Planning a Trip to England
Think of England and you may conjure up images of London, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace but the country has so much more to offer than just the capital. Whether you choose to head north, south, east or west, you’ll find a new city within hours. England is easy to navigate for a solo and you’ll find plenty to do here. If you are planning a trip England, below are our favourite places to inspire you to solo travel in the UK.
- Solo Travel in England
- Windsor Castle
- Isle of Wight
- The Peak District
- The Lake District
- England's Islands
- England Tours
- Itinerary For England
- Travelling Around England
- Plan a Trip to England
Solo Travel in England
England is a really easy destination for solo females, and the fact that it is an English speaking country makes it an attractive destination for visitors from Australia, the States, and many European countries.
There are good transport systems making it easy to get around the country regardless of which region you want to explore. England is divided into counties of which many have their own regional accents. Although Londoners do have a reputation for being a bit standoffish, if you do need any help, most people will stop and help you if you ask. Venture outside of the main cities and you’ll be met by friendly locals, and warm open fires in traditional English pubs, a quintessential part of the British experience.
You’ll see other women solo in the cities and if you’re travelling solo in London, you’ll have no trouble meeting other travellers in hostels or on tours, but if you’re finding it hard to meet others, a Walkabout bar or Irish bar never fails. London regularly hosts events which are ideal for those solo evenings. If you haven’t travelled solo before, England is a good destination to visit especially if you’re nervous about travelling alone.
Places to Visit in England
London is the country’s cosmopolitan capital. It’s here that you can immerse yourself in Monarchy history, visit free museums to your heart’s content, and follow the footsteps of the city’s history.
There is so much to see and do in London, that I’ve written a whole guide to Solo Travel in London. But as a summary, the major sights include The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Museum, The Tate Modern, The British Museum and Buckingham Palace where you can watch the changing of the guard. Hyde Park is beautiful and a breath of fresh air from the city hustle and bustle.
Oxford Street is where to go for major shopping indulgence and attracts thousands of visitors to its shops every day. Bond Street, which connects to Oxford Street, has designer shops of the city. Harrods is iconic luxury London shopping, most of us can only browse but it is quite an experience. Here is more about the best shopping in London.
Each of London’s neighbourhoods has a unique ambience. Discover Shoreditch with its artsy, casual vibe. Mayfair is the posh end of the city with the most expensive and exclusive bars and restaurants. High-end shopping is enjoyable in Chelsea. For live music and street art, head to Brixton. Theatre lovers should head to Soho to be close to the West End shows and trendy bars.
If you are on a budget, there are lots of things to do that are either free or are very cheap. London is home to some of the greatest museums in the world such The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and The Museum of London. There is also a fantastic selection of galleries to enjoy such as The National Portrait Gallery, The Tate and of course The National Gallery. Museums and galleries are the best places to visit if you are a solo traveller as you can immerse yourself in the fantastic exhibitions without being worried about visiting on your own.
* Related Post: Free Things To Do in London (in 24 Hours)
Further out from the city centre is Windsor Castle, which is definitely worth a visit. It’s very accessible by train, about an hour outside London. Steeped in royal history dating back over 1,000 years, there is a museum and extensive grounds to see. This is where many of the royal weddings take place.
Easily reachable on a day trip from London is Oxford. Home to England’s oldest university, Oxford is perfect for those who love architecture with1,500 listed buildings within the county of Oxfordshire. Known as the City of Dreaming Spires, Oxford inspired many writers included as J.R.R Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings. This Southeastern city has stately homes and museums to explore, and is a favourite for film makers.
Head south from London to explore some of the country’s coastline. Brighton is a vibrant city, and home to Pride. The seaside city of Brighton is one of the most popular, and the abundance of clubs and bars draws those seeking nightlife to the coastal city. As well as a beautiful beach, there is the well-known pier and traditional Royal Pavilion to look around. Meander around the lanes and window shop in vintage shops or get a good view of the city from the new observation tower.
