31 Oct Touring the UK: 10 Best Places to Visit
When travelling to countries such as the United States or Australia, I’m quickly reminded of how small the UK actually is. Americans think nothing of driving for a few hour within one state, while in the UK you can drive only half an hour down the road and find yourself straining to understand a completely different accent.
Yes, Britain’s size makes it the ideal place to hire a caravan or motorhome and take an epic road trip around the country. If you need insurance, take a look at The Caravan Club website. From the beaches along the Cornish coast to the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, the UK has so many places to visit outside of London!
If you’re looking for some inspiration for touring the country, here are 10 of the best places to visit in the UK.
If it’s your first visit to the UK, you can’t miss a trip to the Big Smoke. Don’t know where to start? Check out my list of things to do for first-timers in London. Snap a photo with Big Ben, gaze through the gates of Buckingham Palace, shop-till-you-drop on Oxford Street, take a ride on the London Eye and learn about British history on a visit to the Tower of London. Afternoon tea is a British tradition, and the best teas can be found at Claridge’s, The Ritz and The Dorchester.
The seaside town of Brighton is just an hour away from London and makes for the perfect getaway. After all that sightseeing in London, it’s nice to breathe in some sea air and enjoy one of Britain’s specialities; fish and chips! Brighton’s highlights include the famous Victorian Pier and the Royal Pavilion- an extravagant Taj-Mahal type building with onion-shaped turrets. If you happen to be visiting Brighton in August then don’t miss the Brighton Pride Festival, one of the best gay pride festivals in the world!
To the southwest of England you have the city of Bath, which was home to famous author Jane Austen. Visit the Jane Austen Centre to learn how the city influenced her novels, and check out the Royal Crescent- a row of 30 Georgian buildings in the shape of a crescent. For some pampering and relaxation, visit the Thermae Bath Spa, which is the only natural thermal spa in the UK!
Cornwall is my favourite place in England and I have spent many summers here. If you drive along the north coast I highly recommend stopping in the cute fishing village of Port Isaac and staying in a B&B for the night. Have a go at surfing in Polzeath and take the ferry over to Padstow for lunch at Rick Stein’s cafe . St. Ives is also a beautiful spot with white sand and turquoise blue waters- yes there are good beaches in England, I swear!
5. The Cotswolds
For a slice of quintessential England complete with quaint cottages and country pubs, make a stop in The Cotswolds- an area of gentle hills between Stratford Upon Avon, Oxford and Bath. You could combine your trip with a day at the Cheltenham Gold Cup- and annual horse race that takes place every year in March. If you’re a foodie The Cotswolds also happens to be rather an upmarket area, with award-winning restaurants and gastropubs.
6. Snowdonia, Wales
Snowdonia is one of Wales’s most beautiful regions, boasting 100 lakes, 37 miles of coastline and 90 mountain peaks! If you’re feeling really adventurous you can climb Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, at 1,085m. The spectacular, rugged landscapes are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and climbing.
It’s pretty safe to say that everyone’s heard of The Beatles. If not, have you been living under a rock?! Liverpool is of course home to the Fab Four and you can learn all about their rise to stardom at The Beatles Story museum down at Albert Dock. There are several other free museums down here, including the Tate Liverpool art gallery. See the famous River Mersey and stop by Pier Head, where you’ll find the ‘Three Graces’- the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building and the Liver Building. Also worth a visit is Liverpool Cathedral; the largest in the UK and the fifth largest in the world.
8. Lake District
The Lake District is an incredibly beautiful area of North-West Britain and was the inspiration for poet William Wordsworth and children’s author Beatrix Potter. As Britain’s largest National Park it boasts lakes, valleys, fells, peaks, towns and villages. If you’re an outdoors-y type this spot is perfect for walking, cycling, climbing, sailing and windsurfing.
9. Scotland’s Whiskey Trail
I still haven’t done this but I have always fancied doing Scotland’s Malt Whiskey trail, visiting the renowned whiskey distilleries and seeing some of the beautiful Scottish Highlands along the way. You can take behind-the-scenes tours of the distilleries and best of all, taste the final product. Some of the distilleries have accommodation attached, which is perfect if you’re driving from place to place.
10. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
On your UK tour you can take the ferry over to Belfast and explore some of Northern Ireland. If you spend a couple of days in Belfast I highly recommend doing a Black Taxi Tour to see Belfast’s political murals and learn about the struggles here.Perhaps the most iconic sight in Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway- an area of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were left as a result of an ancient volcanic eruption.