York start image
© Unsplash

Are These the 5 Most Beautiful Cities for a Short Trip to England?

Great Britain is best known for London. But other destinations are also worthwhile for a short trip. Here are five of the most beautiful cities on the island.

5 October 2023

When taking a short trip to England, London is probably one of the most obvious destinations. But besides the capital, there are other cities, some of which are far more beautiful and, above all, much more charming. These include the famous university towns of Cambridge and Oxford; the unique Roman baths of Bath; or Whitby, a picturesque small town on the east coast. And last but not least, York in the north, which is voted the most beautiful city in England almost every year.


Roman Baths of Bath © Unsplash

The place Bath is said to have been known for its hot springs - the only ones in England - even before Roman times. When the Romans conquered Britain, they immediately built a spa of course. The excavations of the wonderfully preserved Roman bath are now a major attraction of the city.

Spas and Bridgerton

From the reign of Elizabeth I, Bath advanced to an exclusive spa town. Many historic buildings, especially from the Georgian period, adorn the cityscape. Therefore, the city is repeatedly used as a backdrop for period dramas, such as Jane Austen adaptations. The Netflix hit series Bridgerton has also been produced here for several years now. If you are planning a short trip to England and want to experience a unique spa stay, Bath is the place to go. From boutique spa hotels to luxury spas, visitors from near and far can live out their wellness dreams here.

Where to Stay:

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

© Unsplash

One of these outstanding luxury spas is located in a historic building of the city: The Royal Crescent. Thus, the hotel itself is already a sight to behold. This oasis of tranquility combines historic chic with a modern spa experience. 

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
16 Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LS, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1225 82333
Web: royalcrescent.co.uk
Price: Doubles incl. breakfast from € 530


King's College, Cambridge © Unsplash

Cambridge is known far beyond the borders of England for its prestigious university. Founded in the early 13th century, it's also one of the oldest in the world; among others, Steven Hawking and Sir Isaac Newton were enrolled here. The University of Cambridge consists of 31 independent colleges, which together form this famous university. During a short trip to England it's worth visiting this idyllic city, stroll through the historic streets and discover the many stores and charming student cafes.

Colleges and punting

Especially the curious should visit the historic colleges. Trinity College, King's College and St. John's College are recommended. Walking through the medieval halls, visitors very quickly get the feeling of being in Hogwarts. And rightly so, because Trinity College is actually where scenes for the Harry Potter movies were shot. Sports enthusiasts can also try punting: This traditional sport, practiced on the River Cam, is not unlike the gondoliers of Venice. This way, either by yourself or with an experienced punter, is the best way to discover the heart of Cambridge from the river. But be careful: for punting you need strong arms and shoulders.

Where to Stay:

University Arms Hotel

© Boutique Hotel Cambridge, University Arms Hotel

The city's oldest hotel boasts spacious rooms, a charming library, and a well-balanced spa program with aromatherapy treatments. Then it's off to tea time in the wood-paneled restaurant. Here you can really enjoy a short trip to England. 

University Arms Hotel
Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1223 606066
Web: universityarms.com
Price: Doubles incl. breakfast from € 245


Radcliffe Camera © Unsplash

Like Cambridge, Oxford is a world-renowned university city. The difference, however, lies in its size: Where the University of Cambridge consists of 31 independent colleges, Oxford has a 44 educational institutions. Moreover, it was founded in the 12th century, which makes Oxford University the oldest university in the English-speaking world . Countless personalities have studied over the centuries here, such as Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton or Malala Yousafzai.

Oxford and Fantasy

From a literary point of view, the city is a special place and ideally suited for a short trip to England. In the pub The Eagle and Child, which belongs to St. John's College, C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien often met and came up with fabulous stories. Later, these became the great novel series The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Above all, visitors should not miss exploring the stunning Bodleian Library (the university's main library) or the enchanting Pitt-Rivers Museum and Natural History Museum. Radcliffe Camera, the circular university library in the heart of Oxford, is also worth a visit. However, visitors can only admire it from the outside as it's only open to students. However, a visit to Oxford will definitely give you a lot to discover!

Where to Stay:

Old Bank Hotel

© Unsplash

With 43 luxuriously appointed rooms, this design hotel offers enchanting views of Oxford's finest landmarks. Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Library are just across the street. It's the perfect choice for a short trip to England-even the Sunday Times lists it as The Place to stay in Oxford in its Ultimate 100 British Hotels list. 

Old Bank Hotel
92-94 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1865 799599
Web: oldbankhotel.co.uk
Price: Doubles incl. breakfast from € 370


Whitby Abbey Ruin © Unsplash

Whitby is probably considered the most beautiful fishing town in England. It delights with atmospheric cliffs and anatural landscape overlooked by the ruins of its former abbey, which should not be missed. Because in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Transylvanian count is said to have arrived right here in England. Accordingly, Whitby offers several Dracula tours where you can learn more about the history of the place and, of course, learn all about the most famous vampire of all time. After all the literary sightseeing, you can, according to the residents of Whitby, enjoy the best fish & chips of England here.

What to Do:

Take the Hogwarts Express to Whitby

© Unsplash, Goathland Station

Not only Dracula is at home here, but also the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films. Train routes that were used for filming can be found between Pickering and Whitby. Getting to the city by train is also the nicest way to get there: The best way is to take a train or bus from York to Pickering. Here, you then board an old steam locomotive, which looks a lot like the Hogwarts Express, and then you travel for about 1 hour 40 minutes through the beautiful Yorkshire Moors. Along the way, you also stop at the now famous Goathland Station. It was used for the Harry Potter films as a backdrop for Hogsmeade Station.


© Unsplash, The Shambles in York

Both the English and tourists choose York as the most beautiful city in England every few years. And if you've been there once, you'll understand why. The medieval city on the River Ouse delights with historic charm and wonderful English gardens like those of York Treasure House or York Museum Gardens. The centerpiece is York Minster, the largest Gothic church in England and one of the largest in the world - one wall of windows alone is as long as a tennis court. In 2005, King Charles married his Camilla here. Particularly worth seeing are also The Shambles, one of the oldest surviving streets in England. The history of this alley goes back to the 14th century; it was also the model for the famous Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books and films.

Tea Time in York 

If you're in the mood for a proper English tea time after all that sightseeing, don't skip a visit to Bettys. Bettys Cafe Tearooms in Helen's Square has been serving the finest tea and pastries in all of northern England since 1936; in addition, the classic interior is modeled after the Ocean Liner Queen Mary. Fun Fact: The famous tea house was founded by a Swiss immigrant, Frederick Belmont.

Where to stay:

The Grand York

© The Grand York

The Grand Hotel York has a real English feeling, because the classic part of the hotel enchants with large and stylish rooms in Edwardian style. The new hotel wing, opened in 2018, combines tradition with modern simplicity. After an extensive day of sightseeing, you can enjoy the rest of the time in the luxurious spa, which is an eye-catcher in itself. After all, it used to be the large vaults of the historic house. 

The Grand York
Station Rise, York, North Yorkshire, UK, YO1 6GD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1904 380038
Web: thegrandyork.co.uk
Price: Doubles from € 255


Still more desire for England? Read on here: Fairmont Windsor Park: Hotel Review

Scroll to Top