There is something truly spectacular about the United Kingdom. Beyond its magnificent stories of kings and queen, crown intrigues and majestic castle: there's the sheer variety of landscapes, towns and villages awaiting to be discovered. Many travellers consider London to be one the best places to visit in UK. Whilst I don't disagree, there is so much more to be discovered, whether your journey takes you to the quaint villages of England, the forested trails of Wales, the basalt columns of Northern Ireland or the lochs of Scotland. I spent 10 years exploring the UK and I can still find myriad things to see and do. To me, the UK remains as mysterious and irresistible as ever. Here are the best places to visit in UK, according to residents, expats and avid travellers. Where will your curiosity take you next?
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One of the cutest towns in England’s charming Lake District is Ambleside. It’s known for its iconic bridge house, a small 17th-century house built over Stock Beck. In the Armitt Museum, you will find the children’s author Beatrix Potter’s desk just as it would have been when she used it to watercolour, rare books, and other interesting pieces. Inside St. Mary’s Church, you will find a chapel dedicated to the poet, William Wordsworth. You also have plenty of lovely restaurants and pubs to sample in Ambleside.
Just outside the town, you can explore the well-marked 2nd-century remains of Ambleside Roman Fort. Additionally, there are several nice hikes that start from Ambleside. We did the Stock Ghyll with the Sweden High Bridge extension hike which is about 5 ½ miles long. We walked through pastures with sheep, saw waterfalls, and got amazing views of Lake Windermere. It was not a difficult hike but it was scenic.
Anisa from 2 Traveling Texans
My favourite place in the UK is one that you've probably never heard of, unless you've got an interest in history, or if you've mistaken it for the town in Frozen. And that place is Arundel, in West Sussex.
I may be slightly biased, given that I grew up about ten minutes away from Arundel, but it really is a small town with a lot to offer. The main attraction is the castle (again, not to be confused with Frozen!) which hovers protectively over the town - established in 1067, you can go inside and check out the collections of art, medieval weapons, and royal rooms. Not to mention clambering up tiny spiral staircases, and descending into a dungeon!
The rest of the town, set in a picturesque river valley, boasts a cathedral, antique shops, a local brewery, and some fantastic restaurants. Plus, Arundel's position in the hills of the South Downs National Park not only means that there's great cycling and walking trails, but contributed to it being voted "the Most Relaxing Town In Europe". Taking a walk alongside the castle, heading towards the town's lake, is like being bathed in dappled sunshine and happiness.
What more can you ask for?
Nicky from That Anxious Traveller
There’s something special about Bath. A postcard-perfect city in southwest England, Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre with a fascinating history. But with an impressive foodie scene, quirky independent shops, and an ancient wellness tradition, there’s more to Bath than its historic legacy. I love how walkable Bath’s city centre is. Georgian buildings curve around leafy green parks and the maze of narrow streets is perfect for exploring on foot. Don’t miss the Thermae Spa – its four baths are filled with mineral-rich water from Bath’s thermal springs. And you can travel back in time to the beginning of the city’s spa tradition by visiting the Roman Baths heritage centre. Charles Dickens and Jane Austen are just two of the literary greats associated with Bath and the Jane Austen museum is a cosy little place to spend an afternoon. Bath’s friendliness, combined with this variety of experiences, means that it’s an easy place to enjoy. This relaxed city has quickly become my favourite place in the UK to escape to.
Grace from The Idyll
One of my favourite places in the UK came as a total surprise to me whilst travelling around the UK National Parks last year. The Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales is less well known to busy Snowdonia in the north but it has stunning scenery and views that you will fall in love with.
The Brecon Beacons has many picture-perfect waterfalls, roaming hills and is home to the highest mountain in South Wales (and the south of England too). Pen y Fan at 886 m/ 2,910 ft is a great day hike and many hikers take the trip to the top on the weekend. Enjoying dramatic landscape and views for miles.
Along with Pen y Fan, there are many more walks in the Brecon Beacons, for hikers of all abilities to enjoy. Bwlch village has some stunning day walks around Llangorse Lake, which is the largest natural lake in south Wales. From Abergavenny town, you can hike Sugarloaf, another gorgeous hill that gives you awesome 360-degree views of the Brecons (on a clear day of course).
The Brecon Beacons is certainly somewhere you won't be disappointed when visiting.
Becky from Becky The Traveller
After living in Bristol for so many years, I still believe it to be the best place to visit in UK. With so many things to do in Bristol, this incredible city is as lively and exciting as ever. It can get electric during summer, with all its festivals and feel-good cultural events. Bristol is also a multicultural scene with restaurants which serve food from all around the world. In Bristol, you are never too far away from an independent shop, something which locals are really passionate about. Furthermore, there is a lot of green in Bristol, including the nearby Ashton Court and the beautiful Leigh Woods.
Bristol is the perfect place for young families with or without kids, students looking for a cool place with epic music and the elderly looking to retire in a quiet cul-de-sac. Bristol, you'll forever my favourite.
Cory from You Could Travel
Cambridge has a lot going for it – the architecture, the history, the university. Those are all things I love about the city, but there is something else about it that makes me want to go back again and again. It’s the atmosphere - the students give this old city life. Not only that but this amazing atmosphere is a close and easy day out from London. Head out in the morning, grab coffee before wandering though some world class museums. You can pick up lunch at legitimately fancy restaurants or grab street food from cuisines around the world. Walking through the grounds of a truly great institution, complete with awe inspiring architecture and looking history in the face. You can grab dinner and a drink at a local pub or dance away at a club or two - or simply head back to London. I guess that is why I love Cambridge so much, it’s grandeur and history and food – all it takes is a very pretty train ride.
