Welcome to the enchanting land of England, where history and modernity intertwine in a mesmerizing dance. From bustling metropolises to charming towns, this diverse country offers an array of captivating cities waiting to be explored. Whether you are drawn to iconic landmarks, cultural treasures, or vibrant nightlife scenes, there is something for everyone on our list of the best cities to visit in England.
So buckle up and prepare for an unforgettable journey as we take you through the top 20 cities that will ignite your wanderlust and leave you yearning for more! Grab your map and let’s dive into this adventure together. Let’s uncover the hidden gems, soak in centuries-old architecture, revel in music legends’ birthplaces, and indulge in culinary delights that will tantalize your taste buds. Get ready to fall head over heels for these remarkable destinations!
Best Cities to Visit in England – Top 20 (Map Included)
London, the beating heart of England, is a city that effortlessly blends history and modernity. As you stroll through its vibrant streets, you’ll be greeted by an awe-inspiring array of iconic landmarks. Buckingham Palace stands tall and regal, offering a glimpse into the royal world. The Tower of London whispers tales of intrigue and secrets from centuries past. And the Houses of Parliament command attention with their majestic presence.
But London is not just about grandeur; it’s also a cultural playground that caters to all tastes. Immerse yourself in art at world-class museums like the British Museum or Tate Modern, where masterpieces from across the globe await your discovery. Feel your heart race as you catch a live performance at one of its legendary theatres such as Shakespeare’s Globe or West End productions.
When hunger strikes, London satisfies even the most discerning palates with its diverse culinary scene. From Michelin-starred restaurants to trendy street food markets like Borough Market, this city offers gastronomic delights for every craving.
Get lost in London’s enchanting neighbourhoods – each with its own unique charm and character. Explore Covent Garden’s bustling market stalls and street performers or wander along the historic streets of Greenwich Village.
London truly has something for everyone – whether you’re seeking art, history, theatre, or simply want to soak up its cosmopolitan vibe. It will leave an indelible mark on your soul and ignite a desire to return time and time again.
Manchester: A vibrant city with a rich industrial heritage, Manchester is a melting pot of music, culture, and sport. From the iconic red of Manchester United to the sky blue of Manchester City, football is ingrained in the heart and soul of this city. The passionate rivalry between these two clubs adds an electric atmosphere to match days at Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium.
But it’s not just football that defines Manchester. The city has also left an indelible mark on the world of music. It was here that bands like Oasis and The Smiths were born, shaping the soundtracks for generations. And let’s not forget about the legendary Hacienda nightclub which played a pivotal role in the rise of rave culture.
Culture thrives in every corner of Manchester – from its countless art galleries showcasing local talent to its thriving theatre scene hosting world-class productions. You can spend hours exploring museums like the Museum of Science and Industry or immersing yourself in history at places like Castlefield Roman Fort.
And when it comes to food, you’ll be spoiled for choice with diverse culinary offerings from around the globe. Whether you’re craving some authentic Indian curry or fancy indulging in traditional pub grub, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
Liverpool: A maritime city with a musical soul, Liverpool has left an indelible mark on the music industry as the birthplace of The Beatles. This iconic band brought forth a revolutionary sound that continues to captivate audiences worldwide. Their legacy lives on in the vibrant streets of Liverpool, and fans can embark on a pilgrimage to visit significant landmarks such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.
One cannot mention Liverpool without paying homage to the legendary Cavern Club. This intimate venue is where The Beatles began their meteoric rise to fame, performing over 290 times between 1961 and 1963. Today, music enthusiasts from all over the world flock to this hallowed ground for live performances and nostalgic trips down memory lane.
Beyond its musical heritage, Liverpool is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historic waterfront buildings stand tall along the River Mersey, showcasing architectural marvels like the Royal Liver Building and Albert Dock. Visitors can explore these structures that have witnessed centuries of history unfold before them.
Immerse yourself in Liverpool’s cultural tapestry by visiting its numerous galleries and museums or taking part in one of its lively festivals celebrating art, film or food. Additionally, football aficionados will find solace here as two Premier League clubs call this city home – Liverpool FC and Everton FC.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a friendly city with lively nightlife, offers an unforgettable experience to visitors. Known for its iconic bridges that span the River Tyne, this vibrant city is a haven for beer enthusiasts and football fanatics alike.
You can’t visit Newcastle without immersing yourself in its renowned nightlife. From trendy bars and traditional pubs to bustling clubs and live music venues, there’s something for everyone here. The Geordie accent adds an extra layer of charm to the atmosphere as you mingle with locals who are always up for a good time.
