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The United Kingdom, where to start? We pack a huge amount into our small island(s).
Crammed with beautiful historic cities, chocolate box cute villages, rugged landscapes and a huge coastline of beautiful beaches, picking a shortlist of the best British travel destinations is a challenge.
Whether you are spending a few days in the multicultural melting pot that is London, or plan to venture further afield to explore the countryside, history and heritage, the U.K. will amaze and delight you in equal measures.
The Best Places to Travel in the United Kingdom (U.K.)
One of the coolest cities in the world, London, with a population of 8.8 million people has something for everyone.
Start with this two-day London itinerary.
Soak up the history at Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey, visit some of the greatest museums in the world and sample the finest food from pretty much any cuisine (Bob Bob Ricard is a great place to start).
One of the greenest cities in the world, London has a huge number of public parks to escape the hustle and bustle.
Channel your inner hipster at Borough Market or on a street art tour (although Shoreditch is the most famous street art destination, check out the street art in Camden too)before taking in breathtaking views of the city from the London Eye or the top of The Shard.
Greenwich Village makes for a nice contrast to the hectic bustle of the centre – a trip is highly recommended if you have the time.
The Lake District
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.
Bed down in gorgeous boutique bolthole The Ryebeck for your stay.
Home to one of the most famous universities in the world (notable alumni include Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde, Tim Berners-Lee, J.R.R. Tolkien… the list is almost endlessly impressive), beautiful sandstone architecture and willow tree-fringed river views, Oxford is an easy day trip from London.
Check out my Oxford day trip guide and spend a day immersed in culture for a perfect city break.
Edinburgh may be one of the UK’s best-kept secrets, despite being most famous for its Fringe Festival, there’s plenty more to the Scottish capital than plays and comedy shows.
Featuring beautiful stone architecture, the city boasts a castle, many museums and galleries and some great food and drink (there are three Michelin starred restaurants). If you fancy something more adventurous then you could hunt for ghosts, sample the best Scotch Whisky, and climb an extinct volcano.
Be sure to read my guide to planning the perfect short break in Edinburgh for more.
Think of Northern Ireland and you probably think big; The Giant’s Causeway, the industrial might of Belfast (the city that built The Titanic) and the Dark Hedges (aka The Kings Road from Game of Thrones).
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 perfect two-day Northern Ireland itinerary here.
Bed down in The Culloden Hotel: on the outskirts of Belfast it is one of the region’s finest.
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. We’ve put together a handy guide to how to spend a day in Canterbury, why not give it a try?
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 a road trip around Cornwall to discover just how fabulous it is.
The town of Newquay is a great place to base yourself for your Cornish adventures.
Scotland – The West Coast
Sounds pretty broad, right? Well it is; look at a map and the whole of the West Coast of Scotland appears to be an indistinguishable mix of islands, peninsulas and inlets.
More rugged and diverse than the east of Scotland, the West Coast offers stunning isolation in incredible scenery.
Featuring some of the most remote villages in the UK, mountains by the dozen, lochs, seascapes and huge skies, the West Coast is mostly, but not only, about communing with nature. Read about the Islay Whisky Festival and my favourite luxury bolthole, Knockinaam Lodge.
England’s most famous spa-town (actually it’s a city), Bath is named after the Roman baths that were built on natural hot-springs in around 60AD.
Pretty much the entire city centre is constructed from beautiful yellow sandstone with Georgian architectural landmarks and museums aplenty.
Beau Nash left his mark in many buildings, most famously The Royal Crescent, The Circus and The Pump Room.
No trip to Bath would be complete without visiting the Roman Baths and whilst you can’t actually take a dip you can sample the very minerally-tasting waters.
If you fancy a real treat, then head to The Gainsborough Bath Spa, the only hotel in Bath where you can bathe in the famous waters.
Looking for somewhere a little different? The crown dependency of Jersey is a wonderful weekend getaway.
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The Lake District is one of the best places to go walking in the UK, thanks to its rugged terrain and picturesque views. Walking in the Lake District is a great way to see a different side of the UK and one of England’s most beautiful spots. The Lake District is a poorly-kept secret: one …
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