It seems fitting to start the recommendations with the capital city, London, rather than a specific place. The sheer amount of historic sights is staggering, and one could find themselves seeking them out for days, possibly weeks. There are some that are obvious – The Tower of London for example, a historic castle found on the north bank of the River Thames that was used over many centuries, perhaps most famously as a prison.
Then there’s also the Palace of Westminster alongside the Parliament Building conjoined with the symbolic Big Ben. All these can be visited within one afternoon due to their proximity. The same could be achieved with Buckingham Palace and its surrounding St James’s Park. The palace and the park can be found by the tube station of the same name, St James’s Park.
For something slightly well-less known plan a trip to the luxurious and awe-inspiring Banqueting House. This is a prime example of revolutionary 16th Century architecture whose sole purpose was for elite entertaining. Nearby is something more grounded but nonetheless an important part of modern British history – Churchill’s War Room. Also by Westminster, this museum is set in the underground constructs Churchill and his war cabinet planned the survival and eventual success of England and their allies during the Second World War.
A walk along the Southbank will let you see a lot of interesting things, from street performers to art galleries, so it makes for a wonderful afternoon. At the beginning is the London Eye and at the end of it is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern. If you walk beyond those you can come across Borough Market, one of the oldest food markets in London dating back to the 12th Century. At the weekends it serves the most delicious food from fine British dishes to multi-cultural cuisines.
You could easily add this to your visit to London as it makes a fantastic day trip, which is reached by car in just over an hour. Built as a university, Oxford is the oldest one in the English-speaking world, founded in the 11th century. It was rapidly developed once Henry II banned English students attending the University of Paris. Today it holds all its historic beauty and is a remarkable place to visit.
There are tours you can partake in to see the University of Oxford grounds, its world-famous library, and many of its most famous buildings. There are also other places to see such as the Pitt Rivers Museum where you can see exhibits both in Archeology and Ethnography. It can only be reached through the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which in of itself is an incredible experience.
For nature lovers be sure to check out the Oxford Botanic Gardens and Arboretum. It is the biggest of its kind in England with 6,000 different types of plants. It is laid across 130 acres of stunning British woodland that makes for a beautiful afternoon. Finally, the Blenheim Palace is not just interesting for its steep history, but its grounds also make for a lovely walk amongst nature.
Any fans of musical history will love the Jericho Bar, which has held some of the greatest rock bands of the 80s and 90s. Radiohead go their early start here and today it still holds some of the best shows available. But if it’s really pub history you’re after than the Bear Inn is Oxford’s oldest standing bar, built around 1242, retaining much of its scholarly charms with collections of ‘snipped’ school ties on its walls.
Stonehenge & Surrounding Places of Interest
Older than the Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge remains one of the greatest historical and architectural sights in all of England. Its origins and even its purpose to this day remain unknown, but its structure and positioning to the stars and both summer and winter solstice lead many to believe it was built ceremonially. Today it still draws nomads and pagan groups to celebrate by it during both solstices.
Stonehenge is easy to reach from Bath, distancing at 36 miles. Bath is another place any history lover should visit. It was built in the Roman times named after their iconic thermal pools. They built well-preserved temples around them the first days of the Roman Empire settling in England that visitors can visit. It is also a beautiful, cultural city with incredible architecture and structures built and developed over a thousand years.
Just one hour away (by car) from Bath is the medieval town of Glastonbury. Perhaps most famous in modern times for its international music festival, which attracts the most well-known acts in music, it still retains much of historical and mysticism charm outside of its festival season. Walking up and down its cobbled Highstreet you will see antique and magic arts shops alongside pubs that have been open since the days of knights.
After Glastonbury, the next thing on your agenda should be Wells Cathedral. It is only 17 minutes up the A39 and is one of the most impressively built cathedrals in Europe. It is the first English Cathedral to be built in Gothic style, filled with towering piers and incredible ornamental design and figures across its front, retaining even some of its ancient stained glass. The little village around it is also great for coffee or lunch.
If you are planning to see the incredible monuments of England than a top quality car will do you wonders. Consider our 4x4s and minibuses offers and if it’s a longer trip we also provide long-term car hire so you can see as much as possible.