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How to Plan a Trip to England: Frequently Asked Questions

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Sheep on hillside at Cotswold village, Chipping Campden in England, with Gothic architecture in the background

Chipping Campden village in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England

A tiny island spreading its influence through everything from Shakespeare to the Beatles, England has oozed heritage for ages and these are often the most frequently asked questions from travelers eager to experience and explore quintessential England.

From eating cupcakes in the cultivated gardens of a stately manor house to visiting gothic cathedrals and fairytale streets in cobblestone villages, wandering along broad beaches with a packet of fish and chips to the lights of Big Ben, here is the information you need to plan your perfect England trip.

Is England open to American travelers?

Last reviewed: August 24, 2021

England is open to American travelers, but there are several guidelines to keep in mind as you consider travel. You must take a test within 72 hours before travel and book and pay for your needed Covid tests after arrival to the UK. Travelers fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the European Union or the United States will be welcome to enter England without quarantine but must take either a lateral flow or Covid-19 PCR test before arrival and a PCR test on the second day after arrival. Children under age 18 may be exempt from some testing, and guidelines testing are forthcoming. Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for ten days and take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight. Your Zicasso travel specialist will be able to assist with updated information and with your testing logistics.

Related: Countries Open to American Travelers

What should I do on my trip to England?

England's greatest appeal is its size. It is a very small country, far smaller than most people realize. This means first-timers are quickly charmed, but regular visitors will always have a new angle to explore. Destinations are close together, so it's easy to cram a lot into a few days. For some that means covering the diverse blend of experiences that make England so incomprehensible.

  • Fill the camera as you explore central London, gasping at all the famous monuments and painted scenes. Watch red double-decker buses line up beside the majestic dome of St Paul's Cathedral, observe the changing of the Queen's Guard outside Buckingham Palace, wander across ancient Tower Bridge and then up the gloomy stairways of the Tower of London. Keep snapping as the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben appear, then savor it all from the London Eye.
  • Wander along the charming cobblestone streets of England's illustrious old towns, reliving an ancient time through stunning cathedrals, atmospheric taverns and side streets full of enthralling shopkeepers. Oxford combines all of this with its famous university and archaic libraries. York also reveals the remnants of Roman England, Europe's largest gothic cathedral and the finest purveyors of cream tea and scones.
  • The English idolize the royal family and the aristocratic opulence of the throne can be discovered all over the country. Windsor Castle and St James's Palace are well-recognized sites, monumental displays of wealth that ooze regal charm. But rural England is covered with stately homes, centuries-old manor houses, and gothic mansions, all usually set within acres of flowering gardens and pruned hedges. Castle Howard, Bowood House, Highclere Castle, this is the England of Downton Abbey.
  • Head north and immerse yourself in Yorkshire, proudly called “God's own country” by its idiosyncratic residents. It's a land of peculiar accents, white coastal cliffs, boutique shopping arcades, thriving nightlife, and swathes of captivating countryside. Explore historic market towns like Ripon and Skipton, enjoy the grand Victorian renascence of Leeds and spend many an afternoon discussing the weather over a pint or a brew.
  • Absorb the Georgian splendor of Bath, then seek out its medieval heritage and 2000-year-old Roman bathhouses. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a living architectural museum packed with arched stone bridges, glorious abbeys, and row upon row of elegant stone townhouses. Half an hour down the road, Salisbury offers a miniature and quieter version, with the same artistic splendor.
  • Meander through the rich green landscapes of the Cotswolds, absorbing archetypal English vistas and flowering gardens that dance with color. Jacobean houses and enigmatic stone villages punctuate the rolling hills, each offering a serene atmosphere for high tea or a traditional pub dinner. This is the England of 18th-century oil paintings, created with gentle shades and swirling brushstrokes.

Many first-time visitors to England are unaware of the country's diversity. Famous cities like London, Bath, and Oxford typically pack itineraries. But the country possesses many unique experiences:

  • Witness England through the eyes of its great storytellers, embarking on tours that discover the world of Shakespeare and Jane Austin. Comedy comes from the witty locals, drama is provided by the grandeur of ancient estates, poetry is delivered in charming rural villages and theater is relived as you match the destinations to the plays and books.
  • The English are mad about football (or soccer as it’s known in the US) and the Premier League has become another of their famous exports. Listen to “You'll Never Walk Alone” ring around Anfield Stadium, home to Liverpool Football Club, or relish the sensation of a game at Old Trafford, Manchester United's proclaimed “Theatre of Dreams.” Football lovers can enjoy tailored vacations, but it's also easy to incorporate a match-day experience into a wider English itinerary.
  • Explore the historic streets of Liverpool and go on a musical journey through the ages. Edwardian monuments and grand dockyards reveal the city's indelible imprint on world history, before a Magical Mystery Tour opens up the hometown of The Beatles. Visit Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, discover the atmospheric pubs where the Fab Four first played and lose yourself in Liverpool's love for its favorite sons.
  • Put on the hiking boots and amble through the glorious landscapes of the Lake District, the endless green valleys dotted with serene lakes and lost country pubs. It's a world of sheep, stone walls, crumbling forts and vistas that are as iconic as the mugs of tea you'll be drinking. For a remote escape into rural England, there are few better places.
  • English food is made fun of around the world, with most people thinking it all comes fried in six inches of oil - a heart attack waiting to happen. Fish and chips and fried breakfasts don't challenge the stereotype, even if they're must-experience parts of any vacation. But in reality, English cuisine is full of surprises, Michelin stars and fresh organic produce. And dining is very much part of the England experience, from charming country gastropubs to snazzy city restaurants, unusual cafes and seven-course banquets in a five-star ballroom.

Related: Top 8 Must-See Places in England | Things to Do in England

When is the best time to visit England?

The biggest factor in deciding when to go isn't the weather, but the hours of daylight. In mid-winter it's dark by 4pm, as opposed to almost 10pm in June and July. The peak tourist season is during summer, with the school holiday period of mid-July to late August being the busiest time of year. Exploring the English countryside and its cute rural towns is best done between April and mid-October. That’s because when the sun shines and the sultry summer evenings seem to go on forever, rural England is like an old-world painting.

Related: Best Time to Visit England

Is England safe for travel?

England is a safe country to visit and it is extremely rare for tourists to have any problems. In many rural areas, it's still common for people to leave their doors unlocked and sell homegrown vegetables by placing an “honesty box” on the side of the road. Some large cities have suburbs that could seem rough or unsafe. However, there is rarely any reason for tourists to visit these areas and the risk is widely exaggerated.

The National Health Service and free healthcare for residents have long been a flagship of the UK government. Foreign visitors also receive free treatment for medical emergencies and minor injuries. However, any medical treatment outside A & E (Accident and Emergency) or a minor injuries unit will incur significant costs that have to be paid or arranged by your insurer in advance. Tap water is safe to drink and visitors won't need any vaccinations or additional medication outside of personal necessities.

Can Zicasso help me with flights?

Zicasso Flights is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation. By employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso, our competitive flight pricing, 24x7 service and support, and complimentary consultation of routing versus pricing with an expert flight specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.

Does Zicasso assist with travel insurance?

You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.

Ready to Plan Your England Trip?

Everyone has his or her picture of England, from village greens and flat caps to meandering country lanes and West End London's classic shopping experiences. Whether you want to visit towns like Bath and Oxford or take in the dazzling energy of post-industrial cities like Manchester and Liverpool, you can discover inspiration for your next trip with sample itineraries from our England Tours & Vacations. You can also find more helpful information for your next trip with Zicasso’s England Travel Guide. Speak with an England travel expert by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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