Features // England

A British institution: the best afternoon tea in London
A British institution: the best afternoon tea in London

It’s no secret that, for Brits, tea is not just tea – it’s a national institution. All too often, though, treating yourself to an afternoon tea can translate to spending a couple of hours eating tiny sandwiches and slightly dry slices of cake, then paying £50 for the privilege. Luckily, we’ve done all the arduous…

Why now’s the time to visit Nottingham, England
Why now’s the time to visit Nottingham, England

It may not feature on top of everyone’s British city bucket list, but it’s time to see this East Midlands city in a new light. Nottingham boasts a slew of new attractions for 2016, a recently expanded tram network and a burgeoning independent arts scene. Plus, in the year when the stalwart British fashion designer…

10 of the best weekend breaks in the UK
10 of the best weekend breaks in the UK

From city breaks to romantic countryside escapes, options for short trips in the UK abound. Whether you’re looking to get active, overindulge or just chill out, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our pick of the best weekend breaks in the UK. Need more inspiration? We’ve also rounded up 20 of the most memorable places to stay. Best for romance:…

Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull
Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull

This year we listed Hull as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2016 – an accolade that had many people surprised. Here, Lottie Gross explains why it made the list. It’s safe to say, most people’s preconceptions of Hull aren’t brilliant. In the past it has been named Britain’s worst city and the least…

Creativity & consumerism: how to spend a weekend in Birmingham, England
Creativity & consumerism: how to spend a weekend in Birmingham, England

If we told you that Birmingham, the industrial powerhouse of the UK in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had more than six million trees, you probably wouldn’t believe us. If we said it had more parks than any other European city, you might question our judgement. But you had better believe Birmingham holds some surprising…

10 of the best European city breaks
10 of the best European city breaks

Europe is so crammed full of fascinating, vibrant cities that narrowing down the options to an actual decision for a weekend away can be surprisingly tricky. Thankfully, we’ve got a guide to the best European city breaks to help you choose where to go. Best for nightlife: Berlin Berlin hasn’t earned itself the status of Europe’s coolest…

Video: 5 incredible views of London from above
Video: 5 incredible views of London from above

As far as capital cities go, London is big. It’s the largest capital in Europe and has land mass of over 1500 square kilometres. Within that space, over 8.5 million people from all over the world live, work and play, and a further seventeen million people visit the city each year. Those are big numbers…

Exploring London’s hidden waterways
Exploring London’s hidden waterways

Go to Venice or Amsterdam, and you can hardly cross a street without tumbling into a canal. In London, you have to dig deeper. You’re looking for the Regent’s Canal, which stretches from chichi Maida Vale to Thames-side Limehouse, and cutting past London Zoo’s aviaries, Camden’s pop kids, Islington restaurants and Hackney high-rises on its way. Built…

A bar in London wants you to get tipsy by inhaling a cloud of gin
A bar in London wants you to get tipsy by inhaling a cloud of gin

Drinking alcohol is so passé. In 2015 London, it’s all about inhaling vapourised booze through your lungs and eyeballs. Set in the basement of an ancient monastery near Borough Market, Alcoholic Architecture is the latest installation from Willy Wonka-esque design firm Bompas and Parr, who have previously made an entire steamship out of jelly and…

16 pictures that capture the freedom of the Lake District
16 pictures that capture the freedom of the Lake District

Professional photographer Jon Sparks takes us on a visual tour of his homeland with these gorgeous pictures of the Lake District.  They reckon more words have been written about the Lake District than any other area of comparable size on Earth – except perhaps a few of the great cities. Artists and photographers have flocked…

8 unknown islands you need to discover in the British Isles
8 unknown islands you need to discover in the British Isles

Everybody knows the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Skye. But what about the other 6000-odd British Isles? Yes, we did say 6000. From the chunky Shetland Islands in Scotland’s far north to the sunny Isles of Scilly slung out from the coast of Cornwall, the British Isles are made up of islands of all shapes and…

5 things you didn’t know you could do in Yorkshire
5 things you didn’t know you could do in Yorkshire

Yorkshire, it has been said, is “a country in a county”. The very name brings countless images to mind – wild moors, headlands and cliffs; rugged dales and enormous beaches; medieval cities, churches and monasteries; formal estates and vast steelworks; coal mines and woollen mills. This diversity is part of the county’s appeal – its…

8 things you didn’t know you could do in the UK
8 things you didn’t know you could do in the UK

So you’ve gawked at the guards of Buckingham Palace, hiked up Snowdon and hit the beach – what next? From lethal motorcycle races to mountain towns that look like something out of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, here are 8 unconventional things to do in the UK. 1. Horse about at Scotland’s Common Ridings The Common Ridings of the Scottish border towns of Hawick, Selkirk,…

20 unforgettable places to stay in Great Britain
20 unforgettable places to stay in Great Britain

If you didn’t know that the “Great” in Great Britain was strictly a geographical term (it refers to the largest island – containing England, Scotland and Wales – of the British Isles), you’d be tempted to give Britain the accolade anyway. From dynamic London to misty Scottish mountains, there’s enough to see and do here to…

Passport to write: the runners-up!
Passport to write: the runners-up!

