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England

The center of British life. 

London, York, the Lake District, Stonehenge,...

One of my favorite places to visit in the world due to the history, the landscape, and the sheer variety of things to see and do in the country.

Buckingham Palace 2.jpg

Buckingham Palace

City home of the King

Westminster Abbey

and St Margaret's Church

Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Church.jpg

London

One of the great cities of the world.  There are so many interesting places to visit, but I really enjoy walking around the city and just enjoying sites outside also.  Without spending a farthing, you can enjoy the outside of Buckingham Palace, grab a coffee at Trafalgar Square, walk along the Thames and see The Eye and London Bridge, even visit the British Museum for free.. But, there are also many world class attractions in London which is why London is one of the most visited cities in the world. 

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
London Tower
  Tower of London
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Church
Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Church
Parliament
Parliament
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral
London Eye
  The London Eye

Favorite Places to Visit in London

British Museum

free museum with a vast collection from around the world.  Highlights include The Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and an Easter island statue.  There are impressive artifacts from places as diverse as SE Asia, Mexico, Europe, Africa...all around the world.  

Westminster Abbey

I don't know what it is about Westminster, but I feel like this may be the most solemn church I have ever visited.   It just makes reflection natural.  Maybe it is due to the fact that this is the burial location of 3300 people, including 16 monarchs. Plus, the history here is incredible and dates back to the 7th century, but the current church dates from the 13th century.  It is still the site of weddings, funerals and coronations after all this time.  The fact that, after 800 years, the building is still a place of beginnings and ends makes it uniquely special. 

Tower of London

It is hard to believe that right here in the heart of London, you can explore a fortress that dates back nearly 1000 years. When you think of William the Conqueror being distant history, here is part of his legacy in living stone. 

This complex has been a royal residence, a prison, a treasury and the mint, a public record office. 

Tate Modern Art Museum

I am not the biggest fan of modern art, or conceptual art, but I really enjoy this museum. It may simply be the size and variety, so even someone like me that leans towards classical art can still find plenty to enjoy.  

Tower Bridge

Built between 1886 and 1894, this bascule bridge is quite unique.  You can visit Bridge itself and the Victorian Engine Rooms where the engines used ot be operated by steam.

the National Gallery

located next to Trafalgar Square, it is a world class art museum with collections from the 13th to 20th centuries.  They will have all of your favorites, whether it be the Dutch masters, the Italian classics, or the French impressionists.

And, it is free!

Getting around London

I love walking around London, but it is big.  After all, it is nearly a 2 hour walk from Kensington Palace to the Tower of London.  So, the Tube is necessary.  Easy to use, and stations everywhere.   

One cool thing about the London tune if you are vacationing, you can have a contactless Oyster card for fares sent to you before you go to London.   Or, you can buy them when you arrive. But, now there is little need.  You can now also use contactless credit cards, Apple Pay for Google Pay also. Paying fares has never been easier.

From Heathrow, getting into town is easy on the Heathrow Express to Paddington station which takes just 20 minutes. And, I guarantee you that is faster than driving. 

York

The history of the tower and the Minster go back nearly 1000 years; the tower dates back to William the Conqueror.

But, the town goes back to the Romans and beyond.

The York Minster is an incredible cathedral. The stained glass here is among the best in the world and walking around the cathedral, it just never seems to end. The crypt even shows the Roman stone work at the base. I am still amazed at buildings that go back this many centuries, and are still in use today.

Clifford's Tower's history is less than pleasant, but no less fascinating.  a 13th century tower used as a prison and an execution site.  Enjoy the York Castel Museum across the street.

St. Mary's Abbey was the favorite part of the day...stopping at the market, grabbing some lunch, and relaxing on the shaded lawn in front of the 11th century ruins.  Also, next to the same garden are the Yorkshire Museum, York Observatory and the St. Olave's Church. 

And, don't forget to explore the old city walls, the York Dungeon and maybe even the York Chocolate Story. 

There is so much to see in this little town.  One of my favorite places in England. 

Clifford's Tower York
York Oratory with Minster in backround.jpg
York Minster
York Minster interior
St. Mary's Abbey York
Museum Gardens York
River Ouse York
York view form above

Manchester

An industrial city in the Northwest of England, not really a tourist hotspot. So, there isn't a lot of primary attractions.  Much of that they offer still reflects its industrial past that includes canals for hauling coal and cotton production. 

To get here, it is just a 2 hour ride on the Avanti West Coast line from London Euston station.

People's History Museum

an interesting, multi story museum exploring the history of labor strifes in Manchester and England. 

Science and Industry Museum

In an old train station, the history of science and innovation.  The most popular museum in Manchester.

Manchester Cathedral

Built in the 13th century, it is an interesting church.  Unlike many other churches, this is staffed by some really helpful people that want you to get the most out of your visit.

Manchester Art Gallery

housing a collection of more than 46,000 items, including more than 2000 paintings, this museum is free to enter.  It is best represented by 19th century British artists but includes items from as far back as the 15th century.  

Manchester UK
Manchester

Leeds

A city of nearly 800,000 people in the northern English county of Yorkshire. On the south bank of the River Aire,  It served me me well as a home base to also explore Manchester and York which are 1 hour and 25 minute train rides, respectively. 

Kirkstall Abbey interior
Kirkstall Abbey

Favorite Places in Leeds

Leeds Art Gallery

Small art gallery of modern and contemporary art.  And, admission is free.  So, definitely a nice visit. 

Kirkstall Abbey

about a half hour west of Leeds, and easy to get to by public transportation, it is a very interesting abbey to walk around in, with some great information throughout.  Across the street, visit the Abbey House museum about the history of Leeds. 

Harewood House

18th-century stately home with Robert Adam-designed interiors, priceless art and landscaped garden.

Temple Newsam

Grand residence standing in parkland and filled with priceless art and antiques plus a working farm

Lake District

Hills and Lakes in the Northwest.  5 hours northwest of London, and 2 hours south of Glasgow.  A very popular area  for holidays and vacations, and well justified.  If you like rolling hills and lots of water; this is a wonderful place for hiking in the summer, but gets plenty of snow in the winter. 

You can stay in the many towns around the district like Ambleside, Keswick or Windermere. 

L
Lake District
Lake District
Lake District

Stonehenge

5000 year old mystery just a 90 minute drive west of London.  Walk up the path and around the stones.  Then, head to the visitor center and enjoy 250 archeological artifacts. 

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