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Top 10 Must-See Historic Cities in England

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by Eleanor Healing (subscribe)
I'm a student currently living in Leeds.
Published January 6th 2013
Explore England's rich and diverse past
For those visiting England . As much as I love London as a city, I'd hate to think that all foreign visitors want to see is our capital when there are so many other beautiful cities to explore in England. Here are my top 10 must-see cities.

1. Durhum

A quiet and peaceful city, ideal for city breaks with the family. Durham is a jewel in the North-East, where you can recharge your batteries with some retail therapy, sightseeing and exploration of the lovely city centre.

Durham Cathedral: a marvel


2. York

The roots of this city lie predominantly with the Viking settlement, Jorvik, which was established here in the 9th century. The Jorvik Viking Centre is worth a visit, as it documents the everyday life and culture of that era. The cathedral and medieval sights are also worth a look. Like Durham, York is less of a bustling metropolis and more of peaceful, cultural destination.

The Shambles: a medieval cluster of shops, still trading today.


3. Exeter

The main attraction of Exeter is certainly its cathedral, a decorative and intricate piece of architecture

Exeter Cathedral: even beautiful in the rain.


4. Chester

Originally a Roman fortress, Chester is full of heritage and culture, including its amphitheatre and Roman wall. The rows are also worth exploring, as some date back to the early middle ages. The Grosvenor Museum also offers an insight into the city's history and development throughout the ages.

Photo: Crashlanded (Wikimedia Commons)


5. Warwick

The namesake castle is perhaps the attractive most attractive tourist destination in Warwick, and I highly recommend it, as it is steeped in history. Another worthwhile sight is the Lord Leycester Hospital, which I was introduced to when my cousin's wedding was held there. This and other medieval structures are a must for photographers and budding historians.

Lord Leycester Hostpital, a perfect wedding venue.


6. Oxford

Famed for its archaic, collegiate university, Oxford always brimming with tourists, itching to see places of learning established as early as the 12th century. It's worth hiring a bike to do your sightseeing, as that is the preferred method of transport for students.



7. Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare's birthplace, and a must-see for fans of the famous playwright. It seems almost a crime not to go and see a play at either The Swan or the the Royal Shakespeare Theatre while you are visiting, and the Tudor houses (including the bard's birthplace and Anne Hathaway's house) preserve the bygone days of the Jacobean era.

Photo: Kev747 (Wikimedia Commons)


8. Bristol

Famous for Banksy, Skins, and the very adorable West-Country accent, Bristol is an ancient city, full of Grade I listed buildings and an industrial heritage. Visit the Bristol Museum, or simply admire the mix of old and new architecture in the city.



9. Bath

Famed for its Roman Baths (still used as a spa today), and Georgian housing, Bath has been used for centuries as a health-resort destination. It is because of this that makes the historical sights so many and so diverse.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


10. Liverpool

Though dramatically modernised over the recent fifty years, Liverpool's vast history and heritage can still be seen today. Made famous by the Beatles, this city often gets a lot of bad press for crime rates, but beautiful sites such as Tudor Manor, Speke Hall, and the Grade I listed Albert Dock, are must-see sights in this vibrant city.

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Why? There is more to England than London.
When: Anytime
Where: England
Cost: Varies
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