it stopped. Serving as my tour guide, she shared what she loves most about her city and country and on my last night, even organized a classic English garden party with all of her friends. It was a great evening on an unusually warm summer night, complete with far too many Pimm’s cocktails and more food than I thought possible. She was there again in the morning with the hangover cure to beat all hangover cures, the great bacon fry-up along with suggestions as I started the rest of my adventure through the country. It was the perfect first introduction not only to England, but to the wonderful people who call it home and set the stage for many more years of enjoying that hospitality whenever I visit.
These are just a few reasons why NOW really is the perfect time to visit England, what else would you add to the list?
This campaign was created and sponsored by the VisitBritain in partnership with iambassador. LandLopers retains all editorial control of what is published and as you know, I never shy away from honest commentary.