Things to see and do - in England!


Whether it’s a book, newspaper article, television programme or film, I am always interested when anything appears with the word “England” in the title. Nowadays, of course, there are emails as well, and I was quick to open one that landed on my computer recently with the words “Research on things to do in England” in the subject box. This arrived at a particularly appropriate moment, bearing in mind that we are just putting the finishing touches to Explore England 2018 (click here for further details) which itself highlights dozens of attractions and sights around the country.

After clicking on the link ( I was interested to see that the writer of the article (Janet Rogers of RV Lifestyle) has produced a list of 100 “amazing things to see and do” in England. Most of the places listed are those you would expect - Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Lake District, Stonehenge, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Blackpool Illuminations, the White Cliffs of Dover etc. - but, even so, it is always rewarding to be reminded once more of the many treasures to be found in our green and pleasant land. By the way, RV, for those who don’t know (as I didn’t until I looked it up!) stands for “Recreational Vehicle”, the North American version of a motorhome.

As well as listing the castles, stately homes, museums, cities, historic and picturesque parts of the country etc., Janet includes information about each one. There are also several entries that people planning to “RV” around England (or even explore by car, bus, coach or train) might not know about. The ones that caught my eye were:

The Bodleian Library
This library in Oxford ranks as one of the oldest in the world. It is certainly one of the most impressive you will see! Entrance fee of £1 will allow you into the Divinity School. The rest of the complex can be seen through guided tours only. You can book your tickets in advance, online, or at the desk on arrival. The library has a collection of books from the 15th century, and still has an agreement to receive a copy of every single book published in the UK! The total amount of books currently stands at over 12 million! The library has 117 miles of shelving and a seating area for about 2,500 readers. If you are in time to witness it, every Wednesday some 5,000 books arrive, every one of which must be catalogued and stored.

The Great Dorset Chilli Festival
This festival takes place in Wimborne St. Giles, and is locally known as the “hottest day out in Dorset”. It is a two-day event, and you will be able to taste fiery food of all types. Chilli plants and seeds are sold, as well as jams and chutneys – all spiced with chillies. You can watch demonstrations and enter the various competitions. This event takes place on the first weekend in August, and if you plan to stay in the area, you are advised to book early as it is very popular.

York Maze
This is a living maze, created with over 1 million plants. It is the largest maze in the UK. Additionally, you will find over 20 different rides, attractions and shows. This is a great family day out. The maze is open through the summer holidays, and also for Halloween and Bonfire Nights. There is a petting zoo and feeding area, a mini golf course and an arts area where kids can paint to their hearts content. Adventure climbs, water and sand play area, quad bikes and trampoline mean that this is a great family day out. Be sure to allow yourself a full day here.

Plymouth Gin
The distillery has been in use since 1793 and is also known as Blackfriars Distillery. It is the only distillery in the city. Folklore says that it is located in what was once a Dominican order monastery, although this is disputed with no evidence to show it. The Pilgrim Fathers are also supposed to have stayed there while the Mayflower was being repaired. It was in fact a merchant’s house around 1500, and by 1605 was used as a gaol. In 1689, it was a Congregational meeting house and in 1793 it became the distillery. You can take tours of the distillery, and get a bite to eat at the bar and bistro on the premises. Plan on a full day to explore not only the distillery, but also the surrounding area of Plymouth.

Well done, Janet! England looks forward to welcoming your readers - however they travel!

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