Despite the fact I’ve only visited England twice in the last 5 years or so, I always have a fondness for it. I have lived, worked, studied, travelled and backpacked in England in a few different spots and I actually lived in 10 different flats there. I was living mainly in Bournemouth in Dorset but also spent some time in Dartford in Kent and London. I’ve been to the Lake District, Liverpool, Manchester, Colchester, Sheffield etc. etc. and the list goes on. I backpacked a lot of it on a tight budget when I was based in Bournemouth. These are my personal top 5 backpacking spots not to miss when you tour England.
1. Bournemouth, Dorset
What can I say about Bournemouth that I haven’t already said? It’s a beautiful seaside town. Great beach, great atmosphere, amazing bars and pubs. I have a lot of friends there, a lot of memories. I worked in about 10-15 different places in Bournemouth and I finally re-visited this year, despite leaving and saying I would never return. However I did. I shared my top 5 sights in Bournemouth and my Bournemouth Story on here in the last few years.
Some claim that London is England’s monster – it’s ugly capital which is just a business hub and full of crime. Come on – you don’t believe that do you? It’s not – it’s a culture friendly cosmopolitan city with a real vibe. I LOVE it. I worked in London for a year and LOVED it. In fact it was my time working in PR in London that led me on my 2007 backpacking adventure where I started Don’t Stop Living. I returned in January 2014 to some of my old hunting grounds!
I love London’s appeal – its pubs, the tube, the busy ness of it all. The football. The old school buildings. Even the touristy stuff is cool.
3. Liverpool, Merseyside
A new entry on here probably because my youngest brother now lives in Liverpool. I visited earlier this year and I love the indie rock vibe, the pubs, the buzz about the city. It’s a cool spot. The Beatles Museum, the two massive football clubs (Liverpool and Everton), the ferry across to my home country Northern Ireland. Liverpool has a great vibe about it.
4. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Yes, I’ve added the one major tourist spot in here – Stonehenge!! I just like it. It’s the mystery of Stonehenge that does it for me. Plus the last time I went, it wasn’t flooded with tourists and that was in Summer 2009. It’s a really mysterious spot in the middle of nowhere!
5. Birmingham, Midlands
Obviously this is the surprise package and city in this list, but it’s a city I haven’t seen enough of yet everytime I’ve been I’ve loved it. One of my best mates is a Brummie and he lives in Harborne at the moment so any chance I get I’ll head over to his and do some good old drinking and yes – even the odd bit of sightseeing.
I plan to write something more soon about Birmingham actually and my mate Lock In Lee. Quite simply when the two of us get together (whether backpacking or not) things are just crazy. Get Birmingham on your list though – it has one of the UK’s best libraries too!
I do plan to write more about England and Northern Ireland this year – it’s the two places I’ve spent the most of my life in! It’s a decent time of year to be in England as well, with the FA Cup Final, Wimbledon and the Grand National all coming up. I’m a sucker for football, but any type of sport! I’m off to look at the Grand National 2014 betting, I might even have a flutter. Bets you say Lock In Lee? Is Nicky Barmby playing (sorry for the in-joke readers – the man below will understand!). Basically we won a few bets…
I’ll be back in London for a day in June on route to the World Cup in Brazil and I can’t wait!! Get the beers in, lads!