Sam Ann from Carry on Or Bust
If you’ve ever dreamed about an idyllic English town that transports you back in time, then look no further than Castle Combe. The town is so small that it can easily be combined into a day trip with the nearby town of Lacock or you can fully experience it by staying overnight. Castle Combe is located in the English countryside, a short drive from Chippenham and a half hour drive from Bath. It’s famous for its bridge covered creek with a row of old stone homes on the left and right side of the street. If you wander past those row of homes, you come into the tiny square with a local pub on one corner and an honesty shop of baked goods on another. Drop a few coins into the plastic box and pick your delicious treat. A few paces down and you’re entering the gates of the Manor House Hotel, a castle-like hotel with luxury accommodation and beautiful landscaping. Castle Combe is definitely worth a visit but bring an umbrella as the weather is completely unpredictable!
Grace from Fashion Edible
There's a reason I keep coming back to Cardiff, it's a brilliant city. I moved all the way to Australia for a few years but eventually, I was drawn back yet again. Let me tell you why.
Firstly, Cardiff is one of the friendliest cities in the UK. People chat to you in queues and in shops, they smile at you when you walk past. Therefore it makes an ideal city for a solo traveller.
The city itself is brimming with character, history and charm. From the old Victorian shopping arcades to the well-preserved castle to the city centre lake in Roath Park, you won't be at a loss for what to see or do!
One of my favourite places to visit is St Fagans - a free outdoors museum about life in Wales over the years. Go back in time and explore reconstructed houses and shops through the ages then spend time chilling out on the beautiful lawns by the small river which runs through the ground - a perfect picnic spot!
But one of the things I love most about Cardiff is its close proximity to so many beautiful spots in the countryside. From many local castles to the beautiful Brecon Beacons, the stunning Gower coastline and the magical Forrest of Dean. There are just so many day trips to choose from. Read more about things to do in Cardiff!
Leanne from The Globetrotter GP
It was the first time my wife had driven on the other side of a vehicle. Being a New Yorker, she navigated us through London with ease and out onto the English countryside. Collectively, we were amazed at the beauty of the landscape. At the time, our daughter was 11, and we were off to Lyme Regis for some beachside and fossil activity. However, it was the town of Charmouth, in West Dorset that captured our hearts.
The town was charming and had just enough pubs to make a man happy. The beach, which was walkable from the main road was easily accessed, and there was no trouble finding parking for our vehicle. The beach was sprawling and pristine. We had spent a few nights in town and ended every night looking at the unimpeded starry nights.
One evening, we drove 20 minutes away from where we were staying, to a restaurant named, “Three Horseshoes”. It was there that my daughter turned 12, and proclaimed, Charmouth to be her favourite place in the world.
Andrew from Dish Our Town
Chester is not only my hometown, it's also one of the best and most underrated places to visit in the UK. Chester is a historic city, that still bears the hallmarks of its time as an important hub of the Roman Empire in the UK. No matter where you go in the city, you are reminded of the city's past at nearly every turn.
The city is home to the biggest Roman amphitheatre in the UK, which you can walk around and admire from close up. There are also Roman Gardens close by, and after that, you can walk through Grosvenor Park and down to the banks of the River Dee and admire the views and drink tea in one of the numerous cafes by the riverside.
Chester is also home to the second most photographed clock in the country after Big Ben, while the Town Hall and Cathedral are impressive buildings that shouldn't be missed either! If you have a car, there are some great places to visit outside the city centre.
The Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall is a great place to visit on a sunny day. If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, head to the Crocky Trail. This outdoor playground for adults and children is an ideal place to go if you want some high-energy action during your trip to Chester!
Chester may not be on everyone's list when it comes to visiting the UK, but there is a lot to see in a small city!
Tom from The Travelling Tom
Nestled on the south coast, Chichester is a city with it all and one of my favourite spots in the UK. Gorgeous cobbled streets and cute Georgian buildings adorn the city centre; which is full of quirky tearooms, funky bars and plenty of shops. What’s more the coast is only a 20-minute drive away. The rolling sand dunes and crystal clear waters of West Wittering are a must visit while in the area. Be sure to explore the Cathedral and it’s grounds in the city centre. Go on a free guided tour or discover it all solo. St Martin’s Organic Coffee House is one of my favourite coffee shops in Chichester. Find it tucked down a small alleyway just off of the high street. Once inside, choose a cosy corner in this oldy worldy setting; open fires and crooked floors make for a unique coffee stop. Head to the lovely Priory Park flanked by the city walls for an ice cream at Fenwick’s Café. This shady spot is nice for relaxing and watching the world go by. Hire a bike and cycle along the Centurion Way. The old railway line goes from Chichester to West Dean passing woodland and meadows and connects with the South Coast Cycle Path. For something a bit different visit the vineyards at the Tinwood Estate for wine tasting and vineyard tours. Summer or winter it’s a fantastic city to explore.
Nicola from Nicola Dunkinson
If you want to experience quintessential England then visit the Cotswolds. This is a beautiful area; think gently rolling countryside, beautiful old thatched cottages with roses trailing over the doors, ostentatious stately homes and cream teas.
Everyone will find something to interest them in the Cotswolds. If you love historical sites you can visit castles like Berkeley Castle, built to defend England against Welsh invaders; or see Winston Churchill’s childhood home, Blenheim Palace. You can walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen and find out about Georgian history in the wonderful city of Bath which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some of the UK’s most gorgeous villages are found here - try Castle Combe, Bibury or Bourton-on-the-Water which are full of homes made of the local honey-coloured Cotswold stone and have real chocolate-box appeal. If you’re feeling energetic then the Cotswold Way is for you. This walk links many of these little villages and gets you out seeing the best of the Cotswolds’ natural beauty.
The Cotswolds are really easy to reach from London so they make a great weekend trip from the capital.
