Visiting England? Most tourists fly into London, and London is a brilliant destination, but many areas outside the city are fabulous too. Below, you can discover a few of my recommendations.
If you’re in London and feel a need for ocean breezes and a lot of funk, head to Brighton, the perfect day trip! This laid-back seaside town is one of England’s most hip, fashionable, and unconventional destinations. You’ll discover plentiful vegan and ethnic restaurants, health food stores, yoga studios, Regency architecture, artists, LGBT visitors, clothing boutiques, and nightlife. Think: London meets Miami's South Beach meets Coney Island meets Greenwich Village. The 52-mile trip takes about 50 minutes if you ride a fast train leaving from Victoria or London Bridge Stations. (Once you’re in Brighton, getting around is easy by foot or city bus.)
Culturally, Brighton may be a first cousin to Miami's South Beach, but weather-wise, it sure isn't! Brighton has pleasant but very moderate summer temperatures, June through August, with daytime highs generally reaching only the low 70s. And, of course, this is England, so rain should never be a surprise. As usual, wear layers.
A stroll beside the ocean, on the Victorian Pier, is a must. Grab lunch or a drink in one of the outdoor cafes or bars, where you can watch the sea and be entertained by buskers. After lunch, meander through the seaside amusement park, surf shops, and artist studios. When you’re done with the sea and head back into the city center, be sure to visit the Brighton Lanes shopping district, a warren of twisting back streets and alleyways filled with charming old shops that offer both upscale designs and retro, vintage kitsch. Another “must see” is the Royal Pavilion—an exotic palace built by King George IV featuring eclectic Indian-Gothic and Chinese influences. And finally, if all that fresh air and walking hasn’t over-tired you, put on your dancing shoes in the evening and head to one of Brighton’s many nightclubs, internationally known for their live music. From jazz to techno to indie to funk to salsa to house to 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s—it’s your choice!
(Note: Brighton’s official name nowadays is actually “Brighton and Hove,” though most people just say “Brighton.” In 1997, these two adjoining towns were yoked for governmental administrative purposes.)
Watch "Brighton" video
BRIGHTON PHOTO GALLERY
I am not sure if any area on earth exists that is more beautiful than North Yorkshire, with its Dales and Moors. The North Yorkshire Dales National Park offers breathtaking scenes of densely green rolling hills, sheep grazing, thatched-roof cottages, and medieval ruins. Utterly idyllic! And the North York Moors National Park offers immense, windswept heather moorlands…which are utterly dreamlike.
Info for DALES
Info for MOORS
While in the moors, experiencing Rievaulx Abbey is a must! RIEVAULX ABBEY INFO
Carr House Farm
While I have not stayed at this B&B in North Yorkshire, I do think it sounds very promising! CountryFile Magazine voted it one of the UK’s Top Ten Farm Stays.
CARR HOUSE FARM
Map of NORTH YORKSHIRE DALES NATIONAL PARK
Richmond lies 15 miles southwest of central London, and a fast train from Waterloo can whisk you there in a mere 15 minutes. Historically, royalty and the rich and famous have flocked there. (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie once bought a Richmond mansion.) It boasts fabulous Royal parks and woods, historic houses, theaters, museums, galleries, and wonderful shops and restaurants
Kew, or "Kew Village," is small, with a cluster of lovely shops flanking its Kew Gardens rail station. (Of less interest to the tourist is its high street, farther on, with major retailers.) Kew is also home of the Domesday Book, which is on display at The National Archives there. Kew's real fame, however, is being home to the Royal Botanic Gardens--a World Heritage Site.
Zella's recommendation: If you have a spared day on your London trip and love nature, Richmond and/or Kew should be top destinations for you! You could devote a full day to the Kew Botanical Garden or to visiting the town of Richmond and hiking through Richmond Park. Conceivably, you could visit both towns in one day, but neither would get the attention it deserves.
Nature lovers must see these attractions:
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