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England Travel Guide

England adventures

“Heaven take thy soul, and England keep my bones!”

William Shakespeare
Oxford, England

Top Five Destinations In England (we are defining England as all regions below Scotland)

  1. London The capital and the largest city of England has distinct two personalities; one of nostalgia with a rich history while being one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities on earth. It is a true melting pot of people and cultures. Stroll the magnificent parks where so many of the residents gather, visit Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the House of Parliament, and Trafalgar Square. Shop for some of the best shopping in the world. Though a great metropolis, there remain distinct communities and strong vibes.
  2. Wales This small and wonderous Celtic country packs a lot in. There is such diversity within its borders, from the incredible coastline to lush mountains, beautiful small colorful villages, to large, vibrant cities. To add to the experience, road signs are in both Welsh and English. Wales is a Castlehunters dream with over 600 castles. Known for its national park and scenery, this incredible country meets every traveler’s dream.
  3. Hadrians Wall A Unesco World Heritage site wall was built in 122 AD to guard the wild frontier, now Scotland, from the Roman Empire. With a length of 73 miles stretches from the North Sea to the Irish sea. Much still intact, there are over twenty sites to visit along the wall. Follow the path of Hadrians Wall, and you will discover castles, forts, ramparts, lovely villages, and gorgeous countryside with rolling hills that will take your breath away.
  4. Stonehedge Is a prehistoric monument (built from 3000-2000 BC) in Wiltshire that fascinates archaeologists and keeps on giving new finds. These magnificent and intriguing rings of standing stones are set within earthworks in a dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze age monuments. Nearby are the lovely cities of Bath and Salisbury to visit along your travels in Stonehenge.
  5. Cotswold Often referred to as England’s heart is a range of rolling hills that creates a grassland habitat for picture-perfect stone villages rich with history and gardens beyond your imagination. It is as if you are stepping into a novel that you may not wish to leave when the book is done.

Did you know?

England Stats

  • Population: 59,439,840 million
  • Capital City: London within the UK
  • Currency: British Pound, Pound sterling
  • Government type: Devolved Parliamentary Legislature within a Constitutional Monarchy
  • Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson
  • Ethnic groups: 79.8% White British4.6%, White Other 2.6%, Indian 2.3%,  Mixed, 2.1% Pakistani, 1.8% African
  • Languages: English (official), Welsh, Cornish
  • Religions: Church of England
  • The capital of Wales is Cardiff.
  • US State Department Risk Level: 3 due to Covid and terrorism
  • Terrorist groups: Al Qaeda, ISIS, IRA, SLA
  • England is a country, but it is not a sovereign state.
  • Winchester was the first capital of England, from 827 to 1066
  • National day is April 23, St. George Day.
  • National Song: God Save the Queen
  • The tallest mountain in England is Scafell Pike, at 3200 feet above sea level.
  • The Thames River is the longest river that flows through England. It flows a distance of around 211 miles.
  • Inventions from England include sparkling wine, world wide web, (no not France), reflecting telescope, first mass-produced toothbrush, tin can, the thermos flask, the chocolate bar, modern fire extinguisher, hydraulic press, lawnmower, guillotine, the light bulb, first automatic tea kettle, telephone, and a match.
  • Major industries in England are construction, forestry, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, oil and gas, finance and banking, and information technology.
  • English people consume more tea per capita than anybody else in the world.
  • Life expectancy is 81 years old.
  • The literacy rate is 99%.

Funs facts

  • Wales officially has more castles, 600, per square mile than any other country in the world.
  • London’s Big Ben is not a clock but a bell in the clock tower.
  • The most popular sport in England is soccer, while Rugby is the favorite in Wales.
  • One of the best subway systems in the world, the Tube is over 150 years old. The term “Mind the Gap” refers to the space between the subway car and platform.
  • The Queen owns all the swans on the River Thames.
  • The real name of Big Ben is the ‘Clock tower.’ The big bell was nicknamed Ben, and the name stuck.
  • Swallow Falls at Betws-y-coed in Wales is the most visited waterfall in the United Kingdom. 
  • The English fought the shortest war in 1896 with Zanzibar, which lasted 38 minutes.
  • As Edward I of England returned from the ninth crusade in 1272, he learned that his father had died and that he had been made king of England. Instead of taking the throne, Edward went on a two-year vacation in Italy and France and returning in 1274.
  • It is a criminal offense to place a postage stamp upside down on an envelope.
  • In Anglesey Wales, the Menai Bridge was the first suspension bridge constructed to take heavy traffic. 
  • The infamous London Bridge is now located in Arizona.
  • Queen Elizabeth II is distantly related to Dracula.
  • 70% of the land in England is still owned by 1% of the population, largely descended from William the Conqueror’s army. 
  • Some of the world’s top scientists are English; Steven Hawking, Sir Issac Newton, and Charles Darwin.
  • It took seven years to build the London eye.