Football is deeply ingrained in the culture of Newcastle. The city proudly hosts two Premier League football clubs: Newcastle United and Sunderland. Whether you’re cheering on your favourite team at St James’ Park or exploring the Stadium of Light, the passion and excitement are palpable.
But there’s more to Newcastle than just beer and football. Take some time to explore its rich history by visiting attractions such as Newcastle Castle Keep or take a stroll along Quayside, where you can admire stunning views of the riverfront.
With its warm hospitality, buzzing energy, and unique Geordie flair, it’s no wonder that Newcastle-upon-Tyne continues to captivate travellers from all over the world. Experience it for yourself and discover why this friendly city should be on your list of must-visit destinations in England!
Nottingham: A historic city with a literary connection, Nottingham is famous for being the birthplace of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. Steeped in folklore and mythology, this charming city has captivated visitors for centuries with its rich history and intriguing tales.
One of the must-visit attractions in Nottingham is the iconic Nottingham Castle. Situated on a high rock overlooking the city, it offers breathtaking views that will leave you in awe. As you explore its ancient walls and towers, you can’t help but feel transported back in time to an era of knights, nobles, and medieval intrigue.
But Nottingham isn’t just about legends and castles; it also boasts a vibrant cultural scene. The city is home to numerous theatres, museums, art galleries, and music venues that showcase both local talent and international acts.
Literature lovers will be delighted to discover that Nottingham was also once home to renowned writer D.
H. Lawrence. You can visit his childhood home-turned-museum to gain insight into his life and works.
Additionally, don’t miss out on exploring the bustling streets of Nottingham’s city centre which are lined with shops offering everything from high-street brands to unique independent boutiques.
With its fascinating literary connections, magnificent castle views, and vibrant cultural offerings – there’s no doubt that Nottingham deserves a spot on your list of top cities to visit in England!
Leicester: A city with a Roman past, Leicester has a rich history that is worth exploring. One of its notable attractions is the King Richard III Visitor Centre, which offers an immersive experience of the life and reign of the famous medieval king.
The discovery of King Richard III’s remains in 2012 was a significant archaeological find that put Leicester in the spotlight. The visitor centre provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about this historical figure and his connection to the city.
In addition to its historical significance, Leicester is also known for its diversity. The city boasts a multicultural population, making it a vibrant and inclusive place to visit. This diversity can be seen in its food scene, where you can find cuisines from around the world.
Beyond history and diversity, Leicester also offers plenty of other attractions. From beautiful parks like Abbey Park to cultural venues like Curve Theatre, there is something for everyone here. And if you’re a sports fan, don’t forget about Leicester City Football Club, which won the Premier League title in 2016 against all odds!
Brighton: A popular seaside resort town, Brighton is a vibrant and eclectic destination that offers something for everyone. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, independent shops, and thriving LGBTQ+ scene, it has become a must-visit city in England.
The charm of Brighton lies in its unique blend of old-world charm and modern vitality. Stroll along the iconic Brighton Pier with its bustling arcades and thrilling rides, or relax on the pebbled beach while soaking up the sun. The city’s bohemian streets are lined with quirky boutiques, vintage shops, and trendy cafes where you can discover one-of-a-kind treasures.
What sets Brighton apart is its inclusive and diverse community. The city proudly embraces its LGBTQ+ heritage, hosting one of the largest Pride festivals in the UK every year. Explore the vibrant Kemptown area to experience the lively nightlife scene with an array of the best bars and clubs catering to all tastes.
For culture enthusiasts, there are numerous art galleries showcasing local talent as well as world-class exhibitions at venues like the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. Don’t miss out on visiting The Royal Pavilion – a stunning palace built in Indian architectural style that once served as a seaside retreat for King George IV.
With such an array of attractions, it’s no wonder Brighton continues to be a favourite among locals and tourists alike seeking relaxation by the sea with just a touch of excitement thrown into the mix.
Bristol: A creative and innovative city, Bristol is a vibrant hub for arts and culture. With its thriving art scene, it has become a hotspot for artists, musicians, and creatives of all kinds. The city boasts numerous attractions that cater to every artistic taste.
One must-visit spot in Bristol is the Arnolfini Gallery, a contemporary arts venue that showcases cutting-edge exhibitions and performances. From thought-provoking installations to experimental music events, the gallery constantly pushes boundaries and challenges perceptions.
Another cultural gem in Bristol is the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. This treasure trove houses an extensive collection of art spanning centuries and continents. Visitors can immerse themselves in everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts to modern masterpieces by local artists.
Aside from these renowned institutions, Bristol’s streets are adorned with captivating street art created by world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy himself! Exploring the city feels like walking through an open-air gallery where creativity knows no bounds.
