England plays host to a plethora of historical landmarks and sightseeing hotspots, many of which are embedded deep within its beautiful countryside surroundings. In fact, these countryside sightseeing spots were essential in attracting the 37.9 million tourists that visited the UK in 2018, which supports over 3.8 million jobs.
So whether it’s your first or fifth time visiting England, we highly recommend venturing out of big cities like London to see some of the less visited but ever jaw-dropping countryside sightseeing attractions.
Five of the best countryside sightseeing attractions in England include:
- Stonehenge, Salisbury
- Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
- Windsor Castle
- Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey
- Leeds Castle, Maidstone
You’d struggle to meet any avid traveller who hasn’t heard of Stonehenge. In 2016 the archeological masterpiece reached its 30th year as a world heritage site and was one of the first attractions to be added to the UNESCO world heritage list.
With its gradual construction lasting over 2,500 years, the stonehenge we know now took its current form around 2500 BC and has been preserved ever since, attracting over 800,000 tourists every year.
What makes Stonehenge so special?
On first look at the stones, what initially takes your breath away is their sheer size, with the heaviest stone weighing around 30 tons. But what beckons curiosity is the origin of those stones being the Preseli Hills – around 180 miles from the Stonehenge site itself.
There are many theories as to why Stonehenge was built and how those huge stones made it to the site in Salisbury, but the best answers can be found at the visitor centre itself. Book a countryside tour and discover Stonehenge on your next visit to England.
2. Blenheim Palace
An absolute must-see for fans of British royal and political history, Blenheim Palace, just a stones-throw outside of the beautiful city of Oxford, is steeped in British history. Blenheim Palace is also famed for its versatility and appeal to a wide range of ages and interests.
The birthplace of Winston Churchill
After being closed to visitors for over a year, you can now visit the tiny bedroom where Sir Whinston Churchill was born. Furthermore, the brand new Churchill Exhibition features a plethora of historic artefacts and new technology to immerse you in the adventurous life of Sir Winston Churchill.
Blenheim Palace also hosts a range of outdoor attractions and activities if you are visiting in the spring and summer months. Outdoor attractions include the Marlborough Maze, made up of two miles of beautiful yew trees.
Educational and visually stimulating for children and adults, walk along the bugs and butterflies trail and see how many species you can spot and identify. The trail is just one of many natural attractions on the Blenheim Palace site.
3. Windsor Castle
Home to royalty and 1,000 years of royal history, Windsor Castle is an absolute must-visit for any royal enthusiast looking to get a countryside insight into the life of the royal family. No more than a 30 minute drive from Heathrow airport, Windsor Castle is the perfect destination for a half day countryside tour.
At first sight as you walk up the beautiful Castle Hill road, you will be stunned by Windsor Castle’s size, as it is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Since being founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, the castle has been the home of 40 monarchs and with it carries a host of stories and historical events.
So whether you’re fascinated by 11th century architecture or a royal fanatic, make sure you include Windor castle in your countryside sightseeing tour of England.
4. Hampton Court Palace
Why not extend your half day countryside tour to a full day tour and include Hampton Court Palace?
The palace is a perfect addition to a countryside tour of the royal attractions, and is the perfect place to spend a day during summer. Expect the same breathtaking architecture and serene gardens of Windsor Castle, yet entwined with the unique tudor and neo-classical architecture of this historical palace.
Famed as one of King Henry VIII’s favourite homes and venues in which to impress his guests, the Palace’s rooms are packed with stunning paintings and treasures. However, it’s not just art and architecture on display here, there is plenty more for children to enjoy at this picturesque attraction.
Attractions for children
Let your children’s imaginations and curiosity run wild in the magic garden – a fun filled playground for children of all ages. From coming face-to-face with mysterious mythical creatures to storming the battlements, there is ample opportunity to explore and learn at Hampton Court Palace.
5. Leeds Castle
Don’t mistake this beautiful water guarded castle for being a long journey north, despite its name, Leeds Castle is just a turn off the M20 between London and Canterbury. Sitting conveniently near the Kent Downs, this early 11th century attraction makes a perfect stop on your English countryside tour.
Why is Leeds Castle so unique?
Often underrated, this beautiful Castle is unique for so many reasons:
- This castle claims to be the “loveliest castle in the world” with its plethora of water features and beautiful countryside walks.
- The castle served as residence for six medieval queens including one of King Henry VIII’s wives.
- The falconry display features over 30 birds from around the world including owls, falcons and hawks.
- The dog collar museum features over 130 dog collars on show.
So whether you’re a dog-person or a history buff, Leeds Castle is guaranteed to create lasting memories for you and your family.
Whilst we may have only scratched the surface, these five unique English countryside attractions stand out in their ability to offer excitement, intrigue and amazement for children and adults.
To learn more about these unique attractions and to book your next English countryside tour visit our dedicated England countryside tours page.