Rick Steves England


By Rick Steves

Formats and Prices




$32.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $25.99 $32.99 CAD
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 14, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Hike the wild moors of Dartmoor, explore the scenic bays of Cornwall, and dive into history at Hadrian's Wall: England is yours to discover with Rick Steves! Inside Rick Steves England you'll find:
  • Comprehensive coverage for spending two weeks or more in England
  • Rick's strategic advice on how to get the most out of your time and money, with rankings of his must-see favorites
  • Top sights and hidden gems, from the ancient and mysterious Stonehenge to cozy corner pubs
  • How to connect with local culture: Enjoy an evening at the theatre, take high tea in a classic hotel, or cheer on the team with fans at a football match
  • Beat the crowds, skip the lines, and avoid tourist traps with Rick's candid, humorous insight
  • The best places to eat, sleep, and relax with a pint
  • Self-guided walking tours of lively neighborhoods, historic sites, and museums
  • Detailed neighborhood and museum maps for exploring on the go
  • Useful resources including a packing list, a phrase book of British slang, a historical overview, and recommended reading
  • Over 900 bible-thin pages include everything worth seeing without weighing you down
  • Complete, up-to-date information on London, Windsor and Cambridge, Canterbury, Dover, Brighton, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, Cornwall, Penzance, St. Ives, Penwith Peninsula, Bath, Glastonbury, Wells, Avebury, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Oxford, the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Coventry, Ironbridge Gorge, Liverpool, Blackpool, the Lake District, Yorkshire, Durham, and more
Make the most of every day and every dollar with Rick Steves England.

Visiting for less than two weeks? Try Rick Steves Best of England.


Welcome to Rick Steves’ Europe

Travel is intensified living—maximum thrills per minute and one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is freedom. It’s recess, and we need it.

I discovered a passion for European travel as a teen and have been sharing it ever since—through my tours, public television and radio shows, and travel guidebooks. Over the years, I’ve taught thousands of travelers how to best enjoy Europe’s blockbuster sights—and experience “Back Door” discoveries that most tourists miss.

This book offers you a balanced mix of England’s biggies (Big Ben and Stonehenge) and more intimate locales (windswept Roman lookouts and nearly edible Cotswolds villages). And it’s selective: There are dozens of hikes in the Lake District; I recommend only the best ones. My self-guided museum tours and city walks give insight into the country’s vibrant history and today’s living, breathing culture.

I advocate traveling simply and smartly. Take advantage of my money- and time-saving tips on sightseeing, transportation, and more. Try local, characteristic alternatives to expensive hotels and restaurants. In many ways, spending more money only builds a thicker wall between you and what you traveled so far to see.

We visit England to experience it—to become temporary locals. Thoughtful travel engages us with the world, as we learn to appreciate other cultures and new ways to measure quality of life.

Judging from the positive feedback I receive from readers, this book will help you enjoy a fun, affordable, and rewarding vacation—whether it’s your first trip or your tenth.

Have a brilliant holiday! Happy travels!


Britain’s Pub Hub

England’s Top Destinations




Planning Your Trip


England’s Best Three-Week Trip by Car


Trip Costs Per Person


Stick This Guidebook in Your Ear!

Travel Smart

From the grandeur and bustle of London, to the pastoral countryside that inspired Wordsworth, to some of the quaintest towns you’ll ever experience, England delights. Stand in a desolate field and ponder an ancient stone circle. Strike up a conversation just to hear the Queen’s English. Bite into a scone smothered with clotted cream, sip a cup of tea, and wave your pinky as if it’s a Union Jack.

England, with a population of 55 million, is the center of the United Kingdom in every way: home to four out of five UK citizens, the seat of government, the economic powerhouse, the center of higher learning, and the cultural heart.

All of this is contained in a hilly land about the size of Louisiana (50,350 square miles), occupying the southern two-thirds of the isle of Britain. Scotland is to the north, the English Channel and France are to the south, and Wales is to the west. England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike in the Lake District) is 3,206 feet, a foothill by our standards. Fed by ocean air, the climate is mild, with a chance of cloudy, rainy weather nearly any day of the year.

South England, including London, has always had more people and more money than the north. Blessed with rolling hills, wide plains, and the Thames River, in the past this region was rich with farms and its rivers flowed with trade. Then and now, high culture flourished in London, today a thriving metropolis of eight million people.

North England tends to be hilly with poor soil, so the traditional economy was based on livestock (grazing cows and sheep). Known today for England’s most beautiful landscapes, in the 19th century it was dotted with belching smokestacks as its major cities and its heartland became centers of coal and iron mining and manufacturing. Now its working-class cities and ports (such as Liverpool) are experiencing a comeback, buoyed by tourism, vibrant arts scenes, and higher employment.

