Thursday, 26 July 2012

Celebrate Britain by Visiting a Typical British Town, Village or City

Typical British Places - pretty, historic and interesting places in Britain

Typically Quaint and Historic British Places to Enchant, and Beguile

The following places epitomise 'Britishness' for me. Whether they are tiny towns, much-loved cities, or seaside resorts, they really are great places to visit for culture, shopping, sights, atmosphere and more! They have wonderful things to do, interesting histories, beautiful architecture, and beautiful hotels can be found in all sorts of historic and stylish buildings.

So, in no particular order...

Chester's beamed tutor buildings - a main street in Chester - typical British and English places

Chester, Cheshire

Olde Worlde charm, stunning Roman history, great shopping and an excellent zoo!

As a buzzing university town, Chester is home to a great amount and choice of places to eat, drink and socialise aswell. The shops are varied and if you like one-off and slightly more alternative shops there are plenty of those also. The zoo is fantastic and has a great range of animals including tigers, spider monkeys, and a huge walk-through bat cave! 

Chester is small and compact enough to walk around on foot. Be sure to do the walk around the city on the very well-preserved Roman walls which were built to protect Chester in around 70 AD.


Shakespeare's birthplace (how could this not have olde worlde English charm?) Tudor buildings, pretty river, great shopping...

Stratford is a delightful place and full of picturesque buildings including Shakespeare's own actual house which you can visit. It is especially pretty along the river in the town centre. In this town you can watch various high quality Shakespeare plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company, which also run a whole range of various other events and attractions such as 'an evening of insight into wine-making' or practical workshops.

Stamford - River Welland
Stamford - The George 

Stamford, Lincolnshire

Stone buildings, quaint and upmarket craft shops and tea rooms, and narrow 'Harry Potter' type alleyways!

This town was built in attractive honey-coloured limestone, which is very typical of the local area where local limestone was quarried on a large scale.

Stamford offers unique and one-off shopping (it is an especially good option for gift shops and decorative homewares). 

Eating out in Stamford is a real experience, even if only for the confusion you will experience upon trying to decide where to eat!  From Cajun food, delicious cocktails and live bands at Mama Liz's to varied traditional cuisine including tapas and 'comfort food classics' at The Cosy ClubThere are over 24 quality places in eat in Stamford, over half of these being one-off or local chain restaurants, cafes and tearooms, such as 'Frothy's' with its fantastic array of choices.

The historic and locally renowned five-star George Hotel is also located right by the river. They have two wonderful upmarket restaurants; the beautifully decorated, more casual 'Garden Room' and the more formal 'Oak Paneled Restaurant.' The George Hotel serves afternoon tea also.

Stamford - one of its many churches
The Stamford Arts Centre house a high standard art gallery, and show various films and productions which are less mainstream than those at big cinemas. 

Ely, Cambridgeshire

Ely Cathedral
Ely is a pretty little town with lovely shops and tearooms, but the main draw is its stunning ancient cathedral, originating from the 9th century. The river is also worth some attention, as well as the boat hire, including the fun and slightly odd water-bikes for rental!

Cambridge & Oxford

Obvious tourist chouces but for good reason. The history, the universities, the history of the universities...! But there really is alot to see and do. The shopping in Cambridge is great, especially for unusual gifts, and Oxford is great for upmarket and luxury items. Although this is a massive generalisation, I did buy a ridiculously expensive pashmina in Oxford, and lots of one-off bits and bobs in Cambridge most recently for example!  

One thing not to miss for sure (even if its raining), is punting on the river in either of these cities. Locals and tourists alike take to these waters to enjoy seeing the city from a different perspective, and maybe to get slightly tipsy and try to wobble each other's boats but there we are...

Olney, Buckinghamshire

Further South, in Olney offers a similar experience in restaurants and shopping. Olney is a busy little place and parking can be difficult, but it not big so walking to the centre isn't a problem.

Uppingham, Rutland

Uppingham in Rutland is another (smaller) upmarket, delightful little town with similar shops and restaurants to Olney and Stamford, but a larger emphasis on modern art. The art scene is quite something, with a good few little galleries and workshops. Uppingham is close to Rutland Water, which is a reservoir in pretty natural surroundings, and the two can be combined for a good day out or weekend away. 

