With more than 2 million annual visitors, LEGOLAND® Windsor is the second most visited theme park in the United Kingdom. Just about everything in the park incorporates multi-colored LEGO® bricks, from adrenaline-fuelled rides and interactive entertainment zones to cars and building workshops.
A luxury shopping destination located just outside the city of Oxford, between London and Birmingham, Bicester Village tempts shoppers with more than 160 stores—from high-end, designer outlets to mainstream brands. Bicester Village is one of the most popular shopping destinations in England, with more than 7 million visitors each year.
On the coast of the English Channel, the world’s oldest aquarium showcases the aquatic diversity beyond British shores. More than 5,500 creatures call SEA LIFE® Brighton home—including marine species and rain forest critters—while educational talks, tours, and events provide insight into ocean conservation.
Founded by Henry VI and boasting a history dating back almost six centuries, Eton College is one of England’s oldest and most prestigious boarding schools. One of only four remaining boys’ boarding schools in the UK, the exclusive college has been attended by politicians, actors, literary icons, and royalty.
One of the most charming villages in the Cotswolds, quaint Bibury offers respite from the bustle of London and Oxford. Stroll along the banks of River Coln, explore the historic buildings—including the 14th-century weavers cottages of Arlington Row—and visit natural attractions such as Rack Isle, a water meadow filled with plants.
The junction of High Street, Cornmarket Street, Queen Street, and St. Aldgate’s, Carfax is a major meeting point in the heart of Oxford. The lofty St. Martin’s Tower (Carfax Tower), which offers some of the best views of the “city of dreaming spires,” sits at the intersection.
A museum dedicated to one of Britain’s best-loved authors, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the life and work of the 18th-century writer. Housed in an authentic period property, with actors in costume bringing the museum to life, the center immerses visitors in the days of the Regency era.
Perched on the banks of the Windrush River, Burford is a small English town that’s often referred to as the gateway to the Cotswolds. Highlights of the town include a medieval bridge and an abundance of Tudor and Georgian buildings that have remained unchanged over centuries.
Between its baroque chapel, extensive gardens, and historic buildings, Trinity is one of Oxford’s prettiest small colleges. Founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, it occupies a prime position in central Oxford, opposite the landmark Bodleian Library.
Set on High Street in the heart of town, graduates-only All Souls College is Oxford’s most elitist institution. Only the university’s best and brightest are invited to sit the entrance exam, and just two are accepted as fellows each year. Fifteenth-century architecture mingles with Hawksmoor and Wren detailings for pure tranquility.
Explore nearly 1,000 years of history at Oxford Castle & Prison, located near central Oxford. Originally built in 1071 by Normans who came across with William the Conqueror, the castle was later turned into a prison. Now a museum and tourist site, it also offers stunning panoramic views over Oxford from one of the city’s oldest buildings.
Home to fishmongers and produce vendors, quirky hat specialists and trendy sandwich shops, Oxford Covered Market is both a bustling retail hub and a destination for food lovers. The market has operated continuously since its founding in 1774, and today it hosts more than 50 independent shops.
One of Oxford’s oldest colleges, Balliol College dates back to the 13th century, although the precise date is disputed. The architecture of this rambling college is predominantly from the 19th century, though parts of the Front Quadrangle are as old as the 15th century. It takes its name from its founder, John de Balliol.
Magdalen College—pronounced “Maudlin”—is one of the most storied and scenic colleges at Oxford University. Founded in 1458, it’s known for its lofty Magdalen Tower, its choral associations, and the celebrated figures who once walked its halls, including C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde, and Sir John Betjeman.
Sandy shorelines, white cliffs, and lush countryside come together on the Isle of Wight, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of England’s largest islands. Once the preferred holiday destination of Queen Victoria, the Isle of Wight is now popular for its annual music festivals, impressive dinosaur fossil quarries, and scenic walking trails.
The childhood home of Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife, Anne Boleyn, this restored 13th-century castle is now open to the visiting public. Discover grand paneled rooms, Tudor portraits, tapestries, and antiques, and wander the grounds, which encompass formal gardens, two outdoor mazes, and a boating lake.
Founded in 1621, Oxford University’s Botanic Garden is the oldest in the UK and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. Located near Magdalen College, this 5-acre (2-hectare) garden is home to nearly 6,000 types of plants, representing more biodiversity than any other collection of similar size.
Located on the River Medway in Kent, the town of Rochester is located just a quick commute from London. Celebrated for the 12th-century Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral (whose history dates to the year 604, Rochester was also frequented by writer Charles Dickens, and various festivals and events are held in his honor.
Established in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is the oldest public museum in the UK and one of the oldest in the world. It’s home to one of the most important collections of art and archaeology in the world, spanning civilizations both Eastern and Western and from the Neolithic era to the present day.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is an important site for the British Royal Navy, having played a part in the war against the Spanish Armada, the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars, and both World Wars. Although the dockyard is still a working naval base, many of its historic ships have been converted into museums.
Established by King James I in 1606, the Port of Dover in Kent remains one of country’s busiest and most important transit hubs. The closest port to France—located 21 miles (34 kilometers) across the English Channel—Dover in southeast England is frequented by
This stately redbrick mansion was the country home of one of Britain’s most lionized leaders, Sir Winston Churchill. The World War II prime minister purchased the property in 1922 and spent much of his retirement here. Little has changed since then, and visitors will find Churchill memorabilia and personal belongings scattered throughout.
First built in 1897, Oxford Town Hall is a glorious structure in the heart of the city that’s an ever-popular destination for weddings and events. Besides a café and gift shop, it’s also home to the Micro-Museum, a temporary replacement for the Museum of Oxford, which is scheduled to reopen in the town hall in summer 2020.
Set on the edge of the New Forest National Park, this family-friendly amusement park is packed with rides and attractions. The park encompasses twisting roller coasters, waterslides, play areas, animal enclosures, and pretty gardens, though the biggest draw is Peppa Pig World, an area themed around the popular children’s cartoon.
Located just a quick trip from Oxford, Cogges is one of the prettiest corners of the Cotswolds (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A Scheduled Ancient Monument, Cogges has over 1,000 years of history. Today, the area is a popular tourist attraction, thanks in part to its Grade II listed Cogges Manor Farm.
Set in the elegant 17th-century building that held the original Ashmolean Museum, the History of Science Museum (previously known as the Museum of the History of Science) is a treasure trove of scientific wonders. From Einstein’s equations to Marconi’s radio transmitter, by way of astrolabes and penicillin, it’s endlessly fascinating.
Located on the River Thames just west of London, Windsor is an ancient town with a unique royal pedigree. Best known for the eponymous Windsor Castle—the oldest and largest continually occupied castle in the world—the area was formally settled by William the Conqueror. Today, it is regularly frequented by members of the royal family.
Home to more than 30 rides and family-friendly attractions, Thorpe Park Resort is one of the UK’s major theme parks. Situated 20 miles (32 kilometers southwest of London, its draws include fast-rolling coasters; high-speed water aerial and water rides, and gentler amusements ideal for the younger ones.
This 17th-century red brick building may be unassuming but it’s where English novelist Jane Austen wrote and revised many of her classic novels, including Pride and Prejudice. As the only one of her former homes open to the public, Jane Austen’s House Museum is a must-visit for literature fans who want to marvel over Austen artefacts, memorabilia, and manuscripts.
Declared a royal forest by William the Conqueror and established as a National Park in 2005, New Forest National Park is home to family-friendly biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails, as well as nearby museums and villages. Look out for the thousands of native New Forest ponies—as well as deer, donkeys, and cattle—that call the sprawling moorland and rugged woodland of the New Forest National Park home.