This two-week tour of England has it all: big-city highlights, countryside tours, and small-town sights. The first leg takes you to famed London, followed by stops in historic Oxford and Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon. Next, stroll the charming Cotswolds, stunning Romanesque Bath, and the second city of Birmingham. Finally, head to The Beatles' hometown of Liverpool and foodie-centric Manchester, along with visits to quaint Chester, the beautiful Lake District, and cathedral-laced York.

Highlights

  • Visit Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and more in London
  • Go on a "Harry Potter" tour, along with punting and a picnic in Oxford
  • Discover The Beatles' hometown and ferry around the Mersey Estuary in Liverpool
  • Taste your way through Manchester on the Eat the City tour

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London London
Day 2 Black Cab Tour of London London
Day 3 Transfer to Oxford and Harry Potter Tour  Oxford
Day 4 Punting and a Picnic in Oxford Oxford
Day 5 Explore Stratford-upon-Avon & Guided Tour of Warwick Castle Stratford Upon Avon
Day 6 Small-Group Tour of the Cotswolds Stratford Upon Avon
Day 7 Self-Guided Tour of Bath Bath
Day 8 Sightseeing in Birmingham Birmingham
Day 9 Tour Chester en Route to Liverpool  Liverpool
Day 10 Self-Guided Tour of Liverpool Liverpool
Day 11 Eat the City Tour in Manchester Manchester
Day 12 Lake District Day Trip Manchester
Day 13 Visit Leeds & Tour York York
Day 14 Depart London  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London

London Eye on the River Thames
London Eye on the River Thames
Welcome to London! London is the perfect place to kick off your vacation with its nightlife, culture, history, and world-class dining scene. Arrive in style with a private transfer from the airport to your hotel in central London. Once settled, it's time to explore. Board a double-decker bus or venture out on foot. In a short amount of time, you can visit a number of iconic city sights. There's a host of parks, historic buildings, museums, promenades, bridges, and plazas. Wherever you decide to go, know there's fun and excitement to be had around every corner in this city.
 
Toast to your first night in London with a couple of pints at a local pub and get some rest after the long day. 

Day 2: Black Cab Tour of London

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

After breakfast, take the four-hour Black Cab Tour of London. Visit approximately six points of interest or more if you request an extended tour. Start at the grand, gothic Westminster Abbey, a part of British history for nearly 1,000 years. Then, visit the Houses of Parliament, the official the Palace of Westminster—this imposing building is the home of UK democracy. Make sure to also see Big Ben, the world-famous Palace of Westminster clock, whose great bell is nicknamed Big Ben. A stop at Buckingham Palace invites you to the British Monarchy's working headquarters and Queen Elizabeth II's home.

Then, go to Trafalgar Square to see Nelson's Column, the famous lions, and a site that has been important since the 13th century, followed by a stop at St Paul's Cathedral, which sits atop Ludgate Hill and is a beautiful Grade I-listed building. Lastly, visit the Tower of London, a historic palace and fortress with a chilling past, now housing the Crown Jewels. 

Following the tour, continue discovering more of London on your own. Stroll the iconic neighborhood of Picadilly Circus, stop for a shopping trip at famed Harrods, or stroll through beautiful Hyde Park. Stop for a nice dinner and enjoy your final evening in London. 

Day 3: Transfer to Oxford & "Harry Potter" Tour 

Welcome to Oxford
Welcome to historical Oxford

This morning, board the one-hour train to Oxford—home to the oldest English-speaking university in the world and an architectural treasure. Dating from Anglo-Saxon times, it has been the center of many important historical events, from Viking raids to the Norman invasion and the Civil War to World War II. Scattered throughout the city, the elegant, honey-toned buildings of the university's colleges wrap around tranquil courtyards along narrow cobbled lanes. The city's famed spires twirl into the sky above. Oxford is a stunning and wonderful place to wander.

 

Take a 1.5-hour tour to follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and other characters from the "Harry Potter" movies. This tour showcases different filming sites around Oxford and even includes entry to the Divinity School, where the classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes were filmed. Pass the city's famous sights and colleges from the outside and gain plenty of insight about the actors and the producers, as well as J.K. Rowling's inspirations. Learn how student life in Oxford compares to Hogwarts. As you walk around, take part in a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge of the books and films.

Following the tour, the rest of the day and night are yours to explore more of Oxford.

Day 4: Punting & a Picnic in Oxford

Punting Oxford
Enjoy punting and a picnic in Oxford

Today, set out on the water for punting and a picnic. With the help of a trained punter, board a four-passenger, handcrafted punt (flat-bottomed boat), and set out to explore the River Cherwell. Your guide will join you for 30 minutes, but you may stay on the river as long as you like—make sure to return at least 30 minutes before sunset. 

