England takes second place in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Awards 2020

Heather on hillside above Kynance Cove, The Lizard Peninsula

England has been crowned one of the top destinations for travellers next year, taking second spot in the Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 - the 15th annual awards celebrating the finest destinations, journeys and travel experiences in the world. Packed with ‘timeless treasures’, the award shines a light on the English seaside and in particular the launch of the England Coast Path in 2020. Providing access to the country’s entire coastline for the very first time, at nearly 3,000 miles it will be the longest continuous trail of its kind anywhere in the world. Passing some of England’s most tranquil spots, visitors can take in breathtaking scenery en route, explore historic castles, tuck into delicious fish and chips and find fossils in ancient cliffs – just some of the top things to do along England’s Coast Path that lie waiting to be explored...

Northumberland

With its imposing castles and offshore islands that are teeming with wildlife, the Northumberland coast offers beauty and history in equal measure. Look out from the imposing walls of Bamburgh Castle that stand proudly overlooking this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, spy rare puffins and seals from the Farne Islands and venture out to the historic Holy Island of Lindisfarne when the tide is low.

Durham Heritage Coast

A designated stretch of historic coastline, Durham's wild cliffs and sweeping dunes are home to an abundance of wildflowers, insects and other wildlife. While the flowers bloom in spring and summer, the striking coastal rock formations, the Magnesian Limestone Coastal Grasslands and rugged clifftops can be enjoyed all year round.

North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast

Running the length of where the North York Moors National Park meets the North Sea, the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast mixes dramatic clifftops with picturesque fishing villages and towns. Sample the catch of the day in the seaside harbour of Whitby before exploring the haunting ruins of its abbey, or learn more about the history of Robin Hood’s Bay and the region’s rich mining past.

Norfolk Coast

A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for over 50 years, the Norfolk Coast contains everything from the sweeping sand dunes and salt marshes of Holkham National Nature Reserve to the magnificence of Holkham Hall stately home. Visitors can search for fossils against a backdrop of dramatic colours at Hunstanton Cliffs, build sandcastles on vast sandy beaches and explore a host of traditional seaside resorts, including taking in a show at the Grade II-listed Pavilion on Cromer Pier – Europe’s last end-of-pier theatre.

The Kent Coast

Separating the ‘garden of England’ from the sea, Kent is home to 350 miles of picture-perfect coastline featuring grand chalk and sandstone cliffs and more Blue Flag sandy beaches than anywhere else in the country. Gaze upon chalk stacks at Botany Bay or stroll beneath the famous White Cliffs at St Margaret's at Cliffe, sample delectable cuisine from top chefs in Whitstable or spot wild birds around Romney Marsh and the bird reserve at Dungeness.

The Jurassic Coast

Stretching 95 miles from Devon to Dorset, the UNESCO World Heritage coastline showcases 185 million years of history and the incredible power of the natural world. Spy the natural limestone arch at Durdle Door, go rock pooling and relax on the white pebbles of Lulworth Cove or embark on a coasteering adventure in this diverse landscape that is a feast for the senses. Lyme Regis, with its rich fossil hunting heritage, historic harbour and cobbled streets, is steeped in mysticism, while Undercliff, one of the first National Trust Reserves, was created over time via a series of landslips.

South Devon

Uncover rocky headlands, hidden coves and sandy beaches along South Devon’s Coast Path. Once the haunt of smugglers, it’s now home to miles of clifftop pathways for hikers to explore, providing exceptional views and an abundance of instagrammable shots. Sitting in the heart of the South Devon Area of Outstanding National Beauty, discover the small harbour town of Salcombe and the waters that have helped shape its history - from the Salcombe Sand Bar that inspired poet Alfred Lord Tennyson to the ruins of Salcombe Castle, dating back to the reign of Henry VIII.

North Cornwall

Be inspired by the ruins of Tintagel Castle on Cornwall’s north coast, perched high on a rugged rocky outcrop and linked for the first time in more than 500 years thanks to a ground-breaking project by English Heritage. Uncover the legend of King Arthur and a coastline that has sparked the imagination for centuries.

