There are so many unique things to do in England; we really don’t have to travel far to enjoy unique and unusual experiences. Adventure and fun can be found right on our doorstep.
We might not be travelling much due to Covid-19, but we can start planning our next adventure as we wait! England is full of beautiful places to visit, walks and hikes to go on and National Parks to explore. Some of the best things to do in England include exploring London, surfing in Devon, going for afternoon tea, or embarking on a UK road trip. But what about the more unique and unusual things to do in England? What about other adventures to add to your England bucket list?
In this blog post I’m going to share some of my favourite things to do and unique places to visit in England, in the hope that I inspire you to add to your UK bucket list and enjoy some adventure at home!
18 unique things to do in England...
1. Take a vintage VW camper around Cornwall.
I think Cornwall is one of my favourite places to visit in England. From the beautiful beaches in Cornwall to the cute, quaint villages in Cornwall, as well as the countless things to do in Cornwall, it really is an area of England that just keeps on giving.
Cornwall is also a great place for a UK road trip. One of my favourites was when Mum and I hired a vintage VW campervan and went on a 4-day road trip, exploring the likes of the Eden Project, Tingatel, Padstow, Lands End and St. Ives. Check out my VW camper road trip in Cornwall here.
Blog posts about Cornwall you might find useful…
2. Celebrate the summer or winter solstice at Stonehenge.
Stonehenge in Salisbury is one of the most famous places to visit in England. The stones are uniquely built in relation to the sun, making the summer and winter solstices two of the best times to visit this magnificent monument. There are usually gatherings and festivities, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, these have recently taken place online (so you can watch from home).
3. Kayak on the River Thames in London.
London is a hubbub of activity, energy and life. Everywhere you go there is something to see and something to do. Whether you visit London in winter or London in summer, it’s a city that keeps on giving. London is full of fun things to do, but one of the most unique things to do here is to kayak on the River Thames. Get a new perspective of the city from the water as you pass all of London’s most famous landmarks.
Kayaking on the River Thames starts from £65. Book your experience here.
If you’re visiting London, make sure you check out these blog posts..
4. Watch the cheese rolling champions at Cooper's Hill.
Every year hundreds of people head to Brockworth for the Cheese Roll and Wake at Cooper’s Hill. It’s as unique as it sounds – people chase a 9lb Double Gloucester cheese, released by the Master of Cheese, down Cooper’s Hill, a steep slope. The tradition dates back centuries and people travel from all over the world to witness this extreme sport. If you’re feeling brave, you can enter the competition yourself!
5. Do a via ferrata in the Lake District.
Ever since I did my first Via Ferrata in Switzerland I was hooked. Since then, I’ve done them in the Lake District, Loen (Norway) and in Chamonix (France), and loved every minute. It really gets the adrenaline going! Granted, in England you don’t always get the weather that you get abroad, but don’t let that stop you! We had a great time, even though it was chucking it with rain.
The Lake District is one of England’s 10 National Parks and the perfect place to head for your active adventure. It’s one of the best places to go hiking in the UK, and you can also go wild camping there! If you’re thinking of heading to the Lake District National Park, check out these posts:
6. Go puffin spotting and see the Northern Lights in Northumberland.
Another unique thing to do in England is to head to the Farne Islands in Northumberland to see the puffins in summer. The islands are open to visitors from the end of March to the beginning of November. They’re home to over 55,000 pairs of puffins, which are best seen between April and July, as well as thousands of pairs of other breeding birds. At other times of the year you can see seal pups (October-December).
While you’re in Northumberland, head to the Dark Skies on the coastline to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Autumn is the best time to catch the magic. Who knew you could see the Aurora Borealis in England, and that you didn’t have to travel to Iceland, Canada or Finland?!
Check out how to improve your travel photography in this blog post.
7. Stay in a Shepherd's Hut or another unique Airbnb in England.
I absolutely love finding unique Airbnbs around the world, and England is no exception! I’ve had two beautiful stays in shepherd’s huts:
If you stay at either of these, make sure that you check out Brighton while you’re in the area. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in the UK. Check out my weekend guide to Brighton here.
Check out more unique Airbnbs and places to stay in England in this blog post.
8. Take a tuk tuk around the Yorkshire Dales.
The Yorkshrie Dales is one of my favourite National Parks in England, and I can’t wait to go back. If you’re looking for unique things to do in England, try exploring the Dales on a tuk tuk (yes, you read that correctly, and you can find these outside of Thailand!). Andrew will show you the best of the Yorkshire countryside and you can sit back and take in the views. Book your Yorkshire tuk tuk experience here.
