We like off the tourist route picturesque and attractive, quaint places, B&B stays with good breakfasts, English gardens, quiet roads with grand or ocean views. Got some ideas?
York is very quaint, with lots of individual shops and tearooms. Its famous street, 'The Shambles', was voted the prettiest street in the UK. I may be a bit biased as it is my home town, but there is lots to visit all through the year. Filey is a coastal seaside town - my favourite beach in North Yorkshire - great fish and chips with beautiful sandy beach, bandstand and a few shops. Whitby is also a nice seaside resort, with an abbey and close by beach ' Robin Hood's Bay'. Other great areas I have been to in the UK include Northumberland - great beaches with sand dunes and not many tourists. Norfolk in the south has some great beaches too, although avoid Great Yarmouth! Polzeath in Cornwall is my favourite holiday destination, with great surfing, pasties, and very friendly people. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Peak District and Lake District National Park are amazing national parks. In Scotland, we stayed in the village of Newton Stewart, a very small town close to the Dumfries and Galloway National Park, which is an international dark sky reserve and great for cycling.
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Rottingdean is just a 5 minute drive east along the coast from Brighton (England) is a beautiful seaside village with pubs, tea rooms and the former home of Charles Dickens which has wonderful gardens open to the public.
unfortunately I don't have names to offer you, but we once did a trip like this and we just rented a car and drove, finding B&B's on the ways. Mostly we were lucky. Just make sure to do the trip sometime in May, June or September, when there's less tourists about, more vacancies and the weather is still reasonable. North Wales and Scotland are also great places for this type of travel or if you want to stick to the England, head towards Devon.