7 top English towns and cities perfect for a getaway this spring

Spring is in the air and, this year, it’s due to arrive in the middle of English Tourism Week.

Running from 15 to 24 March and led by VisitEngland, the week will celebrate the diversity and excitement of England’s vibrant tourism industry. 

It also aims to increase our awareness of the quality and variety of options the country has to offer.

With this in mind, here’s your rundown of English town and city breaks perfect for spring.

1. Bath

The city of Bath was granted Unesco world heritage status in 1987 thanks to its hot springs, Roman archaeology, Georgian buildings and beautiful natural landscape. 

Dating back to 100AD, today it mixes ancient history with 18th-century architecture and a modern vibrancy.

Visit the Roman baths, take a stroll on the Cotswold Way, which winds its way for 100 miles from Bath to Chipping Campden, or soak in the culture at the Theatre Royal.

You’ll find plenty of accommodation options from the affordable to the luxurious. In the latter category, you might consider the Grade I-listed Hotel Indigo with its Georgian terrace or the Royal Cresent Hotel and Spa, which dates back to 1775.

2. Oxford

Matthew Arnold’s “City of Dreaming Spires” is packed with stunning attractions and beautiful architecture and scenery. 

Visit botanical gardens or take a leisurely riverside walk or meadow stroll. You might even take to the river itself. Then head into the city for a dash of culture in the shape of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology or the Oxford Natural History Museum. You might even opt to climb St George Tower at Oxford Castle and Prison.

Stay in Malmaison Oxford for a unique stay in a former prison cell and sample Oxford’s many side-street pubs and eateries, including The Old Bookbinders Ale House, self-proclaimed as “Jericho’s best-kept secret since 1869”.

3. Padstow

If you’re looking for a refreshing blast of sea air then Cornwall is always worth the long trip south.

Tourists flock to Padstow to eat and drink at the cafes, pubs and restaurants owned by celebrity chef Rick Stein. But there’s plenty more besides and you’ll likely find the lack of crowds a refreshing change of pace from the hectic summer season. 

You might take in a St Austell Brewery tour or stop off on the way at Jamaica Inn, made famous by Daphne Du Maurier in her 1936 novel of the same name.

There’s also plenty of opportunity to get out onto the water for those willing to brave the cold and choppy waters. A Padstow Sealife Safari will take you out on the water for one or two hours in search of seals, dolphins, puffins, and even minke whales.

4. Lyme Regis

The “Pearl of Dorset” is another beautiful seaside choice with millions of years of history to inspire you and some more recent literary pedigree.

Lyme Regis is part of the Jurassic Coast Unesco world heritage site and it also sits on the South West Coast Path, one of England’s longest waymarked footpaths at 630 miles.

Expect jagged cliffs, stunning sea views, and history aplenty. Lyme Regis is where Mary Anning discovered the complete fossilised remains of an ichthyosaur. These marine monsters from the Mesozoic era could weigh up to 80 tonnes and measure 20 metres in length.

The distinctive and curving harbour wall, known as “The Cobb”, features in The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

5. Bristol

From Banksy to the SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, you won’t be short of things to see and do in Bristol. 

And there really is something for everyone.

Combining trendy city life with an alternative view all its own, Bristol has green spaces, a stunning waterfront, and plenty of culture and cuisine from around the world.

You might opt for a chic Airbnb or the luxury of the Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa.

6. Castleton, Derbyshire

If you’re feeling energetic and keen to get out into nature this spring, the Peak District could be the perfect choice.

Climb Mam Tor above the village of Castleton in the Hope Valley. Or set out on a 10-mile ridge walk to its parent peak, Kinder Scout.

In and around Castleton, the High Peaks district has much to offer. Visit the Blue John Cavern, where its namesake stone is still mined today, or take a boat ride deep into the rock at Speedwell Cavern.

Nearby, there’s the museum and brewery in the plague-hit town of Eyam and the Millennium Walkway in the town of New Mills.

7. Whitley Bay

England’s northeast coast is something of a hidden gem. The area of North Tyneside from Tynemouth, through Cullercoats, to Whitley Bay offers sweeping beaches and widescreen sea views. And there’s history and culture too.

Enjoy a beach walk to Tynemouth Castle and Priory, an Iron Age settlement that has, at one time, been a priory, monastery and second world war sea defence.

Elsewhere, you’ll find galleries, St Mary’s Lighthouse and the Whitley Bay Playhouse, as well as an array of pubs, bars and restaurants.

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