Emily Cole from Kids And Compass
If there is one place in the UK I’d return to again and again, Crieff would be the first on my list. This little town in Perthshire has everything: a quaint high street with local retailers, stunning natural beauty, the gorgeous Crieff Hydro hotel, and friendly people. When I’m in Crieff, I feel like I’m a totally different world away from the hectic pace of daily life. It’s perfect for hiking, picnics in the great outdoors, mountain biking, and reconnecting with the people I love the most.
For more organized fun, Drummond Castle has amazing formal gardens that are perfect for getting lost in, and Macrosty Park has plenty of space for the kids to run and play. You can also get a bit of culture in at the Strathearn Gallery where you can see a diverse range of art. When you need some downtime, the best place to go is the Winter Garden at Crieff Hydro, where the massive windows allow the sun to stream in while you enjoy a cream tea or sandwich.
Kalyn from Girl Gone London
If you ever get the chance to visit Dorset then you really should take the opportunity. Situated in South West UK, Dorset is a popular coastal destination with some amazing beaches, stunning views and countryside to take your breath away.
Part of the reason I love Dorset is the south-west coastal path that runs right through. You could walk for miles if you chose, and there are so many different walks that you will never be bored.
Some of our favourite weekend activities include finding new paths along the Jurassic Coast to explore. You can find yourself walking along a cliff top looking down onto the beach one moment, and when the path turns you’re in the forest or walking over wooden bridges next to small waterfalls.
When you’re exploring and all of a sudden you find yourself in a picturesque little village, or spot a pub with an inviting beer garden, it sums up my love for Dorset right there.
Angela from The Life of Spicers
Dumfries and Galloway
Most visitors to Scotland's head north from Edinburgh to the Highlands, personally I prefer to head south to Dumfries and Galloway. This is a frequently overlooked region of the country which means there are fewer tourists, a slower pace of life and a more authentic local experience. It is a diverse part of Scotland with plenty of natural beauty from the greenery of Galloway Forest Park to the dramatic cliffs at Mull of Galloway, Scotland's most southerly point. However, it is the characterful and quaint towns that I love the most. Wigtown is Scotland's National Book Town and is lined with quirky bookshops and cafes. Further along the coast is Kirkcudbright which is known as 'The Artists' Town' as it has been attracting creatives for centuries and is now filled with cute art galleries and colourful houses. When I just need to chill out, I head to the sweeping white sands of the beach at Port Logan or one of the tropical gardens in the area which thrive thanks to the milder maritime climate. For me, Dumfries and Galloway is the perfect place in the UK for being as active or as laid-back as you like.
Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland
Edinburgh is a city that I moved to, for what I thought would only be a year, and ended up staying for more than five. A lot of people who live in Edinburgh have a similar story.
There are many reasons to fall in love with Edinburgh but one of the best things is its many great festivals, festivals like Hogmanay, the Edinburgh Film Festival, Literary Festival, and of course the Fringe Festival.
Then there are all the other reasons to visit Edinburgh. The city is packed with historical sites like Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town, and Holyrood Castle, and it has many beautiful green areas like Princess Street Gardens, Arthur’s Seat, and The Meadows to walk through and relax in.
It’s easily walkable as well, but don’t be deceived by its small size. Although it’s possible to get around the city on foot, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to see and do. Each neighbourhood, whether it’s Leith or Stockbridge, has its own vibe and is worth spending at least an afternoon in.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to visit them all: you probably won't. It’s just one of the many excuses you’ll give yourself to come back again.
James from This Travel Guide
If there's a place that's magical in every sense of the word, it's the Giants Causeway.
In Northern Ireland is the beach hexagon shaped stones laid neatly, looking perfectly manmade. Or should I say giant made? There's the legend that the giants built it, after all.
Around it, beautiful cliffs, hills, and mountains. And the sea, the most stunning blue sea.
Some of the hexagonal columns are extremely tall and you can climb them. I recommend you do as the views from the top are breathtaking. The short walk from the visitor centre is beautiful and easy, and the way back is just as beautiful. There's a small museum at the visitor centre that's worth a visit and don't forget to grab your complimentary audio guide! It's great! While you're in the area, don't miss the Carrick a Rede bridge!
Thais from World Trip Diaries
I had big expectations regarding Glencoe but little frame of reference. I knew my Grandparents adored this picturesque village in the Scottish Highlands but I had never seen a photo of its charms. Leaving the monumental Loch Lomond behind me, I drove along the A82 towards Loch Leven. The narrow road is a treasure trove of spectacular sights. Passing through Bridge of Orchy the sight of Loch Tulla stretches out in front of some imposing peaks. This was the location of my first photo stop - there would be many more on this road as I just couldn’t let the photo opportunities pass in the fading evening light.
The peaks got larger and more imposing before the monster that is Buachaille Etive Mor – The Great Herdsman of Etive dominated the skyline. It’s peak, at over 1,000m high, qualifies it as a ‘Munro’ and is an unofficial gatepost into Glencoe. I had to stop to take photos here too. And also just around the corner where the Three Sisters kept watch over a dreamy valley.
I stopped so many times to take photos that my campsite arrival was severely delayed. The owner was sat in her office gently tapping the table with her fingers when I arrived - a full 30 minutes after the last check-in time. I apologised and explained, in gushing tones, about my inability to not record the views I’d just witnessed. She smiled. I sensed I probably wasn’t the first person to turn up late in Glencoe - nor would I be the last.
Tim from Tunnocks World Tour
Full of elegant, historic buildings, parks and gardens, Harrogate has long been one of my favourite towns to visit in the north of England. It's perfect for either a short weekend of sophisticated indulgence, or a longer vacation as a convenient destination from which to explore the wider area.