Moreover, Bristol hosts various festivals throughout the year that celebrate different forms of art – whether it be music, film or performance arts. These events bring together people from all walks of life who share a common love for creativity.
In this creative haven called Bristol, inspiration flows freely around every corner. It’s no wonder that countless talented individuals have found their muse within its borders. Whether you’re an avid art enthusiast or simply appreciate innovation in all its forms, this city will undoubtedly leave you inspired and craving more artistic experiences.
Nestled in the heart of England, Lincoln is a city steeped in history and charm. Its standout feature is undoubtedly its magnificent cathedral, an architectural masterpiece that towers over the surrounding landscape. The cathedral’s intricate stonework and towering spires are a testament to the craftsmanship of centuries past.
But Lincoln offers more than just its iconic cathedral. The city is also home to a wealth of medieval buildings, each with its own unique story to tell. Wander through the cobbled streets and you’ll discover timber-framed houses, ancient guildhalls, and remnants of Roman ruins that hint at the city’s rich heritage.
One such example is Newport Arch, one of the few remaining Roman gateways in the country. Dating back almost 2,000 years, it serves as a striking reminder of Lincoln’s Roman past. And for those seeking even more history, a visit to Lincoln Castle is a must. This well-preserved fortress not only offers panoramic views of the city but also houses one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta.
Beyond its historical treasures, Lincoln also boasts a vibrant cultural scene. From art galleries showcasing local talent to independent boutiques offering unique finds, there’s something here for every taste and interest.
Whether you’re captivated by history or simply seeking a charming escape from bustling city life, Clincoln should be on your list when exploring England’s best cities.
Nestled in the heart of East Anglia, Norwich is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its well-preserved medieval architecture, this historic city transports you back in time to a bygone era. Walking through its narrow streets and winding alleys, you can’t help but feel the weight of history that hangs in the air.
At the centre of it all stands Norwich Cathedral, an awe-inspiring masterpiece that has stood for over 900 years. Its towering spire reaches towards the heavens, beckoning visitors from far and wide to marvel at its grandeur. Step inside and you’ll find yourself surrounded by intricate stained glass windows and ornate stone carvings, each telling a story from centuries past.
Just next door lies Norwich Castle, a formidable fortress turned museum that offers a glimpse into Norfolk’s rich heritage. From Roman artefacts to medieval treasures, there’s something here for every history enthusiast.
But perhaps one of Norwich’s greatest charms is its bustling market. Dating back over 900 years, this vibrant hub showcases everything from fresh produce to unique crafts and antiques. Lose yourself among the stalls as you soak up the lively atmosphere and indulge in delicious local treats.
Norwich may not be on everyone’s travel radar, but those who venture here are rewarded with an unforgettable experience steeped in history and brimming with charm. Whether you’re exploring its majestic cathedral or getting lost in its enchanting streets, this city will leave an indelible mark on your soul.
Bath, oh Bath! A city that captivates with its timeless beauty and rich history. Known worldwide for its Roman baths and stunning Georgian architecture, Bath is the epitome of charm and elegance. Stepping into this UNESCO World Heritage Site feels like taking a step back in time.
The Roman baths, which date back over 2,000 years, are a true marvel to behold. The ancient bathing complex showcases the ingenuity of the Romans and gives visitors a glimpse into their daily lives. As you wander through the well-preserved ruins, you can almost imagine yourself soaking in these sacred waters centuries ago.
But it’s not just the Roman influence that makes Bath special. The city’s Georgian architecture is simply breathtaking. From the iconic Royal Crescent to Pulteney Bridge spanning across River Avon, every street seems to exude sophistication and grandeur.
Take a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets lined with charming boutiques and quaint tea rooms. Explore the exquisite Bath Abbey with its magnificent stained glass windows or delve into history at one of the many museums scattered throughout the city.
As evening falls, immerse yourself in Bath’s vibrant cultural scene. Catch a performance at one of its renowned theatres or indulge in some fine dining at one of the numerous restaurants offering delicious local cuisine.
York: A historic city with a Viking past, York is steeped in centuries of fascinating history. Walking through the streets of this enchanting city feels like stepping back in time. Everywhere you turn, there are reminders of its medieval past, from the ancient walls that still encircle the city to the cobblestone lanes lined with timber-framed houses.
One of the highlights of visiting York is exploring its magnificent Gothic cathedral – York Minster. Standing proud and majestic, it is one of the largest cathedrals in England and a true architectural marvel. As you enter this sacred space, you can’t help but be awestruck by its grandeur and intricate details.