England Map

Good to know before you go

  • Tipping is not mandatory in England or the UK in general. It is customary to tip 10% in restaurants. As always, check to verify there is not a service charge on the bill. Hotels don’t usually expect tips, but if you get exceptional service, it is appreciated. Taxis and car services tips are not expected, but you can round up.
  • Credit cards are in use almost everywhere. That said, you will find many pubs will not take them or discourage them. Have some cash on you.
  • Overall, the clothing is stylish and polished. They are casual dressers in the nonbusiness setting, often wearing jeans and khaki pants, with upper layers for tops, and comfortable shoes. Business attire tends to be more formal. In the bigger cities, you will see more of a fashion sense. England is a rainy place, so plan accordingly. Casual and well-kept work well for travelers. If planning to go to the theatre or higher in restaurants, you are expected to dress more formally or classy casual.
  • Driving in England is essential if you want to see what all this gorgeous country has to offer. The best way is to accomplish this on a road trip. Some of its most epic sites and scenery are found down remote roads, far away from any bus or train stations. That could mean dodging free-range sheep, driving two-way roads only meant for one way, and negotiating roundabouts on the “wrong” side of the road.
  • Queuing in England is taken very seriously. When there is no distinct line marker, you can be assured an invisible and organized line occurs. Keep orderly and respectful.
  • British people will shake hands when greeting old friends or acquaintances; female friends may greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. If greeting someone, you don’t know shaking hands isn’t common unless they offer first.
  • British people take politeness extremely seriously. They say “thank you” at every stage of a financial transaction. In England, you can never say please, thank you, or sorry enough.
  • The British people are a sarcastic lot and use it daily. They tend to find humor in almost everything, using sarcastic remarks to make fun of the situation.
  • In England, they rarely eat with their hands. Forks and knives are always used except for sandwiches, even when eating pizza, fruit, and hard-to-cut items like chicken. Keep both hands visible at all times, even when you are no longer eating.
  • In restaurants, to get your server’s attention saying “Excuse me…” or by trying to catch their eye politely.
  • England is not known for its food, but that does not mean you can’t find some excellent fare. It will be pricey as most everything is there. Fish and chips were always a go-to and widespread takeaway food in the UK.
  • Afternoon high tea is quintessentially English and a must-do experience at least once. It is a lovely way to break up a long day of sightseeing and walking. Afternoon tea includes select teas, traditional scones, simple sandwiches, and petite cakes elegantly served. Complementing the pastries is clotted/Devonshire cream and fruit jams. Many hotel high teas offer champagne as well. If high tea is offered, Joelle always partakes.
  • Pubs and bars are distinctly different. A common misconception is that pubs, which stands for public houses, are bars. Pubs are gathering places, conversation zones, even restaurants. In many pubs, alcohol is almost an afterthought. Pubs are usually where people go to meet their friends and catch up on the local news.
  • If someone buys you or your table a round, it is customary for the next round to be on you.
  • It is a safe country. Take usual precautions in the cities, especially in touristy areas.

England Essential Info

US Consular Emergency
The 24-hour number from a US Phone 1-888-407-4747
Outside of US 011-202-501-4444

US Embassy London
33 Nine Elms Lane
London, SW11 7US
United Kingdom
Telephone: +(44) (20) 7499-9000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(44) (20) 7499-9000
Fax: +(44) (20) 7891-3845
Email: [email protected]

Emergency Numbers
GENERAL 999 or 112

Country Code
+44

Time Zone
UTC

Driving
Left side

Adaptors
Type G Plug adaptor
230 Volt

Tourism Office
VisitBritain: The Official Tourism Website of Great Britain
visitbritain.com

When to go to England

As a whole, there is never a time a year that England isn’t a great place to visit. English summers rarely are hot, and the winters don’t get very cold. There is not a great deal of regional variation, but it is wetter in the west than in the east, and the south gets more hours of sunshine than the north. Differences between the regions are slightly more apparent in the winter.

England is a huge tourist destination, and long queues and crowds are often an issue. To see the Churchhill bunkers in London was a couple of hours wait. The best time to visit would be between April and early June or in September or October. In the Spring, you will be greeted by beautiful flowers; in the fall, changing hues of fall leaves. England is an expensive place to visit (just the London eye is about $50 a person), so if you need to extend your travel dollars, the winter months may be your best bet.

  • Summer 53-75 °F (12-24 °C)
  • Spring 38-64 °F (3-18 °C)
  • Fall 42-68 °F (6-20 °C)
  • Winter 37-48 °F (3-9 °C)

Our Favorite England Resources

This resource section contains some Amazon affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Travel Books/Guides

England has been a frequent stop for us. London is a major travel hub; it is easy to stop for a few days before moving to your next destination. The country of England, including Wales, though, deserves much more time. Once you leave London, there are so many incredible diverse sites and scenery. Without a car, you will miss a lot. Wales alone has 600 castles. There are so many wonderful travel guides to choose from that we have used for many years; below are our favorite options.

