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Things to Do in England - page 5

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Rydal Water
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16 Tours and Activities

Despite its diminutive size at just over 1 km long, Rydal Water’s strong literary connections have cemented its status as one of the Lake District’s most visited spots. Wordsworth’s Seat, overlooking the western bank, was renowned as the poet’s favorite viewpoint, while nearby points of interest include Nab Cottage, once home to Thomas Quincey and three of Wordworth’s former homes – White Moss House, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage.

One of the few boat-free lakes, Rydal Water makes a perfect spot for open-air swimming during the warmer months, while the lakeside hills are at their most beautiful in spring and autumn, when fields of wildflowers and colorful foliage add a rich range of hues.

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Smoke & Mirrors
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Smoke & Mirrors offers a one-of-a-kind Bristol experience. Enjoy an evening of comedy and magic at this atmospheric pub and 1920s-style performance venue, which hosts a cast of house magicians performing masterful feats and illusions. With seating for only 44 people, the theater offers a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

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Old Sarum
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Just outside of Salisbury, England is the Old Sarum, one of the oldest settlements in the country. It was originally built as a hill fort and eventually grew into a castle and a cathedral. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the cathedral was demolished and the settlement was mostly abandoned. Building materials from the old cathedral were used in constructing the new one located in the modern town of Salisbury. Today you can wander through the remaining foundations of the cathedral and castle and learn about the history of Salisbury's origins. The ramparts consist of two banks of earth separated by a ditch.

On certain days, medieval tournaments, open air plays, and mock battles are held here. Old Sarum is located on 29 acres of rare grass chalkland making it a beautiful natural setting for exploring the Wiltshire countryside. Footpaths cross through the ramparts and offer views of the tall spire of the new cathedral. Old Sarum is not far from Stonehenge and is often included on tours of the region.

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Downing Street
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One of London’s most famous addresses, 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the British prime minister. The chancellor of the exchequer, responsible for the UK’s money and economy, lives next door at number 11. On any given day, you can see streams of important politicians walking through the doors of these two iconic addresses.

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Canary Wharf
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At the heart of London’s historic Docklands, the waterfront district of Canary Wharf has transformed itself into a financial powerhouse in recent years. This area has become—along with the nearby City of London—one of the capital’s most important business centers.

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World of James Herriot
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Fans of the Yorkshire author and vet of All Creatures Great and Small fame won’t want to miss the World of James Herriot. Now an award-winning, interactive museum, Herriot’s former veterinary office—a fully restored 1940s home—displays a huge collection of Herriot memorabilia.

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Piccadilly Circus
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Piccadilly Circus is the meeting place of many of London's most famous roads. Here beautiful Regent Street (shopping heaven), famous Piccadilly (Fortnum and Mason's, The Ritz, the Royal Academy of Art), and cultural Shaftsbury Avenue (theaters, Chinatown) intersect. In the middle of it all is the famous 1893 statue of Eros, the winged messenger of love, which commemorates Lord Shaftesbury.

The circus was originally created as part of a plan to connect Carlton House, the home of the Prince Regent who became King George IV in 1820, to Regent's Park. When Shaftesbury Avenue was created in 1885, the area became busy with traffic and advertisers saw the potential for advertising; in 1895 London's first illuminated billboards were put up in Piccadilly Circus. For the next century it was London's version of Times Square but now only one building carries billboards. For history buffs, the name Piccadilly dates from the 17th century and comes from piccadill, a type of collar or ruff.

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Borough Market
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Crammed full of artisan foods, homemade goodies, delicious street dishes and fresh produce, Borough Market is the go-to destination for in-the-know London foodies. With a history dating back over 1,000 years, Borough Market is the city's oldest and most famous food market, and—in case you need any more convincing—regular customers include celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.

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Tarn Hows
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One of the most-popular tourist attractions in the Lake District, “the Tarns,” as the locals call it, is a picturesque area visited by over half a million tourists per year since the 1970s. Rightfully so: not only is this an area of outstanding beauty, but it’s also yet another gem bequeathed to the National Trust by Lake District aficionado Beatrix Potter.

A tarn is a mountain lake that was formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier, which is later filled with rain or river water. Despite being an icon of the Lake District, Tarn Hows is not typical of the region in terms of landscapes; surrounded by thick conifer woodlands, the actual tarn is partly artificial, having been created by James Garth Marshall in the 1850s. It consists of three distinct tarns, which merged in the 19th century.

Located in the low-level valley nestled between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is now just more than half a mile long (just under 1 km) and 820 feet (250 meters) wide, and contains five islands. It is fed at its northern end by numerous valleys and basin mires and drained by several waterfalls that cascade down the Glen Mary Bridge.

Hikers and trekkers will enjoy the accessible 1.5-mile (2.4-km) path that circles the tarn, while fauna enthusiasts will appreciate the heavy presence of Galloway cattle and Herdwick sheep.

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Buttermere Valley
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With its three lakes framed by a seemingly expanse of rolling hills and craggy peaks, Buttermere Valley is one of the Lake District’s most striking landscapes, and it’s been a popular spot for walkers and nature enthusiasts since the 18th century.

