During the height of its empire, this island nation built iconic buildings, acquired superb art collections and developed two of the world’s greatest universities.
England is notorious for its wealth, yet visiting the country as a tourist is surprisingly affordable. Its largest museums are free and its grand architecture and beautiful universities can be appreciated from the outside. Stay within a budget while seeing London’s sights.
London is filled with grand buildings constructed from the wealth of England’s once vast empire. The Elizabeth Tower, otherwise known as the Big Ben clock tower, crowns the massive 19th-century Parliamentary building of Westminster Palace on the River Thames. Head downriver to find the iconic Tower Bridge, a drawbridge supported by two tall Victorian towers. Drop by Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s stately London residence.
Finish your London trip with a visit to any of its major museums. The extensive British Museum, the Tate Modern, the luxurious Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Gallery all feature free admission to their permanent exhibits.
Leave London to explore England’s two nearby university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. Cross the ancient courtyards and well-cropped lawns of Oxford University. Tour Bodleian Library, which at over 400 years old is one of England’s oldest libraries. The library’s monumental Radcliffe Camera rotunda is an Oxford icon. Afterward, drive up to Cambridge and visit its many universities. Cruise down the River Cam and float under the Bridge of Sighs, a covered bridge patterned after one in Venice.
Travel southwest to find Stonehenge in the British countryside. Despite its fame, the circle of rock formations from the 31st century B.C. is still a mystery to behold. The best time to visit is during the winter or summer solstice when the stones line up with the rising sun, although huge crowds can take away from the magic of this experience.
Arrive in England via one of its international airports - London alone has six. Get around the cities on the extensive public transit network and travel around the country by train or rental car. Most travelers like to take at least one of England’s iconic cabs during their stay as well.