Set off south from the boathouse and glide gently past Oxford's famous Botanic Gardens, the fields of Magdalen College School, and through Christ Church Meadows—where Lewis Carroll taught students in the mid-19th-century when he wrote his famous works, "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and "Alice in Wonderland." Next, pass the gardens along St Hilda's College and enjoy a picnic lunch and head back to the boathouse. Alternatively, if time permits, your guide can continue south toward the Isis (Oxford's name for the River Thames), where the river opens up. 

Day 5: Explore Stratford-upon-Avon & Guided Tour of Warwick Castle

Stratford-upon-Avon
Visit Stratford-upon-Avon, home of Shakespeare

Today, take the train from Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avon, home of The Bard himself, William Shakespeare. There are several renowned theaters in this pretty market town, and The Bard's works are staged year-round. Set aside time to visit the house where Shakespeare was born and the church where he is laid to rest. The river and canal make great places for scenic strolls.

The next stop is Warwick Castle, first built by William the Conqueror in 1068. On a guided tour, experience more than 1,000 years of history at this medieval estate, including its great hall, dungeon, gardens, historical reenactments, and daily schedule of events. The rest of the day and evening are yours to enjoy—there's no better place to catch a Shakespearean play. 

Day 6:  Small-Group Tour of the Cotswolds

Visit the charming cottages in in the Cotswolds
Stroll the charming cottage towns in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is the largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. Today, take a small group tour to visit a mixture of larger towns, tiny villages, popular tourist spots, lesser-known and off-the-beaten-path locations, and beautiful viewpoints to appreciate the stunning Cotswolds countryside. Discover Chipping Campden, Broadway Tower, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bibury, and Bourton-on-the-Water. Additionally, visit a "secret" Cotswolds village, which is one of the top highlights of the tour. 

Afterward, return to Stratford-upon-Avon for the night and savor your last Shakespearean evening.

Day 7: Self-Guided Tour of Bath

Roman Baths
Roman Baths, Bath

In the morning, take the train from Stratford-upon-Avon to Bath for a day of exploration. Wander through its mix of narrow medieval alleyways and larger Georgian streets. This compact city is built on the side of a hill and straddles the idyllic River Avon, where canal boats ply the slow-moving waters. Bath is known for its well-preserved, must-see Roman bath complex.

Begin by visiting Pulteney Bridge, which houses narrow shops and cafés overlooking the River Avon. Then, head to The Circus, a circular open space created by the buildings featuring magnificent architecture. Next, see The Royal Crescent, a row of terraced houses constructed in a sweeping crescent shape. Finally, check out Bath Abbey, a medieval gothic church founded in the 7th century.

After a day of exploring on foot, consider visiting a spa for some relaxation in the very fitting baths of Bath. 

Day 8: Sightseeing in Birmingham

Brindley Place, Birmingham Canals
Brindley Place, the Birmingham canal quarter

Depart Bath and take the train to Birmingham today. Known as the second city, Birmingham is busy reinventing itself with diverse and rich culture. Upon arrival, get settled in your accommodation and head out on your own to discover the best of the city. You might like to visit the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, a not-to-be-missed complex that is one of the city's finest buildings and houses the most extensive collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world. Then, stroll Brindley Place, the city's canal quarter, with many restaurants and bars.

A stop at Jewellery Quarter allows you to discover more than 200 historic buildings and over 250 years of history. There is also a museum if you want to learn even more. Plus, Cadbury World is a short train ride from the town center, and you can visit the village that was designed and built specifically for the workers of what was the center of England's chocolate empire. Then you might like to embark on a city walking tour, a "Peaky Blinders" tour, or eat in a typical Balti restaurant.

Additionally, bookmark the Birmingham Library, home to the Soho House Museum, which has a room where the legendary Lunar Society of Birmingham met to gather the thinkers behind the Industrial Revolution.

 

Day 9: Tour Chester en Route to Liverpool 

Chester
Admire the traditional Tudor-style buildings of Chester
Continue the adventures into old-world England on today's visit to Chester. This beautiful, small-walled city is laced with Tudor-style, half-timber buildings two stories high. Enjoy the relaxing ambiance and a laid-back lunch followed by visiting the 13th-century, double-level shops in town. Then, visit a magnificent cathedral known for its Chester Rows—covered walkways on the first floor in each of the city's four main streets, unique not only in Britain but worldwide.

 

At the end of the day, catch the train to Liverpool.

