Most of the world's top travel destinations are cities. From Tokyo to London to New York, millions flock to these destinations that have become household names. They have earned this position for good reason - unique and fascinating history, art, and culture along with ease of access have made these places into the centers of influence they have become.
Several years back I was in London and while out to lunch with a friend of mine he said "Oh I do hope you are getting out of town a bit while you're here. London in nice to visit, but the real England is found in the country." I have to admit that he is correct. I still remember the very first time I flew into London as a child. I peered out the window of the airplane as we made our descent, and I will never forget seeing the English countryside laid out below us. From ancient hedgerows to thatched-roofed cottages, it was immediately new, exciting, and a world away from the countryside I grew up knowing in Pennsylvania.
The Yorkshire Dales
I thoroughly enjoy the road trips through England and the rest of Europe that I have been taking regularly for over a decade now. You can really experience the soul of a place by getting out and just stumbling across the wonderful little places that don't make it into the guidebooks - from climbing castle walls to enjoying a shandy at the local pub (with horses tied up out front, course). Not to mention the time when we got stuck in the middle of a herd of sheep somewhere in the Pyrenees mountains. The two shepherds just smiled and waved, thoroughly amused at the Americans stuck in the middle of their sheep!
Blenheim Palace in the Cotswolds
So often, however, I find that people seem to think that their time would be better used elsewhere - instead of a couple days in the Cotswolds, how about Paris instead? While Paris is undoubtedly a fantastic place, it really deserves its own trip. No destination worth its salt can be fully enjoyed in 48 hours, but a sun drenched drive through the country or along the coast, and a stop at a local cafe for lunch? That sounds like time well spent to me.
Durdle Door along the Jurassic Coast