London is undeniably the most popular destination for foreigners visiting England. But if the crowds of the capital city aren’t for you, there are several locations off the beaten track that you should add to your ideal English itinerary. From coastal destinations that will melt your heart to scenic regions steeped in legend and history, here are the English hidden gems that are worth a visit.
The Wiltshire Countryside: See The World’s Longest Maze
If you’re looking for a cool place to stop when traveling from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England, consider the Wiltshire Countryside, home of the world’s longest maze. Situated between Bath and Salisbury, it’s close to the town of Warminster which is only home to about 17,000 people.
The maze spans across 1.48 acres and is made from more than 16,000 English yews. It usually takes visitors between 20 and 90 minutes to find their way out of the maze, depending on how quickly you can reach the central observation tower in the middle. You can find the maze in the Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, which also features the Elizabethan Longleat House.
Tintagel: The Village On The Mountain
One of England’s best-kept secrets is the village of Tintagel, otherwise known as the Village on the Mountain in Cornwall. Straddling the Atlantic coast, the village offers spectacular sea views and the surrounding countryside. But the real reason to visit Tintagel is the village and nearby castle are associated with the legends of King Arthur. It is said that Arthur’s mother, Igraine, conceived her legendary son in the castle Tintagel after Merlin disguised Luther Pendragon as Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall.
If you’re a fan of Arthurian legend, be sure to visit King Arthur’s Hall, where you’ll see 73 stained-glass windows detailing the folklore. The Camelot Castle Hotel is another attraction to look out for since it boasts its own replica of the Winchester Round Table.
Barnard Castle: For Harry Potter Fans
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, be sure to visit Barnard Castle, a village named after the iconic castle in the area. Located in Durham, the 12th-century castle itself might not have been used in the filming of the movies, but the nearby Durham Cathedral was. Fans can easily see the cathedral in the first movie when Harry released Hedwig, his pet owl.
The Barnard Castle definitely looks like it belongs in the Harry Potter films and has a magical atmosphere without the hordes of fans that you’ll run into at filming locations like Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
Vale Of White Horse: Less Crowded Than The Cotswolds
The Vale of White Horse is easily one of the most beautiful places in Britain that you’ve probably never heard of. Reminiscent of the much more famous Cotswolds, the region is home to a selection of hamlets and villages that are picturesque enough to exist in a fairytale.
While in the area, which is located near the Oxfordshire border, you can also check out the famous chalk figure of a white horse carved into the hills, known as the Uffington White Horse. For fans of British folklore, the area is also home to Dragon Hill, where it is said that St. George slew the dragon.
Bakewell: A Sweet Tooth’s Dream
All Brits are familiar with Bakewell tarts. The delicious shell of shortcrust pastry topped with jam, frangipane, and flaked almonds originates from the town of Bakewell, in Derbyshire. And if you’re a sweet tooth, it’s definitely worth a visit!
There are three bakeries in the small town that offer endless varieties of Bakewell tarts and Bakewell puddings. Once your cravings are satisfied, explore the charming and quaint scenery of the surrounding town, including the five-arched bridge over the River Wye.