The UK has long been a popular tourist destination, with a rich culture and a diverse range of attractions. Many visitors head straight for London, where there’s plenty to see and do, from Buckingham Palace and Tower of London to Houses of Parliament and London Eye. However, beyond the city, there is even more to discover. From ancient castles and mountains to pristine beaches and awe-inspiring islands.
Here are 10 places you shouldn’t miss when taking a trip to the UK:
1. Scottish Islands
With over 790 Scottish islands, we don’t think you’ll be able to visit them all. However, you can certainly enjoy an island-hopping trip to explore a selection of islands in Orkney, Shetland, Inner Hebrides, and the Outer Hebrides. Take some time to enjoy the unique characters of each island, experience the Scottish culture and appreciate the dramatic landscape.
2. Scottish Highlands
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Enjoy the local food, sample a selection of Malt Scotch whiskeys and enjoy the sensational scenery. You could even climb Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, or explore the magnificent lochs. Don’t forget to look out for the Loch Ness Monster…
Head to the often underrated Scottish capital for incredible history, culture, and architecture, all with an impressive backdrop. Don’t miss a visit to Edinburgh Castle, which is on top of an extinct volcano and is home to Scotland’s crown jewels. Or plan your trip around the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest celebration of arts in the world. Of course, if you’re looking for something more traditional, visit during Burns Night, or St Andrew’s Day.
Just below the Scottish border is Northumberland. There are over 100km of coastline to explore, with beautiful sandy beaches and incredible vistas. With a short boat ride, you can reach the Farne Islands, which is overflowing with wildlife and is even said to be Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place to see nature in the UK. Alternatively, head inland and explore Northumberland National Park. Not only can you see Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national park is the largest protected Dark Sky Park in Europe.
5. County Antrim
Take a trip to Northern Ireland to visit County Antrim, where you’ll find a picturesque coastline and fishing villages. You will also see the impressive Giant’s Causeway, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Created 60 million years ago, from a volcanic eruption, it is now a popular visitor attraction and was awarded the UK’s Best Heritage Attraction at the British Travel Awards in 2016.
6. Lake District
It’s not hard to see why around 17 million people head to the Lake District each year. As England’s largest National Park, it’s full of breath taking, picture-perfect views, as well as heaps of activities. Enjoy walking? Climb to the top of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Or for something more relaxing, enjoy a day cruising around a glistening blue lake. You can find 12 of England’s largest lakes here. Lake Windermere is the largest at a magnificent 10.5 miles long.
Head across to Wales and explore the Snowdonia mountains and coastline. Whether you’re looking for wild adventures, a romantic break or a cultural journey, there is something for everyone. Put on your walking shoes and climb Snowdon, the largest mountain in Wales. Or take in the scenery from the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Explore the coastline via boat and you may even be able to spot a selection of sea mammals, with Cardigan Bay being home to Britain’s largest population of bottlenose dolphins.
Around 50 miles north of London, you’ll find the city of Cambridge. Whilst it’s most famous for the University of Cambridge, one of the top 5 universities in the world, there’s lots more to see and do. Explore the historic marketplace, enjoy a spot of shopping with a good mix of independents stores and high street brands, go punting along the River Cam, or enjoy lunch in a traditional British pub, or quaint café.
Step back in time with a visit to the 2,000-year-old Roman Baths. Enjoy a relaxing soak at Thermae Bath Spa’s open-air, rooftop pool. Walk around the beautiful city, with its historic architecture and beautiful parks and gardens. Before you leave, enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, or explore the many restaurants and delis, to taste Bath’s delicious local produce.
At the southwestern tip of the UK, you’ll find Cornwall, with its rugged coastline, sandy beaches, harbor villages and rolling hills. If you’re looking to relax, head for a day at the beach, with nearly 200 to choose from, including 7 blue flag beaches. Cornwall is also popular with surfers, with Newquay being one of the best and most well-known areas. Make sure you leave time to explore some of the popular seaside towns such as St Ives, as well as popular tourist attractions such as St Michael’s Mount and the Eden Project.
Are you planning a trip to the UK? We’d love to know where’s top of your list of places to visit whilst you’re there! Leave us a comment in the box below, or tweet us @travefy.
About the Author
Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She writes on various subjects including social media and careers and enjoys discussing travel, lifestyle and photography. She is a Social Media Consultant with several years’ experience in the field and has worked with a growing list of clients around the world. You can follow her on Twitter @Liz_Harmon or see more of her blogs here.