eNGLAND: The Loop Around London

England has a rich history that dates back thousands of years and to this day can still be seen across the entirety of the country. As you city hop the country, you will travel past green fields filled with cattle, residential developments, and even lakes that ducks call their home. This England itinerary is perfect for history buffs and lovers of pub grub.

Where To Buy Tickets: Trainline

Countries Visited: England

Rail Passes:  Britrail Pass

Price Range: $$$$

Recommended Days: 3 weeks

Riding Hours: Approx. 17 hrs

Distance: 789 km

Transportation: Train, Bus

London: Capital Charm

London is a diverse city that welcomes all walks of life into its arms. By catching the underground, also known as “The Tube” or taking off into a cab, you can venture to all corners of the city. Try different foods, head to the many different attractions that lure visitors, and learn a bit about England’s history.

Take a walk in Hyde Park, probably the most famous park in the city. And in the northeast corner, you will find the Speaker’s Corner, which now tends to host debates, artists, and protests. Amongst the many different performances, you will find many memorial features in this area. Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous sites throughout the city, and maybe even the country. Although the entire palace is not open, you can witness the impressive changing of the guard outside as well as many other events.

London is also known for a variety of museums, from the Natural History Museum to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), which are well worth a visit. There are also plenty of shops to visit such as Harrods and Selfridges, and a culmination of delicious eateries and bars to be explored. Head over to Borough Market for some great food vendors, or for some impressive city views, take a trip to Sushi Samba and look out over the city from a skyscraper that has a tree in the center of its bar.

London Blackfriars → Brighton Station | Duration: 0:58h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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Start your journey at London Blackfriars and take one of the many daily direct trains to Brighton. The fastest connection takes only 58 minutes. Book here.

Brighton: Colorful And Quirky

Brighton has a great reputation for embracing its culture and providing an interesting stay for all of its visitors. You can see the colorful beach sheds on the beach. Head along on the Brighton Pier, and enjoy some of the events held there. Or why not head down the Lanes for boutique shops, English pubs, and plenty of quirky cafes to visit.

The Pavilion estate has been in the heart of Brighton for around 230 years. It is the home to the beautiful Pavilion Gardens and the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. The gardens are a great place to walk and take in the colors that are throughout the city. The museum has a large collection of art pieces, especially from King George IV and others.

The Lanes are famous in Brighton, they are known for having amazing antiques, jewelry, bakeries, and restaurants to amble through. The Lanes is also home to the famous Choccywoccydoodah with its array of chocolatey treats to be enjoyed. The Brighton Palace Pier is a great spot for what some would call cheap thrills. On the pier is an arcade where you can play old-fashioned games, and during the evenings you can see it light up in color, making for a great sight.

Brighton Station → Salisbury Station | Duration: 2:13 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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If travelling from Brighton to Salisbury you can choose between a daily direct train or a many trains where you have to change trains once. The tickets starts from 35,40€. Book here.

Salisbury: The Famous Stonehenge

Salisbury is home to a Gothic cathedral that has the tallest spire in the country and is bursting with history from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. However the most popular sight to see at this England itinerary stop is the prehistoric phenomenon of Stonehenge. From Salisbury you can catch a bus to there and you can even catch a quick 30-minute train journey to Southampton for some shopping.

Salisbury Cathedral overlooks a large green park and has a 123-meter spire making it the tallest in the country. It also has the largest cloister in the country and the clock within the cathedral is possibly the oldest in the world. You can take a tour of the tower, but be prepared to climb the 332 stairs to get to the top.

Mompesson House is part of the British National Trust and is a beautiful building made of Chilmark limestone. Each room shows the beauty of 18th-Century design in the different rooms and landscaped gardens. Catch a bus to see the prehistoric monument, Stonehenge. This almost circle of bluestone that stands tall has been a mystery for centuries as to how they came to be.

Salisbury Station → Bath Spa Station | Duration: 0:53 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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There are many daily direct trains from Salisbury to Bath. Book here.

Bath: Bathing Back In Time

A city with UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition, this small city has an abundance of history. Home to Roman thermal springs, the picturesque Royal Crescent, and some great walks that allow you to see out across the city sites.

The Roman Baths are some of the best-preserved remains of Roman times in the world, with a bathing site that still heats to this day due to the dormant volcano that the city sits in. You will be able to walk around the bathing house and learn about the deep history of the Romans that helped to build this beautiful city.

If you want to have the best views over the city, enjoy a hilltop walk of 10km known as the Bath Skyline that will take you through an Iron Age hill-fort, forests, and open meadows. Bath also has a variety of museums to enjoy, the Victoria Art Gallery focuses on Georgian-style architecture landscape from around the city. The Holburne Museum has changing exhibitions as well as constant exhibitions of modern and Victorian art.

 

Bath Spa → Cheltenham Spa | Duration: 1:18 h | Transfers: 1 | Transport: Train

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Every hour a train departs from Bath to Cheltenham with a change in Bristol Temple Meads. Book here.

Cheltenham: The Cotswolds

Having used to be a market town, Cheltenham is now known for its horse racing and is also famous for its incredible spa facilities and colorful gardens. Set within the landscape of the Cotswolds where small idyllic villages tend to be, you can catch a bus to Broadway and others for exciting walks.

