London has gradually become synonymous with England. When did you last visit Liverpool on holiday? Or Newcastle? Or Manchester? Perhaps if you´re a die-hard football fan of premier-league teams. But relatively few are familiar with the English countryside, and most catch only a glimpse of it from their seat on the train, traveling between the airports surrounding the capital.
London has, in effect, become a country in itself, not least of all in terms of its economy. Unemployment in the old mining towns and rural areas exploded after the financial crisis, while London, after a brief dip, spurted ahead of the rest of the country in terms of unemployment, house prices, growth, etc. Moreover, flight prices to and from London´s airports have fallen, too – another factor why so many choose to spend a weekend in the country´s capital to enjoy a little shopping. No international travel guides or magazines can afford to ignore the home of Queen Elizabeth II. The walk from Westminster underground station across to the London Eye is probably one of Europe´s best when it comes to defining the perfect city break experience.
But don´t let London´s unique status, wonderful as it is, distract you from enjoying the rest of what England has to offer. To the west, is the old commercial port of Liverpool, which was one of the most important industrial and trading centers during the Industrial Revolution; up in the northeast is the “Geordie” city of Newcastle, a former mining town and cradle of an industry through the ages. Both cities have reinvented themselves and are now vibrant cultural centers for the arts, shopping, nightlife and home cities for premier league football teams. To the south lies Southampton where you can hop aboard a ferry to the Isle of Wight where many English spend their holidays. According to a local, the island with its winding country roads and long sandy beaches has always been 5 hours behind the rest of England but, nevertheless, its charm remains timeless and invites you to relax in true British style. Just a little further south from here are the picturesque counties of Devon and Cornwall – with the gems of the English Riviera dotted around Torbay plus numerous yachting centers, old fishing villages, and the wild, brooding moorlands. It is hard to look at a map of England without automatically looking for London, but it´s worth the effort to redirect your focus: a wealth of new adventures await you beyond the island´s capital – each with something unique to reveal. They are waiting for you to discover.
From the moment you land in London, you have 4 countries to visit.
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