Things to Do in England
Westminster Palace, home to the British Houses of Parliament, is right on the river Thames. A magnificent Neo-Gothic building dating from 1840, it's most recognizable from the clock tower at one end known as Big Ben. (In fact, Big Ben is actually the bell inside the tower.)
Parliament is made up of two houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords and both have their meeting chambers inside here. It is possible to sit and watch from the Visitors' Gallery if you like seeing grown men taunting each other with bad jokes. Once a year, the Queen puts on her crown, sits on her Throne in the House of Lords and officially opens Parliament.
Since it was officially opened on New Year's Eve 1999 (as part of the millennial celebrations), the London Eye has become one of London's most popular attractions. It has 32 sealed 'pod' capsules, fitting a total of 800 people, revolving on a huge Ferris wheel. One go-around takes half an hour with the wheel rotating at only twice the speed of a tortoise sprinting, so you can step on and off without the wheel needing to stop!
The London Eye is the fourth-tallest structure in London, so the far-reaching views over London are spectacular. On a clear day you can see as far as Windsor Castle. And the slow speed of the rotation means there's plenty of time to see everything and take lots of photos.
The Thames is the longest river in England, the second longest in the United Kingdom. It flows from the west in the Cotswolds, passing through Oxford and London, ending at the sea at Southend-on-Sea in Essex. As far up as Teddington on the western edge of London, the river is tidal. Once the lifeline of London trade and communication, it's still busy with boats: sightseeing boats and houseboats mainly.
Once the only way across the river was to ford it, then London Bridge was built by the Romans. Nowadays many bridges criss-cross the river, the pedestrian Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge and Albert Bridge are among the prettiest.
The Thames is home to many species of fish and birds - particularly white swans which are to this day all still owned by the Queen. The river is also used by rowers and yachtsman but not swimmers - the water is not the cleanest.
A dramatic reminder of Bath’s Georgian heritage and one of the city’s most photographed historic landmarks, the Royal Crescent is aptly named, with its crescent-shaped row of terraced townhouses and regal architecture. Built between 1767 and 1775 by architect John Wood the Younger, the Royal Crescent features a row of magnificent terraced townhouses, looking out over a vast expanse of manicured lawns.
There are 30 houses along the crescent, each looming 47-foot (14-meters) high, fronted by gigantic Ionic columns and renowned for their beautifully preserved Georgian facades. Many of the houses are still private homes, but No. 1 Royal Crescent is now a museum, offering visitors a glimpse into life in Georgian-era Bath, while No. 16 is home to the luxurious Royal Crescent Hotel.
The Beatles experienced their first taste of fame at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the Fab Four first performed on November 9, 1961.
The underground cellar club started life in 1957 as a jazz and skiffle club. John Lennon first played here in the Quarrymen, an earlier incarnation of the Beatles, on August 7, 1957. Paul joined John on stage here with the Quarrymen in January 1958, and George first played here in February 1961.
The club moved from jazz to beat music, and the Beatles played more than 290 gigs, steadily building up a loyal fan base and honing their musical skills. They played their last show at the Cavern on 3 August 1963.
Other beat groups took over from the Beatles at the Cavern, including the Hollies, the Stones, the Kinks and the Yardbirds.
Following the Cavern’s closure in 1973, the club was re-erected on part of the original bulldozed site in the 1980s. Today, the Cavern is a vibrant music venue once more.
More Things to Do in England
The main research library of the University of Oxford and one of the oldest of its kind in Europe, the Bodleian Library is also one of the UK’s five "copyright libraries," famously housing a copy of every book printed in Great Britain—a collection that spans more than 11 million works. Founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1602, the Bodleian Library, or "the Bod" as it’s known to students, is actually a complex of libraries and reading rooms located in the heart of Oxford, including the domed Radcliffe Camera, the vaulted Divinity Room, the Duke Humphrey's Library and the Old and New Bodleian Libraries.
With its towering shelves of prized books and manuscripts, exploring the Bodleian libraries is a rare treat for book lovers, with everything from early manuscripts, biblical texts and ancient maps to rare literary editions, Oriental manuscripts and a large collection of original J.R.R Tolkien works.
Dating from the 1820s and named after Admiral Nelson's last great victory, Trafalgar Square is a hub of London life. With the National Gallery on one side, beautiful church St Martin in the Fields just across the road and the famous Nelson's Column with its guarding lions, it's London's grandest square. It's here that London celebrates moments such as Chinese New Year and winning the Olympics, as well as having a huge Christmas tree each year. It's also here that Londoners show their displeasure about things such as wars and curbs on freedom on speech.
Trafalgar Square is a wonderful place to sit and watch the world pass by. There's a common belief that if you sit here for half an hour you will see someone you know, because the whole world passes through Trafalgar Square at some point.
The largest and arguably most renowned of Oxford’s many colleges, the hallowed halls and exquisite cathedral of Christ Church College have a long and illustrious history. Founded by Cardinal Thomas Woolsey in 1524, the grandiose complex includes architectural highlights like Sir Christopher Wren’s Great Tom bell tower and the Great Hall, where King Charles I held court during the English Civil War. Despite being just one of 38 colleges, for many visitors to Oxford, Christ Church is synonymous with Oxford University. Today, the legendary buildings see almost as many tourists as they do students. Christ Church’s esteemed alumni include philosopher John Locke, Albert Einstein, architects John Ruskin and Sir Christopher Wren and former Prime Minister William Gladstone. But its academic resume isn’t the only string to its bow. The prestigious college has also made its mark in popular culture, starring as the now-iconic Great Hall of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.