* Related Post: Solo Travel in Brighton
Bournemouth is a haven for holidaymakers looking for the traditional British seaside experience. The sandy beach is a popular place for sun worshippers to soak up rays or try your hand at water sports such as stand-up paddle boarding. There’s even a surf school in Boscombe if you want to try surfing.
The laid-back atmosphere of the place is ideal for a weekend getaway with something to suit all types of solos. There's the Oceanarium for sea life lovers, Victorian architecture for history buffs, and the Bournemouth International Centre for culture vultures. Wander around the shops, spend hours on Bournemouth Pier, admire art at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, take the boat to Brownsea Island, escape the crowds at Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve, or just relax on Boscombe Beach. There’s also great nightlife here, and you’re not far away from Poole Harbour and Sandbanks, the largest natural harbour in the world.
Head southwest from the capital for some traditional English food. Devon is the home of the cream tea and nice beaches such as Woolacombe Beach and South Milton Sands where you can even catch a glimpse of seals and dolphins. Known as the English Riviera, you can visit castles, fishing villages and art galleries.
Not far from Devon is Cornwall, where you can experience a Cornish pasty and go surfing at the seaside town of Newquay. Cornwall is one of England’s most popular destinations so expect to see lots of families here especially if you go to the Toy Museum or Mosley Tramway. If you’re a nature Girl about the Globe you’ll want to put this area on this travel wish list. You can transport yourself to somewhere hot and exotic at the famous Eden Project or lose yourself in the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Bodmin Jail.
If you spend time in Cornwall, you simply have to travel to Lands End, the most Southwesterly point in the UK and one of England’s most beautiful coastal landscapes.
Situated in Cornwall, Newquay is often named one of the best seaside towns in the UK. It’s also one of the easiest areas to meet others, due to the big surfing and backpacking community you’ll find plenty of people from around the world surfing on one of the beaches. In the evenings, the town comes alive with several clubs offering a wide array of music. There are also plenty of restaurants and chilled out pubs.
If you like maritime history, England has plenty of it. Southampton is where the Titanic set sail and you can learn more about this famous ship at the SeaCity Museum. See vintage aircraft at the Solent Sky Museum, or go back to the times of the Tudors and see a penny farthing bike at the Tudor House and Garden. West Quay is where it’s at, where modern bars and restaurants are designed around castle ruins.
Just down the road is Portsmouth, an old maritime city and one of the biggest ports in the UK. Walk along the cobbled streets in Old Portsmouth, stand on the glass floor of the Tall Spinnaker Tower or get some retail therapy at Gunwharf Quays, a waterfront shopping outlet where you can watch the boats coming into the harbour. Maritime GatGs should head to the Historic Dockyard to learn more about historical ships such as the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior, and HMS Victory; Lord Nelson’s flagship.
Isle of Wight
If it’s island life that you’re after, you can hop across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Located just off the south coast of the UK, the Isle of Wight is just a 3-hour drive from London and can be reached from either Southampton or Portsmouth by car or passenger ferry. The Isle of Wight is a destination for history enthusiasts, adventure lovers, sandy beach babes and nature admirers. Shanklin is one of the few seaside resorts on the island which has stood the test of time, and is a contrast to Sandown, one of the most popular and recognised beaches.
If you love music, the Isle holds an annual IOW Festival featuring some of the biggest names in music. You can get up close and personal to dinosaurs at Blackgang Chine, admire Queen Victoria's former residence at Osborne House, take the chairlift through the air at Needles, or get the adrenalin pumping with some zorbing and axe throwing in Freshwater. There’s plenty to see and do on this British isle.
Bristol is known as the Capital of the South West. It is smaller than London but larger than nearby Bath. The city has a strong maritime history, art and plenty of live music. With pop up markets and galleries, you’ll always find something to do, especially if you visit in May when the festival season begins with music and food events. Spend time on the vibrant harbour side, and at night chill on one of the boats with a cider, or go clubbing on one!
