Choosing ten favourite views from the endless and varied options in England has been no mean feat (and has caused some disagreement in the GBE office!).
In this article, we have tried to cover a bit of everything - rolling countryside, vibrant cities and colourful coastline – and have only included views that are accessible to most people, without having to climb a mountain! The majority of the views listed (and corresponding photographs) are accessible by car or after a short walk so there’s no reason not to get out and take in some - if not all - of the views for yourself! The list certainly isn’t definitive and there are so many more to choose from – let us know if you have a favourite view that we haven’t included! So, in no particular order…
1. Radcliffe Square, Oxford
The heart of the world-famous University - and the city itself - is the majestic Radcliffe Square. Walk around this square at dusk and it really feels like you have been transported back in time. The centre is dominated by the iconic circular Radcliffe Camera (now part of the University library), which was first opened in 1748. Our favourite view of the square and Radcliffe Camera is from the top of the Church tower of St Mary the Virgin and we really recommend making the effort to climb the narrow stone staircase up to the bell-tower for this wonderful view over the Square and the city beyond. It also offers a great view up and down Oxford’s High Street (the ’High’).
2. Jurassic Coast, Dorset
The Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches most of the length of Dorset’s coastline, from the stunning beaches and rock formations (including the well-known ‘Durdle Door’) around Lulworth Cove to the east, to the fossil rich bays - great for hunting out your own piece of history - around Lyme Regis in the west. This photo is of the Man O’ War beach, which is just to the east of Durdle Door, and there is a car park behind the Durdle Door Holiday Park which provides easy access to the area.
3. Malham Cove, North Yorkshire
The whole area around Malham is full of geological wonders. A well-marked path runs out of the village of Malham and follows the banks of the infant river Aire before curving round in front of the hugely impressive amphitheatre of Malham Cove (a sheer wall of rock towering up 260 feet high). The path is flat and accessible to this point, then becomes a staircase that winds its way up the side of the cove. Once you have caught your breath, the views stretching out in front of you are truly spectacular. Look down and you will realise that you are standing on a magnificent limestone pavement (which was used as a location during the filming of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows). If you are looking to spend a day in this area, you can do the popular walk that take in all of Malhamdale’s geological highlights: the cove; Gordale Scar - a now dry glacial valley; and the nature reserve of Malham Tarn.
4. The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, London
The Tower of London has one of the most fascinating histories of any building in the world. Royal palace, fort, prison and place of execution, the Tower has witnessed many of the most significant events in English history. It remains home to the Crown Jewels as well as the famous ‘Beefeaters’, who conduct tours of the tower. We love the view of the Tower of London from the south bank of the Thames from outside the modern City Hall in the More London area. This view also has the benefit of taking in one of London’s other iconic sights – Tower Bridge. You can also go inside City Hall (it’s free to enter, you just have to go through a security scanner to get it) and head to the outside viewing platform at the top of the building.
5. Seven Sisters Cliffs, East Sussex
The chalk cliffs of Sussex, known as the Seven Sisters, are in our view more spectacular than their more famous neighbour, the White Cliffs of Dover, and provide excellent cliff-top walking. This view is reached by taking the flat route from the car park at the Seven Sisters Country Park visitor centre. Follow the River Cuckmere as it winds its way through pretty meadows towards the sea and, on reaching the coast, head uphill slightly to look back over the cliffs over the row of coastguard cottages. On a clear day the view stretches out for several miles all the way to Beachy Head.
6. Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
Built as a barrier between the ‘civilised’ Roman Empire to the south and the ‘marauding Scots’ to the North, Hadrian’s Wall is testament to Roman ambition and engineering skills. Several long sections of the wall remain fully intact and the remains of forts and ‘milecastles’, while in the most part reduced to foundations, provide a huge amount of information about the lives of soldiers and the communities that sprang up around them at this remote northern outpost. The wall crosses dramatic, stark Northumberland scenery, making the sites all the more atmospheric and a great place to stretch the legs. For one of the best views of the Wall, head out of the back of Housesteads Fort onto the path leading west along the wall. You don’t have to go far to get a much better feel for the area and, as you can see here, some spectacular views back along the wall as it snakes away along the ridge to the east.
7. Swaledale, North Yorkshire
We are slightly biased towards the Yorkshire Dales (it is GBE’s home!) and we couldn’t resist including a second view from this area. Swaledale is one of the more remote, northern dales. Its steep sides are covered in traditional dry stone walls and stone field barns, while the valley floor is dotted with pretty villages. At the head of the valley, just outside the tony village of Thwaite, you don’t have to leave the roadside for this classic Dales view which shows off the rolling farmland and field barns which make this area famous.
8. Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
With plenty of classic ‘chocolate box’ villages to choose from, beautiful Chipping Campden, in the north of the Cotswolds, gets our vote as the picture-perfect Cotswolds view. The town got rich on the wool trade and has retained its elegance and upmarket air ever since. The main street is lined with interesting shops, cafes and pubs and there are good walks nearby. It’s also an excellent place to visit over Christmas with Christmas lights brightening up the winter evenings. This ancient town has many beautiful buildings to visit – make sure to have a look at the church, ancient wool exchange and historic alms houses during your visit.
9. Dartmouth, Devon
Set on the ‘English Riviera’, Dartmouth enjoys an enviable location at the mouth of the pretty River Dart. This charming town offers something for everyone – multi-coloured cottages tumbling down the hillside, all sorts of boats bobbing along the river and views out to sea, all backed by the rolling hills of rural Devon . The steep hillside makes it easy to get this lovely overview of the town from the street running along towards Dartmouth Castle.
10. Langdale Valley, Lake District
The Lake District is a favourite area of ours so picking a favourite view here was not an easy task! Of course there are stunning scenes all over this area but the Langdale Valley is a beautiful corner of the Lake District and there are a number of places to take in a great view of the valley. Simply driving up into the valley from Eltermere and stopping at the National Trust run Sticklebarn pub is a great scenic option. Slightly further away, there is a lovely view into the valley and up to the Langdale Pikes from Loughrigg Tarn, which can be reached on narrow lanes from Skelwith Bridge. This picture of the Valley was taken from near the top of the Langdale Pikes so it does take a reasonably strenuous walk to get to this one!