Hertford Bridge, more commonly known as the Bridge of Sighs, is a skyway bridge linking two parts of Hertford College over New College Land in Oxford, England. The Old Quadrangle, which houses the college's administrative offices, is to the south, and the New Quadrangle, which is mostly student accommodation, is to the north. It was completed in 1914 and is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because it supposedly looks like the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy. However, many say it more closely resembles Venice's Rialto Bridge. It is one of the area's top tourist sights due to its unique look and design.
There was a famous legend about the bridge from decades ago that said a survey was taken of the health of the students of the University of Oxford. The results of the survey indicated that Hertford College students were the heaviest, resulting in the college closing the bridge in order to force the students to take the stairs and get more exercise.
Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic sights in London. It was opened in 1894, designed to echo the nearby Tower of London although the two have no association except proximity. The bridge is a bascule bridge which means the span lifts to allow ships and yachts through headed for the Pool of London, the port area just upstream of Tower Bridge. River traffic takes priority over road traffic and cars have to wait when a boat wants to come through.
The bridge has two high towers suspended by wires from the land and linked by a high-level walkway between. This was designed for pedestrians to be able to cross the river even when the bridge was open and you can still walk across it today. A common confusion is that Tower Bridge is actually called London Bridge but in fact that is the next one upstream, a much plainer bridge.
Liverpool’s wealth came from the shipping trade over the centuries, and the city’s maritime legacy is celebrated at the revitalized waterfront area known as Albert Dock.
The dock is lined with sturdy five-story warehouses, restored and reinvigorated to house boutiques, museums, restaurants and bars. The mix of Victorian-era cast-iron columns, Grade I-listed buildings and waterfront walkways creates an evocative atmosphere, where the past seamlessly melds with the present. There’s plenty to do at Albert Dock, the location of many of Liverpool’s most popular attractions. View contemporary art at the Tate Liverpool gallery, delve into seafaring history at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, or take a poignant journey through the history of the slave trade at the International Slavery Museum. The Beatles Story is also at Albert Dock, a must-do for music fans of all ages.
Beatles fans come from across the universe to pay tribute to the Fab Four at Liverpool’s Beatles Story.
From the Cavern Club to Abbey Road, this incredibly popular museum tells the story of Liverpool’s four most famous sons, their music, achievements, and massive impact on popular culture since the 1960s.
Taking you on an atmospheric, multimedia journey, the Beatles Story features exhibitions of memorabilia, audio rooms, a replica of the Cavern, the interactive Discovery Zone, solo exhibits, Fab4 store and coffee shop.
While you’re visiting, listen to the free living history audio guide for a self-guided tour of the exhibits. Highlights include John Lennon’s iconic round spectacles and George Harrison’s much-loved first guitar.
Your ticket also gives you entry to the multimedia Fab4D theater experience at the branch of the museum at the Pier Head Mersey Ferry Terminal.
London Bridge is the oldest bridge over the River Thames. While the current incarnation of the bridge dates from the 1970s, there has been a bridge in this place since around 50 AD, when the Romans drove some wooden piles into the river's mud. Since then there has always been a bridge here, and for a long time it was the only one. (Nowadays there are many bridges crisscrossing the Thames.)
Sadly, London Bridge is not one of the prettiest of the Thames bridges, although its name might be the most famous. Expecting the name to conjure up something special, people often mistakenly call Tower Bridge London Bridge. This leads to the story that an American bought London Bridge in 1968, thinking he'd bought Tower Bridge: what he did buy now spans a lake in Arizona.
The British Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, comparable only to the Louvre in Paris and the Met in New York. Established around 1750, the British Museum originated with Sir Hans Sloane's 'Cabinet of Curiosities' which he donated to the nation. It's now London's most visited attraction with over seven million objects and a wealth of world history - from Egyptian mummies to Roman sculptures, the Greek Parthenon marbles and the Persian Oxus Treasure (thanks to the British Empire's history of conquering distant countries - there is ongoing controversy about whether some of these treasures should now be returned to where they came from).
But this is no dull, dusty cupboard of old bits and pieces. The British Museum has a wide-ranging program of talks, films, family events, activities for kids, cafes and an excellent shop. The museum is housed in an imposing Greek Revival building dating from the 1850s.
The political, historical and cultural heart of London, the central district of Westminster is one of the capital’s busiest areas and home to so many of the city’s top attractions that many tourists never venture far outside its boundaries. Most visitors start their tour along the Thames River waterfront, where highlights include the Houses of Parliament, the Gothic Westminster Abbey and Westminster Palace, home to the iconic Big Ben clock tower, while the famous London Eye looms on the opposite riverbank. Close by is the grand central boulevard of Whitehall, which leads to Parliament Square and the Prime Minister's official residence at 10 Downing Street; Trafalgar Square, home to Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery; the Tate Britain and, to the north, the vibrant West End Theater district. Another star attraction of Westminster is Buckingham Palace, the official home of Her Majesty the Queen, linked to the city by St James Park, The Mall and the Horse Guards Parade.
Things to do near England
- Things to do in London
- Things to do in Liverpool
- Things to do in Oxford
- Things to do in Manchester
- Things to do in York
- Things to do in Southampton
- Things to do in Cambridge
- Things to do in Bristol
- Things to do in Birmingham
- Things to do in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Things to do in Wales
- Things to do in Ireland
- Things to do in North West England
- Things to do in South West England
- Things to do in Yorkshire