In my opinion, I can’t not say good things about the English countryside. It’s a beautiful part of the world and one that seems to be responsible for the somewhat idyllic impression many from outside the UK have of England. But, because simply telling friends and guests to visit the countryside it always gets a brushed over, as people often think once you have seen one bit of countryside, it’s all the same. Not in England, and here’s why…
1. Woods and beaches in equal measure
If you’re not from this part of the world, you may have forgotten about the diverse landscapes England has to offer. When you first decided to plan a trip to England, maybe you imagined a trendy experience in London, visiting the classic tourist attractions. What’s important to remember, is that there’s more to England than its capital. For one thing, given that the whole place is an island, it has a stunning coastline – arguably the prettiest I’ve ever seen (but of course, I’m biased). Travelling through the countryside, you can quickly move from lush forests and rolling hills to rocky cliffs overlooking the sea, which will keep you on your toes and excited to keep exploring. The countryside is also known for its “enchanted” forests, and when I’ve spent time exploring them, I’ve half expected to be greeted by a swarm of magical fairies. That’s a bit much, admittedly, but the point is that these forests can feel like something out of a storybook.
2. The perfect place for a leisurely road trip
England is simply a perfect size to explore by car. To travel from the northernmost border to the southern end of the island only takes around seven hours driving – but of course, even if this is your route, you’ll want to take many detours along the way. If you have a week or so for your trip, this isn’t a bad way to go about it. If you only have a few days, however, you can also pick a region and really get to know it. One popular region to prioritise if you are limited on time is Yorkshire, as it’s just a few hours north of London (where most travellers first arrive). You can also explore the area south of London if you’d prefer not to drive too far. Here you’ll find some of the country’s most striking castles, nearby coastline, and of course my own hometown – Bournemouth!
3. Warm weather festivals and events
Another of my favourite things to do in this area is to attend an event. The English have a lot to offer in this regard during the spring and summer, so if possible, plan your trip during these seasons. Heading west from London through the Cotswolds you can come to the Cheltenham area, which is particularly nice for this sort of thing. I personally enjoy the jazz festival held there in early May, for instance. And if you want an authentic English experience, this is a great place to watch some horse racing as well. The Cheltenham Festival is held each spring, and you can enjoy it even if this isn’t your sport. The venue is filled with pubs, restaurants, and even a luxury shopping centre. There are opportunities to get in on the tradition of betting on the races as well, though if you’re planning on this you may want to do your research online through some of the UK’s bookmaking resources. It’s fun to have a stake in things, but you don’t want to spend the money just to spend it! For betting, shopping, or just watching the races, though, it’s called a “festival” for a reason and is really a full cultural event. And this is still just one of many annual traditions in the countryside.
4. Traditional local pubs
After a long day of driving and exploring, nothing beats having a rest at a cosy, locally owned pub. I think these quiet spots are probably the best places to try our traditional cuisine, as well as a nice glass of bubbly. Many pubs throughout the countryside also double as options for accommodation, usually in the form cute Instagrammable inns or B&Bs. The real beauty of stopping at small places like these though, in my opinion, is that you’ll likely get to meet people who live nearby and can give you a feel for the community, and offer unique and genuine recommendations. Some of my best adventures have been at the advice of locals. That’s why I’m sharing my advice with you, as an English citizen and fellow local.
Where is your favourite part of the English countryside?
Until next time…