Harrogate is a spa town that's been offering healing treatments for centuries, but you'll find one of the best modern day spas at Rudding's Park, where you can soothe your soul and restore your well-being. However, one of the most iconic options is in the centre of town - the newly refurbished Turkish Baths. Complete with Moorish architecture and Italian influences, it's set within the grade II listed building that used to be the town's Victorian Baths.
Staying in the heart of the town, you can take a guided tour, visit the Pump Room museum, browse the stylish shops, enjoy the Valley Gardens, or queue for tea and cake at famous, Betty's Tearooms. But if long waits aren't for you, you'll find plenty of other options for lunch, coffee or afternoon tea as you explore the streets and alleyways. And you won't be disappointed for dinner either - there are over 300 restaurants and eateries in and around Harrogate including the Yorke Arms at nearby Pateley Bridge, with its One Michelin Star.
After all this indulgence you might want to stride out in the Yorkshire Dales, just a short drive away, or walk a section of the long distance Nidderdale Way. For even more typically English history, you might tour some of the local castles and nearby stately homes. There are plenty of historic buildings to choose from, including Knaresborough Castle, Skipton Castle, and Ripon Cathedral.
There are so many reasons why Harrogate shouldn’t be overlooked as a perfect English destination!
Vanessa from House Sitting Magazine
Hawes, a charming town in the Yorkshire Dales, is my new favorite place in the UK. Here’s why... 1) The location. Pretty much smack in the middle of Yorkshire Dales National Park, it’s close to many of North Yorkshire’s attractions including Ribblehead Viaduct, Aysgarth Falls, and Bolton Castle. 2) The walks. The Yorkshire Dales are a walker’s paradise and Hawes has great access to them. With a seemingly endless number of public footpaths to explore, you’ll love getting lost among the sheep and stone fences. 3) The cheese. Wensleydale Creamery, based in Hawes, makes the famous Wensleydale Yorkshire cheese and you can taste all their delicious varieties (for free!) in their tasting room. 4) The pubs. Hawes has a number of cozy pubs where you can grab a pint and some tasty food. Yorkshire is home to some great breweries too, so you can feel good that you’re contributing to the local economy by drinking up! Read even more reasons to visit Hawes and the Yorkshire Dales here.
Sarah from Travel Breathe Repeat
Islay, an island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, is one of our favourite places in the UK which is why we've visited four times during the last 12 years. My husband is a huge fan of the distinctive style of Islay whiskies, and I booked our first trip there for his birthday. Only after booking did we discover his birthday falls within 'Feis Isle', the island's annual music and whisky festival. During this celebratory event, each distillery on the island hosts an open day, making it a week-long party of whisky and music.
But Islay is much more than its whisky distilleries and there is plenty else to see and do, including visits to Kilnave Chapel (surely one of the most picturesque churches in Scotland), the Kildarton Cross (a Celtic cross dating from the 8th century AD) and the ancient seat of the Lordship of the Isles on Loch Finlaggan (a hauntingly beautiful historical site). We also love the abundance of fresh Islay seafood, and there are some great places to eat out across the island. Add to this some wonderful birding opportunities not to mention plenty of stunning coastline and landscapes to explore, and you'll understand why we keep going back.
Kavita from Kavey Eats
Isle of Lewis, Scotland
The Isle of Lewis has to be one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. The rugged rocky landscape is covered in fields of peat, with barely a tree in sight, but the beaches are beautiful with almost white sand and clear turquoise waters surrounded by the only spots of the green grass on the isle. Located off the west coast of Scotland in the Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Lewis isn’t the easiest spot to get to in Europe, but it’s well worth the journey. You can fly from several UK airports, or drive to the north of Scotland and take a ferry across the minch, looking out for whales, dolphins, and seals along the way.
If what you’re looking for is a place to get away from it all then you couldn’t find anywhere better, but you needn’t worry about a lack of things to do either! The Isle of Lewis is home to plenty of history and culture, and you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Callanish Standing Stones, one of the most impressive stone circles I’ve ever seen. The Blackhouse Village is a fantastic place to learn about the history of the people on the island and how they lived, and if you’re lucky, watch a weaver making a Harris Tweed. Take in all the history you can, taste the delicious food on offer (and the local gin!) and soak in the atmosphere of Scottish island life.
Sonja from MigratingMiss
Isle of Man (Crown Dependency)
Not many people can welcome you so warmly in December as the Manx. This Crown Dependency is wedged between all the surrounding countries. In fact, from the summit of Snaefell (620m/2034ft) you can see Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales - if you are lucky with the weather.
Despite its nearness to those places, many things are unique to the island or otherwise make it special. The Manx cat is a rare tailless cat breed native to the island. Their genetically shortened tails come in two sizes, ‘stumpy’ (shortened tail) and ‘rumpy’ (no tail at all). While you’re unlikely to see them wandering about the island, you can visit these sweet creatures at the MSPCA not far from Douglas.
If you crave something a little less fluffy, the yearly Isle of Man Tourist Trophy in May/June attracts thousands of motorcycling fans from all around the world. The island loses all its tranquility in during these two weeks, known as the ‘most dangerous’ event in motorcycle sport.
The island is accessible year-round from Heysham and Liverpool. More routes operate in summer when the Isle of Man Steam Packet company also services the island from Dublin and Belfast. A voyage with the world’s oldest passenger shipping company is a glorious way to arrive to and depart from the Isle of Man.
Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker
Isle of Mull
It might not be the most famous of Scottish locations but the Isle of Mull is an absolute gem and perfect for lovers of the great outdoors like me.
Brave endless single-track roads you'll find some of the most pristine beaches in Scotland with barely another person in sight, and wild camping spots to make your jaw drop. There are some great hikes to be done too, and you'll see all sorts of wildlife around - including eagles and otters, sharks and dolphins. Then you've got some moody ruined castles dotted around that Scotland is so famous for. All of this is crammed into a fairly small island with significantly fewer tourists too, meaning that you'll have many of these places to yourself for most of the year.
