Five reasons why Lonely Planet loves England

Walker on a beach in NorthumberlandImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Lonely Planet says the Northumberland Coast is one of England's three unmissable experiences

Travel guide Lonely Planet has named England the second best country in the world in which to travel. Here are five reasons why its judges love England so much.

Historic castles and cathedrals

St Michael's MountImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption St Michael's Mount can be found off the coast of Marazion in Cornwall

England is home to hundreds of grand old castles and cathedrals, from St Michael's Mount off the Cornish coast to Bamburgh in Northumberland, and York Minster to London's St Paul's.

York MinsterImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption York Minster was first completed in 1472

The Lonely Planet judges said the country's "famous timeless treasures" have remained a constant "amid all the confusion" of "Brexit uncertainties".

Bamburgh CastleImage caption Bamburgh Castle sits above a beach on the Northumberland Coast

England was pipped to top-spot in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2020 by Bhutan.

Quaint villages

Robin Hood's BayImage caption Quaint villages like Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast can be found across England

The quaint country village, with its cobbled streets and stone, thatched houses astride serene streams and babbling brooks, is a staple of England.

Flowers outside cottage and dog in gardenImage caption Picture-postcard scenes can be found in many an English village

Having so many picture-perfect places is one of the reasons England is worth a visit, according to Lonely Planet.

The top 10 countries in the list were:

  • Bhutan
  • England
  • North Macedonia
  • Aruba
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Costa Rica
  • The Netherlands
  • Liberia
  • Morocco
  • Uruguay

Stunning seaside

Beach in NorthumberlandImage caption England has almost 3,000 miles of coastline

"Once the country's first line of defence against invaders, the English coastline these days is a peaceful place where locals and visitors can enjoy more tranquil pursuits," Lonely Planet judges said.

Surfer enters the seaImage caption The seaside as seen at Saltburn in North Yorkshire

"Taking a bracing walk on a windswept pier, eating delicious fish and chips, searching for marine life in rock pools, finding fossils in ancient cliffs, building sandcastles and dolphin-spotting on picturesque beaches are just some of the activities offered by the English seaside."

People on Brighton beachImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Beaches like the one in Brighton are popular with English holiday makers

Lonely Planet said the addition of new stretches of the almost 3,000 mile-long England Coast Path in 2020 would allow visitors to "explore beaches and foreshores right up to the water's edge".

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Rolling countryside

Sun shines through a treeImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption There is no shortage of pleasant countryside scenes in England

England is home to 10 national parks and 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), from Cornwall and the Cotswolds, to the North Pennines and Northumberland Coast via the Shropshire Hills and Lincolnshire Wolds.

"For a relatively small country, England offers a lot of breath-taking scenery," said Tom Hall, Lonely Planet's vice-president of experience.

Hills of the Peak DistrictImage caption England has plenty of undulating hills such as those found in the Peak District

"It's fantastic to see England scoring so highly with Lonely Planet - and with travellers," said VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes.

Hills in CumbriaImage caption Cumbria is also home to some pretty impressive hills not to mention the Lake District

"It's no surprise it's a favourite global destination with our breath-taking and varied coastline, vibrant cities, stunning countryside, heritage and cultural gems, amazing visitor attractions, enchanting green spaces and outstanding range of quality accommodation.

"England truly is packed full of incredible experiences that visitors can only have here."

Unmissable experiences

Holy IslandImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Holy Island is home to Lindisfarne Castle

While Lonely Planet's judges were wowed by England's overall offerings, they said there were three unmissable experiences.

Farne IslandsImage caption The Farne Islands are one of the features of the unmissable Northumberland coast

The "magical history tour" that is Northumberland's coast was first with its "dramatic castles", offshore islands featuring puffins and seals and the "spectacular" Holy Island.

People walk on Norfolk beachImage copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The Norfolk Coast offers an array of walking options

The Norfolk Coast, an AONB for more than 50 years, is also somewhere not be missed with its expanses of marsh, dunes and clay cliffs.

And finally the South West Coast Path "lures hikers with its wonderful walks and photogenic views", the guide said.

Views of CornwallImage caption The South West Coast Path is an unmissable experience

"If travellers are seeking exhilarating beauty in 2020, England won't disappoint," Mr Hall said.

All pictures copyrighted.