One of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom: England is known for its Shakespearean and royal history, castles, charming British accents, and pop culture icons. Despite the grey overcast that conquers the region the majority of the year, travelers love to visit England to frolic through rolling green hills, seaside villages, and bustling cities. What visitors often love most about England is the ability to shuffle together city adventures with both outdoor exploration and cultural discovery.
If you're thinking of touring England, be sure to visit London, Bath, York, Dartmoor, and Cornwall to name a few. These adventures will be filled with royal sights, scenic hikes, and English tradition. To get the most out of your experience, England tours are a great way to take advantage of these many pursuits. Use this guide to explore some of your options (and how to plan for your trip).
Here are some of England's most popular activities and suggestions on where to find them:
Beyond England's urban landscapes are a plethora of trekking opportunities. What the flat country doesn't offer in altitude it makes up for in scenery. Hiking in North York Moors National Park, for instance, is a quintessential English experience. An almost endless number of day-long or multi-day walks are possible in this sparsely inhabited northern region of the country.
If you want something a bit more 'vertical:' England's highest "mountain" is Scaffel Pike, in the northern region of Cumbria, standing at just 3209ft/978m high. It may not compare with some of the top mountain climbing destinations of the world, but at least it's an option!
From England's museums and castles, historical sites, and tea-time tradition, you'll love the cultural adventure each day in England brings. Learn about football history at the National Football Museum in Manchester, visit the royal palace in London, vibe with British Invasion-era tunes like the Beatles, and ponder the mysteries behind Stonehenge.
No matter the place, England offers much to experience, starting with a cup of tea and ending at the pub. (You might also be surprised to learn England's food scene is booming if that is of interest!)
Beach & Sea Tours
The window of time for warm-weather beaching in this northern European country may be small, but sailing opportunities are big. England has a long coastline and many quaint seaside towns. The south coast -- especially Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset counties -- are picturesque regions with perfect conditions for sailing.
In England you can enjoy all kinds of sailing tours, from day-long lessons at a sailing school to fully-skippered luxury yacht experiences and voyages on an old-fashioned wooden tall ship!
Horseback Riding Tours
The high-culture and aristocratic associations of horseback riding make England the perfect place to go on an equestrian adventure. Riders of all levels of experience and ability can be catered to.
As well as day-long rides and lessons, you can also go on multi-day horseback riding trips. On these, you'll get the chance to stay in little villages, in small family run inns, or even luxury spa retreats. Ideal places in England to take a horse-centric trip are Devon and Cornwall in the south, the West Country, and Yorkshire and the Lake District in the north.
Planning Your Trip
Thanks to an abundance of options, planning a trip to England can become complicated. Use this guide to help you walk through the logistics of your trip and prepare accordingly.
Best Time to Visit England
The spring, summer, and fall are the best times to visit England. Although winters aren't excessively cold (compared to much of North America and Eastern Europe), daylight hours are short. In the winter it often doesn't get light until 9am, and it gets dark by 3pm.
England has a reputation for cool, wet summers, but that isn't always the reality. As an island nation, weather in England is quite unreliable and one should be prepared for rain and unseasonably cold temperatures at any time of year.
What to Look For in a Tour to England
England is a relatively expensive destination. Between the value of the pound and overall cost of living, an organized tour is often a cost-effective option if you want more experiences for your buck. When booking a tour, double check whether transportation and accommodations are included, as most of your expenses will be highest here. Additionally, if you have a long bucket list of things to do in England, search for tours that give you a taste of various activities: like culture, history, and the outdoors.
Typical Tour Costs
Depending on the duration of your visit, tours can cost anywhere between $200 and $5,000, depending on length and inclusions. Tour types can range from day trips to inclusive multi-day experiences, so be sure to confirm what is included in the package, including accommodation, meals, and entrance fees to any sights or activities in the itinerary.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
Anything and everything is available for purchase in England's cities, so there is no need to bring anything special (unless you're trying to save money). If joining adventure activities with a tour provider -- such as sailing or horseback riding -- the tour operator will likely provide you with any necessary equipment. If you wish to go camping in rural England, it would be a good idea to take your own tent, although permanent caravans are located in some places.
Other Tips for Travel in England
- Budgeting & currency: England uses the pound sterling (GBP) and accepts credit cards in most places. Like much of Western Europe though, England is not a very budget-friendly destination. But with a bit of planning, it needn't be too expensive either. Take local transportation where possible, stay in boutique hotels, home rentals, or hostels, and shop at local markets and supermarkets to keep daily costs down.
- Transportation: England has an extensive train network and both local and inter-city buses. The costs of both trains and buses are generally cheaper if you book in advance, so plan long-distance trips as far in advance as possible to save money.
- Accommodation: England is a densely-populated country with all kinds of accommodation options: youth hostels, campsites, luxury hotels, motels, cozy bed and breakfasts, and cottage rentals. In some of the more rural areas your options may be a bit more limited, but you will still be able to find high-quality and homely lodging in small towns with some advanced planning.
Health & Safety
England is an advanced country with good healthcare and clean drinking water. Most travelers are not required to receive vaccines to enter the United Kingdom. It is recommended, however, to remain up to date with your routine vaccinations as a general precaution. You can check requirements on the CDC website: be sure to allow 4-6 weeks to receive any vaccines.
England is no more or less dangerous than much of North America and Europe. In the larger cities there will be "rough" neighborhoods that you may want to avoid -- ask locals, such as staff at your accommodation or your tour guide. Here are other safety tips to keep in mind:
- Taking transport alone after dark in cities may feel uncomfortable, especially for solo female travelers.
- Outside of the cities, safety should not be a particular concern, but take the same precautions as you would at home.
- Don't hike alone in remote areas.