Bustling London offers nonstop entertainment while England’s countryside provides a tranquil retreat.

England’s economy can stand alongside many much larger nations. It boasts high-tech industries (software, chemicals, aviation), international banking, and textile manufacturing, and is a major exporter of beef. England is an urban, industrial, and post-industrial colossus, yet its farms, villages, and people are down-to-earth.

You can trace England’s illustrious history by roaming the countryside. Prehistoric peoples built the mysterious stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Then came the Romans, who built Hadrian’s Wall and baths at Bath. Viking invaders left their mark in York, and the Normans built the Tower of London. As England Christianized and unified, the grand cathedrals of Salisbury, Wells, and Durham arose. Next came the castles and palaces of the English monarchs (Windsor) and the Shakespeare sights from the era of Elizabeth I (Stratford-upon-Avon). In following centuries, tiny England became a maritime empire (the Cutty Sark at Greenwich) and the world’s first industrial power (Ironbridge Gorge). England’s Romantic poets were inspired by the unspoiled nature and time-passed villages of the Lake District and the Cotswolds. In the 20th century, the gritty urban world of 1960s Liverpool gave the world the Beatles. Today London is on the cutting edge of 21st-century trends. It’s a world in itself, with monuments (Big Ben), museums (the British Museum), royalty (Buckingham Palace), theater, and nightlife, throbbing with the beat of the global community.

The English people have a worldwide reputation (or stereotype) for being cheerful, courteous, and well-mannered. Cutting in line is very gauche. On the other hand, English soccer fans can be notorious hooligans. The English are not known for being physically demonstrative (hugging and kissing), but they love to talk. And when times get tough, they persevere with a stiff upper lip, dry wit, and a “keep calm and carry on” attitude.

England is set apart from its fellow United Kingdom countries (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) by its ethnic makeup. Traditionally, those countries had Celtic roots, while the English mixed in Saxon and Norman blood. In the 20th century, England welcomed many Scots, Welsh, and Irish as low-wage workers. More recently, it’s become home to immigrants from former colonies of its worldwide empire—particularly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Caribbean, and Africa—and to many workers from poorer Eastern European countries. These days it’s not a given that every “English” person speaks English.

Changing the world: Ironbridge Gorge started the Industrial Revolution, while Liverpool gave birth to the Beatles.

Cosmopolitan London celebrates cultural festivals. The Houses of Parliament honor centuries of tradition.

This is the current English paradox. England—the birthplace and center of the extended worldwide family of nearly one billion English speakers—is losing its traditional Englishness. Where Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own parliaments and cultural movements to preserve their local languages and customs, England does not. Politically, there is no “English” party in the UK Parliament; England must depend on the decisions of the UK government at large. Many English people don’t really think of themselves as “English”—more as “Brits,” a part of the wider UK.

Today, England races forward as a leading global player. Whether the UK’s impending departure from the European Union (“Brexit”) speeds up or slows down England’s progress, the result is sure to be interesting. With its rich heritage, lively present, and momentous future, England is a culturally diverse land in transition. Catch it while you can.

England’s Top Destinations

There’s so much to see in England and so little time. This overview breaks the country’s top destinations into must-see sights (to help first-time travelers plan their trip) and worth-it sights (for those with extra time or special interests). I’ve also suggested a minimum number of days to allow per destination.


Three cities—cosmopolitan London, aristocratic Bath, and historic York—offer an excellent sampler of the best that England has to offer.

▲▲▲ London (allow 3-4 days)

London has world-class museums (British Museum, National Gallery, and many more), bustling markets, and cutting-edge architecture sharing the turf with the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Simply getting around is memorable—from double-decker buses and Thames river boats to chatty cabs and the hardworking Tube. Enjoy London’s cuisine scene, parks, grand squares, and palaces. Live theater takes center stage at night.

▲▲▲ Bath (2 days)

Bath is a genteel Georgian showcase city, built around an ancient Roman bath. Its glorious abbey, harmonious architecture, engaging walking tours, and small-town feel make it a good candidate for your first stop in England. Fun day trips include Wells, Glastonbury, Stonehenge, and more.

▲▲▲ York (1-2 days)

The walled medieval town has a grand Gothic cathedral (with a divine evensong) and fine museums (Viking, Victorian, and railway). Classy restaurants hide out in the atmospheric old center, with its “snickelway” passages and colorful Shambles shopping lane.