And when you're tired of the wilderness (if that's possible) it's also home to one of the prettiest villages you'll see - Tobermory - which was the location of BBC kid's show Ballamory. To finish it off they do some great fish and chips!
Justine from Lost in The Midlands
Isles of Scilly
If you're looking for an undiscovered part of Britain here it is! The Isles of Scilly are located in the south west of England off the coast of Cornwall. They are only accessible by small plane or boat. Five of the islands of this archipelago are inhabited and many are without inhabitants.
The largest island, and the only one which allows cars is St Marys. This beautiful island is less than 2.5km square miles and is filled with fantastic walks, amazing seafood and endless Instagram opportunities.
The unique position of the isles means it enjoys some of the best weather in the UK as it is warmed by the Gulf Stream. Indeed, the weather is so good that exotic species of plants from all over the world flourish. Don’t miss the Abbey Garden on Tresco.
The highlight of a trip to the Isles (apart from the crab sandwiches!) is taking whichever boat is running to whichever island and just exploring. Don’t miss the nightly boat rides to different islands which are planned to allow you to enjoy a pub meal and then head back to St Mary's!
Amanda from The Boutique Adventurer
Isle of Wight
One of the top questions searched about the Isle of Wight is if you need a passport to get there. No, it is definitely not France, but an island situated in South East England. With a beautiful landscape surrounded by gorgeous award winning beaches, its the perfect retreat for a weekend away.
The Isle of Wight has many attractions for all types of ages, such as Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle and Blackgang Chine. There is also one of the UK's largest festivals held here, called the Isle of Wight Festival. Furthermore, there is Cowes Week, a yachting event sailing around the whole island. The island is also known for the protected red squirrel population. But for me who had lived there for 17 years, it was the nature that made it special.
As well as over 100 walking and cycling routes, it's the beaches that are worth the visit. The prettiest beaches can be found at Compton, Alum Bay, Sandown, Ryde and Bembridge. When I go back every year, I make sure to visit all of them! Nothing finishes a beach day off than by heading back into one of the little towns for a local bite to eat.
Zoe from Together In Transit
A visit to the UK can never be complete without exploring a bit of the gorgeous English countryside. And, for a truly unique experience, you definitely need to check out some of the quintessential English villages.
The village of Lacock is one such gem that England has to offer. Maintained and preserved entirely by the National Trust, the village looks exactly as it did almost 200 years ago.
However, make no mistake, Lacock isn’t a museum. Even with its traditional cottages and their higgledy-piggledy rooftops, the old tithe barn, workhouse, and church - it’s very much a living, breathing, functioning village.
Lacock is also a popular filming location and has been featured in many movies and TV shows including Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. The most notable highlights of Lacock are the Lacock Abbey (you may easily recognize it if you’re a Harry Potter fan) and the Fox Talbot Museum.
Lacock is situated in the English county of Wiltshire and is quite close to the city of Bath (about 30 minutes by car). It’s also pretty close to the historic site of Stonehenge. So, you can easily combine it with a visit to Stonehenge and Bath from London.
Chandrima from Travel Stories Untold
Cornwall is famous for its windswept landscape, beautiful beaches and picturesque harbours but if you’re looking for the most stunning part of the county without the crowds you need to go to the Lizard Peninsula in the south west of Cornwall.
It’s one of the most charming and beautiful parts of the UK, a place of pretty villages with thatched cottages, great pubs and little tearooms serving cream teas and home-made pasties. Our favourite is Helford beside the river of the same name, where you can go kayaking, row down hidden creeks or learn to sail. The walks around here take you through ancient oak woods, along coastal paths, onto secret beaches and tiny harbours.
But this being Cornwall, it’s the beaches that are the main attraction. The beaches on the Lizard are among the best we’ve visited anywhere in the world whether it’s the turquoise coloured water of Kynance Cove where Poldark was filmed or the tiny coves that you can only reach from the coastal path.
Get there now - before everyone else finds out about it.
Clare Thomson from Suitcases and Sandcastles
Llandudno has become known as the "Queen of the Welsh Resorts". Llandudno is now the largest seaside resort in Wales. This amazing seaside mecca grew out of a small township of miners. Miners who worked the Great Orme just behind the town. In the early 1850's the owners of the mine decided to develop the land into a seaside resort over the next 20 years. Much of what you see today on the promenade today is still from the original development.
This ever-popular seaside resort is now popular with couples and families alike for its popular attractions. The Great Orme which rises above the town features a Bronze age mine you can explore, The Great Orme tramway which has been running for over 100 years and The Great Orme Cable Car. The Cable Car takes you down to the beach delivering amazing views of the Irish Sea on a clear day. The sandy pebble beach on the promenade is one of the great attractions for summer fun in the waves. The Victorian Era pier seems to reach out forever into the Irish sea. You will find arcades and eateries on the way to the pier's end.
The adjacent town of Conwy just 4 miles away is home to the amazing Conwy Castle. Conwy was built by Edward the 1st in the 12th Century and still stands tall and strong today. On the waterfront, you will find Great Britain's smallest house. Its one of those oddities of attractions.
Mark Wyld from Wyld Family Travel
London is my favourite place because.. it’s where I became ME! It is a city so diverse and full of colour; full of different languages, tastes, and talents. I love the free museums, the many green spaces, and the multitude of events and activities that make sure I am entertained even on a rainy day. But most of all, I love the variety of people who keep the city feeling vibrant, delicious, and full of possibilities.
Living in London gave me the freedom and confidence to express and develop myself into who I am today. Along with my passion for travel, London was the perfect place to be. It is so well connected. With six international airports to choose from, I was never far from a good flight deal.
