brighton waterfront at sunset
Brighton is a beautiful city and one of the most expensive outside of London.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / Khrizmo

4 English Towns You'll Love Wandering the Streets Of

Get a Taste of English Life

Many people outside of England assume that the entirety of England is encompassed in London. It’s true that when you visit London you’ll be privy to fabulous landmarks, museums and cultural opportunities, but there is much more to England than just its capital city.

And since England is quite small in comparison to the United States, it is pretty easy to reach most places in a couple of hours.

Bear in mind, however, that train travel within the UK can be expensive, and it is best to book in advance, especially if traveling distances greater than a half an hour or so. The closer you get to your departure, the more expensive your journey will be, so don’t leave train tickets until the last minute.

So go ahead, plan to stay a couple days in London. But be sure to make lots of time for these other places to visit in England.

Brighton

Brighton is a beautiful city and one of the most expensive outside of London. Located in Sussex on the sea, it is rarely warm enough to take a dip, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have lovely seaside attractions. At the oceanfront, you can experience the world-class Brighton Aquarium, which is known as the Sea Life Centre.

Although geared for children, it is still a wonderful experience for people of all ages. For a few extra pounds, you can even hitch a ride on a glass bottom boat over the shark tank.

Located next to the Sea Life Centre is the Brighton Pier, a great place to take in carnival amusements. You can partake in the famous seafood, go on a few rides or lose a few hours in the arcades.
Besides the seafront, Brighton is also home to The Lanes, a shopping district filled with both unique local shops and national chains.

Fans of architecture and history will also be interested in visiting the Royal Pavilion. Completed in 1823, it was a holiday home for many members of the Royal Family until the city itself purchased it. The Pavilion is styled in an Indo-Chinese fashion, a look that was quite in vogue at the time.

rolling hills framed by trees and stone wallsIf you’re the literary sort, a trip to Haworth is one not to be missed. Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / Alphotographic

Haworth

If you’re the literary sort, a trip to Haworth is one not to be missed. Home to the Brontë sisters, this tiny village near the city of Bradford hosts a 1940s weekend each May. Visitors to Haworth can also pay homage to the Brontë sister’s famous works at the Brontë Parsonage museum, part of which used to be their home.

Fans can make their way to the adjacent church where their father served as pastor.

Haworth may only be a half-day excursion, but it is a must-see for any fan of literature. Visitors can even take the Keighley and Worth Valley Steam train to the museum from Keighley. These tickets can be purchased together and make for an excellent morning or afternoon out for any history or literature buff.

Leeds or Bradford are the nearest big cities for those interested in staying in or exploring a more urban fare after their Haworth visit.

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cobblestone streets of yorkYork is a walkable wee city fortified by a wall dated to the 12th century.Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / konstantin32

York

York is located about 25 miles northeast of Leeds and is an extremely walkable little city — not to mention one of the best towns in England to visit. Fortified by a wall dated to the 12th century that surrounds the entire medieval city, you can take quite the tour around the city just by walking on the wall on a sunny day.

York also contains a York Eye, a stand-up Ferris wheel similar to the London Eye that takes you up in the sky and gives you 360-degree views of the city.

Also in the York city center is the York Castle Museum, which isn’t really a museum about a castle at all. Housed inside of the old prison, the York Castle Museum is a truly immersive historical (and theatrical) experience. You can walk down a street in York as it would have looked in the Victorian ages, visit a Victorian school room or a Victorian shop.

You can also visit the prison section where you can interact with prisoners and jailers dressed in period clothing. The York Dungeon, for those who want a bit of a scare but are also after a local immersive experience, offers a few costumed cheap thrills based on folklore and actual events in the area from the Roman times.

York also boasts the remains of St. Mary’s Abbey from 1088, which is housed next to the Yorkshire Museum. The York Museum holds local artifacts from as far back as the Roman times, but also has a particular focus on the Viking era.

Visitors to York also shouldn’t miss The Shambles. Once a street for shopping for meat, there are currently no more butchers, though the crooked timber-framed buildings remain. Instead of meat, you’ll find local shops, teahouses and restaurants.

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