The United Kingdom, which consists of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, has long been one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations thanks to its picturesque landscapes, storied cities, world-class museums, and acclaimed performing arts venues.
Top 10 Places to Visit in United Kingdom
There is a wide range of attractions to see in the UK, from ancient fortresses to grand country estates, as well as the breathtaking landscapes of the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.
North of London, on the banks of the River Cam, is the picturesque English city of Cambridge. Cambridge boasts all the cultural and entertainment attractions you’d expect from a college town, given that it is home to one of the world’s top institutions.
The city of Cambridge promotes itself as a year-round destination. When the weather warms up, the possibilities seem endless, but even on the coldest winter day, there is always something to do.
The King’s College Chapel, located on the banks of the River Cam, is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning perpendicular Gothic architecture. There are around 8,000 plant and flower species at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, as well as a winter garden, mature trees, and glasshouses.
It has been bringing in visitors for for than 150 years. Cambridge’s natural setting is ideal for a variety of outdoor pursuits. The Cam River is an excellent site to attempt punting, which is driving a flat-bottomed boat with a stick, in addition to more traditional activities like walking and cycling.
2. Lake District
The Lake District is the United Kingdom’s second-largest National Park and is located in the county of Cumbria in northwest England. The glacial lakes, mountains, and hills provide stunning and awe-inspiring beauty and are the main draws.
It’s the best place in England to go climbing or hiking. The park receives over 14 million annual visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.
The national park of Snowdonia is fantastic. The breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and shore can be seen in every direction from this vantage point. Travelers may see as far as Ireland on a clear day.
Snowdonia is the mountainous region of Wales that includes the country’s largest lake and the tallest peak (Snowdon, shared by Wales and England). There isn’t a larger national park in all of Britain than this one.
Hikers and mountain bikers will love the national park, but even couch potatoes can find walks that suit them. Most hikers will find ascending Snowdon to be a difficult task, while other trails are suitable for casual footwear.
For those who would rather relax while taking in Snowdonia’s breathtaking scenery, the region is home to a narrow-gauge train. Over 26,000 people make their homes within the park’s borders, where they may enjoy the park’s amenities like food, lodging, and local crafts.
Llanberis, the slate settlement, now hosts the National Slate Museum, while Dongellau is home to the National Centre for Welsh Music. Conwy Castle, erected by Edward I, and Penrhyn Castle, built by the wealthy Lord Penrhyn in the 19th century, are just two of the many castles worth seeing in Snowdonia.
Chester, located on the River Dee in Cheshire, England, is not far from the border with Wales. Given its age (more than 2,000 years), the city has preserved a wide range of cultural artefacts and architectural styles.
Black-and-white revival architecture from the nineteenth century may be found all across the city. Tourists flock to see the city’s historic Roman and mediaeval walls. As their original purpose as a protective barrier was no longer needed, they were transformed into a pedestrian bridge.
It takes roughly an hour to walk the entire two-mile circuit, but there are many things to see and appreciate along the way. You won’t find footbridges like the Chester Rows anywhere else in the world.
Originally built in the 13th century, these covered walkways now connect two stories of modern commercial space. The stores and restaurants on the ground floor are easily accessible via the stairwells that run along the walkways.
Taking a cruise down the river is a common way for tourists to take in the special vibe and breathtaking scenery of a city. Walking tours of the ancient city are also available. The rich history of the city provides a wealth of material for ghost walks.
Markets selling handmade goods and colourful cafes and pubs are two reasons why Chester is a great destination to visit. During this time of year, the town really comes to life. Thanks to the cheerful atmosphere and decorations, it looks like it could have been plucked from a postcard.
Every age group will enjoy a trip to the multi-award winning Cheshire Zoo. Almost 11,000 creatures call this place home. If you’ve never felt the excitement of horse racing, the Chester Racecourse is the place to do it.
Woodcarvings, cloisters, Gothic columns, and breathtaking stained glass are just some of the architectural and artistic highlights of the Cheshire Cathedral. Every day, and with no cover charge.
Cornwall is a land of extremes. It’s rustic and remote despite its endearing little town vibe. Cornwall is a peninsula in the southwest of the United Kingdom, with cliffs overlooking the water to the north and popular sandy beaches to the south.
Cornwall was formerly a haven for pirates and smugglers. Cornwall’s beaches were ideal for such pursuits because they were surrounded by water (save for the boundary with Devonshire), which led to their romanticization in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “The Pirates of Penzance.”
The landscape of Cornwall seems like something out of a storybook. This is where the events of the children’s story “Jack and the Beanstalk” occur. Legend has it that the famous King Arthur of Camelot’s birthplace, Tintagel Castle. Even now, the Cornish believe in pixies and fairies.
St. Ives, formerly a quiet fishing village north of Penzance, is now a bustling tourist destination and creative refuge. If you only have a day to see the sights, St. Ives is worth the journey as a day trip from Penzance. Artists’ studios dot the village’s winding, cobblestone lanes.