Yishyene from SmallCrazy
Manchester is definitely a city worth visiting when you’re going to the UK. It’s a perfect destination for a city trip in Europe, especially if you love music, culture and fantastic food. Manchester has quite a small city centre, which makes it easy to travel around. Most must-see spots are located in walking distance from each other. There are lots of fun things to do in Manchester, for instance, you can watch a football match at Old Trafford, visit the Manchester Art Gallery or go shopping in the city centre. If you love to party, Manchester is also the place to go: there are lots of great pubs, bars and clubs.
Definitely visit the popular area called Northern Quarter, which is a cool district where you can find a lot of great bars, restaurants, street art and shops. The Nothern Quarter is a great place to find retro clothes and rare vinyl.
Jeffrey & Lisanne from Chapter Travel
The Moray coastline and surrounding area in the Highlands of Scotland are stunning. It’s great if you are looking for atmospheric historic sites and natural wonders. We fell in love with the place during a stay in Forres. The small town has a wealth of cafes and restaurants, a beautiful park which hosts the annual Highland Games and Nelson’s Tower, providing views out towards the sea.
The seas around the Moray Firth inlet is home to a dolphin population. The dolphins can be seen from land in some parts of Moray. You can also take boat trips from Findhorn Bay to look out for dolphins, whales and other marine life.
The area is outstandingly wild and beautiful. The beaches around Findhorn are windswept and wonderful. Across the bay, you can wander for hours in the peaceful Culbin forest which has a fascinating history. The area was once barren sands and threatened with coastal erosion.
Moray is also within reach of Inverness - the furthest north city of Scotland. Loch Ness and the historic site of the Battle of Culloden are also near and can be visited on day trips from Forres and other towns in the Moray area.
Angela from readinginspiration.com
If you’ve not visited ‘the Toon’ in a few years you will be pleasantly surprised. The city of Newcastle and its neighbouring town, Gateshead, has come up in the UK city stakes making it a legit weekend break of interest for cultured travellers as well as stag parties! The BALTIC Contemporary Centre of Art is not only home to interesting exhibitions but also the best views of the city.
The Sage Gateshead offers an eclectic mix of shows for music lovers in a very modern setting. The Quayside is bustling with locals and visitors grabbing lunch at one of the River Tyne front bars but the best place to grab a pint is the Ouseburn neighbourhood, hipster bars for craft beer lovers! Other things to do in Newcastle include the Victoria Tunnels, the Great North Museum and the Biscuit Factory.
Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
Norfolk Broads is one of my favourite places in the UK. It has a beautiful landscape that is not found anywhere else in the country. Formed by the flooding of peat workings, the Broads is a network of rivers and lakes that spreads over the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. With seven main rivers and a number of large and small water bodies, the waterways are subject to tidal influence. There are nine natural reserves and numerous Sites of Special Scientific Interest within the Broads. It is a wonderful place for nature lovers, walkers and those who enjoy boating. And the best way to explore it is definitely by a boat. Last year we enjoyed our first boating holiday on the Broads and it was fabulous - we came across some of the best scenery as we navigated the rivers, spotted a lot of wildlife (especially birds), came across a number of watermills & windmills and enjoyed food & drink at numerous waterside pubs & restaurants. There really is no place like the Broads. If you enjoy a peaceful and relaxing holiday, the Norfolk Broads will certainly not disappoint.
Deeptha from The Globe Trotter
Norwich is a medieval city in the county of Norfolk in the East of England. It's the home city of Tanya from Can Travel Will Travel. and is also one of her favourite places in the UK. It's a little tricky to get to due to the lack of a motorway but well worth the effort once you arrive.
Steeped in history Norwich boasts a whole host of historic buildings. These include its beautiful Norman Cathedral and Castle which dominates the city centre from high upon its mound.
Aside from the Cathedral and Castle, Norwich has a plethora of other sights and attractions. There's Europes largest undercover market, museums, quaint cobbled streets, ancient pubs and timber-framed buildings. There's a story to be told around every corner, in keeping with the city’s designation as the only UNESCO City of Literature in England.
Norwich is also the only English city situated in a National Park (the Norfolk Broads) and it's cut in two by the River Wensum. Along it's banks are many beauty spots which make the perfect setting for a stroll, picnic or summer afternoon drink.
Culturally diverse Norwich is the home of the world-renowned University of East Anglia (UEA). Students flock there from all over the world and who can blame them. It has a flourishing culture, music and arts scene. An eclectic selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs. Not to mention many high street and independent shops. With all this, Norwich has something for everyone.
As you enter Norwich from either direction you’ll see the sign stating ‘Norwich a fine city’. That’s an understatement because Norwich is, in fact, a fabulous city!
Tanya from Can Travel Will Travel
Many visitors agree it's hard to resist the unique charm of Orkney. Shaped by stormy seas, with windswept rolling hills, welcoming and thickly accented people and deep ancient roots in Viking blood, are just a few of the things that make Orkney one of my favourite places in the United Kingdom.
Offering travellers a glimpse into what the beginning of humanity might have been like with the most outstanding archaeologic sites in Europe, some dating back 5000 years, Orkney is truly a magical place. This small group of islands, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is also filled to the brim with history. You can visit many Neolithic sites, burial tombs with Pict carvings and learn about its important role in defending the mainland in World War II. In addition, you can even visit the northernmost distillery in the UK, Highland Park. Slainte!
Furthermore, with that mystic sense floating in the wind, it's really easy to imagine the many rings of stones around the island as potential time portals or Vikings disembarking on its rugged coast. Making the journey to Orkney will transport you to another time, a time when life was tough and challenging but slower and filled with magic. Visit Orkney and you’ll quickly see why I love this place.
