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England probably doesn’t come to mind when thinking about lesser-visited destinations. It definitely isn’t on any lists of budget-friendly travel either. Yet, we still find ourselves spending quite a bit of time in this beautiful country. Thankfully, due to a couple of wonderful house-sitting gigs, we’ve been able to take the time explore not only new destinations, but less familiar areas of popular locations.

Our first time in the country was many years ago, on the final week of our initial trip across Europe. It was the quintessential visit to London, doing all-things tourist and enjoying every second. One of the highlights was the outstanding lunch we had at Heston Blumenthal's Michelin-starred "Dinner".

It wasn’t until subsequent visits where, with the help of some local friends, we ventured out and explored deeper. This is when we truly fell in love with the great city, and the many alternatives to the standard London itinerary.

Our time housesitting in the town of Epsom was a wonderful experience, and opened our eyes to the countryside. And being only 30 minutes by train from central London, its a great way to experience smaller-town England without venturing too far.

Eventually, and most recently, we would spend an entire month living in Bristol, on England’s west coast. Most locals would likely never consider their laid-back city to be a lesser-visited destination. However, in a country where the majority of international travellers don’t stray far from London, Bristol is the perfect alternative.

The city itself has a ton to offer packed into a relatively small area. From the museums and galleries along the harbour to the phenomenal street art and music scene. If you ever tire of the mind-blowing restaurant options in central Bristol, head across the harbour to enjoy the dozens of hip restaurants and cafes of trendy North Street.