Exploring Idyllic England

There is no other country in the world that speaks to the very core of who I am than England. From literary greats, the finest chips, Mr. Darcy accents, to centuries of historical significance, Ole Blighty will always be my soul's motherland and is forever on my permanent travel list.

It's always sweater, scarf, and umbrella season in England! No matter if it's June or October, most of the time, there's a chill in the air and packing a wardrobe with layers in mind is the well-prepared thing to do. In the five times I've been to England during the early summer to early fall months, I end up wearing jeans, sandals or boots, and light jackets every time. If you go during the winter, it is a snowy place so be prepared for potentially harsher winters than what you experience here in Virginia!

You'll definitely want to notify your cell phone carrier to add on an international plan for your time across the pond. The WiFi offerings aren't in the majority or are either available for extra fees at hotels. Some stores and cafes have free WiFi so definitely take advantage of it when you can!

Most visitors opt out of renting a car not because the left side of the road system, but because England's train system is so superior to many train systems in the world. Whether you want to venture to Bath or Cornwall or the Cliffs of Dover, everything is accessible in some way by the train and with bus connections or taxis. It's not like Amtrak where they are literally the only passenger train system in America. England has multiple companies that service different routes, and the National Rail website makes train trip planning easy.

Quick Tip: If you know which train trips you want, get your tickets online before you leave Virginia to save money! For long journey trips, Advance Purchase tickets can sometimes be $25-$50 cheaper than purchasing at the train station.

Who needs to be confined to London when you literally have an entire country you can explore? While I'm a fierce Janeite and enjoyed the town of Bath, the Lake District, a mountainous region in northwestern England, is home to some of the most beautiful light and sceneries I've ever experienced -- it's no wonder that Beatrix Potter settled here and brought to life Peter Rabbit and his friends in this setting.

Just southeast, you'll find yourself in the Bradford District and Brontë Country which includes Haworth, the home village of the Brontë sisters. The brooding moors of West Yorkshire set the stage for many of the sisters' novels, and to walk through them is a must for any literary-lovin' couple. And if you want a true throwback to your childhood, Sherwood Forest and the Five Hundred Acre Wood (fictionally known as Hundred Acre Wood) do indeed exist and are perfectly charming in a nostalgic legendary kind of way.

Quick Tip: Go to the local grocery store and put together a picnic lunch! There's nothing more peaceful and satisfying than a relaxing picnic in a beautiful meadow! Make a romantic gesture by finding some beautiful English flowers at a local supplier and surprising your partner with them... there really is something breathtaking about English roses and blooms!

All over England, pubs are the local hotspots and watering holes for casual food and drink, and they are definitely my preference when abroad. If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, you're in mega luck because there has never been a more accommodating country! Gluten-free options abound in the sweet and savory no matter how small the town is. Whether you're a fish and chips with mushy peas fan or a connoisseur of Victoria sponge, the Brits know what's up when it comes to hearty and satisfying treats. My personal favorites: jacket potatoes with Heinz beans and the ever-yummy Eton Mess à la gluten-free.

For those looking for quiet adventure and a true Anglophile's journey, England will immediately steal your heart and never give it back. It'll then ask you to stay for tea and crumpets, and you will happily oblige.

- Chelsea

Photography: Chelsea LaVere