Just a fifteen minute bus journey away, you can be staring out over the Avon Gorge at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of Brunel’s masterpieces. There really is something for every type of traveler. Things to see here are the: Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain, Wills Memorial Building, Bristol Cathedral, and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
Bath is an easy day trip from London. You can also stop off at Stonehenge which is on the way to Bath and is often combined on a tour from London. Bath is a beautiful city and one that is rich in heritage and history. Known for its Roman baths, and its limestone buildings, the city is easily one of the prettiest in England, hence why it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although you can’t bath in the old Roman ones, (it is now a museum) you can pamper yourself at the Thermal Bath Spa and take in the panoramic views from the rooftop pool. For a different view of the city, climb the 200 plus steps to the top of the Bath Abbey Tower for breathtaking views, or hike along the Bath Skyline Walk past meadows and woods for a more active, view of Bath, as you immerse yourself in its nature.
If you love museums, visit the Fashion Museum, Victoria Art Gallery, the Holbourne Museum, or discover more about the life of Jane Austen, one of England’s most famous authors at The Jane Austen Centre. Then there’s the Royal Crescent, a terrace of 30 Georgian houses, Royal Victoria Park with monuments to see, Pulteney Bridge, and the gorgeous Prior Park.
You may not have heard of Ludlow but this quintessentially British town near the border of Wales is the unofficial gastronomic capital of England. Each year in September they hold a food festival, but visit at any time of the year to enjoy the thriving restaurant scene featuring local producers. Stop in a cheese shop, or browse around a food market, or just visit in May for the beer festival instead.
Is there anywhere more quaint than the Cotswolds with its cobbled streets, thatched cottages and cute tea-rooms which make this area quintessentially English. Visit Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Winston Churchill, or the spa town of Cheltenham for a true authentic British experience.
Situated on the River Cam, everyone has heard of Cambridge. Quintessentially English, this university city is one for the historical and culture Girl about the Globe. Visit the buildings of its famous university which has produced some of England’s finest writers.
Punt on the river or just take a picnic and watch others do it instead. Discover Greek and Egyptian art at the Fitzwilliam Museum, vintage aircraft at the Imperial War Museum, or see the Round Church; a stone church that dates back to the year 1130. You can’t miss King’s College Chapel either with its stained glass and Gothic architecture. Apparently it has the world’s largest fan-vaulted ceiling.
If you’re looking to meet others, spend an evening at Cambridgeshire Wine School sampling some wine and mingling with your favourite tipple. Then immerse yourself amongst plants and nature at the Botanic Garden, or take a walk along The Backs for picturesque views of the River Cam and the city’s well-known university buildings.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is home to one of the most famous playwright and poets, William Shakespeare. The town itself is steeped in history, its medieval streets retain much of the period charm and character that its name is now synonymous with. Stratford is on the British canal network, giving it a picture postcard look. From immaculate Tudor frontage to thatched cottages, the place really looks like you’ve stepped into a history book. Things to see and do: Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford Butterfly Farm, and visit the Stratford Armouries.
The Peak District
The Peak District is a stunning destination. From historic houses and castles to rugged valleys you will come back feeling rested and rejuvenated. If you love hiking, The Pennies is one of the country’s best and longest walks, or trek the Leek to Peak trail in Dovedale instead. The Pennine Way is the highest point in England and should definitely be on your itinerary.
Cycle enthusiasts will love the Manifold Trail along the Manifold Valley and steam railway. For the adventurous solo there are plenty of activities to get your adrenalin rush. Head to Chesterfield to go caving or rock climbing. Make your trip even more memorable with a stay in one of the Peak cottages. Things to see and do: Step back in time in Belper, go paragliding in Chesterfield, or just relax at the calmness of the Carsington Waters.
Chester is the Capital of Cheshire. Being on the border of Wales and the massive harbour made Chester an important strategic outpost in Roman Britain, evidence of which can still be seen today. The main attractions can easily be discovered on foot and the city is an enjoyable place to walk around.
