Beyond the daft humour, tea-and-cake clichés, and a thousand and one personalities rolled up into one country, together, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland pack centuries of heritage into one bite-sized travel bite.
Crammed with beautiful historic cities, chocolate box cute villages, rugged landscapes and a huge coastline ofbeautiful beaches, writing a guide to the UK is a challenge, but as a native Londoner, it’s only fitting that I guide you along your travels.
I’m not here to faff around. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty about travelling to the UK – when to go, how to get there, what you should do and see, and the best places to stay.
You’ll also find suggested itineraries and my personal picks for the best travel tips that’ll have you navigating my home country like a pro.
The UK’s temperate climate means there’s no particularly bad time to visit, but spring (March – June) or autumn (September – November) are great times to visit.
The UK’s national parks are in full bloom during spring, while autumn offers the lowest tourist numbers. If you’re after a coastal adventure or want to party it up at a festival or two, choose the summer (July – August).
Whichever season you choose, remember to bring your brolly (umbrella) – it might not rain as much as people make out, but… the stereotype is there for a reason.
Skyscanner is the best tool out there to book flights to the UK.
Holiday Autos should be your go-to for comparing rental car prices.
Flixbus offers the easiest-to-use booking service for bus tickets.
Omio is a one-stop service for trains, buses, and flights.
RailEurope does the trick for getting your train tickets.
Booking.com is ideal for getting accommodation and airport transfers.
Where to Stay
The gateway for many visitors to the United Kingdom, London comes out top of the lot. It’s a welcoming metropolis with plenty of must-see sights, such as Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral. Book a stay at The Mandrake.
The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is another must-stay. Brimming with highlights including Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland, you can’t go wrong. Book a stay at the Leonardo Royal Hotel.
Next up is Belfast in Northern Ireland. You can’t skip this charming city when you travel to the United Kingdom. See the Titanic Quarter and tour set locations from the TV show Game of Thrones. Book a stay at the Maldron Hotel.
Another fantastic city in the United Kingdom, Bath, is an exceptional spot to spend a few nights when you travel to the UK. Visit its preserved ancient Roman baths and see the stunning Gothic cathedral. Book a stay at the Bathen House.
Out on a limb, geographically speaking, Cornwall is renowned for its beautiful coastline and incredible beaches. Its reputation as a mecca for surfers is well deserved, with a multitude of beaches regularly offering great conditions for beginners and old-hands alike.
There’s more to Cornwall than just beaches, try superbly panoramic coastal walks, explore its rich industrial past and take a stroll in one of a number of breathtaking gardens too. Take aroad trip around Cornwall to discover just how fabulous it is.
The town ofNewquay is a great place to base yourself for your Cornish adventures.
Home to England’s largest national park, its highest mountain and its largest and deepest lake, the Lake District is full of superlatives.
Named after the 14 lakes and tarns which characterise its rugged beauty, the Lake District, beloved by romantic poets and writers such as William Wordsworth, is the perfect outdoor destination.
Whether you favour hiking in the Lake District’s unspoiled beauty, indulging in some water sports (or a more relaxed boat trip) on one of the lakes, or simply pottering in one of countless picture postcard villages, the Lake District has it all.
With more to offer than its famous cathedral and Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury is a great day trip from London. This compact, walled city is steeped in history, with a maze of alleyways and streets which wind through medieval buildings.
Lose yourself for a few hours in a world of quirky bookshops, pocket-sized restaurants and more history per square inch than you thought possible.
Yes, you read that right. Although there is an abundance of reasons you should visit Scotland, a standout is to see the Northern Lights. Easily one of the world’s most famous natural phenomena, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There is, of course, much more to this region than these headliners; rugged landscapes featuring loughs, mountains, valleys and waterfalls abound for the adventurous. For something more genteel, then a visit to Hillsborough Castle or Mount Stewart house and gardens is highly recommended.
Northern Ireland has a vibrant, burgeoning foodie scene, independent breweries and distilleries are thriving. Read about a perfecttwo-day Northern Ireland itinerary here.
Suggested The UK Itineraries
Sure, there are many ways to make the most of your United Kingdom travels. Here are some of the best trip itineraries.
Road Trip through The Cotswolds
Stonehenge and Bath – The Cotswolds – Chipping Campden – Stratford-upon-Avon – London
Explore The Cotswolds as you visit some of the UK’s most outstandingly beautiful sights.
Rail around Great Britain
London – Cardiff – Liverpool – Windermere – Glasgow – Edinburgh – York – Birmingham
Get your rail tickets and head out exploring the best of Great Britain from London to Wales and Scotland.
Road Trip through the UK
London – Bournemouth and The Jurassic Coast – Bath – Bristol – The Cotswolds – Oxford – Warwick – Liverpool – The Lake District – Newcastle – Edinburgh
Get a taste of the best in city life and escape into nature as you hit the road to see the glory of the UK.
Whirlwind Around the UK
London – Stonehenge and Bath – The Cotswolds – Cardiff – Stratford-upon-Avon – Manchester – The Lake District – Edinburgh – York – Cambridge – London
Road trip through the north and south of England and the capitals of Wales and Scotland.
These are the best-hidden gems for your United Kingdom travel guide.
The tiny village and civil parish of Walberswick is the self-appointed capital of catching crabs (or crabbing), and during August, the annual World Open Championships take place. So visit and test your crabbing skills.
A pristine slice of coastal heaven on the coast of Scotland, Luskentyre Beach is idyllic, and its white sands meet turquoise and aquamarine waters is buzzworthy. From here, you can easily visit the island of Taransay, often part of tours from Inverness.
Much of the allure of visiting the UK lies outside of its urban city streets, and once you see its largest protected wetlands, you’ll agree. The Broads comprises a network of navigable rivers and lakes between Norfolk and Suffolk. Here you’ll find some of the rarest animals and plants in Britain.
A jewel of the Cornish coast, Polperro delivers the promise of a picture-perfect fishing village. Wander through and admire the collection of cottages that cling to the cliffside before you make your way to Talland Bay Beach.
How to See the Best of The UK for Free
The best way to plan a trip to the United Kingdom and save a penny is by taking free tours.
For the outdoorsy, explore the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh or a guided tour of Bath led by a local.
Literary fans can tackle the Potter Trail through Edinburgh or the Tolkien Walk in Birmingham. Sports fanatics should visit the National Football Museum in Manchester or the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Dishes to Try in The UK
Fish & Chips – Deep-fried fish in a crispy batter with a side of chips.
Sunday Roast – Roast meat with roasted potatoes and veggies.
Cornish Pasty – Savoury meats and veggies in a shortcrust pastry.
Crumpets – Soft and bouncy risen pancakes.
Top Drinks in The UK
Pimms & Lemonade – The quintessential British summer drink, served laden with summer fruit and preferably lots of sun.