Outside of London
So while central London is home to many of the top visitor sights—The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace—be certain to look farther afield. Purchase a multiday pass for the easy-to-navigate Underground, and set out to explore. Notting Hill has charming, leafy streets punctuated with shops and cafes and hosts Saturday’s Portobello Road antiques market, while Bankside houses the Tate Modern, the Globe Theatre, the bustling Borough Market, and the Design Museum. East London has undergone a renaissance in the past decade, too, and Spitalfields now showcases its glistening eponymous market, bursting with colorful shops and restaurants.
To make your British experience truly valuable, visit the countless destinations beyond the city of London. Here are a few to get you started:
1. Durham Cathedral: A stunning example of Romanesque architecture, this Norman structure is a World Heritage site.
2. Snowdon: The highest point in England and Wales at 3,560 feet, Snowdon is located in Snowdonia National Park.
3. Stonehenge: Another World Heritage site, this megalith monument (and mecca for tourists) is one of the world’s most famous.
4. Windsor Castle: The largest occupied castle in the world, Windsor Castle is an official residence of The Queen.
5. Hampton Court: Said to be Henry VIII’s favorite residence, this palace is a don’t-miss for history buffs and design enthusiasts.
6. Chiswick House: A neo-Palladian villa constructed by the Earl of Burlington in 1729. http://chgt.org.uk/
7. Portobello Road: Set aside an entire Saturday morning to browse the stalls and shops of Notting Hill’s Portobello Road antiques markets.
8. Marylebone High Street: Browse the wares at the Button Queen, The Conran Shop, and Designers Guild before lunching on Spanish-fusion fare at The Providores.
9 The Conran Shop: This revered design shop’s Chelsea venue is located in the iconic Michelin House building.
10. Covent Garden markets: Shop, eat, and enjoy street performers in this historic market.
11. Borough Market: London’s most renowned food market.
12 Tate Modern: This former power station on the Thames now houses premier modern art. A Damien Hirst exhibition runs through September 9.
13. Olympic Park: Home of the 2012 Olympic Games.
14 The Shard: Designed by architect Renzo Piano, The Shard will be the tallest building in Western Europe when complete.
15. Dover: This major ferry port is famous for its white chalk cliffs.
16. Brighton: A seaside resort in East Sussex, Brighton is home to the Royal Pavilion—designed by John Nash and built 1815–22 for the Prince Regent.