England is flourishing with phenomenal destinations, including expansive national parks, gorgeous beaches, cultural cities, and ancient castles. It is also a nation that is diverse in its collections, be it featuring the best and worst airports in Europe or the best offbeat destinations.
From a London wilderness to Stonehenge’s lesser-known brother and a lacunar cave in the Yorkshire Dales, here’s a list of England’s nine best offbeat destinations.
Ventnor, Isle of Wight
You’re missing out if you’ve never visited the Isle of Wight. I adore it over there, and Ventnor is one of England’s most charming hidden gems. The town heats up during the Ventnor Fringe Festival.
But there’s no need to wait; enjoy some off-the-beaten-path England by driving over and navigating those tight turns and country roads. Anyone from the island will tell you it’s one of the most popular places. Still, if you’ve never been there before, it’s definitely “hidden England.”
Skipton, North Yorkshire
Even though it’s a common phrase, Skipton is unquestionably one of England’s best-kept secrets!
Yorkshire’s northernmost county, Skipton, a market town, was named one of the “Best Places to Live in Northern England” by the Sunday Times in 2018. When you visit, look around the 800-year-old medieval Skipton Castle; history buffs will also enjoy Bolton Priory.
Skipton is close to the Yorkshire Dales, so there are plenty of opportunities to walk on a day trip to North Yorkshire. It’s even known as the “Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.”
Embleton Bay, Northumberland
Although Cornwall and Devon are the first counties that come to mind when considering a beach vacation, the northern county of Northumberland also offers a fantastic sandy day out. Even though the weather cannot be guaranteed, few places are more beautiful than Embleton Bay.
The long, hygienic beach is usually quiet, so while you won’t want to soak up the sun unless the weather is ideal, it’s ideal for a long walk. Embleton, a nearby village, has a variety of lodging options as well as three excellent gastropubs.
The crumbling ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, located on a spectacular headland with seabirds known to swoop overhead, are also worth a visit. It is one of the best-hidden gems in England.
St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
St Michael’s Mount is a small tidal island off the coast of the Cornish town of Marazion, connected to the mainland by an artificial causeway. At low tide, it is safe to walk along the island, which features a medieval church and a supportive town.
Unlike elsewhere in England, the National Trust manages the island, which is a fascinating place to explore. St Michael’s Mount is twinned with Mont Sont-Michel in northern France; both are off-the-beaten-path destinations in their native countries.
Coventry is the City of Culture exhales British culture, but it is rarely mentioned on must-see places in England’s lists.
When visiting Coventry in Warwickshire, you can see the impressive cathedral, rent a car from Revival Cars, or visit the Coventry Transport Museum.
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Milton Keynes is frequently regarded as unremarkable, having been built in the 1960s as part of the government’s “new towns” venture to deal with the city’s growing population.
It is not a major tourist attraction; you can visualize your family laughing at you if you inform them you’re going there for the weekend. Milton Keynes is an appealing prospect for tourists due to the abundance of attractions and activities.
The Bletchley Park codebreaking facility is open to the public and is very close to Milton Keynes. There’s also the lovely Woburn Abbey, Safari Park, Willen Lake, and the Xscape indoor adventure sports centre.
Wistman’s Wood, Devon
Wistman’s Wood, another English natural treasure you’ve probably never heard of, is like jumping into a fairy tale.
Wizened old trees adorned in moss and lichen, lovely spring flowers, and an abundance of native wildlife combine to make this one of England’s most attractive places to enjoy the great outdoors.
The area has been designated as a nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), partly to protect the massive populations of native adders that live in and around the wood.
Gaping Gill Cave, North Yorkshire
Our last off-the-beaten-path stop in England is a secret cave in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s not surprising that you’ve never heard of this site, known for its walking trails, rolling meadows, and ancient castles. Because the cave is only accessible by winch, a visit may not be for everyone.
It’s also only open during certain seasons, usually from May to August. Make it down into the cave. You’ll find a waterfall and some impressive rock formations, which aren’t typically associated with England.
There are plenty of well-known and brilliant urban activities and travel destinations in England. Still, those interested in visiting a little further than London and the Cotswolds will find many more opportunities for an epic journey.
Due to the inevitable cold weather, the English countryside is full of adventure, and the coastal regions of the north offer much to rival the south. There is much to discover in England if you are willing to venture off the beaten path, from native vegetation to urban wilderness.