Lonely Planet’s England (Country Guide) by Lonely Planet

A passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice that all England has to offer and what hidden discoveries await you. Ponder the mysteries of Stonehenge, visit Shakespeare’s hometown, escape it all in the Cotswolds or take in a London show. Let this beautifully illustrated guide be your travel partner. Great photography and lots of details to aid in planning. Discover this travel guide here

Rick Steves England by Rick Steves

Full disclosure, we are huge Rick Steve’s fans; it will be rare not to recommend one of his wonderful guides. We love his travel style and perspective. His off-the-beaten-path approach, together with his independent travel philosophy, matches well with how we travel. The guides never disappoint. This book was a fantastic resource. Find this must-have guide here

Our favorite websites

1. England tourism site visitbritain.com

2. US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs England Country Info

We cannot encourage you enough to visit this website as you plan and prepare for your trip. This is the US Federal Government addressing the safety, security, travel risk, entry, exit, visa documents mandates, emergency US and Embassy contacts, health, local laws, special circumstances, threats, traveler vulnerabilities, government warnings, and transportation in England. This is your best and most reliable resource for all this important info. Check back often before you go, as things can change quickly. Being prepared is essential in all travel, but especially internationally.

England International Travel Information (state.gov)

3. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers Health Resource

This CDC travel resource provides essential health info for your specific destination. Using their tool, you can determine which vaccines, medications, and health advice recommendations are needed for England.

CDC’s Travelers Health Page for England

Our favorite maps

The United Kingdom, London National Geographic Adventure Map 

Easy to read the map with practical road and travel information. These maps are meant for the adventure traveler. Major sites and landmarks are well marked. Mapped road network with distances and designations for major highways to the off-the-beaten-path roads. Waterproof and tear resisted it holds up well. Great for planning your route before your trip. Though we default to Google maps, this came in handy when service was poor or during construction detours. Find this essential map here.

Our favorite apps

Rome2rio: Trip Planner Trip and Holiday Organizer Enter any address, landmark, or city; the app will instantly display all your travel options, booking info, along with accommodation providers, and things to do. Find on your local app store.

Rick Steves Audio Europe This app includes a vast library of Rick Steve’s audio content. Get cultural and travel info. Includes self-guided tours of top attractions and historic walks. Amsterdam options. A must-have. Find on your local app store.

Do you have a favorite England travel resource? Share your favorites in the comments section at the bottom of this page or

© 2021 Wanderers Compass All Rights Reserved

Squaremouth.com

Our favorite travel insurance site!

If you are booking a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well insured. Not for the little stuff but the big stuff like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years, we have used many sites but have now found our go-to place. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, they use top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover Covid medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems with your policy.

MedjetAssist

Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world

They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the US to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover Covid-related transports as well.

Medjet carries its own policies. The policy is only for transport and no other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for $295. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.

Expedia.com 

Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours 

Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are a fantastic resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you would need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, cruises, to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.  

Booking.com

Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours 

Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.

We always start with Expedia to check prices, but it sometimes says it is sold out. We then try Booking.com, and we find it lists plenty of rooms. It could be they are a Europe-based company. Try both before booking accommodations.

Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)

Traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?

With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, VRBO connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The VRBO community offers families or groups various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, etc.

VRBO is under the Expedia group ownership now, which many were worried about, but it hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network that also has access to all forms of lodging should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family, with no problems to date.

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers around the world use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do, and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.

With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions from nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places to see nearby. We use them for guidance and research on every trip, it is a valuable app for the independent traveler.

Rail Europe

Discover Europe by Train

Rail Europe sells train and bus tickets for travel across Europe. They cover 24 countries, 105 rail operations, and 20,000 stations. They are the official rail and bus operations agents in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rail Europe continues to add coverage all the time.

It is a fast, easy and economical way to purchase train and bus tickets for Europe. Eurail passes are also available to buy through their site.

Amazon.com

An excellent source for travel essentials and guides

Amazon is one of the most extensive shopping online sources in the world. On behalf of their customers, teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery. They offer a vast inventory, and it is their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com that provide extensive options for customers.

We buy most of our travel books, accessories, and luggage from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and get what we need.

Travelpro Luggage

Thoughtfully Designed | Meticulously Constructed | Quality Guaranteed.

We have used this luggage for years, left briefly to try others, and returned to Travelpro. Travelpro luggage is carried by crews from over 90 airlines worldwide.

Travelpro takes the time to learn what travelers want and need, then builds it. The key factor for us is that it must be lightweight upfront and very resistant to rough handling. Their luggage is the best, and we could not recommend it enough. It is our go-to luggage.

iVisa

Travel documentation made more accessible

iVisa.com is dedicated to providing customers with a simple, fast, and reliable way to get travel documentation for their journey. Their online application process makes getting visas, health declarations, or passport photos a breeze, all from your home’s comfort. As a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry, they take pride in making global travel more accessible for everyone. In the end, it is a simple and affordable travel resource to get the necessary entry documents complete for your international travel.

This section contains affiliate links. If you use these links (the ads with photos are NOT affiliate links) to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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