More than 40 million people visited the UK in 2019 (of course that number will be much less in the covid afflicted 2020). It’s a massively popular tourist destination and a wonderful place to visit. But, as you’ve probably realized, there are a lot of different aspects to a trip to England, a thousands years old country and one of the cradles of Western civilization. There’s so much history here, and a modern melting pot of the world’s various cultures.
Here are a few things to consider as you’re planning.
Where to Go (as soon as you can)
Everywhere! Anywhere! There’s no spot you won’t find interesting or charming — although some of the interesting places may not be charming (England, which sparked the Industrial Revolution, has some post-industrial wastelands, but even those are interesting and full of life.)
You should see London, one of the world’s great (and oldest) cities. You’ll probably fly into London’s Heathrow, one of the world largest and busiest airports, anyway. In London you have a fantastic array of choices for where to stay, from the Old World classic hotels (The Dorchester, The Savoy, Claridges and the achingly hip (Hoxton, The Artist Residence, Leman Locke). World class restaurants, when they are open again, will thrill you, and, if you can find one, an old fashioned fish and chip stall will delight you. (Americans do not do fish and chips well, sorry to break it to you.)
Some of the other, popular and spectacular English destinations include: The ancient city of Bath (where Peter Gabriel lives, by the way. Unrelated.). Stonehenge — you know what that is, from Spinal Tap. The lovely, wonky seaside town of Brighton. Oxford and Cambridge — the ultimate college towns (with the ultimate colleges). Stratford On Avon, where Shakespeare lived. And the Cotswolds (including Worcestershire and Gloucestershire)
Many of these are a day trip of London.
In London, you have to visit historic buildings like St. Paul’s Cathedral or Buckingham Palace. Have tea with the Queen! Tell them your friends at WONDERLUST set that up!
Want to see a play. London is great for that too — Shaftesbury Avenue is as renowned as (and has infinitely better theater than) New York’s Broadway. And it’s more reasonably priced. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, consider a Harry Potter-themed tour through the city. You can usually find walking or bus tours that will take you through the wizard world.
Love a good boat ride? Of course you do! Check out a Thames River cruise, a fun way to get off your feet and enjoy slow some time on the murky brown but ever so relaxing water.
If you need to store your bags while you’re out, check out these luggage storage options.
Prepare for Entry
At the moment, as you will doubtless be aware, travel to and from Britain is heavily restricted and in some cases not allowed at all. Upon entering the country you must quarantine for 10 days. Obviously, unless you are moving there, that doesn’t make sense until the pandemic recedes.
What about a visa while planning a trip to England? It depends on your nationality. At this time, citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Australia do not need a visa if your stay is shorter than 6 months. If you’re from a EU country, you didn’t used to need a visa. It’s not that simple anymore, post Brexit.
From China, India, or South Africa? These require visas at this time.