London’s Tower Bridge, Bath’s ancient Roman Baths museum and riverside setting, and York’s Castle Museum, portraying a bygone era


You can weave any of these destinations—rated or ▲▲—into your itinerary. They’re listed in the order they appear in the book. It’s easy to add some destinations based on proximity (if you’re going to the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon is next door), but out-of-the-way places (such as Cornwall or Hadrian’s Wall) can also merit the journey, depending on your time and interests.

▲▲ Windsor and Cambridge (1-2 days)

Good day trips from London include Windsor, starring the Queen’s impressive home-sweet-castle. Cambridge, one of England’s best university towns, features the stunning King’s College Chapel and Wren Library.

Canterbury (1 day)

The pleasant town, with England’s top church, became a pilgrimage site after Archbishop Thomas Becket was martyred here. Today the town’s lively, compact core attracts more pedestrians and shoppers than pilgrims.

Dover and Southeast England (1-2 days)

Dover hosts an imposing castle, famous White Cliffs, and grand Channel views. Nearby are the lush Sissinghurst Gardens, the hill town of Rye, and the historic site of the Battle of Hastings.

Brighton (1 day)

The flamboyant beach resort on England’s south coast, with its amusement pier, Royal Pavilion, and viewpoint tower, makes a fun stop. Nearby are the chalky cliffs at Beachy Head, good for a drive or hike.

Brighton’s amusement pier, Canterbury’s facades, Windsor Palace pageantry, and Beachy Head near Brighton

Glastonbury’s abbey evokes Henry VIII’s destruction. Fishing boats await high tide at St. Ives.

Portsmouth (1 day)

The revitalized shipbuilding city has top nautical sights (famous ships and naval museums) at the Historic Dockyard, plus Roman ruins and the stately Arundel Castle nearby.

Dartmoor (1 day)

This mysterious, desolate, moor-cloaked national park has wild ponies, hiking paths, and an ancient stone circle.

Cornwall (1 day)

The feisty western peninsula, littered with prehistoric ruins, sports the seaside resort towns of Penzance and St. Ives, the scenically windblown Penwith Peninsula, King Arthur’s supposed Tintagel Castle, and the tip of England at Land’s End.

▲▲ Glastonbury and Wells (1 day)

Little Glastonbury has a mystical, New Age vibe, with its Holy Grail and King Arthur lore. The enjoyable town of Wells has an ingeniously fortified cathedral. Both towns are easy to visit from Bath.

▲▲ Avebury, Stonehenge, and Salisbury (1 day)

For spine-tingling stone circles, see famed Stonehenge (worth ▲▲▲ on its own) and the smaller, less touristy Avebury. Nearby is Salisbury and its striking cathedral.

▲▲ Oxford (1 day)

The stately but youthful university town, with historic colleges and a host of esteemed literary alumni, has Blenheim Palace—one of England’s best—on its doorstep.

▲▲ The Cotswolds (1-2 days)

These quaint villages—the cozy market town of Chipping Campden, popular Stow-on-the-Wold, and the handy transit hub Moreton-in-Marsh—are scattered over a hilly countryside, which can be fun to explore on foot, by bike, or by car.

Stratford-upon-Avon (half-day to 1 day)

Shakespeare’s pretty hometown, featuring residences that belonged to the bard and his loved ones, is the top venue for performances of his plays.

Warwick and Coventry (half-day to 1 day)

Warwick, England’s best medieval castle, has impressive fortifications and fun demonstrations. The inspiring town of Coventry, nearly destroyed in World War II, built its new St. Michael’s Cathedral amid the bombed-out ruins of the old one.

Ironbridge Gorge (half-day to 1 day)

Boasting the planet’s first iron bridge, this unassuming village was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, with sights and museums that tell the earth-changing story.

This college dining hall in Oxford inspired Harry Potter’s haunts. Pubs in the Cotswolds fuel happy travelers.

Liverpool (half-day to 1 day)

The rejuvenated port city is the Beatles’ hometown, with a host of related sights (including the homes of John and Paul), museums, and pub-and-club nightlife.

Blackpool (half-day)

England’s tackiest, fun-loving beach resort has amusement piers, roller-coaster rides, and a long beach, offering a chance to mix with the English working class at play.

▲▲ The Lake District (2 days)

This peaceful idyllic region, dotted with lakes, hills, and sheep, is known for its enjoyable hikes, joyrides, time-passed valleys, and William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter sights.

North Yorkshire (half-day)

In this pastoral region of hills and moors, drivers can choose among ruined abbeys, a castle, a POW camp museum, and the salty seaside towns of Whitby and tiny Staithes.