After weeks of deliberation, we’re thrilled to announce the results of the Rough Guides and Journeys are made @gapyear.com writing competition. The winning piece can be read here, but we’ve also picked two fantastic runners-up.  Kyle Cunningham chose the theme “my greatest adventure”, writing about several days of searching for the rare silky sifaka in the lemur-filled jungles…

15 amazing pictures of London
15 amazing pictures of London

Professional landscape & wildlife photographer Nick Jackson shares some of his favourite pictures of London.  “I’ve lived in London for 15 years now, never intending to stay for anywhere near that long. This seems to be a common mindset amongst Londoners and particularly photographers, because every time it feels right for a change, the city itself changes…

Quiz: can you name these famous UK landmarks?
Quiz: can you name these famous UK landmarks?

How well do you know the UK? Do you know your castles from your stately homes and your abbeys from your cathedrals? Take this test to find out. Can you name these ten famous UK landmarks? Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

21 things everyone should know before visiting Britain
21 things everyone should know before visiting Britain

Brits can be a funny lot. The country might be small, but you could spend a lifetime learning its quirks and idiosyncrasies. Regional pronunciation, strange road rules and its renowned drinking culture can all prove hazardous to the first-time visitor. Here’s our guide to surviving in Blighty. 1. There are three nations in Britain First…

Somerset: a British road trip to rival the world’s great highways
Somerset: a British road trip to rival the world’s great highways

Keith Drew sees Britain’s Somerset in a different light from behind the wheel of a six-man motorhome. Cotton-budded wisps of mist hung lazily above the water, the early morning sunlight glinting off the pools. Freshly brewed tea in hand, we settled down in chairs outside our motorhome to survey the reedbeds in front of us,…

What it’s like to be a pilot for a day
What it’s like to be a pilot for a day

It was a beautifully clear evening; the sun was sinking below the horizon and the runway at Heathrow stretched ahead in neat rows of orange lights. The cars on the access road were getting closer and closer, their headlights sweeping across the road in the early evening light. “One hundred”, the automated voice said. I…

13 crazy new British beers you need to try
13 crazy new British beers you need to try

It’s an utterly sparkling, adventurous and intoxicating time for beer right now. The number of British breweries is pushing 1400, and there are 70 in London alone – in 2006 there were only two in the capital. Hundreds of small, highly experimental craft brewers have sprung up in garages and industrial estates using borrowed, begged…

The one Magna Carta exhibition you need to see this year
The one Magna Carta exhibition you need to see this year

This feature is brought to you by the Magna Carta – indirectly, at least. 2015 marks 800 years since the signing of the first Magna Carta (Great Charter) in Runnymede, England. While it was retracted and reinstated by various monarchs a number of times in the following years, the document has become an international icon of…

15 of the most impressive castles in England
15 of the most impressive castles in England

Historic attractions abound in England. Wherever you’re based, you’ll find imposing palaces, gothic cathedrals and chocolate-box villages within easy reach, but among the most impressive examples of the country’s heritage are the slew of majestic castles. Taken from the new Rough Guide, this is our pick of the best castles in England Alnwick Castle, Northumberland…

Brilliant boozers: 12 of the best pubs in London
Brilliant boozers: 12 of the best pubs in London

Taken from the new Pocket Rough Guide, this is our pick of the best pubs in London.  London is a very big city. In fact, it’s the largest capital in the European Union, stretching for more than thirty miles from east to west, and with a population of just over eight million. Ethnically and linguistically, it’s also…

Derby: the unsung hero of the Midlands
Derby: the unsung hero of the Midlands

Lottie Gross puts her preconceptions aside and discovers why Derby might be one of the UK’s most misjudged cities. When I told my friends I was planning a trip to Derby I got one of two reactions: mocking laughter, or looks of utter confusion. I have to admit, it’s never even been a consideration on…

The best hostels in Europe
The best hostels in Europe

Taken from the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, here’s our pick of the best hostels in Europe. Europe presents an irresistible challenge to the budget traveller. From London’s Royal Parks and Amsterdam’s canals to İstanbul’s Grand Bazaar and the Berlin Wall, just getting tangled up in its sights is a huge draw –…

Through the looking glass: find the real Alice in Wonderland
Through the looking glass: find the real Alice in Wonderland

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. That means Mad Hatters and Cheshire Cats will be everywhere from London to Manchester this spring. But Alice’s story finds its heartland in the villages of Cheshire, where the author was born, and in a seaside resort in…

A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums
A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums

Sex museums are nothing new. Dozens were erected across Europe during the Swinging Sixties when the sexual revolution was in full swing. These days the orgy of sex museums has slowed to a mere mouthful, though they have been stimulated by a new breed of ‘erotic’ museum that aims to steer more towards art than…

How many of these funny place names are real?
How many of these funny place names are real?

