Recently, the chief executive of Visit England announced that London is overshadowing the rest of the country in terms of its popularity. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as partial to a city break in the capital as the next man, but I couldn’t help but make a mental list of all the things that people are missing by not exploring other parts of England. So without further ado, here’s five reasons why you’d be mad to hang around in London when there’s a whole country to uncover!
What about the beaches?
From Dorset to Northumberland, the English coastline is a magnificent spectacle. For centuries, people have flocked to our shores in search of inspiration, adventure and above all, fun. Though London is situated on a pretty impressive river, it lacks the timeless quality of the coast. Overseas travellers will find a handful of glorious beaches within a couple of hours of the Big Smoke, including Brighton, Aldeburgh and Southend-on-Sea, but there are many more if you plan on travelling further afield.
Urban sprawl or serene countryside?
Is there anything more charming than the English countryside? A place where cows graze in grassy paddocks, country lanes connect time forgotten villages and timber clad taverns provide a welcome pit stop for the weary traveller. Here in England, we’re blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful pockets of countryside, including the Lake District, the Cotswolds and the Peak District- and these are just the heavy hitters. Go off the beaten track in areas like the Yorkshire Dales, the Norfolk Broads, Northumberland and Dorset, and you can find a piece of a countryside that’ll leave you longing to quit the city for good.
Although London has one of the most varied gastronomic palates in the world, it can be difficult to find regional English cuisine in the capital, especially if you’re not looking to pay through the nose to sample some. England is home to an endless supply of top nosh, the majority of which being exclusive to one region or another. In the south west, there’s the Cornish pasty, the Cream Tea and extra creamy ice cream; whilst in East Anglia, seafood reigns supreme. In the north east, Parmo, Pikelets, Stottie Cake and Yorkshire pudding provide plenty of sustenance; whilst in the north west, the Cumberland Sausage, Eccles Cake and Lancashire Hotpot are sure to fill you up.
It’s no secret, London is expensive. Hotels, food, drink, entertainment; it’s all considerably pricier in the capital- between 20%-50% dearer, to be exact. The cost of accommodation is particularly eye-watering, with the average price for a two night break in the city coming in at well over £200; compare that to a two night break in any other English city, and you might find yourself asking if it’s really worth it.
Peace and Quiet
One thing you certainly won’t find in London is peace and quiet. As one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities, it can be difficult to find a quiet corner amid the hub-bub, though they do exist. If you value your quiet time, opt for a daytrip or two to the capital instead of staying there. Kent, Essex and Cambridgeshire are on the city’s doorstep, and all have plenty of countryside for when you need to relax. Alternatively, if you’re looking for complete seclusion, try Northumberland, a large county in North East England whose population of 315,000 is but a pin drop compared to London’s 8.3 million.
So there you have it, five reasons why you’d be barking mad to spend all of your time in London on a visit to the UK. Of course, London is a spectacular city, and certainly shouldn’t be missed, but if you’re planning a visit to England, be sure to spread your wings and embark on a road, train or bus trip to the nether regions of this fine country.
Alternatively, if you think I’m spouting nonsense and would prefer to stay firmly in the capital, check out our guide to things to see and do in London.