Marling explained to The Fly that this ballad, accompanied by flute and strings, is about her father walking her to the top of a hill as a child and asking Laura to bring him back to the place before he dies.
Marling told The Guardian in an August 2011 interview that of all the songs she's written to date, this one is the most identifiably her. "I think the song that's most me, and most how I speak, is 'Goodbye, England.' Because it's so sort of soppy." She said with a laugh. "And the line 'We will keep you little one' is so my family, because in my family I'm Little One, even though I'm about twice the size of them all. There's some lines like that in my songs that I think only people who know me would know where that sits with me. That's one of them."
In Daniel Rachel's The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters, Marling explains how the song reflects the sense of homesickness she felt as she was first approaching independence:
"The best way of putting that song into context is what I was doing at the time of writing it: I was traveling more than I'd traveled before. It was the first time I'd been far enough away from childhood to really miss my parents. I'd been living a legitimately adult life in London for three years and suddenly I was away in very foreign places and I really missed home and my boring village I grew up in. Also it was a time I was having to do a lot of stuff on my own. I was becoming very aware I was a solo artist: I'd left Noah and the Whale; the guys from Mumford And Sons were about to go off and do their thing full time; I was about to lose a lot of protection and safety."
Pete Townshend never had a #1 UK hit with The Who or as a solo artist, but he did produce and play on a song that hit the top spot there: "Something In The Air" by Thunderclap Newman, a group he assembled.