The tranquil Buttermere village makes the obvious basecamp, but most visitors come to hike the scenic lakeside trails or scale the surrounding peaks, which include the 851-meter Grasmoor and 806-meter High Stile, as well as Scale Force, England’s highest waterfall. Honister Pass is the main road running through the valley and during the summer months, swimming and rowing are popular activities on the lakes.

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More Things to Do in England

Borrowdale Valley

Borrowdale Valley

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A wild stretch of grassy peaks, oak woodlands and rolling sheep pastures hugging the banks of the River Derwent, the rugged beauty of the Borrowdale Valley is undeniable and its central location at the heart of the Lake District makes it a prime through-route for hikers. Linked by the Honistor Path to Buttermere Valley in the West and Derwent Water and Keswick in the north, the scenic valley passes through the villages of Seatoller, Borrowdale and Rosthwaite, and lies en route to the famous peak of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.

It’s Borrowdale's unique landscape, sculpted by ancient glaciers, that is its biggest draw, and natural highlights include the narrow ravine known as the Jaws of Borrowdale, the nine-meter-tall Bowder Stone, the Lodore Waterfall and the vast woodlands, which host an impressively diverse ecosystem and a large variety of birds.

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SEA LIFE® Hunstanton

SEA LIFE® Hunstanton

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A state-of-the-art marine aquarium, SEA LIFE® Hunstanton takes visitors on an undersea odyssey filled with close encounters with a wide variety of sea creatures. The staff at the center, known as Rainforest Rangers, are happy to show off their jungle creatures and creepy crawlies to visitors.

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St. James's Park

St. James's Park

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One of London’s eight Royal Parks, St. James’s Park is a verdant jewel located right in the center of town. Flanked by Buckingham Palace, Green Park, and St. James’s Palace, the green space stretches across almost 57 acres (23 hectares). It’s renowned for its pretty lake, vibrant flower beds, and for hosting several regal events.

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Tate Modern

Tate Modern

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Perched on the banks of River Thames, Tate Modern is the epicenter of London’s contemporary art scene. It’s a culture lover’s paradise and one of the world’s largest modern art museums, complete with cutting edge works, thought-provoking installations, and dramatic think pieces.

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Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

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Once the world’s tallest building, Lincoln Cathedral remains one of England’s most significant religious landmarks, housing one of only four original Magna Carta manuscripts in the world. At the intricately detailed cathedral, visitors can pray, attend service, light a votive candle, or simply enjoy the Gothic architecture.

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Famous Blacksmiths Shop

Famous Blacksmiths Shop

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Nestled just north of the English border in Scotland, the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop is known for hosting the marriages of couples who had fled England’s restrictive marriage laws during the 1700s and 1800s. The quaint shop remains a wedding venue and draws visitors with its marriage rooms, museum, shop, and restaurant.

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Old Trafford

Old Trafford

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With a capacity of nearly 75,000, Old Trafford is the UK’s second-largest football (soccer) stadium and home of Manchester United since 1910. Beside Premier League fixtures, the venue has hosted Olympic games, rugby league finals, and several international cup matches. The on-site museum houses the team’s famous continental treble trophy.

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Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

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The Changing of the Guard is a centuries-old tradition that marks the official shift change of the Household Regiment—the Queen's guards stationed at Buckingham Palace. One of the world's most famous ceremonies and a top London experience, this ceremony gives visitors the chance to witness the grandeur of a royal march. Dressed in their iconic red suits and bearskin hats, the guards exemplify classic British pomp in a showing that's not to be missed.

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York City Walls

York City Walls

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Once built to protect the medieval city of York, the well-preserved York City Walls have since become an emblematic landmark of the region and an easy-to-access point of introduction for historical York. While only three main sections of these 13th- and 14th-century walls are still connected, following the footpaths and scrambling up the ramparts remains a popular pastime.

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Covent Garden

Covent Garden

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In the heart of London’s West End, Covent Garden is one of the city’s most popular dining and entertainment hubs. Home to the Royal Opera House; several top theaters, including the Lyceum and the Donmar Warehouse; world-class restaurants; and many major brand-name stores, most travelers to London plan to explore this area while visiting.

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Jane Austen Centre

Jane Austen Centre

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A museum dedicated to one of Britain’s best-loved authors, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the life and work of the 18th-century writer. Housed in an authentic period property, with actors in costume bringing the museum to life, the center immerses visitors in the days of the Regency era.

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Parliament Square

Parliament Square

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One of London’s most popular and most visited tourist attractions, Parliament Square links many of the capital’s iconic buildings. The square is ringed by Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Court, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and features 12 statues of famous world leaders and historical figures.

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Westminster

Westminster

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Home to several of London’s most iconic attractions—including Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace—Westminster has been the capital’s political center for more than 1,000 years, and has been the setting of historical events, such as the Reformation, Gunpowder Plot, and Churchill’s World War II campaign.

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Hyde Park

Hyde Park

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A vast patch of green in central London, Hyde Park originally served as a hunting ground for Henry VIII. Though the land is still owned by the British Crown, the 358-acre (145-hectare) space is open to the public, hosting picnickers, boaters, joggers, and cyclists, as well as seasonal events, from rock concerts to Christmas festivals.

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