Assuming you weren't born yesterday, you probably know that England is a pretty important player on a global level. Turning through the pages of history, you can note that this prestigious country has had a significant influence across the globe, seeming to (and definitely trying to) colonize every bit of land it came into contact with. Promoting economic growth in Asia, initiating the deconstruction of Africa, and giving birth to the United States, the expansive history of England has touched the lives of modern day people in ways that they couldn't even begin to realize, all over the world. In reference to England as a country, people are typically on one side or the other when it comes to their true feelings about the nation: They either love it vehemently, or hate it with a passion. This piqued perception of one of the longest founded nation-states, according to recorded history, will always be on the forefront of people's minds when they are reading about or researching the place. Despite its historical accomplishments and misgivings though, it is a place that can easily be appreciated, especially for travelers. If you're having trouble coming up with reasons to visit England outside of it's poignant place in world affairs, this list will be sure to give you something you, too, can marvel at.
The first thing that the English people will be sure to think about you is that you're significantly less cultured than they are, despite the fact that, most of the time, they are stumbling over drunk, and brawling with each other in the streets. That is exactly why the culture is the predominant reason why you should visit England. Visitors to the UK will quickly understand the relaxed mindset British people have in terms of leisure. Contrary to Manhattan natives being too busy to grab a cup of coffee, the British will always stop for a spot of tea. With graffiti artists like Banksy, authors like Shakespeare, and musicians like The Beatles, you can truly start to revel in the impact British culture has contributed to the rest of the world.
The capital of England and one of the main hubs of activity, it is this author's opinion that London is one of the most underrated cities in the world, especially by travel snobs. Walking down cobblestone streets or along the Thames on a weekday afternoon, you can appreciate a wide range of the history the city alone has seen. The three bridges, the London Eye, the lake district, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Abbey Road, The Globe Theatre, any number of historical pubs or Michelin-Star restaurants, and more, there are hundreds of reasons to visit London as its own entity, let alone England. It is pretty pricey though, so make sure to research ways to save a little money and time while you're there.
Another one of the main hubs in England, Manchester is to Brooklyn as Manhattan is to London. Although originally an industrial city, and still a place that has a bad rep stemming from the rebellious youth culture, the city of Manchester has grown to be among one of the hottest spots to check out the ever-developing club and art scenes. Hosting the Manchester International Festival, this popular city brings in famous actors, musicians, and artists every two years, challenging the way in which the rest of the country holds their opinion of the city, and even influencing their very own deep house DJs who take strides to do the same.
The legends and lore associated with this world heritage site is almost as obscure and harrowing as that of the pyramids of Egypt or the Mayan ruins. Though you may already know all of the questions that can be conceived and are still being researched today, you will finding yourself asking them: How did these constructs get here? Who built them like this? What purpose would this serve? What does it all mean?
Visitors to the UK have a significantly different opinion than those of the natives, and although you can fly directly into Cardiff yourself, a chief reason you should visit England is to go check out Wales. This quaint section of the United Kingdom not only boasts more castles per square mile than any other European country, it also has an unparalleled rivalry with all things England. Whether you plan to fan those flames or keep the peace, you can enjoy learning about Wales' unique history while knocking down a pint with the Welch. Who knows? You may even be able to pronounce some of those street names by the end of the night. Just be wary if one of the Welshmen at the pub asks if you want to meet one of their pornstars.
I bet you never thought of England as a popular vacation spot, huh? Well, if you ask the Brits, they would agree with you, but that doesn't mean that you still can't find some very decent beach views in the United Kingdom. Whether you walk the pier or check out the aquarium in Brighton, head to Newcastle to see where Geordie Shore is filmed, or simply relax among the rocky cliffs of Cornwall (which we have some vacation tips for), you can be sure to find a place to visit and get your sun and surf on.
Speaking of castles, you know what other European country has a ton of them? There are castles literally everywhere. You can spend weeks at a time driving the countryside, touring castles that have been perfectly preserved or are in variant states of decay, marveling at what extreme wealth and relative royalty can land you in the times of olde.
Though most Americans prefer the NFL or NBA, you will not see more loyal fans than those of the English Football League (EFL) or the Super League. Whether you find yourself watching a game at the stadium or are just walking into a pub, you will immediately know what team to support, if you don't already have one of your own. More rowdy than most, the fans make the game of soccer significantly more interesting with their chants and songs. If you're still looking for something more bone-crunching though, the rugby there is sure to please, even if you don't really understand what's going on. Just don't get me started on cricket; I don't really know what to make of a game played for five straight days resulting in no clear-cut winner at the end of it.
An English Breakfast
I've talked extensively about walking into pubs in this piece, and why not? It seems that, at any hour, you can walk into a pub for a pint of the good stuff. Most people who have already visited England know this little tidbit, but if you're waking up there, you probably have a hangover. Luckily for you, most of these pubs have a kitchen attached; and while you're administering the hair of the dog, you should order yourself a traditional english breakfast:
- Back bacon
- Poached/Fried eggs
- Grilled tomatoes
- Fried mushrooms
- Fried bread or buttered toast
- Black and/or white pudding
- Bangers (sausage)
- Baked beans
That will be sure to get your day going, and if it doesn't, this healthier version will.
An Easy Launching Pad
The last fact in this list of reasons to visit England is not meant to underplay the majesty of the nation. For many of us in the Western Hemisphere, airfare isn't always the cheapest thing we can afford (unless you're bringing healthcare or education into the conversation). Visiting England provides many of us an easy launching pad to check off all the other countries on our bucket list. So, for those of you who were not convinced by the list, wander onward to your next destination from one of the most cultured and sophisticated countries in the known world.