But York offers more than just stunning architecture. The Jorvik Viking Centre takes visitors on a journey back to when Vikings ruled these lands. Through interactive exhibits and reconstructed scenes, you can experience what life was like for these seafaring warriors.
For those seeking even more history, don’t miss Clifford’s Tower – an imposing castle that once stood as a symbol of power and authority. From atop its ramparts, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the cityscape below.
Beyond its historical attractions, York also boasts charming tea rooms serving traditional afternoon tea delights and quaint shops selling unique crafts and antiques. And if all that exploration works up an appetite, indulge in some hearty Yorkshire pudding or sample locally brewed ale at one of the cosy pubs scattered throughout the town.
Canterbury: Home to the Cathedral Church of Christ Canterbury, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canterbury is a city steeped in history and religious significance. The magnificent cathedral stands as a testament to centuries of faith and pilgrimage.
Pilgrims from all over the world journey to Canterbury to pay homage to its sacred sites. The Cathedral Church of Christ is not only an architectural marvel but also a spiritual sanctuary that holds great importance for Christians worldwide. Its stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stained glass windows leave visitors in awe.
The city itself exudes a sense of tranquillity and reverence. Walking through its ancient streets feels like stepping back in time. There are quaint shops selling religious artefacts, charming cafes where you can take a break and reflect on your visit, and peaceful gardens where you can find solace amidst nature.
But it’s not just pilgrims who are drawn to Canterbury; tourists flock here too. They come for the rich history, which extends beyond religion. Exploring the medieval walls, visiting St Augustine’s Abbey ruins or taking a boat trip along River Stour are just some of the many experiences that await those who venture into this enchanting city.
Durham is a city that oozes beauty and history at every turn. With its stunning cathedral and castle, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s no wonder that Durham attracts visitors from far and wide. The awe-inspiring architecture of the cathedral never fails to leave a lasting impression on anyone who steps foot inside.
But Durham is not just about its historic sites. It is also home to Durham University, one of the UK’s leading universities. With its prestigious reputation for academic excellence, this university draws students from all corners of the globe. Walking through the campus feels like stepping into a world where knowledge reigns supreme.
The city itself has an undeniable charm that is hard to resist. From quaint cobblestone streets to picturesque riverside walks, there is something enchanting around every corner. You can take in breathtaking views as you stroll along the River Wear or explore hidden gems tucked away in charming side alleys.
For those seeking cultural experiences, Durham offers an array of museums, galleries, and theatres showcasing art and performances from local talents and international artists alike. And let’s not forget about the thriving food scene – whether you’re craving traditional pub fare or gastronomic delights from around the world, Durham has plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds.
Cambridge: Home to the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, this historic city is a captivating blend of academia and beauty. With its stunning architecture and picturesque landscapes, Cambridge offers a unique experience for visitors.
The highlight of any trip to Cambridge is undoubtedly a visit to the renowned colleges that make up the university. From the grandeur of King’s College Chapel to the serene gardens of Trinity College, each college has its own distinct charm and history waiting to be discovered.
Beyond the academic landmarks, Cambridge boasts a wealth of cultural attractions. Take a leisurely punt along the River Cam or explore The Fitzwilliam Museum with its impressive collection spanning centuries. For nature lovers, there are beautiful gardens like The Botanic Garden and Jesus Green where you can enjoy peaceful walks amidst vibrant flora.
The city also comes alive with festivals and events throughout the year. From May Week celebrations to music concerts at Grantchester Meadows, there’s always something happening in Cambridge that will leave you enthralled.
Oxford, the enchanting city nestled in the heart of England, is a place where history comes alive and knowledge blooms. Renowned for its prestigious University of Oxford, this ancient city has been shaping minds for centuries. The grandeur of its colleges and libraries is truly awe-inspiring.
Walking through the cobbled streets of Oxford feels like stepping back in time. Each college boasts its own unique charm, with stunning architecture that tells stories from bygone eras. From the iconic Radcliffe Camera to the magnificent Bodleian Library, these historic buildings are not just repositories of knowledge but also architectural marvels that leave visitors spellbound.
But it’s not just about academia in Oxford; there’s something for everyone here. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque River Cherwell or explore charming bookshops tucked away on narrow lanes. Immerse yourself in the culture at one of the many museums or catch a play at one of Oxford’s renowned theatres.
For those seeking tranquillity amidst nature, head to Christ Church Meadow or Botanic Garden – peaceful havens where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In every corner of this remarkable city, there is an air of intellectualism blended seamlessly with timeless beauty. It’s no wonder that Oxford has inspired countless writers, poets, and scholars throughout history.