Do you know your Bottom Flash from your Cock Alley? Have you ever taken a trip down Fanny Hands Lane? The UK has a plethora of rude, silly, strange and downright funny places names. You might not believe it, but Shingay cum Wendy is a real parish in the county of Cambridgeshire, and the village of…

Discover the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ship
Discover the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ship

Robotic bar staff and virtual reality aren’t the first things that come to mind when thinking about cruises. But it’s time to forget images of golden-oldies sunning themselves on deck with a pina colada in one hand and foil reflector in the other: Royal Caribbean’s US-based Quantum of the Seas is the most technologically-advanced cruise…

Is Hull the least romantic place in the UK?
Is Hull the least romantic place in the UK?

It may be the UK’s next City of Culture, but that hasn’t stopped Hull from being voted the least romantic destination in the UK. The annual “Destination Romance Report” from Hotels.com saw a not insubstantial fifth of the Brits polled vote for the Yorkshire city as lacking in the romance department. And we’d have to…

West Bay: the real Broadchurch location
West Bay: the real Broadchurch location

ITV’s Broadchurch is back for series two, so we asked Matthew Hancock to take us on a tour of the hit show’s location, West Bay in Dorset. The body is probably male, medium build and partly decomposed. There is no obvious cause of death. I’m standing in West Bay in Dorset, below the iconic landmark for…

An edible exploration: east London in 5 foods
An edible exploration: east London in 5 foods

It’s not the most attractive area of London, but Shoreditch is  a compelling district. Once famous for its turbulent history of crime and immigration, today this corner of London’s East End has been enlivened by an ever-expanding street art scene, a cluster of Sunday markets and an influx of hipsters toting handlebar moustaches and double…

Quiz: how well do you know London?
Quiz: how well do you know London?

Could you pass for a true Londoner or are you just a tourist? Put your London trivia to the test and find out how well acquainted you really are with England’s capital.  

9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015
9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015

With a whole host of new attractions opening this year, from world-record-beating skyscrapers to whacky amusement parks, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. To help you decide where to visit, we’ve picked the top 9 new tourist attractions around the world.  Shanghai Tower, China A better symbol of China’s continuing march forward would be harder to…

Britain’s barmiest Boxing Day swims
Britain’s barmiest Boxing Day swims

There’s no better way to dust off the yuletide cobwebs than with a Boxing Day swim. Here are some of Britain’s barmiest spots for a festive dip, ranging from pirate outfits in Tenby, to nudism in the Isle of Wight, to a gentle “run-and-swim” in North Norfolk.  Tenby’s famous Boxing Day Dip, Pembrokeshire Now in…

The best photography on Picfair: urban scenes
The best photography on Picfair: urban scenes

This month’s Picfair travel photography round up takes a look at some of their best urban shots. From London and New York to Shanghai and Delhi, we’ve picked our favourite images of the world’s sprawling metropolises. Next month’s theme is ‘winter’, so sign up to Picfair and upload your images, tagged with RGwinter, for a chance to…

A street art tour of Shoreditch, London
A street art tour of Shoreditch, London

Street art has exploded in popularity over the last few years, relying on a strong aesthetic impact to make you think, or at least raise a smile. Andy Turner takes a look at the Shoreditch scene and learns to distinguish a Banksy from a Borondo A curious thing happens when you walk south across Bishopsgate,…

Three essential travel photography tips I learned in the Forest of Dean
Three essential travel photography tips I learned in the Forest of Dean

Lottie Gross takes her DSLR to the Forest of Dean to learn how to take great travel pictures in beautiful but challenging surroundings. I met my photography teacher, David Broadbent, at the edge of the Severn Estuary, where an ugly mix of sand and grey water reached out to the horizon and two nuclear power stations, one…

5 magical getaways fit for an Airbnb king
5 magical getaways fit for an Airbnb king

Airbnb continues to excite travellers in their quest for the perfect accommodation. With scores of rentals across the globe, kipping on someone’s sofa or crashing in the spare room is no longer the only option available to weary travellers. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live like a Lord or Lady, you…

Dog-friendly Britain: where to eat, sleep and walk
Dog-friendly Britain: where to eat, sleep and walk

Britain is without doubt a nation of dog-lovers, and as such it’s a fab way to see the country; you’d be surprised by how easy it is to get chatting to people when you have a hound in tow. As publisher of the UK travel site Cool Places, Martin Dunford has spent some time seeking…

Car-free in the South Downs National Park
Car-free in the South Downs National Park

Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills road tested a car-free weekend escape in the gently sloping chalk downlands and pretty patchwork fields of the South Downs National Park, just an hour south of London by train. Get up close and personal with nature It is possible for city folk to escape to the countryside without foregoing…

Video: the world’s friendliest cities
Video: the world’s friendliest cities

Which cities are going to welcome you with open arms? Where will the locals be likely to buy you a beer, and who’s going to invite you in for tea when it’s cold? We asked our social media followers to vote for the friendliest city in the world. These are the results: Explore more of…

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