Extensive immersion is the best exercise in one’s language learning quest and what better place to hone your English speaking skills than the mother country itself. But what if the urban metropolises of England aren’t for you? Metropolises like London and Manchester are excellent places, but sometimes you want to wander off the beaten track. Considering a rural area to spend your extended time in England will also give you a more unique experience with chances to really get to know the beautiful English countryside, but you can still find a reputable English course nearby. Here are five wonderful highly rural counties from all parts of England with amazing things to offer:
Located on the southwest peninsula of the English Isle, Devon is a popular travel destination both for its beautiful beaches and its lovely countryside. Being the second most southern English county, the weather is considerable mild and the extensive coastlines as well as the English Rivieria attract people from all over during the warmer summer months. However, Devon has much more to offer than beach holidays no matter the weather. The countryside surrounding places such as East Devon or the Blackdown Hills is considered an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Health-conscious people tired of the take-out scene characterized by the city will enjoy Devon’s embrace of the slow food movement and should sample local fare such as the Dittisham Ploughman Plum, the Clovelly Herring or Red Ruby beef. The Exmoor National Park samples all that the English countryside has to offer—woodlands, moors, and farmland included. Time in Devon proves that just because you live a rural life doesn’t mean you live a boring one.
If you love to ski, moving to the northern county of Durham will be a great fit for you. For a more rustic experience, check out the Harwood Common which is open from early November until the end of March. Membership is not required to ski in Harwood, including their longest 500-metre run. If you fancy a more posh experience, the Weardale Ski Club offers more accommodations and the largest run is 1 kilometer. Weekend skiers need membership, but that just means smaller crowds on your run. Even if skiing isn’t your thing, the county of Durham has much more to offer. History buffs will love the Beamish Open Air Museum—300 acres of cobbled streets telling stories of life in Northern England through Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian times. During the summer, a trip to see the High Force Waterfall—the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in England—in the Forest in Teesdale is a must-do.
The county of Norfolk on the mid-east coast of England is a great place to settle if you have children accompanying you. The bustling fun of the Yarmouth coastline with its carnivals and arcades are a fun weekend trip for the whole family and kids will love searching for pieces of amber amongst the white sands of the coast. The Dinosaur Adventure Park in Norfolk is considered one of the great day outings in the UK. Hike down the wooded trail to see life-sized recreations of dinosaurs complete with sound clips that spark children’s imaginations. Other attractions such as go-kart “Raptor Races” and “Jurassic Putt” golf keep them active. The county is also famous for the Norfolk Broads—Britain’s magical water lands famous for attracting visitors for boating holidays. Quiet towns such as Wroxam are settled amongst the Broads where one will find the opposite of the metropolis experience to settle in.
The central English county of Warwickshire is perfect for people who love English history and culture. Birthplace of both William Shakespeare and George Eliot, you can visit Stratford-Upon-Avon and Nuneaton (birthplaces of the playwright and author respectively) which both have impressive tours resulting in a deeper insight into their lives. Places like Mary Arden’s Farm (Shakespeare’s mother’s childhood home) give visitors a sneak peak into what rural life was like in 16th century England. National Trust sites like Baddesley Clinton are an inexpensive ventures that gives back to England’s historical and wildlife preservation efforts. The whole family can enjoy the Lunar Festival in Warwickshire. The four-day event showcases folk music as well as modern day popular artists with the added fun of summer camping on the fair grounds.
Nestled in the east midlands of England, the country of Derbyshire is known for its breathtaking landscapes. The Peak District is one of England’s mountaineering hot spots with climbs suited for all levels of expertise. Romantics who would rather go out than sit by the fire will love Derbyshire. Visit Chatsworth House—the location used to shoot the fictional estate of Pemberley in the Pride and Prejudice movie as well as several scenes in the 2011 version of Jane Eyre. If you’re a fan of these movies the Peak District should look familiar as well—many of Elizabeth Bennet’s scenes were shot amongst the misty green mountains. Lovers can also hike the Mam Tor Mountain in Derbyshire for a romantic walk unlike any other. Hike the 517-metre peak and see the surrounding moors and valleys that make Derbyshire famous. When the sun goes down—far away from city lights—the stars come out for a romantic show only nature can provide.
Dani Barrow represents Language Trainers, which provides individually-tailored language training on a one-on-one or small group basis worldwide.