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Scott Smyth June 17 2021

From Lindisfarne to Land’s End, England’s green and pleasant land is home to enough treasures to spend a lifetime exploring.

To help you compile your English bucket list, we’re shining the spotlight on some truly unique experiences across the country.

Our new self-drive holidays in England are designed around spectacular scenery, historic gems, and – as always – the very best places to stay. If we can help you plan an unforgettable escape then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Watch a play overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
– Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Perched high on the cliffs above a stunning stretch of the Cornish coast, the open-air Minack Theatre must be one of Britain’s most unique sites. Designed in an amphitheatre-style, the view beyond the stage stretches to the azure waters of one of Britain’s best beaches, Porthcurno. You could easily be forgiven for thinking you are watching a play in ancient Greece.

Performances at the Minack resumed on 17th May 2021, and booking on their website is essential.

 

Spend the night on England’s holiest island
– Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland

Lying just off the coast of Northumberland, what the tiny island of Lindisfarne lacks in size it makes up for in history. A monastery was founded here in the 7th century making this one of England’s oldest Christian sites.

Lindisfarne is cut off by the tide once a day, transforming it from a bustling tourist hotspot into a peaceful island detached from the mainland. Once the day-trippers have departed, watching the sun go down over Lindisfarne is something special – whether you’re religious or not.

 

Follow in Dracula’s footsteps in Whitby
– Whitby, Yorkshire

The Yorkshire town of Whitby and Dracula are forever connected thanks to Bram Stoker’s legendary 1897 novel. The author was so inspired by the town’s imposing Gothic abbey and dramatic, windswept headlands that he gave Whitby a starring role in the story.

No visit is complete without a walk up the famous 199 steps to the abbey, following in Dracula’s footsteps as he fled the wreckage of his ship up into the graveyard and abbey ruins.

To learn more about Whitby’s Dracula connections, join a walking tour with local guide, Dr Crank.

 

Walk along the largest ancient monument in northern Europe
– Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland

With dramatic scenery and, quite often, weather conditions to match – it’s easy to get a sense of how the Roman soldiers must have felt as they stared into the unknown and foreboding abyss to the north.

Stretching 73 miles from coast to coast in northern England, the wall formed the northern frontier of the sprawling Roman Empire and the remnants provide a unique insight into life in ‘Britannia’ 2,000 years ago.

Vindolanda Fort has a superb museum where you can often see live excavations take place, or – for a truly immersive experience – walk the entire length of the wall along the Hadrian’s Wall Path.

 

Pamper yourself in Britain’s only natural thermal spa
– Bath, Somerset

After what 2020 put us through, we all deserve a bit of pampering! With naturally heated thermal spring water, the city of Bath has been a centre for health and pilgrimage since the Iron Age.

The rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa offers the unique opportunity to swim in Bath’s thermal waters while gazing over the city’s Georgian rooftops and historic abbey. Absolute bliss.

 

Taste the world’s best gingerbread
– Grasmere, Lake District

After perfecting her gingerbread recipe in 1854, Victorian housemaid Sarah Nelson may be astonished to learn that people from all over the world are still flocking to the Lake District to taste her celebrated product almost 170 years later.

Operating from a tiny shop in one of England’s most picturesque villages, Grasmere – a batch of fresh gingerbread is baked daily using the original recipe (a closely guarded secret so don’t ask!). It’s often called “the world’s best gingerbread” and it’s difficult to disagree.

Interesting fact; 19th-century poet William Wordsworth, who lived nearby, once taught local children in the gingerbread shop when the building was a small village school.

 

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Discover an Anglo-Saxon burial hoard
– Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Netflix’s film The Dig tells the story of amateur archaeologist Basil Brown who made the discovery of a lifetime in 1939. Digging a few miles off the Suffolk coast, he found a buried ship dating back to the early 7th century complete with an incredible array of medieval treasures. To this day, the find remains one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries of all time.

While many of the objects are now stored in London’s British Museum, the excavation site at Sutton Hoo is home to a museum, a full-size sculpture of the ship, and a new observation tower. A must-visit for history-lovers.

 

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Have dinner in a treehouse
– Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Northumberland was once a battleground between England and Scotland and the legacy is an amazing array of historic castles. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive is Alnwick Castle which starred as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two Harry Potter films.

Sitting high in the trees above the castle’s gardens is one of England’s most unique restaurants – a beautifully-crafted treehouse. To make the experience even more magical, the treehouse is surrounded by twinkling lights.

The Treehouse Restaurant will reopen on 17th May 2021 and booking is essential.

 

Ready for a road trip?

If you’re inspired to start planning an English road trip, you’ll find plenty of inspiration on our website. Our top itineraries include our Devon & Cornwall Road Trip and a self-drive adventure in the Lake District, Yorkshire & Hadrian’s Wall.

This list above is a tiny sample of the memorable and unique experiences available across England, and we’re excited to discover more in 2021!

Scott Smyth

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