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The Ropery at Chatham Historic Dockyard
The Ropery at Chatham Historic Dockyard
The Ropery at Chatham Historic Dockyard

Discovering the back roads of England

If you’ve never been to the England, of course you want to see London, The Tower, Stonehenge and all of the places that you’ve heard about and as a first time visitor, you should see those places.

However, to meet the people, find and explore those unique places with fabulous scenery and have a pint with the locals, you need to get off the motorways and get on the country lanes.  Some of these lanes are only wide enough for one car but amazing scenery and wonderful quaint places await you around every corner. It’s down these lanes that you discover the “real” Britain and meet some wonderful people. Exploring on these lanes gives you the opportunity to discover places that most tourists will never see.

Maps are marked with “M” for motorways (freeways), “A” roads (usually 4 lane), “B” roads (2 lane) and then the glorious little “gray” and “black” roads, which don’t have numbers but are the roads you want to explore.  These are the ancient paths that have connected the villages and towns throughout history.

Getting lost is never a problem.  The entire country (England, Wales & Scotland) is approximately the size of Idaho.  It’s an island so if you come to the ocean, turn around.

In the Cotswolds, an area famous for beautiful villages and thatched roof cottages, the little lanes take you to the less known villages with fabulous gardens, over stone bridges with meandering streams and amazing pubs with locals who are really eager to get to know you.  The same can be said for every area of the country. Cornwall with the beautiful, mysterious moors and Tintagel Castle (reported birth place of King Arthur), The North Country, The Lake District (with Hadrians Wall and Bamburgh Castle, Devon, The Sussex Coast and so many more areas. Visiting England is truly a case of “So much to see, so little time” It’s all beautiful and steeped in a vibrant history that comes to life around every corner. It doesn’t really matter where your interests lie, gardens, villages, pubs, castles, cathedrals, ancient sites and monuments, Roman palaces, forts and ruins or forests.  It’s all waiting for you and the best way to explore it is on the back roads. 

The hardest decision you will have to make is “what do I see and what do I have to leave out”.  Pick one area, get on those back roads and really see it.  Take that little lane on the left (or right), see where you end up, find a place to stay (never a problem), go to the local pub for dinner and a pint and get to know the locals.  Asking these people about the  area and themselves will give you more knowledge than you could ever get in a book.   Do this and you will have an amazing adventure that will live in your memory for years to come.

Picture tour of the English Countryside >

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A Pictures of England article submitted by Cheri Thomas

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