York is a walled city in northeast England that was founded by the ancient Romans. Its huge 13th-century Gothic cathedral, York Minster, has medieval stained glass and 2 functioning bell towers. The City Walls form a walkway on both sides of the River Ouse. The Monk Bar gate houses an exhibition tracing the life of 15th-century Plantagenet King Richard III.
Manchester is a major city in the northwest of England with a rich industrial heritage. The Castlefield Conservation Area’s 18th-century canal system harks back to the city’s days as a textile powerhouse, and you can trace this history at the interactive Museum of Science & Industry. The revitalised Salford Quays dockyards now houses the Daniel Libeskind-designed Imperial War Museum North and The Lowry cultural centre.
Liverpool is a historic maritime city in northwest England, where the River Mersey meets the Irish Sea. A key trade and migration port from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, it’s also, famously, the hometown of The Beatles. Ferries cruise the waterfront, where the iconic shipping and mercantile buildings known as the “Three Graces” stand on the Pier Head.
Oxford, in central southern England, revolves around its prestigious university, established in the 12th century. The architecture of the 30-plus university colleges around the city’s medieval center led poet Matthew Arnold to nickname it the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’. University College and Magdalen College are off the High Street, which runs from Carfax Tower (with city views), past the Covered Market to the riverside Botanic Garden.
London, England’s capital, set on the River Thames, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.