St. Michael Mount is a tidal island in Cornwall, similar to Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. Tourists to this monument should plan their visit accordingly, as the causeway leading to the island is accessible only during the mid- to low-tide periods. Once upon a time, perhaps a thousand years ago, the castle served as a monastery.
York, a fortified city with a long and storied history, is at the confluence of the Rivers Foss and Ouse. This historic city packs a lot of interesting sights into a little area. The train travel from London to York takes only two hours.
As they make their way across the city, tourists have a lot of interesting attractions to choose from. York Minster is a recognisable symbol of the city. There are incredible pieces of art all over this imposing stone cathedral. The cathedral has “explorer baskets” and other activities for kids so they won’t get bored.
The JORVIK Viking Centre is one of York’s more unusual attractions. The sights, sounds, and even scents of life in a Viking city a thousand years ago are all here in this reconstruction. Built by William the Conqueror and later reconstructed by Henry III in the 13th century, Clifford’s Tower is an excellent place to get a bird’s eye view over the city.
The archaeological and geological holdings of the Yorkshire Museum are among its most notable features. One of the best features of the Castle Museum is its recreation of a Victorian-era street. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the hands-on exhibits and free admission at the Railway Museum, which covers 300 years of rail history.
Edinburgh is steeped in history, from its famously preserved cobblestone streets to the castle that stands as a symbol of the city and of Scotland. There are almost 4,500 historic buildings and sites in Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns alone, making the city a veritable time capsule.
Edinburgh Castle, perched on a hill above the city, is a symbol of Old Town and all it has to offer in terms of culture and history. It is in Old Town that the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s most famous thoroughfare, runs between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Many tourists will start their time in Edinburgh by walking the Royal Mile. After finishing this walk, visitors might choose to check out Grassmarket, a mediaeval marketplace that was previously used for public executions. Robert Burns used to stop by the White Hart Inn, and it’s still open for business today.
Even though its neoclassical buildings give New Town its name, the district has been around since the 18th century. The city’s elites made their home in New Town. There are portraits of everyone from Mary, Queen of Scots, to Sean Connery, on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held annually in August, attracts over 200,000 visitors and features performances by the world’s finest military bands. Edinburgh International Festival is the city’s iconic summer festival; the Leith Festival is a traditional arts festival; and the Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival.
Stonehenge, located in southwest England, is one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks due to the earthworks that surround a circular arrangement of large standing stones. It also comprises around 200 scheduled monuments, including some of the most significant Neolithic and Bronze Age finds and constructions in the Country.
Stonehenge was erected in three distinct phases. The first iteration of Henge dates back to around 3100 B.C. A circular ditch, earthen bank, and Aubrey holes made up the structure. About one metre in diameter, Aubrey holes are circular depressions found in the earth’s chalk layer.
Researchers have concluded that the trenches served a religious or funerary function. After this initial phase was finished, the location was forgotten for over a millennium. The second phase of Stonehenge’s construction is widely considered the most exciting by experts in the field. In 2150 B.C., construction began.
The construction crew brought in 82 bluestones, the heaviest of which weighed in at 4 tonnes. It is thought that rollers on the ground and, if required, rafts on the rivers were used to move these stones. This trip spanned 370 kilometres (240 miles). These stones, when arranged, made a double circle with a gap in the middle.
About the year 2000 B.C., construction entered its third and final phase. Very enormous stones called Sarsen stones were transported from a location about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Stonehenge.
The heaviest of these stones was close to 50 tonnes; sledges and ropes were likely used to move it. According to excavations, it took about 500 men to pull the sledge and 100 men to place rollers under it in order to move one stone.
9. Scottish Highlands
Northern and northwest Scotland are where you’ll find the rough and beautiful Scottish Highlands. It’s the Scotland that comes to mind when you think of things like Braveheart, kilts, lochs, and tartan.
Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest peak, is located in this sparsely populated region dominated by numerous mountain ranges. Dunrobin Castle and Eilean Donan Castle, both located in the Highlands, are only two examples of the many magnificent castles that dot the landscape.
It is only accessible by crossing a stone bridge, but it is well worth the effort because it has been renovated multiple times into a “perfect” castle. Loch Ness, the most well-known lake in all of Scotland, may be located there as well.
The Loch Ness monster, a legendary creature that has been observed sometimes by locals and tourists alike, is said to live in the Loch, which is about a mile wide at its widest point.
London is a fascinating city because of its history, museums, art galleries, parks, great shopping, delicious food, lively theatrical scene, and, of course, the royal family. You may find anything and anything in London.
Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of many of England’s finest literary figures, political leaders, and royal family members, is only one example of the city’s rich historical legacy.
The world-famous British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Tate Gallery may all be seen without paying a dime in London. Seeing the guards change at Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, the world’s most recognisable clock, are both must-dos for any visitor to London.
London’s vibrant theatre scene is home to some of the best performances worldwide. St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles were married, is as well known as a wonderful example of Christopher Wren’s architecture, so it is only fitting that the festivities begin there with an evensong ceremony.
Visitors to London who are interested in seeing the site where Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, was executed may want to stop by the Tower of London. Taking a double-decker bus across Tower Bridge on the River Thames is another must-do while in London.