London is the center of politics, finance, shopping and culture in England, and remains the best city to visit in England. It is hard to pin down just one must-see attraction in London, but first-time visitors might want to make Westminster a priority. Westminster is home to Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister, as well as the Houses of Parliament and the famed Westminster Abbey. Also in Westminster, and perhaps one of the best-known structures in the world, is Buckingham Palace.
The city of York is a truly ancient destination, and it boasts an impressive collection of architectural remains that date to Roman, medieval and even viking times. A tour of the many ruins is a great way to experience the history of York, and one of the top tourist attractions is the York Minster, a cathedral whose origins date to the eighth century. If you want to bring some of the culture of the past to life, check out the incredible collection at the JORVIK Viking Centre, where you can see recreations of viking life in the area.
The English city of Durham is known for its beautiful university campus and its Roman architecture, and the two are clearly linked. Durham Castle, which was constructed in the 11th century, now serves as the oldest student accommodation in the world. Also worth touring is the Durham Cathedral, which boasts a stunning tower, striking Norman design and free admission for all visitors. The nearby Botanical Gardens are also a favorite attraction for nature lovers, and the manicured gardens boast a stunning array of plant life throughout the year.
In Northwest England is Chester, a charming city with Roman origins and a location just on the Welsh border. Its biggest attraction might just be the Chester Cathedral, a stunning structure that was one of the few to survive under Henry VIII because it was simply too beautiful to tear down. Travel back even further in time by exploring some of the Roman Chester landmarks, such as the ancient walls or the ruins of an enormous amphitheater. Just across the street from the Roman amphitheater is Grosvenor Park, a traditional 19th century Victorian garden perfect for picnics, strolls or people watching.
In 1155, Bristol was founded, and in the centuries since it has amassed a sizable collection of architectural landmarks, attractions and museums. Start your visit in the Old City, where some of the medieval city walls still stand. Of particular note is St Nicholas Market, where you can shop for local produce and delicious international fare in a glass-covered historic market. If you’re a fan of culture, don’t miss a show at the historic Old Vic, arguably one of the best-known theaters in all of England.
In the Southwest of England is a district called Cornwall, where residents are fiercely proud of their heritage, their beaches and the culture. One of the biggest Cornish cities is St. Ives, a relatively small destination that is packed with culture. In St. Ives, visitors won’t want to miss the amazing art collection at the Tate St. Ives, which rivals some of the most popular art museums in London. You can follow it up with a stroll along Porthminster Beach, which boasts great swimming potential and even views of a nearby lighthouse.