 

Day 10: Self-Guided Tour of Liverpool

Liverpool waterfront from the Mersey
Liverpool waterfront from the Mersey Estuary
Greet the day and get ready to explore the vibrant and welcoming city of Liverpool, home of The Beatles! There's much to see and do! Starting at Royal Albert Dock, located on Liverpool's incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site waterfront, this structure features the country's most extensive collection of Grade I-listed buildings. Then, go to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Britain's biggest cathedral and the fifth-largest in Europe. Take the tower and audio tour, and from the tower, you'll get great panoramic views from 500 feet (152 m) up.

 

Don't miss out on "The Beatles Tours"—as there are numerous places associated with The Beatles, take a bus tour to visit The Beatles Story exhibition or step inside the lives of a young Lennon and McCartney with a combined escorted tour of the childhood homes of John and Paul. Additionally, there are several excellent museums to visit, including The Tate, Liverpool Museum, and the World Museum Liverpool. Or, take a ferry across the Mersey Estuary to learn the history and check out the amazing views.

Grab a couple of pints and dinner at a local pub to wind down from the long day. 

Day 11: Eat the City Tour in Manchester

The new and improved Manchester, England
Discover the now-vibrant city of Manchester

Today, make the transfer to the vibrant city of Manchester. Once a small provincial town, Manchester exploded in the 19th century as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Today it is diverse, energetic, and bursting with character. Manchester has a proud history rooted in science, politics, music, arts, and sports. By combining this heritage with a progressive vision to be a modern city, Manchester delivers surprise and delight in equal measures.

Take the foodie-focused "Eat The City" tour for the ultimate delight. Sample some of the best bites and sips the city offers and learn the history and impact of Manchester's now-booming food and drink scene. The tour lasts between 3.5-4 hours and includes eight tastings across the city. Learn fascinating facts about Manchester, touch on food science, and sample local food. Discuss the city's influential food and drink stories, from the ice cream vendors of Ancoats Little Italy to the diet of the Victorian mill worker to the birth of vegetarianism. Prepare to feed both your brain and your belly!

 

Afterward, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy. Want to work off some of your indulgences? There are plenty of notable sites to visit. Go to Manchester Museum, home to 4.5 million artifacts from dinosaur skeletons to Egyptian mummies, followed by a visit to Trafford Centre, the most popular and largest indoor mall in the UK. Next, stop in Chinatown to stroll the shops, supermarkets, and banks, and perhaps grab dinner. Then, pay a visit to Old Trafford Stadium to get to know the history of the Manchester United football club, followed by a stroll in Heaton Park around the gardens and ponds—this city park that spans more than 600 acres.

Day 12: Lake District Day Trip

Take in the stunning Lake District scenery
Take in the stunning Lake District scenery

Take a train north to Kendal to meet your tour guide and spend a day in the stunning Lake District. The beautiful region of mountains and lakes provides a perfect contrast to the bustling cities. Explore the gorgeous lakes, valleys, and villages. Take a boat trip on Lake Windermere for great views of the surrounding mountains. Then, visit Ambleside and Grasmere, nearby picturesque villages filled with tea shops and stone cottages. In Grasmere, make stops at William Wordsworth's former home, Dove Cottage, along with the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery.

Following the guided tour, take the train back to Manchester at the end of the day.

Day 13: Visit Leeds & Tour York

York Minster
York Minster

This morning, board the train in Manchester and make a stop in Leeds, a city at the heart of the action, filled with life and cultural energy. Leeds is known for its decorated creative community, comprised of award-winning national theater and dance companies, a world-class arena, and a thriving independent food scene you won't find anywhere else. Do some exploration of this hidden gem with its fine Victorian architecture.

Then, it's on to the beautiful city of York, established by the Romans and later made famous by the Vikings. York is a lovely, walled city teeming with cathedrals, grand monuments, historic alleyways, and haunted pubs. Take a step back into the Middle Ages while viewing The Shambles' overhanging timber-framed houses and traditional shopfronts—one of the UK's most historic and picturesque streets. Do not miss York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe and one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals in the world.

Enjoy a nice dinner and toast to your fortnight in England before departure tomorrow. 

Day 14: Depart London

Farewell, London!
Farewell, London!
Today, it's time to bid adieu to England. Board the train back to London. Depending on your departure, take one last stroll around the sights, perhaps enjoy high tea, and shop for any last-minute souvenirs. 

More Great England Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England? Check out these other England itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in England, or learn about the best time of year to visit England.

Map

Map of The Ultimate Tour of England: London, Oxford, Bath, Liverpool, Manchester & More - 14 Days
Map of The Ultimate Tour of England: London, Oxford, Bath, Liverpool, Manchester & More - 14 Days