Durham and Northeast England (1-2 days)

The youthful workaday town has a magnificent cathedral, plus (nearby) an open-air museum, the Roman remains of Hadrian’s Wall, Holy Island, and Bamburgh Castle.

Liverpool is known for nightlife…the Lake District, for serenity.

Planning Your Trip

To plan your trip, you’ll need to design your itinerary—choosing where and when to go, how you’ll travel, and how many days to spend at each destination. For my best advice on sightseeing, accommodations, restaurants, and transportation, see the Practicalities chapter.


As you read this book and learn your options...

Choose your top destinations.

My recommended itinerary (on the next page) gives you an idea of how much you can reasonably see in 20 days, but you can adapt it to fit your own interests and time frame.

If you enjoy big cities, you could easily spend a week in London. If villages beckon, linger in the Cotswolds. York and Bath are inviting, walkable towns with fascinating sights. Nature lovers get wonderfully lost in the Lake District and Dartmoor.

History buffs can choose their era: prehistoric (Stonehenge), ancient Roman (Bath and Hadrian’s Wall), religious (Canterbury), medieval (York, Warwick Castle), Industrial Revolution (Ironbridge Gorge), or royal (Tower of London, Windsor, Blenheim).

Literary fans make a pilgrimage to Stratford (Shakespeare), Bath (Austen), and the Lake District (Wordsworth and Potter). Beatles fans from here, there, and everywhere head to Liverpool. For amusement pier fun, stroll the arcades at the coastal resorts of Brighton or Blackpool.


  • "The country's foremost expert in European travel for Americans."—Forbes
  • "Steves is an absolute master at unlocking the hidden gems of the world's greatest cities, towns, and monuments."—USA Today
  • “Every country-specific travel guidebook from the Rick Steves publishing empire can be counted upon for clear organization, specificity and timeliness."—Society of American Travel Writers
  • "Pick the best accommodations and restaurants from Rick Steves…and a traveler searching for good values will seldom go wrong or be blindsided."—NBC News
  • "His guidebooks are approachable, silly, and even subtly provocative in their insistence that Americans show respect for the people and places they are visiting and not the other way around."—The New Yorker
  • "Travel, to Steves, is not some frivolous luxury—it is an engine for improving humankind, for connecting people and removing their prejudices, for knocking distant cultures together to make unlikely sparks of joy and insight. Given that millions of people have encountered the work of Steves over the last 40 years, on TV or online or in his guidebooks, and that they have carried those lessons to untold other millions of people, it is fair to say that his life’s work has had a real effect on the collective life of our planet."—The New York Times Magazine
  • "[Rick Steves] laces his guides with short and vivid histories and a scholar's appreciation for Renaissance art yet knows the best place to start an early tapas crawl in Madrid if you have kids. His clear, hand-drawn maps are Pentagon-worthy; his hints about how to go directly to the best stuff at the Uffizi, avoid the crowds at Versailles and save money everywhere are guilt-free."—TIME Magazine
  • "Steves is a walking, talking European encyclopedia who yearns to inspire Americans to venture 'beyond Orlando.'"—Forbes
  • “…he’s become the unofficial guide for entire generations of North American travelers, beloved for his earnest attitude and dad jeans."—Outside Magazine
  • "His books offer the equivalent of a bus tour without the bus, with boiled-down itineraries and step-by-step instructions on where to go and how to get there, but adding a dash of humor and an element of choice that his travelers find empowering."—The New York Times
  • "His penchant for creating meaningful experiences for travelers to Europe is as passionate as his inclination for making ethical choices his guiding light."—Forbes
  • "[Rick Steves'] neighborhood walks are always fun and informative. His museum guides, complete with commentary about historic sculpture and storied artworks are wonderful and add another dimension to sometimes stodgy, hard-to-comprehend museums."—NBC News

On Sale
Feb 14, 2023
Page Count
976 pages
Rick Steves

Rick Steves

About the Author

Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Rick produces a best-selling guidebook series, a public television series, and a public radio show, and organizes small-group tours that take over 30,000 travelers to Europe annually.  He does all of this with the help of more than 100 well-traveled staff members at Rick Steves’ Europe in Edmonds, WA (near Seattle). When not on the road, Rick is active in his church and with advocacy groups focused on economic and social justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger. To recharge, Rick plays piano, relaxes at his family cabin in the Cascade Mountains, and spends time with his son Andy and daughter Jackie. Find out more about Rick at http://www.ricksteves.com and on Facebook.

Learn more about this author