England is a small country. However, the options for backpacking are pretty diverse. Many people start in London and then venture outwards to the usual suspects. Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton and perhaps Birmingham. However, there are some great places to visit which may not be on your radar.
Everyone knows about Stonehenge, the mysterious pile of stones just outside of Salisbury in Wiltshire. However, did you know that Dracula’s castle is located in a small seaside town in Yorkshire? If you fancy getting off the beaten track and doing England like the locals, then take a look at what’s on offer:
International Balloon Fiesta – Bristol
Before you get down the wrong track, this isn’t a showcase of birthday balloons. In fact The International Balloon Fiesta is the largest meeting of hot air balloon owners from across the globe. In the middle of August, they all take to the air at similar times, filling the skies with colourful hot air balloons. What’s more, you can make a weekend of it and camp out under the stars. The fiesta takes place in the city of Bristol in the South West of England, an old port town, which has become a hub for artists and musicians. After the Fiesta, head into the city for something a little more cosmopolitan.
Aintree – Liverpool, Merseyside
If you’ve never been to Liverpool before, then it is probably one for the list. The home of The Cavern club, (famed for the success of The Beatles and the centre of the rock and roll scene in the 1960s) Liverpool is the hidden gem that you never heard about. Just outside of the city, you’ll find Aintree, a very English racecourse with a history dating back to Victorian times. The best time to visit is around the annual Grand National when it seems as though most of Aintree is on the racecourse, quaffing champagne and taking part in some Aintree racecourse betting. If you head down on Ladies Day, you’ll be expected to dress accordingly. However, there are other occasions when it is acceptable to dress more casually.
Goth Festival – Whitby, North Yorkshire
Even if you have never owned a black khol eyeliner, you’ll want to make sure you’re at Whitby Goth Weekend. Located in a remote part of the rugged North Yorkshire coastline, Whitby is famed for being the home of a famous Transylvanian. Whitby Abbey is situated at the summit of a steep hill on the outkirts of the town, and is the inspiration for Dracula’s castle in Stoker’s famous novel. The spooky remains proved a perfect reason to host a Goth weekend in an otherwise sleepy tourist town. For festival goers, it is a chance to dress up and spend a weekend listening to their favourite music, but for locals and other visitors, it is an opportunity to take a glimpse at the elaborate costumes, and for this reason, The Goth Weekend has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
When you’re backpacking, you’re looking for adventure, but a lot of the time it can lead to visiting the same places as other people who are travelling. Why not try something off the beaten track? You never know what you might find – perhaps you’ll wake up in Whitby having enjoyed a night of Goth rock…