By Briana Seftel
England is the land of folk and fairytale, from King Arthur to Alice in Wonderland. While no means a complete list, here are our top picks for the best books, movies, and music to get you excited for your English adventure.
Music of England
England has produced some of the world's most famous music throughout history. In fact, England has spearheaded some of the world's most significant music genres including pop and punk.
The traditional folk music of England has existed since the later medieval period. One of the most well-known folk songs is “Greensleeves,” believed to have originated during the Elizabethan era.
Some of the most well-known nursery rhymes have English roots including Twinkle Twinkle Litter Star, Jack and Jill, and Humpty Dumpty.
Beatles vs The Rolling Stones
No list of English music would be complete without The Beatles, arguably the most influential band of the 20th century. The iconic images of the mop-topped John, Paul, Ringo and George remain until this day. “A Day in the Life” off their 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is often considered by critics as one of their best songs.
Arising just after The Beatles, The Rolling Stones made a name for themselves as being the anti-Beatles in look, sound, and attitude. Led by the inimitable Mick Jagger, the Stones have proven to be one of the most successful English rock bands with a career spanning over five decades.
Films of England
So many classics!
Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Harry Potter, James Bond, Get Carter, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Bridget Jones Diary are just a small handful of memorable films set in England. Richard Curtis' 1999 romantic comedy "Notting Hill" made stars out of Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant and the London neighborhood of Notting Hill!
Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho), Charlie Chaplin (City Lights), David Lean (Doctor Zhivago) and Christopher Nolan (Batman Trilogy) are among the most well-known and respected English directors.
Literature of England
With names like Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens and Chaucer, England's iconic literary history spans many decades and genres. Whether you prefer historic fiction or modern biographies, there is something for everyone!
One of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays centers on Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark who seeks revenge on his uncle Claudius for the death of his father.
Jane Austen’s seminal work centers on the protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters as they navigate love and status in 19th-century England.
Lewis Carroll's iconic novel tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.
Philip Norman’s biography of John Lennon is one of the most compressive works on Mr. Lennon, from his tumultuous early childhood in Liverpool to his later years after The Beatles.
Ian McEwan's literary tour de force spans three time periods: 1935 England, the Second World War, and the turn of the millennium. It covers a range of themes like love and war, and was turned into an Oscar nominated film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.
From the wildly popular TV series "The Great British Bake off," this cookbook contains recipes of Britain’s most beloved baked goods from puddings to savory pies.