Nathalie from Marquestra
Green rolling hills, dry stone walls, quaint country cottages and old pubs serving real ale in front of a roaring fire. This is the England that I love. The Peak District, nestled between the big cities of Manchester, Sheffield and Derby, is a place I have been visiting since I was a young girl and as we love it so much, we have just recently moved here! Whatever the weather, we love nothing better than a long family walk in the Peaks. Our favourites are the Nine Ladies Circle through Stanton Moor Peak or the walk starting next to The Robin Hood pub in Baslow, with spectacular views from Birchen Edge. Alternatively, hire some bikes and ride the Monsal Trail or Tissington Trail. Reward your physical activity in one of the many cosy local pubs with a pint of Black Sheep and a hearty roast dinner or chip butty.
Jenny from TraveLynn Family
If you closed your eyes and imagined the most beautiful English village what would you see?
Cobbled and winding streets, a churchyard filled with blossom trees and medieval half-timbered houses
all in a row. And that’s exactly what you find in Rye, a village in East Sussex in the south of England.
Often used for movie and television set locations, Rye is a place almost frozen in time. You can just imagine ladies in silk dresses taking their afternoon walk up the hill to take in the views from the ruins of Ypres Tower. Or waiting for a coach and horses at one of the historic inns.
These days, Rye is the perfect place to rummage in antique shops, stop in a medieval pub and wander down Its prettiest road, the wonderfully named Mermaid Street. Rye is one of our favourite villages in the UK and makes an easy day trip from London.
Katy from Untold Morsels
Yes, believe it or not, there is a place called Sandwich in the UK. In fact, it is said that it was here where the sandwich (the food) originated. The story goes that in the 18thcentury, the Earl of Sandwich was too busy gambling to stop for dinner, so he asked for meat to be served between two slices of bread, so he didn’t have to stop the game. As a result, this way of eating meat became fashionable and the sandwich we know today was born.
But let’s get back to the town. This little story gives you an idea of the amount of history that the town of Sandwich, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England, has. It was once part of the original Cinque Port towns, a group of five historical coastal towns that were built for military and trade purposes in Anglo-Saxon times.
Sandwich is now a charming medieval market town that has the street with the highest number of timber-framed buildings of any other street in England. It’s a charming little town, and the best way to explore it is to get lost in its narrow twisting streets. It is full of historic buildings, including the home of Thomas Paine, author of The Rights of Man, whose writings inspired the American Declaration of Independence, and as well as Richborough Roman Fort in the outskirts of town.
Teresa from Brogan Abroad
Seven Sisters Cliff
The Seven Sisters cliffs near Eastbourne in East Sussex are outstandingly beautiful. Coastal views, green rolling hills, two lighthouses and the towering Seven Sisters chalk cliffs themselves make this my favourite place to be in the UK. A walk following the meandering River Cuckmere will take you through floodplains down to the shingle beach at Cuckmere Haven where the waves crash against the foot of the cliffs. Here the beach is split in two where the river flows into the sea. In summer take off your shoes and wade through the water before climbing the path from the beach to the top of the cliffs. The steeply undulating cliff path takes you to Birling Gap, Belle Tout Lighthouse, Beachy Head lighthouse and finally into Eastbourne. If you take this route please be sure to keep at least 5 metres from the cliff edge as the chalk is constantly crumbling away and rock falls are frequent. My favourite spot is on the other side of the river to the west where you can climb the hill for a glimpse of one of the UK's most iconic views - The coastguard cottages.
Suzanne from Sussex Bloggers
Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall
While most people have heard of the famous Mont Saint-Michel in France, very few people know it’s little brother: Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall. The island is located in Mount's Bay, close to the village Penzance.
The coolest thing about Saint Michaels Mount is without a doubt that you can only reach the tidal island on foot via a cobbled (and sometimes slippery!) causeway when the tide is low. During high tide, the only way to get to the island is by boat. Talking about remove living! Nevertheless, there are around 30 people who call Saint Michael's Mount home, naturally, it’s a very close-knit community.
The main attractions of the island are the castle and the garden, definitely worth a visit! Because the St. Aubyn family, previous owners of the island, have lived in the castle up until now the castle is furnished, decorated and downright cozy.
Lotte from Phenomenal Globe
I live in the Surrey Hills, just south of London and it’s my absolute favourite place in the UK. It’s not particularly famous (unless you’re a cyclist living in London) and the scenery isn’t Instagram-dramatic.
But it’s wonderful.
I love the fact it’s just 28 miles to Trafalgar Square in London, yet it’s proper countryside, not commuters-ville.
From my doorstep, I can get on my bike and ride east into a maze of tangled lanes on gentle gradients, past farms, immaculate cricket pitches, thatched cottages and cozy pubs. It’s like that all the way to Gatwick airport where, if I chose, I could get on a plane and go anywhere in the world.
Turn west from my door, and I’m straight into Surrey’s short, sharp hills: a roll call of some of the most picturesque and tough cycling roads of the southeast: Box Hill, Leith Hill, Coldharbour Lane and more.
Finally, go 30 miles south, and I’m on the coast. The beaches at Brighton, Worthing and West Wittering all beckon.
Who would live anywhere else?!
Clare Dewey from Epic Road Rides
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the county of Wiltshire in England. The monument comprises of a ring of huge megalithic stones. Though the monument itself is fenced out and we could only walk around and take in the view of the magnificent monument. You can take the tour of the Stonehenge with an audio guide provided with the tickets.
We did Stonehenge as a part of a group tour but if you are planning to visit on your own you need to book your tickets in advance as the tickets are timed. From the visitor center, there are several shuttle buses to and from the Stonehenge.
