England – A Hidden Collection of Locations Worth Exploring

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Every country has mainstream tourist attractions and destinations that most folks want to experience when heading there for a vacation or just passing through. Of course England is no different and I am sure we all know that the key landmarks in London and some of the other cities such as Liverpool and Manchester are frequent spots for visitors to explore. However, what about those hidden gems that are ‘off the so-called beaten path’ and rarely get the recognition they deserve, especially on a global scale?

Well, this post is all about sharing a hidden collection of English locations worth exploring. Rather than giving a specific town, village or hamlet in the majestic realms of England’s beautiful landscape, this post focuses on 5 counties that you should take time to experience on your next trip to England.

With the efficient use of public transportation in England or by renting your own vehicle, each one of these should be easily accessible if you fly into London or Manchester. Alternatively, if you are a native of England, why not take a weekend getaway to one of these spots!

Cornwall

Lands End

Located in the South-West corner of England, Cornwall is a beautiful county that offers so much in terms of beautiful landscapes, some of England’s best beaches and quaint fishing villages that are inspiring to walk around.

The idyllic village of Mevagissey in particular is worth exploring if you would like to sample some of the infamous Cornish fudge or if you prefer to try a stereotypical Cornish Clotted Cream Scone, why not head over to either St. Ives or St. Austell and sit outside at one of the local cafes.

Newquay is renowned as offering great beaches and in the middle of summer when the weather is on their side, surfers from around the world hit the waves as this part of England offers the best conditions for this.

Newquay Cornwall

Devon

Torquay

If you are taking a trip to Cornwall, why not visit the neighbouring county of Devon which is equally delightful with some gorgeous seaside towns attracting English tourists all year round. Torquay, frequently refererred to as the heart of the English Riviera, is a beautiful town overlooking the English Channel and offers everything from fishing to a great shopping area.

Newton Abbot

Brixham and Peignton are within 30 minutes of Torquay on the Torbay coast and are great little spots to just wander around and relax. Newton Abbot is further inland and is most famous for the race course that frequently hosts horse racing meets but even if this is not your thing, Decoy Country Park is a beautiful area of parkland where you can have  a quiet lunch before exploring much of the surrounding region.

Devon

Much like Cornwall, Devon hosts a number of beautiful caravan/camp sites and I would highly recommend staying in one of these if you visit during the summer months. If you are from USA, I can guarantee that the campsites in England are nothing like what you would experience in the States. One of our favorite campsites in Devon is Ross Park in the wonderfully named village of Ipplepen, just outside of Newton Abbot and is a great spot to either pitch your tent or stay in a caravan.

Cheshire

Chester

Let’s head north to the county of Cheshire which is home to the historic town of Chester. With so much history and beautiful architecture that has been preserved and maintained over the years, Chester is a popular place in northern England especially with all the attractions available here. Whether you interested in the history that dates back to AD79 or just want to discover some of the ruins from the Chester Walls Walk, there is something for everyone.

The Chester Rows is the main shopping centre but offers a unique experience as all the shop fronts have still maintained the old-fashioned design despite offering modern-day brands.

Chester Town Crier

Of course, Cheshire has much more to offer than just the town of Chester. The county of Cheshire spreads as far north as Warrington and south as far as Nantwich and Crewe. Tatton Park and Gulliver’s World Theme Park are two of the more popular attractions in Cheshire but there is still a plethora of hidden places that are worth investigating as you wander around the rural communities in this part of the country.

Chester

Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dales

Across the Pennines from Cheshire is the beautiful county of Yorkshire. Referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, Yorkshire is one of the most picturesque regions throughout England with miles and miles of gorgeous countryside along with various iconic towns and cities scattered throughout the county.

One city in particular that is worth visiting is the historic city of York which like Chester still maintains much of the historic heritage that surrounds this location. York Minster is one of the most popular landmarks in this part of the country primarily because of the beautiful architecture that has been preserved at this cathedral.

Haworth

Take a drive around the Yorkshire Dales or go hiking along one of the multitude of public footpaths that weave through the beautiful landscape if you want to get a true impression of Yorkshire. If you are have an interest in British literature, Haworth will likely be a village you want to explore as it is the home of the Bronte sisters.

Haworth

Cumbria

Lake Windermere

Another beautiful part of England which is frequently underrated is Cumbria which plays host to the Lake District that stretches from the Scottish border to the southern part of this county. Stereotypically known for the gorgeous lakes and fells that make up this part of England, it is a haven for hikers and folks who like to go camping in the unknown wilderness.

Bowness

In the heart of summer, it is a great place to explore whilst at the same time taking time to visit some of the picturesque villages such as Bowness (located on Lake Windermere which is the most popular of all the lakes), Ulverston, Ambleside or Grasmere. Climbing Coniston or Helvellyn offers stunning views over the surrounding area and on a beautiful day (sometimes you are fortunate to have the weather on your side in England) you can see for miles over the Irish Sea. 

If you prefer to visit the likes of Keswick, Penrith or Carlisle these offer more urban settings yet still offer easy access to the rural beauty within the Lake District.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I can agree with your choices here, all brilliant English counties, I could happily live in Cornwall, I love the pace of life and the small coastal towns. Yorkshire is probably my favourite, the scenery, the roads, the rolling hills and open moors – Bliss! I really need to explore Cumbria, especially the Lake District!

