A Backpacker’s Guide On Things To Do In England

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London England
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If you’re backpacking in England, you’ll find that there are lots of things to do in the country, but some can get expensive. When traveling, take public transportation as often as possible to save money. Although if you rent your own vehicle, you’ll have access to more things to do in England. Some of them include allowing you to get to villages that public transportation might not reach readily.

Another thing to keep in mind about backpacking when you visit England is that many of the national treasures are free or inexpensive to visit. A plethora of museums doesn’t cost anything to venture into, such as the National Gallery. Some more iconic places to go to, such as the Tower of London, do charge an admission fee, but you may be able to find discount cards or admissions, especially if you’re a student. 

There are plenty of different cities and national parks to visit in England, and you might already have your heart set on seeing something, such as the British Museum. Know that there are some budget-friendly options on things to see. 

London

London, England
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London is one of the most iconic cities in the world, with tons of things to see and do. While British food gets a bad rap, there are plenty of things to consume during your visit to London that will add to your trip. As an inexpensive option, visit one of the area markets to go shopping and pick up your next meal. You can take the food and have a picnic in a local park, such as Regent’s Park. Markets throughout the city include Leadenhall Market and Portobello Road Market. 

While you’re in London, soak up the free culture that makes England tourism relatively unique. Visit the British Museum, which doesn’t charge an admission fee and just asks for donations. You can also visit the Natural History Museum. These areas are some of the best places to visit in England, and they don’t charge a thing!

Brighton

Brighton, England
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Once you’ve had your fill of London, it’s time to get out and explore more of England. You’d be remiss if you missed the chance to visit Brighton, which is often considered England’s hipster capital. 

Drop your bags off at your hostel or hotel and take a walk down Brighton Beach to take in the sights. It doesn’t cost a thing. If you want an insider’s tip, enjoy shopping at some of the city’s thrift stores and flea markets. You might find quite a bargain to bring home. 

In addition to partying in the city, you can travel outside of the city to enjoy some rural adventures, such as taking the train to nearby South Downs and visiting the South Downs National Park. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy chalky hills and windmills. 

Exeter

Stonehenge In England
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After you’ve left Brighton, you might want to head to Exeter. On your way, you will have the opportunity to stop at Lyme Regis, where you might find prehistoric fossils littering the beaches like seashells litter many beaches around the world. 

An iconic stop when you visit England is Stonehenge, and you’ll pass it on your way to Exeter. If you’re on a budget, you might not want to actually tour inside the fence as it costs almost £20. Although, you’ll still be able to see the stone structure from outside the fence that’s been placed around it. Pull over to the side of the road and take a few pictures before you’re on your way.

Cornwall

Cornwall Coast In England
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While you’re on your tour of the cities in England, you might want to visit Cornwall. There are plenty of day hikes around the rural areas, and you can enjoy exploring Penzance Castle in the city. If you enjoy rock climbing, you can also take part in that activity while you’re enjoying your stay in England.

You’ll find plenty to see and do in Cornwall no matter what your budget is. Visit the Jamaica Inn, one of the most haunted places in Britain. If being scared isn’t your style, why not watch chocolate being made at the Trenance Chocolate Factory in Mullion? Adrenaline junkies can enjoy more than just rock climbing: try your hand at land boarding, kitesurfing, or even wave skiing. 

The Lake District

Lake District, England
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Considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in England, the Lake District is one of the top things to do in England. Rolling hills surround a variety of lakes that dot the countryside. You can enjoy backpacking throughout the area for next to nothing, while you camp out under the stars.

If you’re looking to spend a little money, why not rent a boat and take a trip across one of the many lakes? Traveling by car, you can also visit nearby manor houses.

Liverpool

Liverpool, England
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One of the best places to visit in England is Liverpool. It has a lot of character for a city and it’s the home of the Beatles. There are museums that you can visit that will educate you on the history of the Beatles or the city’s football team. Enjoy walking around the city and taking in the beautiful architecture, especially near the waterfront.

In addition to exploring the city’s musical history, you can also learn more about its nautical history. Relive Liverpool’s connections to the Titanic with the awe-inspiring display at the Maritime Museum’s Titanic and Liverpool exhibition. 

Chester

Chester
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Chester can be an exciting place to explore and is often missed on lists of things for backpackers to see and do in England. If you’re into history, this is the perfect place to visit, as the city is an old Roman city. There are still Roman walls in place around the city that you can walk around and photograph. It’s also the home to the largest Roman amphitheater in England. Even though a part of it has been excavated, it’s still an impressive sight. 

Many of the sights in Chester, such as those mentioned above, are free to visit, making them perfect for a backpacker’s budget. You can also explore the Rows in Chester, which are covered walkways on the bottom floor of Chester’s main street. There are many shops here that you can visit and pick up a souvenir to take home. 

Bath

Ancient City Of Bath
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Another place to visit when you’re experiencing England tourism is the ancient city of Bath. Many of the streets through this city have retained their original architecture, which may date back to Roman and Georgian times, depending on the structure.

The ancient Roman baths are an essential stop for any history buffs to visit. Even those not interested in history can enjoy the street musicians and performers that travel and perform throughout the city. 

Bristol

Bristol Harbor Ferry Bridge
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Another exciting city to visit when you’re backpacking in England is Bristol. This city is an energetic place that’s becoming increasingly popular in the last few years. You can enjoy the eclectic mix of activities, from strolling on the waterfront — an activity that’s free — to trying new and exciting cocktails in a quirky bar, which will cost you. 

If you’re traveling to Bristol during July, there’s a great festival dedicated to the creative arts, including music and artists, known as Upfest. This exciting event should not be missed. You can also take in the Bristol harbor, hop on a wooden ferry, and travel to the Cottage Inn for a pint in the afternoon. 

Oxford

Oxford University
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Another iconic place to visit in the England area is Oxford, home to Oxford University, which may be a sight you want to visit to take in the history or see where they filmed some scenes in Harry Potter if you’re a fan (who isn’t)! You can rub shoulders with academics in this university town, and enjoy a variety of activities.

Go punting along the river. Visit the Bodleian Library, filled with books of all ages that will impress even the non-academics in your group. After a day of exploring, you can go to one of the student bars that line the nearby Cowley Road and enjoy a few pints. 

Bonus Stop: Manchester

Manchester, UK
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While you’re backpacking through England and looking for things to see, a visit to Manchester will provide a variety of activities. There’s also an exciting nightlife and music scene in the city, so come prepared to dance all night long. 

In addition to places to party, Manchester is home to the football giant Manchester United, so be prepared to take in a game or drink with hooligans in a local pub. The city also has a popular cafe culture, with dozens of cafés and bars for you to enjoy, especially along the Northern Quarter, a creative district that’s filled with art, cafés, and pubs.

Whether you’re a backpacker or not, England provides a plethora of things to see and do when you’re visiting. Take in some of the free museums and places to wander about, such as the Roman amphitheater in Chester. Learn about the cities in England and the connection to the past, be it historical, literary, or musical. Explore the creative outlooks in different cities, such as Bristol, and party in Brighton while you’re on your adventure.

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