Lavenham, Norfolk

Pretty little Lavenham in Norfolk - a historic and adorable town with quaint little beamed buildings, and the atmospheric Guildhall (National Trust). The various tearooms and unusual gift shops enchant visitors, for example a lovely cafe-tearoom beside the Guildhall, and an exciting little glass-art gift shop 'Water Street Glass' on Water street.

Parking is free in Lavenham in a dedicated car park.

Lincoln's Steep Hill (and Bailgate)

Diagon Alley-esque streets and shops. Excellent for shopping for gifts and one-off clothes and decorative homewares.

There are some lovely places to eat, including the restaurant 'Fourteen' with high quality French and English inspired cuisine. Fish dishes are widely available due to the proximity of Grimsby and the fishing trades of the nearby East Coast.

A good time to visit Lincoln is the time of the famous Christmas market (although extremely busy, and make sure you get cash out beforehand. The queue for the cashpoint has been known to be at least 100 yards long!)  

Southwold-on-Sea, Suffolk

Southwold Beach Chalets
Traditional East Coast feel. Colourful seaside chalets - very photogenic. Lots of great upmarket art and craft shops. Blue flag beach. For more info see my Southwold and Gorleston blog post.

Don't miss the renowned Southwold Adnams Brewery tour - book to avoid disappointment.





The Cotswolds

Very traditional ye olde England. Visiting the gift shops and traditional butchers, grocers and bakeries is like going back in time. Wonderful hilly scenery, and lots of cottages and stone.

There are excellent outdoors opportunities in the Cotswolds, as it is known for its natural beauty. Hiking and walking are popular, as are rowing, kayaking and even wild swimming!

River Thames in the Cotswolds

Exmouth, Devon

Lovely West-Coast seaside resort. The sea and golden sand are very clean. Traditional English tearooms are never far away and, of course, fish and chips. The seafront is picturesque - the Exe esturary and surrounding low hills can be seen as the land curves around to the West.

Lake Vymwy, Wales

Stunning Victorian reservoir and stone dam from late 1800s. This is a beautiful location for walking and driving, you can drive  or walk over this particular dam, and walk around the lake. There are also some lovely waterfalls close by.

Lake Vymwy

Perranporth, Cornwall 

A beautiful little seaside town and beach not far from Newquay, with distinctive rocks and scenery. I cannot explain this place better than my friend Kim. She simply adores it - its her favourite place in the whole world, it's all we hear about! :) 

Camden Town, London

All things 'alternative.' A funky and boho culture and a labyrinth of shops and stalls selling weird and wonderful goods at reasonable prices. The stables market and the lock are the best. From stalls and shops selling rocks and minerals, to gothic and punky underground shops, if it's weird and you're looking for it, you'll find it here.

Scottish Borders, and the Highlands

Hills and valleys, moors and streams. The borders are a fantastic part of Scotland for history and scenery.

Scottish Highlands near Killin
The highlands are stark and beautiful, with treeless mountains, it is reminiscent of Icelandic scenery. Walking and hiking are primary activities, and there are also 5 ski resorts in the Highlands, mainly open from around late November to Late February, although they can close unpredictably due to high winds and lack of snow cover. Aviemore and its popular ski resort is around 2 hours from Edinburgh by car. Roads can close unexpectedly, it is wise to have snow socks or better still, snow chains.

A good day trip out into the wilderness from Edinburgh is adrive up to Killin, past Stirling and Lochearnhead. Both of these little places have wondeful little waterfalls, and lochs. Killin is a small town with a few little gift shops . The drive takes around one hour and a half.

Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat

Fantastic views of the city and its foreboding and atmospheric buildings (like the evil looking Scot Monument - which by the way, you can climb).

Edinburgh at dusk from Arthur's Seat
Edinburgh is a friendly an magical city with a beautiful skyline of historic buildings. Views from the castle up on the Mound offer sights of the city including Princes street and the foreboding buildings which dominate the surrounding area.

Views from Arthur's seat are from further away and you can see a large proportion of the city and its buildings, including the castle, and even the coastline to the East.

Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2012
All Rights Reserved

Typical British places, olde worlde charm, holiday in Britian, best places in Britain


  1. I was looking for some true Britain in the Internet and there it is... greetings from the other side of the world!

    1. Excellent! I'm glad you found what you were looking for, check back for more posts on exciting things to see and do in the UK soon. I'm working on an article about the Scottish Highlands at the moment... Greetings to the other side of the world :)


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