Back at the visitor center you can explore the recreated Neolithic village and understand the way of life of people 3500 years ago. There is also an exhibition at the visitor center which holds a display of over 200 items found during the excavation.
There is also a small cafeteria and a souvenir shop in the visitor center where you can buy some Stonehenge postcards and other souvenirs.
Rashmi & Chalukya from Gobeyondbounds
If you're a fan of history, the British tradition of Afternoon Tea and pottery, then you'll fall in love with Stoke-on-Trent in central England as quickly as I did. One of the highlights of a visit to Stoke-on-Trent is to spend a day at the Wedgwood Museum and the World of Wedgwood. Although it might be hard to imagine spending so much time exploring the world of fine china, the truth is there is so much to do it's hard to pack it all into one day!
Begin by browsing the museum's collection of historic and contemporary ceramics, decorative arts and china and then head to the factory next door where you can watch skilled artisans create unique works of art or even try throwing your own piece of pottery on the wheel. Along the way you'll learn about founder Josiah Wedgwood, who in the 1700s, in addition to being the grandfather of Charles Darwin, was one of the key figures of the Industrial Revolution. Wrap up your day with a sumptuous Afternoon Tea served on Wedgwood China.
Another fascinating museum in Stoke-on-Trent,is the Gladstone Pottery Museum located within a red brick Victorian factory that's so atmospheric it looks as though it could be a movie set. Enjoying a Ploughman's lunch of local cheese, pickles and chutneys is a must-do while in Stoke-on-Trent as is exploring the canals dotted with brightly painted barges, originally used to transport pottery from the factories to market.
Michele from A Taste for Travel
We fell in love with the West Sussex region because of the picturesque and friendly villages. West Sussex village life is focused on relationships with friends and neighbors at local establishments. One of our favorite haunts was the village of Storrington, with its cottages, pubs and shops. We wandered its lovely little lanes and alleys to be rewarded with a glimpse of everyday goings-on and lovely gardens flavored with a nostalgic, timeless patina. Storrington is the gateway to the South Downs National Park, and most of the village is designated conservation area. Topping off each visit was a stop in our favorite pub, the Moon, for hearty traditional fare and drink.
Betsy from PassingThru Enterprises
If you are a literature and theatre lover, Stratford-Upon-Avon in the Midlands in England is one of those places you just cannot skip. With over 800 years of history and as the birthplace of Shakespeare, this medieval market town has many attractions and makes for a great day trip from London.
Of course, you don't want to skip a visit to the birth house of William Shakespeare. Here, you can see how he used to work, ate and slept. With guides in costume, it's just like you're stepping back in time, although with a bit more tourists around! Shakespeare’s 'New Place' (his last home, where he died in 1616) can also be visited and shows rare artefacts relating to Shakespeare’s life, or you could visit the Schoolroom & Guildhall where he studied as a child or the Church of the Holy Trinity where his grave is. There are many tourist passes available, where you get discounts on visiting multiple locations.
At the Royal Shakespeare’s Company Theatre, you can enjoy Shakespeare related plays and at their rooftop, you have a great view over the city. It's the perfect place to sip a cocktail or go for an Afternoon Tea.
Nienke from The Travel Tester
I’m a native of Sunderland, in the north-east of England, and genuinely believe that the city has two of the finest beaches in the country. The golden sands at Roker and Seaburn count among the 65 British beaches that were awarded international Blue Flag status in 2018. If you think the water of the North Sea might be too chilly for a dip take a stroll along the broad promenade instead. Thousands of people meander along it during the free-to-visit Sunderland International Airshow, held each July, which is one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe.
If you’re looking for things to do in the city, step inside of the National Glass Centre, where you can have a go at glass blowing and view exhibits about the industry. To learn more about life on Wearside, pop into Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. Mowbray Park, next to the museum, is a lovely spot for a stroll too.
Stuart from Go Eat Do
Thame, (not Thames, because I’ve had that conversation with a lot of people) is a lovely little town near Oxford. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the city but close enough to many major attractions and sites. It’s also a good place to stay when visiting nearby Oxford.
It’s fun waking up to hear the cock crow like in our childhood days. Start the day off with cycling or walking the nearby Phoenix trail or going to the nearby Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve. Breakfast at one of the coffee shops in town and if it’s a Tuesday, visit the farmer’s market in the main square. The rhubarb pie and the local wine’s taste perfect together. Okay, I know it’s still morning. But who cares? We found a few farm-produced cheese, sweets, fruits, veggies and breads that were delicious. Some of the clothes and knick-knacks are a steal too.
St Mary’s Church in Thame may not be as ornately decorated as some other amazing churches across the world, but it hold’s something of importance - the grave of Robin Gibb, making it a pilgrimage site for any Bee Gees fan. Other attractions include Thame Museum, Princes Risborough for a steam train ride, Rycote Chapel, and Chiltern Hills for nature walks. And the chocolates at Rumseys Chocolatier are amazing. Can’t leave Thame without those. On the whole, Thame is perfect for a quiet relaxing holiday or a weekend away.
Abby from The Winged Fork
The picturesque town of Windsor is one of our very favourite places in all of England. It is home to the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and is only about half an hour on the train from London Paddington.
England is known for its ancient castles, but if you only have time to visit one, then it must be Windsor Castle. We spent 2-3 hours using the fascinating audio guide to explore. The Long Walk through Windsor Great Park gives the best views back to the castle and, if you time it right, you can also watch a much more intimate Changing of the Guard ceremony than the huge one at Buckingham Palace.
Apart from the castle, there’s Eton College, where the royals go to school, adorable pubs, cobblestone streets, a river full of swans to feed and, if you’re travelling with kids, then a short taxi ride to LEGOLAND Windsor is a day of adventure in itself!
Read about more things to do in Windsor here.
Kirralee from Escape With Kids