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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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7 Must-See English Cities, London Not Included

7 Must-See English Cities, London Not Included Photo

Photo by captain oddsocks

Posted on June 3, 2008 in Trip Ideas

VisitBritain.com’s new marketing campaign makes us want to Be a Brit Different, too. So while we love London, we also love IgoUgo members’ ideas for enjoying seven other vibrant English cities. These spots offer no less than London—except maybe less crowds. We think you’ll love Alternative England.

Bristol

Why go: Bristol counts Kiltboy among its fans: “If the southwest of England is its California, then Bristol is its San Francisco. But unlike San Francisco, Bristol doesn't make a great effort to capitalize on its alternative scene, which makes straying off the beaten track all the more exciting and worthwhile.” And captain oddsocks says, “While not as famous as London, as pretty as Bath, or as iconic as Stonehenge, Bristol, to me, is much more enjoyable to visit. There are ruined churches, sailing ships, and pirate taverns galore for the history buffs and plenty to stimulate the eyes, taste buds, and minds of anybody with more contemporary interests.”

Where to stay: Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel

Where to eat: Pie Minister

What to do: Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Liverpool

Why go: IgoUgo member rufusni took advantage of a one-cent airfare to visit the 2008 European Capital of Culture and says, “In some senses Liverpool couldn't be described as a beautiful city, probably not aided by the roadwork and building renovations going on; however, it has many landmark buildings. Nor is Liverpool a chic city; it's very much a northern city with a touch of grim, but that is part of its charm. It is a city that is full of interesting places and people and simply a great place to go.”

Where to stay: Brittania Adelphi Hotel

Where to eat: The Everyman Bistro

What to do: Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

Manchester

Why go: Get to know the city that nickyjj says “has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with great activities for children and adults.” HiramAbif concurs: “Manchester, in my view, is the second-most vibrant and exciting city in the UK. It is full of leisure and pleasures surpassed only by London.”

Where to stay: Golden Tulip Hotel

Where to eat: The Living Room

What to do: Museum of Science and Industry

Birmingham

Why go: Though it may have a rough-and-tumble reputation, the UK’s second city is loved by many and inspires such journal titles as Dispelling the Myths. Canadian BigTommy was pleasantly surprised by his Brummie experiences: “Birmingham, in the heart of England, is well-known for its clubs, pubs, and football. I've never seen or heard such football fans. As you walk into the stadium, you feel like a player stepping onto the field—it’s that loud.”

Where to stay: Hotel Du Vin

Where to eat: Las Iguanas

What to do: Kenilworth Castle

Bath

Why go: Bath has something for everyone. Londoner actonsteve describes the city as “venerable, stylish and not a little vain—if Bath were human she would be an aristocratic old lady. A fading beauty with a cut-glass accent, natural polish and ancient breeding. Her bearing would be graceful, her manners impeccable and her entire being exceedingly charming.” Meanwhile, barbara found the city plenty youthful to entertain two 11-year-olds.

Where to stay: Paradise House

Where to eat: The Pump Room

What to do: Roman Baths

Oxford

Why go: School yourself on British history and charm in what kris_kandath calls his “favorite city in the entire world.” From “romantic” to “renowned” to “vibrant,” IgoUgo members are full of praise for the City of Dreaming Spires.

Where to stay: Crazy Bear Hotel

Where to eat: The Trout

What to do: The Ashmolean

Cambridge

Why go: “Cambridge is more than just your average college town; it's a living, vibrant museum of Western civilization,” says intl doc. It’s a separate pleasure than Oxford, though, according to Amanda: “Cambridge is a smaller, quieter town than its counterpart, Oxford. The town revolves more around the ancient colleges, set off the narrow streets. It's a fascinating place, and easy to reach from London.”

Where to stay: Arundel House

Where to eat: Fitzbillies

What to do: Punting

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