The Montpellier District is in the south of the town center and is considered to be the poshest part of town. When visiting the area, you will find designer shops and antique dealers then you can head to wine bars and watch as the people go by.

The Wilson Art Gallery houses textiles, ceramics, woodcarvings, and pieces of furniture that showcase the idyllic countryside of the Cotswolds from 1890. Everyman Theatre is a sight within itself, with cherubs, marble, and paintings whilst also providing shows of ballet, opera, and theatre.

Cheltenham Spa → Oxford Station | Duration: 1:30h | Transfers: 1

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To travel from Cheltenham Spa to Oxford take one of the hourly trains. There are no direct connections. You have to change in Worcestershire or in Dicot Parkway.  Book here.

Oxford: Academics And Architecture

Famed for being the home to Oxford University, it also has fabulous architecture that is prominent throughout the city and has a deep history that is worth learning. Linked to the university are several museums that are world-renowned. In this city, you will be able to enjoy beautiful walks, visit famous pubs that J.R.R Tolkien and Hemmingway once had sat in, plus so much more.

Bodleian Library is the main library for research at the university and is one of the oldest in Europe. Walk through the shelves and you will be stepping into history and visiting one of the city’s iconic landmarks. Also linked to the university is the Botanic Garden, which seems out of place within the city. Used for study, there are a variety of rare plants within the greenhouses and perfect spots for a picnic to enjoy the world.

The Covered Market is a great spot to visit where you will be able to find interesting souvenirs, pick up fresh produce, and even treat yourself to some jewelry… or some ice cream. Within the market, you will meet the people who truly know the city, and you may learn a bit more about the local history of the area.

Oxford Station → Stratford-upon-Avon | Duration: 1:25h | Transfers: 1 | Transport: Train

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If travelling from Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avenue take one of the many daily trains. The journey takes between 1:25 and 2:13 hours.  Book here.

Stratford-upon-Avon: Birthplace Of Shakespeare

Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and to this day still looks as though it is straight out of a storybook. As you walk down the main street you will see pubs and shops selling plenty of Shakespeare paraphernalia. But you will also find a variety of interesting spots to stop and visit.

Step back in time as you head to the house where Shakespeare was born and lived with his family as he grew from child to man before marrying his wife. Walk for about five minutes to visit Anne Hathaway’s, Shakespeare’s wife, childhood home where you can learn about whom she was before she became famous for being married to the iconic playwright.

For some non-Shakespearean activities, make a visit to the MAD museum, which playfully pairs art and design with science and technology, hire a boat to float along the river Avon, or take a ghost tour! Also, keep an eye out for the streetlamps, there might be something interesting about them….

Stratford-upon-Avon → Nottingham Station | Duration: 2:33 h | Transfers: 2 | Transport: Train

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Every half an hour a train departs from Stratford-upon-Avenue to Nottingham. First you have to travel to Birmingham Moor Street and change to Birmingham New Street. From there you take the train to Nottingham. Book here.

Nottingham: Robin Hood’s Stomping Grounds

Nottingham is the home of Robin Hood with its Sherwood Forest and has plenty of interesting monuments that tell the tales of the city. Although it has an interesting history, it is often considered a youthful city due to its exciting nightlife and the two universities that call Nottingham their home.

Wollaton Hall is a Tudor house built in the 1590s and is now used for the Nottingham Natural History Museum. The three-storey house now has an astounding collection of exhibitions to amble through whilst maintaining the Elizabethan style in which it was designed.

The oldest park in the city, the Arboretum has a bandstand and aviary that can be wandered through and enjoy a coffee or picnic upon one of the benches. Nottingham city is also a great spot for some retail therapy with plenty of shops in the city center. Why not take a trip to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, a pub that is abundant with character.

 

Nottingham Station → Cambridge Station | Duration: 2:05 h | Transfers: 1-2 | Transport: Train

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The fastest way to travel by train from Nottingham to Cambridge is to take the train to Ely and change there. Another option is to change in Leicester. There are also connections where you have to change 2 times. Book here.

Cambridge: River Punts And Beautiful Scenery

Another university city that has a river running through its center, a city filled with culture and history set within the buildings that have been standing for years. Being in the city, you will have access to some of the best things to do to keep you busy. Walk along the picturesque streets full of red brick buildings and see wonderful sights.

The River Cam flows through Cambridge and is often seen with rowboats and punts floating along. You will find people having picnics along the banks, students studying literary masters, and lovers ambling along the King’s College Bridge.

The American Cemetery and Memorial display neat lawns and crosses that are dedicated to the people killed in the Battle of the Atlantic. Although a somber place to visit, it is peaceful and well worth visiting to learn of personal stories and photographs within the visitor center. Before wrapping up this England itinerary, make sure to find the Mathematical Bridge, an interesting structure designed by William Etheridge that stands out from the regular architecture of the city.

Cambridge Station → London Kings Cross | Duration: 0:49 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train

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There are amny daily direct trains from Cambridge to London. The shortest connection takes only 49 minutes and the longest takes 1:25h. Book here.

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