Colchester: A historic city with Roman ruins and a Norman castle, Colchester is steeped in centuries of history. It proudly holds the title of the oldest recorded town in England, making it an absolute must-visit for history enthusiasts.
Wandering through the streets of Colchester feels like stepping back in time. The remnants of its Roman past are scattered throughout the city, from the impressive ruins of Colchester Castle to the remains of ancient walls that once protected this important settlement. Exploring these sites offers a fascinating glimpse into life during Roman times.
The imposing Norman castle stands as a testament to Colchester’s medieval heritage. Its towering walls and turrets provide panoramic views over the surrounding countryside, offering visitors a chance to soak in both history and beauty simultaneously.
Beyond its historical treasures, Colchester also boasts a vibrant contemporary scene. Quaint shops line its charming streets, selling everything from antiques to locally crafted goods. The town is also home to numerous art galleries showcasing works by local artists.
For those looking for culinary delights, Colchester does not disappoint either. From traditional pubs serving hearty British fare to trendy eateries experimenting with global flavours, there’s something here for every palate.
Salisbury: Home to the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral, this historic city is a treasure trove of medieval architecture and charm. The centrepiece of Salisbury is undoubtedly its breathtaking cathedral, which showcases exquisite Gothic design and houses the tallest spire in England. As you wander through the cobbled streets, you’ll be transported back in time as you discover an array of well-preserved medieval buildings.
The architectural wonders don’t stop at the cathedral though. Salisbury boasts an impressive collection of historic landmarks that will captivate history enthusiasts. From the iconic Old Sarum, an Iron Age hillfort with remnants dating back thousands of years, to the majestic ruins of Old Wardour Castle nestled amidst picturesque countryside.
But it’s not just about ancient history here – modern amenities blend seamlessly with centuries-old heritage. Quaint boutiques offer unique shopping experiences, while cosy tearooms tempt visitors with delicious treats and traditional English tea.
For those seeking a cultural fix, look no further than Salisbury’s thriving arts scene. The city hosts numerous festivals throughout the year celebrating music, literature, and theatre – offering something for every taste.
Leeds: A vibrant city with a diverse cultural scene, Leeds offers an array of experiences for visitors to enjoy. With its rich history and bustling atmosphere, it’s no wonder that this city is often overlooked by tourists in favour of more well-known destinations.
One of the highlights of Leeds is its thriving arts and culture scene. The city boasts numerous free museums, galleries, and theatres where visitors can immerse themselves in the creative offerings. From contemporary art exhibitions to theatrical performances, there is always something happening that will captivate your interest.
For those who love shopping, Leeds is a dream come true. The city features a wide range of shopping options, from high-end boutiques to independent stores and bustling markets. Whether you’re searching for designer labels or unique vintage finds, you’ll be spoiled for choice in this retail paradise.
But it’s not just about the cultural attractions and shopping opportunities in Leeds. The city also has a reputation for its friendly locals and welcoming atmosphere. Take some time to wander through the charming streets lined with historic buildings or relax in one of the many parks dotted throughout the area.
Welcome to Birmingham, the second-largest city in England! With its vibrant energy and diverse attractions, this city has something for everyone. From museums and theatres to shopping centres and sporting events, there is never a dull moment in Birmingham.
If you’re a culture buff, be sure to visit the numerous museums scattered throughout the city. Immerse yourself in art at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery or explore history at the Thinktank Science Museum. And don’t forget about the iconic Symphony Hall, where you can catch world-class performances by renowned artists.
For all you shopaholics out there, Birmingham won’t disappoint. With its array of shopping centres like Bullring & Grand Central and Mailbox, you can indulge in some retail therapy while exploring designer boutiques or grabbing a bite to eat at one of its best restaurants.
Sports enthusiasts will also find their paradise here with two Premier League football clubs calling Birmingham home – Aston Villa and Birmingham City. So put on your team colours and join in on the electric atmosphere as fans root for their beloved teams.
Birmingham truly offers an exciting blend of history, culture, entertainment, and sports that will leave visitors wanting more. Come discover why this bustling metropolis should be on your list of must-visit cities in England!
So there you have it, the top 20 best cities to visit in England! From the vibrant streets of London to the historic charm of York and the musical heritage of Liverpool, each city offers its own unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment.
Whether you’re a fan of architecture, art, sports or simply exploring new places, these cities have something for everyone. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey through England’s rich tapestry of sights and experiences.
Remember to immerse yourself in the local culture, try traditional food and drinks, and make memories that will last a lifetime. And don’t forget to take advantage of our handy map guide to help plan your itinerary.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today and discover why England is such a beloved destination for travellers from around the world. Happy travels!