Whenever I hear Americans and/or Canadians say they want to visit England, 95% of them are referring to London and that’s usually where they go. London and the surrounding areas, pretty much referring to the whole of England as just London, Forgetting that there is a whole world of wonder and loads more to the country than just it’s capital city (and most famous city) at that, which to be honest, at this point, is pretty much just another version of New York City with some older buildings; overpriced and touristy.
In this blog I will talk about 4 places that I have had the pleasure of visiting that will truly give you the genuine English experience. Keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg, as England and the United Kingdom as a whole have so much to offer travelers and new immigrants alike.
I. Stamford, Lincolnshire
This town in the very southern edge of Lincolnshire and bordering Cambridgeshire is one of the oldest towns in England made of limestone. In the 10th century CE, Anglo-Saxons and Danish Vikings faced each other off across the river Welland and the area became part of the five boroughs of Danelaw (a Danish Viking colony in England).
It’s quite small but it has a very cozy feeling, And on a nice overcast day you truly feel like you’re in a English town that has been preserved in time and culture.
The pubs here serve quality beer and food. I had a lovely dish of Lincolnshire sausages, Heinz baked beans and chips (fries for my fellow North Americans) along with a pint of locally brewed Lincolnshire Amber ale, gazing at the stone buildings and Georgian architecture and centuries old churches.
If you want to have a quiet, relaxing day out, this is definitely the place to go.
Lastly of course, not forgetting the tea and cakes!
II. Oxford, Oxfordshire
If you are an architectural geek then Oxford should be on your to do list. Home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world (it’s pretty much the Harvard of the UK, both in terms of prestigiousness and expense).
It showcases every single architectural style in England from the late Saxon period, and it’s beauty is truly a sight to behold (If you can get past all the upper-class super rich students).
III. Whitby, North Yorkshire
As a metalhead, Whitby is one of my favourite cities in England. A small seaside situated in North Yorkshire, It’s home to some excellent Gothic architecture, a haunting, scarily domineering Abby on the other side of the cliff top resembling that of a suspense horror film, and a fish and chip shop that is to die for.
Because of its architecture and it’s Gothic sensibilities, Whitby is home to the annual Whitby Goth Festival how old in October were many Alternative and Goth bands perform. But I would have to say the most memorable moment of my time in Whitby was when I went to the Magpies Café and had their famous fish and chips….I had Haddock which was fresh caught from the North Sea, and I have never had fish and chips this excellent my life. The freshness of the fish and the crispiness of the batter as well as the traditional chips or a perfect storm of culinary excellence.
People always say that British food sucks but that was probably the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life. The fish and chips at the Magpies Café are to die for and this is where you need to stop for lunch.
Legend has it that fish and chips was born in Lancashire county nearest Salford (Yorkshire’s traditional rival county). However, if Yorkshire county has taken fish and chips and made it God-tier. And the Magpies Café is evidence of that
Lastly, check out the whale bones and take a picture. The views are insane!
IV. York, North Yorkshire
There’s a reason I keep coming back to this city. It is the one city in England that fully embodies the true, unadulterated European spirit and atmosphere. With its stunning walls that go all around the city, a dominating towering Gothic minster, and small cobblestone alleyways full of exciting and unique independent shops, York would have to be my favourite city in England.
Situated on the River Ouse, York, also once known as Jórvik, was once a Danish Viking settlement. It is home to the annual Jórvik Viking Festival in Honour of its Norse traditions of long ago. The Pubs here are excellent to say the least, a personal favourite of mine being the Blue Bell, the smallest pub in York, serving fine local stouts, ales, and ciders, literally around the corner from Yorks smallest street Whip ma whop ma gate.
My sister and I once downed 5 pints in one setting, The only reason we didn’t have more is because we were running low on cash at the time.
It just comes to show you just how welcoming the city and it’s people really are. The nighttime walks are truly something to behold with ancient buildings being lit up as well as the walls that one is protected it from invaders.
If you’re ever up north you must come to York for it will truly blow you away.
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Happy travels xo