Merseyside

Crosby Beach to the north of Liverpool offers miles of sandy coastline and a unique art installation, best enjoyed at low tide. Internationally acclaimed sculptor Antony Gormley’s Another Place, a collection of 100 life-size iron figures overlooking the sands, covers a stretch of coastline of nearly two miles, with viewing especially rewarding at sunset. 

Cumbrian Coast

With miles of undisturbed coastline, and in close proximity to the renowned beauty of the Lake District, the Cumbrian coast has a number of treats for visitors. Explore the striking red sandstone cliffs of St Bees Head Heritage Coast, visit the maritime port of Whitehaven or enjoy a scenic ride on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to see historic castles and ancient ruins.

Inspired by the England Coast Path? Discover more of the country's best walking trails or visit Lonely Planet for further details.

Britain on the silver screen

Travelling through the UK, you may experience a sense of déjà vu - that’s because Great Britain is filled with locations you'll recognise from the movies. Several are being honoured this year with a host of BAFTA and Academy Award nominations so here are some of those places that you can visit in real life.

 

Dunkirk

Nominations: Eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and eight BAFTA Awards including Best Film.

Most of Dunkirk was filmed in France, but Britain makes some stunning cameos. Think of the scene when the civilian fleet sets sail from the seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset while on their return, they're bolstered to see the white-chalk cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. Weary soldiers receive a hero’s welcome when they pull into a postcard-pretty train platform; you can book your own journey on the Swanage Steam Railway.

 

Paddington 2

Nominations: Outstanding British Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards.

London’s busy Paddington station appears in the sequel although exterior shots filmed at Marylebone Station. Visit the Paddington Bear Shop, then find the statue near Platform 1 and follow the rest of the Pawprint Trail. You can also follow in Paddington’s pawsteps at Portobello Market or wander the towpath of Little Venice where the bear gave chase to the thief from Mr Gruber's antique shop.

 

Phantom Thread

Nominations: Four Academy Awards including Best Picture and four BAFTA Awards including Best Actor.

The Victoria Bay Hotel near Whitby, North Yorkshire, was stripped back to fit the 1950s setting. Visit the modern incarnation and enjoy familiar views over the fishing village of Robin's Hood Bay - you might even recognise some of the staff who appeared as extras. The opulent glamour of Blackpool Tower Ballroom also made the cut as the perfect setting for a lavish party scene. Take a tour, enjoy afternoon tea, or spin on the famous dance floor.

 

Darkest Hour

Nominations: Six Academy Awards including Best Picture and nine BAFTA Awards including Best Film.

London’s Cabinet War Rooms, where Winston Churchill orchestrated Allied troops during World War II, were meticulously recreated for their role in this film. And of course, you can visit the real-life underground bunkers too, which stand exactly as they did in 1945. And while the Commons Chamber in the Palace of Westminster was another carefully constructed set, get a glimpse of the real thing with a guided tour of Parliament. Also in the capital is the film’s backdrop, picturesque Greenwich; explore the rest of this World Heritage Site which includes the Royal Observatory, the historic Cutty Sark, and the Meridian Line.

Up in Rotherham, Yorkshire is Wentworth Woodhouse which doubles up as the interior of Buckingham Palace. Privately owned for many years, this grand historic home has recently been opened to the public.

 

Victoria & Abdul

Nominations: Best Costume Design and Best Makeup & Hairstyling at both the Academy Awards and the BAFTA Awards.

Osborne House was Queen Victoria's beloved family home on the Isle of Wight, and the place where she first met Abdul. Peek inside royal life with a tour of the private apartments, bathing beach and children's play cottage. Queen Victoria later introduces Abdul to her Aberdeenshire getaway, Balmoral Castle, which remains the summer holiday home of the Royal Family today and open to the public from 30 March to 31 July. Don't miss the stunning setting of Cairngorms National Park that surrounds it, where the pair enjoyed a scenic picnic.