The main city is encircled by a two mile ring of Medieval and Roman walls. Inside these walls is a wealth of Tudor and Victorian buildings. Plus the unique “Rows” which are raised galleried shopping arcades. The walls can be accessed at several points and offer a lovely way to view the city. You can walk past all the towers, turrets and gates, all of which have some history or story to tell. The Roman Gardens are well worth a good explore and not far from here you come across the Roman Amphitheatre. Or you can discover the city’s art collection and history at The Grosvenor Museum.
* Related Post: Solo Travel in Chester
Liverpool is the perfect city for those interested in culture, history, sightseeing, shopping and nightlife. If you are a Beatles fan then the Albert Dock should be on the top of your bucket list. The Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool is so good that UNESCO classed it as one of its World heritage sites and is home to the main exhibition of the Beatles Story.
Learn about Earth’s history at the World Museum. Not only can you see casts of dinosaur bones here but they have an Egyptian mummies collection too. If you love shopping get yourself down to Liverpool ONE. This large complex has all the high street shops and designer names that you need in one area, including bars and restaurants. The Liverpool Cathedral is a stunning place to visit. Not only is it the biggest Cathedral in Britain but it is also the 5th largest in Europe.
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Known for its nightlife and famous football clubs, Manchester isn’t just somewhere to shop and party. With the nearby Pennine mountains, it’s also a place to visit for nature, culture and museums. But, if it is nightlife that you’re after, the Northern Quarter has plenty of bars to keep you entertained.
Discover the Manchester Museum with more than four million artefacts from fossils to mummies. There are even real reptiles to look at. For the art lover, the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is the place to be. Find sculptures, prints and everything arty within this old Victorian fish market.
If you’re a football fan, take your football boots down to the National Football Museum where you can learn more about England’s most popular sport and can practice your skills too! Or take a stadium tour of Old Trafford.
If you prefer architecture, the Manchester Cathedral is one of the city’s oldest buildings. Learn more about its history and time your visit for when a performance is on. The city is also home to Victoria Baths which are open for tours, performances and festivals.
For the evenings, head to ‘HOME,’ the city’s centre of culture. Indulge in a theatre performance or just enjoy a cocktail or two. For a drink with a view, you may prefer an evening at Cloud 23, on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Hotel. Manchester has something for all types of solos.
Blackpool has been named the top seaside town in the UK for many years, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s got everything you need for traditional British seaside fun. As well as a beautiful sandy beach where you can catch some rays, you can also visit the famous Blackpool tower which stands pride of place. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is also a draw to the area with its abundance of thrilling rides. Adrenaline junkies will love trying out all the fantastic rides including the famous Big One. In the evening, you can find many shows and the illuminations, which is one of the main reasons for Blackpool tourism being so popular.
The Lake District
If you like the great outdoors, then the Lake District is a fantastic place to visit and a walker’s paradise. The beautiful scenery and rich countryside is dotted with hidden streams, waterfalls, mountains and of course – lakes. Great for hiking, climbing and mountain biking there’s plenty to do here if you’re an active solo, or alternatively, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery.
It’s also a place to visit for Star Wars fans, with the lake featuring as a backdrop to several scenes in Force Awakens. Areas such as Derwentwater and Catbells Lakeland Walk are two of the best places to hike in the region. Things to see and do: Take a cruise on Windermere Lake, visit the Lakes Aquarium, Get crafty at the Blackwell Arts & Crafts House, or take a tour of Beatrix Potter country.
* Related Post: Solo Travel in The Lake District
Over the course of the last two decades, Newcastle has invested hundreds of millions into their culture and is now considered one of England’s top cultural cities. The Quayside is one of the most popular spots in Newcastle for both tourists and locals, and it is considered one of the top ten attractions in Newcastle.
