Mention England to any international traveller, and they will instantly think of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square. All wonderful places to visit, and attractions that should be on every tourist’s list, but look a bit closer and you will notice one thing – they are all within 15 minutes walk of each other in the heart of London.
It is a shame that so many people travel thousands of miles to visit England, yet barely venture out of the capital. Here are our top three English cities that every visitor should find time to explore.
Traditionally, Birmingham has been considered Britain’s second city, but the voices of dissent that claim this accolade is rightfully Manchester’s are becoming increasingly vocal. There is certainly a bustle and vibrancy to the city that is hard to ignore, following its major regeneration programme over recent years.
While the city has plenty of historical and cultural features, it has more of a modern feel than London, thanks to some major new developments in the city centre and old dockland areas. Getting around could not be easier – taking a taxi in Manchester is a far more reasonably priced proposition than you will have experienced in London.
Perhaps Manchester’s most famous feature (after its football team, of course) is the Trafford Centre, the second largest shopping centre in the entire country. As well as all the retail outlets you would expect, it also boasts numerous restaurants, cafés and leisure facilities. It even has the UK’s largest dry ski slope right next door!
Tucked away in south west England is one of the most vibrant and lively cities you could ever hope to experience. Bristol is renowned for its arts and culture, and there is literally something to see round every corner.
Its most famous feature is probably the world renowned Clifton Suspension Bridge. This remarkable feat of engineering is more than 400 metres long, and opened to the public in 1864.
Bristol is also home to the SS Great Britain, one of the most important ships in naval history, and to numerous museums and galleries, including the Arnolfini, Wills Memorial Building and many others.
How could anyone visit the UK without seeing the home of The Beatles? The former industrial city is another that has seen major regeneration over the past 20 years or so, especially around the former docks area.
There is a real buzz about Liverpool, with an eclectic mix of things to do and places to visit. Of course, Abbey Road, with its famous zebra crossing, is at the top of most people’s lists, and you can further indulge your Beatles mania at The Beatles Story on Albert Dock.
But there is more to Liverpool than The Fab Four, and once you have had your fill, spend some time exploring the rest of Albert Dock. The waterfront community is jammed full of attractions, as well as a wide range of venues to eat, drink and be merry.