- Check out my complete guide to the Yorkshire Dales in this blog post.
- Here’s my complete guide to completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.
- Fancy a couple of days in the city after some countryside life? Here are the best 35 things to do in Leeds.
9. Watch one of Shakespeare's plays in the country he lived in.
Shakespeare is perhaps one of the most famous playwrights in the world, and he was born in and lived in England. If you love literature and drama, then one of the best unique things to do in England is to watch one (or many) of his plays at the theatre here, for example at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford or at the Globe Theatre in London.
Naturally, in-person theatre performances aren’t on at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic, but many theatre companies (including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe Theatre company) are streaming shows online. For more things to do at home, check out this blog post.
10. Have a sleepover with the lions at London Zoo.
I didn’t even know that you could stay overnight at zoos, and this experience was absolutely breathtaking. We stayed in the Gir Lion Lodge at London Zoo and got treated to a magical moonlit animal tour, an amazingly unique thing to do in England! You even get the chance to feed some of the animals. Afterwards, you’re treated to a wonderful dinner and then once you’ve slept and then woken to the roar of the lions, it’s time for more animal time as you explore the zoo once more.
If you’re interested in booking a unique zoo experience, check out these two blog posts for more details:
11. Visit the lavender fields in Norfolk.
This was the highlight of my weekend in Norfolk. I felt pure joy as I danced through the lavender fields with my friend Steph, soaking up the sun and marvelling at all the purple flowers! After you’ve had your fun, make sure you visit tea rooms to grab a cuppa and some lavender treats.
12. Go to Glastonbury Festival.
Glastonbury is famous for being one of the best festivals in the world. Come rain or shine, the line up and the atmosphere make for an unforgettable weekend. Grab your wellies and a tent (and anything else you might need from my festival packing list), and make sure you book your tickets early as it is notorious for selling out in seconds! Get updates on Glastonbury here.
13. Stay in the famous Bournemouth beach huts.
Bournemouth is on the south coast of the UK, the Jurassic Coast to be exact, and is home to one of the best beaches in England. On the beach you’ll find the iconic Bournemouth beach huts, right on the sea front so you can wake up to the sound of the ocean, get your costume on and head out to the water! We were blessed with the weather when I spent a weekend in Bournemouth, so much so, we could have even been abroad!
To start planning your trip to Bournemouth, check out these blog posts…
14. Attend Bristol's International Balloon Fiesta.
Bristol hosts Europe’s largest annual gathering of over 130 hot air balloons from around the world every August. At this free event you can witness the hot air balloons taking off at dawn and dusk as well as the famous Night Glows, when the balloons light up the sky in time to the music.
Find out more about Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta here.
15. Go foraging for your dinner in the South Downs.
Get up close and personal with nature as you wander through the forest and pick what you’ll cook and eat for dinner. With the knowledge of a guide, Geoff, you will discover which plants are edible, and spend some time collecting them before you can cook them. When we went foraging with Geoff in the South Downs, we collected Alexanders, Hogweed and Sea Plantain. Yummy!
Tours usually cost between £40-70. Book your foraging experience with Geoff here.
Check out my guide to exploring South Downs National Park here.
16. Walk to see the White Horse in Uffington, Oxford.
The Uffington White Horse is a prehistoric hill figure, 110 m long, made from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. This Bronze-Age internationally-renowned site can be seen for miles within the surrounding area, and the hill itself is great for walking and hiking.
For more of the best walks in England, check out this blog post.
17. Have afternoon tea on a London bus.
Everyone knows that England is famous for it’s afternoon tea, but one of the most unique things to do in England is to combine that with a spot on sightseeing on an iconic London bus! BBakery offer an afternoon tea bus tour around London, meaning you can marvel at all the main landmarks as you enjoy the sandwiches, scones, tea and even a glass of bubbly! Check out my experience having afternoon tea on a London bus here.
Check out the best places to have afternoon tea in London in this blog post.
18. Attend the Garlic Festival on the Isle of Wight.
If you love garlic, this is the festival for you! Every August since 1983, garlic lovers have gathered from all over the world to indulge in live music, activities, and a lot of garlic! And I mean a lot… you can even get garlic beer, garlic vodka and garlic ice cream!
What unique things to do in England have you done?
What are your favourite things to do in England? Anything you’d add?
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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