• Beyond London

    Cindy Nelson
    London, England, is truly one of the world’s most fabulous cities and it will be overflowing this summer when it hosts the 2012 Summer Olympics. While Londoners may be biased toward their city, there are many communities just a short trip from London that are equally captivating and are well worth a visit.

    William Shakespeare's birthplace

    William Shakespeare’s birthplace, in Stratford-upon-Avon. Whether he wrote the plays, however, is another debate. (Wikimedia commons image by Kev747.)

    Who doesn’t have a favorite Shakespeare play or sonnet? Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of the bard, lies in rural Warwickshire countryside. Take a walking tour of the Tudor era buildings connected with William Shakespeare and his family or stop by the Shakespeare Centre Library to view original editions of his plays. Stratford-upon-Avon is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, so try to allow time to attend a play here in the heart of Shakespeare country.

    In the South West of England is the city of Bath, a World Heritage site. Nourished by Britain’s only natural hot springs, Bath offers a unique experience with iconic sites such as the stunning Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent and the beautifully preserved Roman Baths. You can still “take the waters” in Bath in a modern spa. And Bath has its own literary celebrity in Jane Austen, celebrated with festivals, Austen-themed tours and a museum.

    The Brighton Wheel. (Wikimedia commons image by Simon Carey)

    Just two hours south of London, is Brighton, a popular seaside resort for centuries. Probably the most well-known building in Brighton is the spun sugar-like Royal Pavilion. This palace belonged to the Prince Regent (George IV) in the 19th century and is one of the most exotic buildings in Britain. Brighton is a place of pleasure, a place to unwind and there are many attractions offering pleasant distraction. See a breathtaking view of the coastline and countryside from the Brighton Wheel, 147 feet in diameter. Indulge in the seaside fun of Brighton Pier with its shops and restaurants, visit the Sea Life Centre or relax in the many parks and gardens.

    London may be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of England, but don’t forget the many other equally fascinating places to see!

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