    • Cumbria has the most natural beauty out of all the counties that I included and if adventure travel is your thing such as hiking or clambering over rugged landscape, then the Lake District is certainly for you! But as I mentioned, you can also combine this with wandering through one of the many quaint villages and heading into a local pub or cafe for a quick bite to eat.

  2. Pretty! Cornwall and Devon really catch my eye. Your first photo of Cornwall reminds me a little of the rocks at the Giants causeway- it’s beautiful! And surfing beaches sound pretty great too. I met a girl on my last travels from Devon and she showed me some beach photos of home- who would have thought England has such nice beaches! Definitely something I look forward to visiting one day- just be prepared I will be chasing you down for the best tips 🙂

    • No problem at all Hannah, that’s what we are here for 🙂 Just let us know and we will be glad to pass on information about more hidden spots throughout England. That’s the beauty of England, everything is so closely packed together and there are so many spots worth exploring.

      Beaches in England for the most part receive negative media coverage yet the reality is especially in the last few years, the majority have been cleaned up! The South-West corner of England (Devon and Cornwall) have always had the best beaches in England hence the reason why most British tourism takes place here during the summer holidays.

  3. I have only heard of a few of these places, but your post makes me want to head to England. The villages are just so quaint and cute. I would love to walk into a pub and have a chat with some locals for their recommendations on what to do (those are usually the best)! 🙂

  4. As a Fawlty Towers fan, I cannot believe that I have not yet been to Torquay yet. The images of the hills falling into the Channel are quite dramatic. Your shots and descriptions of Yorkshire confirm that I need to spend a couple of weeks driving and hiking in that part of England. Great tips!

    • We love Torquay and the backdrops from the cliffs along the English Riviera are awesome overlooking the English Channel and beyond! Growing up I used to visit Devon and Cornwall frequently with my parents so am particularly fond of this area. I didn’t even mention it in my post, but there are some great pubs in this area that have awesome cuisine (one in particular is The Sloop in Kingskerswell, just outside of Torquay on the way to Newton Abbot!) so check it out if you head to that part of England!

  5. One of these days, I’ll have to venture outside of London when I visit England, perhaps this November when I’m there for a longer stay, looks like fantastic destinations to explore.

  6. With your vivid descriptions and superb photos you should be working for The English Tourist Board, excellent article!

  7. Would you believe I still haven’t visited Chester? Clearly I need to add that to our list. Each of the other suggestions you have made though I wholeheartedly agree are stunning especially if, in the summer months the English weather plays nicely and you don’t get rained out. Cornwall has some lovely spots – we spent some time camping down there a few years ago at Lizards Point and spent the evening at the open aired theatre (the Minack) which looks directly out to sea! Great evening apart from the fact that, even though it was August, half way through the performance the waterproofs had to come out for the rest of the show. In complete comparison the rolling hills of the Lake district are quite something but just the mention of Helvellyn brings back memories of a birthday climbing across striding edge – definitely a one-time experience! 🙂

  8. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to England , outside of the airport. Now that my husband has some time freeing up, I’m confident I’ll get their soon. With all the great content I’ve been reading you’ve made the planning much easier!

  9. So glad to see Yorkshire in there! I have been to every county in this post, and though Cornwall and Devon are beautiful, Yorkshire is still the best. Rugged wilderness and wild beauty do it for me – so proud to be a Yorkshire girl 🙂

  10. England is amazing! I think we take it for granted. I love St. Ives and I love York- I can’t wait to get back to York, I had a great time there. I think my next trip will be down to Falmouth in Cornwall as my friends have just moved there. I really want to go to the Lake District and to Brighton, which I haven’t done yet.

  11. Beautiful overview! I’ve been to most places and I can’t help but agreeing with you on all fronts. I love Yorkshire especially, the moors are just stunning, and I had the most amazing fish and chips of my life in Whitby! I lived in London for a few years and I had to surrender my passport for 11 months. I was heartbroken at first (no more travelling!) but it gave me a chance to explore the country, stunning places!

  12. I would really love to go to any of these places! They are all so charming, each in its own way. I have heard of how lovely Devon is before, but Yorkshire looks so nice, too! I won’t try to choose a favorite, I will just have to add them all to my bucket list 🙂

  13. Looking at how beautiful these all are, I feel awful that I live in England and yet have only done Chester for a day trip and only been to Yorkshire on a couple of weekends away in the Peaks!! Seems I have a lot more England travel to be getting on with! 😀

  14. What a great list – and I haven’t had a chance to visit a single one of these towns… yet! England is definitely a country we’d like to explore more, if only we were comfortable driving on the other side of the road I think a road trip would be amazing! 🙂

    • Ah Calli, driving on the ‘other side of the road’ really doesn’t take all that much getting used to! It’s pretty simple once you start, the tricky part for many is learning to drive a manual car though most rental car companies offer automatics if that’s an issue. Road tripping around England is certainly something I would recommend but even if you are not comfortable doing that, try the public transportation because that is really efficient and a great, economical way to get around.

  15. Come to the North East next time you’re over here! Loads to do and Northumberland/Durham are stunning plus you have the coast and great castles and heritage sites.
    Your list is great and I love all of these less travelled places. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. The UK has so many gorgeous places. I’ve visited a few already, but looking at your pictures, there are still plenty on my travel-wish-list.

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