Visit the UK
Consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the UK has long been one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations. The country's appeal has much to do with its diverse scenery and rich cultural heritage. The best places to visit include everything from beautifully preserved country estates and castles, to its many world-class art galleries and museums.There really are no reasons to leave the UK when there are so many exciting places to explore. From awe-inspiring landscapes, deserted beaches and stargazing spots to arts festivals, fresh cultural hotspots it's time to put away your passport and check out our top 5 places to visit in the UK.
is a county of contradictions. There's myth and mystery, misty clifftops and sharp, rugged rocks rising out of restless waves, as well as peaceful coves, sleepy towns and vitamin D-soaked beaches packed out with surfers. Go in search of King Arthur at Tintagel's romantic, clifftop ruin (which is reopening in August with a brand new bridge), before travelling along the coast to Boscastle and the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic - it's the world's oldest and largest collection of items relating to magic, home to creepy mirrors, mummified cats, lucky charms and spell-casting stones. Watch a play with the Atlantic as the backdrop at the Minack Theatre, see great works of art at Tate St Ives and have a freshly cooked feast under the stars at The Hidden Hut. Then wander the causeway out to St Michael's Mount at low tide, lose yourself in The Lost Gardens of Heligan and explore Cornwall's answer to Kew Gardens: the Eden Project, with its enormous indoor forests. This otherworldly part of the country makes a compelling case to stay in the UK this year.
While it's possible to plan a trip to the UK without visiting London, it's certainly not to be advised, as the nation's sprawling capital boasts plenty of attractions to keep you busy. For those interested in learning more about the UK's rich history, one of the top things to do in London is visit the Tower of London. Located beside the spectacular Tower Bridge on the banks of the River Thames, this former palace and prison includes highlights such as the iconic 1,000-year-old White Tower, with its fascinating displays of armor and weaponry, and the Jewel House, home to the Crown Jewels. Fans of Britain's Royal Family will want to head to Buckingham Palace, London's Royal home since Queen Victoria's reign. Here, you can enjoy the colorful pomp of the Changing of the Guard or even take a tour of the Palace's State Rooms (be sure to book in advance as they're only open for a few weeks each year).The city's Whitehall Road area is another must, where you'll find Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings, as well as Westminster Abbey, scene of many a royal wedding. Another area to visit in London is South Kensington, home to the city's best museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, as well as the famous Harrods department store. Also check out Trafalgar Square, home to iconic Nelson's Column and the National Portrait Gallery.
Forget NorthA merica's awe-inspiring National Parks and Asia's otherworldly coastlines, we have incredible landscapes much closer to home. For an escape that couldn't feel further from London (but isn't actually that far), jump on the Caledonian Sleeper after work on a Friday and wake up early the next morning in the middle of the Highlands. A new fleet of plush trains, with double beds and en suites,are arriving this year (the launch date was originally in spring 2019, but it's been pushed back), to make the overnighter to Scotland more comfortable. Disembark in Inverness and you'll find yourself within driving or day-tripping distance from hikes in the Cairngorms, dolphin spotting at Chanonry Point and monster hunting at Loch Ness. Venture further afield to see the fang-like stacks at Duncansby Head, the deserted beaches of the north coast, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by 'Harry Potter', and the dizzying heights of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.
One of northern England's most popular tourist destinations, the medieval city of York, long the ecclesiastical capital of the Church of England, boasts one of the country's most magnificent cathedrals. The country's largest medieval church,York Minster can trace its roots back to the spread of Christianity in the 3rd century, although the splendid present Gothic structure was built almost 1,000 years later.Highlights of a tour include the opportunity to view its 14th-century stained glass windows,plus the richly decorated interiors of the choir and north transept. Also,worth a visit is the crypt, which contains parts of the original 11th-century church the cathedral now stands on.Other landmarks worth exploring are the ancient City Walls, which stretch almost five kilometers around the old medieval city center and offer excellent views over The Shambles, a narrow 14th-century roadway, famous for its fine old timber-framed buildings, many of which hang over the street below. It's also an area known for its many restaurants and tearooms, as well as its many boutique shops and galleries. York also boasts a number of major museums, the most popular being the National Railway Museum. Highlights of this museum's vast collection include many fine old steam engines dating as far back as 1820, plus a unique collection of Royal Trains.
Despite being much smaller than both Scotland and England, Wales is home to some of the UK's top attractions and fun things to do, from exploring the breathtaking scenery and enjoying outdoor adventures in its national parks to visiting its historic castles.One of the best places to sample a little of everything that Wales has to offer is the country's capital, Cardiff, with most travelers beginning their visit at Cardiff Castle. Located in the middle of the city and built on the ruins of an ancient Roman fort, parts of the current structure date as far back as 1090, with much of it restored in the 1800s. Highlights include the State Apartments, the Clock Tower, the Chapel, and a spectacular Banqueting Hall with its fine murals. Afterwards, be sure to spend time wandering the city's many old Victorian shopping arcades,the best of which can be found around The Hayes. Also, worth checking out is Cardiff Bay. One of the UK's largest redevelopment projects, this vast area is now home to numerous fine restaurants, theaters, galleries, and shopping opportunities, many of them housed in former warehouses on lovely Mermaid Quay. Cardiff Bay is also where you'll find the World of Boats, with its unique collection of vessels from around the globe, and Techniquest, a fun science center featuring a planetarium and theater.