One of the most unique places to see in all of Newcastle is Victoria Tunnel, which runs underneath the city all the way from the Town Moor to the Tyne. This tunnel was constructed way back in 1842 in order to transport coal to riverside jetties from Leazes Main Colliery, and has now been converted into a shelter to protect citizens during the war.
Things to see and do: Escape in nature at Jesmond Dene Park, walk along the Quayside, or step inside the Victoria Tunnel. Newcastle will definitely surprise you.
Then there are the islands, some of which are shared with Wales and Scotland; the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, the Isle of Man, and the Isles of Scilly. Further south in the British Channel are a group of islands that form the UK Channel Islands. But with so much to see and do in Jersey and Guernsey, this group of islands deserve a guide all to their own.
Whether you choose to hike along the Jurassic Coast, enjoy fresh oysters in the fishing village of Whitstable, or just relax on the beach at West Wittering, you can find it in England.
Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including England. Choose from a Harry Potter guided walking tour in London, a university and city walking tour in Oxford, or entry to Stonehenge. There are many to choose from whether you choose to visit Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Cambridge or York, and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
Itinerary For England
There are so many different itineraries that you can do in England, depending on what your interest are. You could create your own fictional tour seeing all of the places that inspire some of England’s most famous writers, or follow the Jurassic Coastline if you like to hike in nature. One place that should definitely be on your solo itinerary is London, and even three nights here just scrapes the surface of the capital. Below is our recommended itinerary for a two week trip to England.
For a first-time itinerary, I would visit London and spend five or six days here. During that time, you could visit some popular attractions and spend some time just getting to know the city. My favourite ‘must-dos’ are a walk along the Southbank to Tower Bridge, afternoon tea in a fancy hotel or restaurant, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. For something a bit different you could spend an afternoon or evening in off-beat Camden, visit a food market like Broadway or Borough, pub-hop in Shoreditch or take a boat to Greenwich to visit several royal museums and stand on the Prime Meridian.
After that, take a train to Bath and spend a couple of days in this beautiful Georgian town visiting the Roman Baths, the Abbey, and perhaps getting a spa treatment or sampling some local Somerset cider. From Bath, rent a car and set out for Cornwall. Stop in the artist colony of St. Ives for cliff-backed surf beaches and great seafood. Work your way around the coast before returning to Bath, perhaps via hippy Glastonbury or the ornate cathedral in Wells. Then head back to London for onward travel.
Travelling Around England
It is very easy to get around England. In the capital, London’s public transport network includes the Tube (the metro), trains, buses and the DLR. You can just use your debit card. A great way to see lots of famous landmarks without spending a fortune is to buy The London Pass. The pass has a choice of 1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 consecutive days and includes skip-the-line entry too. Most attractions are within the city centre and are easily accessible by Tube and on foot.
For the rest of the country, National Express runs frequent services to hundreds of cities and towns including airports, making it easy to get around. National Express coaches are comfortable with toilet facilities and you can travel up and down the country for low prices.
The train lines are privatised so costs can vary depending on where you are travelling to, but the network covers the whole country so you can travel from London to practically anywhere in England. The train is the fastest way to get around. If you are planning on using the train more than once, it may be worth looking into a BritRail Pass. For a fixed price you can take unlimited journeys around a specific region or the whole country. To get the best train fare, it’s worth pre-booking your ticket in advance but check your route in case it has a limited special offer.
Hiring a car is also easy. You just need a driving licence with an international driving permit. Most cars now come with a GPS. The road infrastructure in England is good and driving is on the left. Tourist attractions are well signposted and distances are marked in miles not kilometres. For parking, you usually need coins for parking meters although some now take cards. You can hire a car straight from the airport to collect as you arrive or from a city instead. * Check prices and availability for car hire
Plan a Trip to England
Budget – £50+ a day
Capital – London
Population – 55.98 million
Language spoken – English
Local Currency – Pound Sterling
Did you know? Winchester was the first capital of England
Lingo – They speak English!
The Best Time to Go – June to August
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