Best Places in the United Kingdom for Tourists
The UK is only a small island but the destinations you can visit are dramatically different. Below, you will find an insider’s list of top places to visit for travelers coming far and wide. We’ve also included some tips for what to avoid and where to stay to make your holiday as memorable as it can be.
Coast Around Cornwall
First up, the Cornish coastline – Visit the Cornish coast when you still need a light jacket outside, try camping in Croyde and walk along the beach only populated by surfers out of season. Croyde is by far one of the most beautiful seaside towns which offers a variety of campsites very close to the beach; pick the one furthest away. The walk to the beach is breathtaking and the prices are dramatically cheaper. Whilst you are in Croyde, visit The Thatch pub for a ploughman’s and a pint and take a wander around the village. It is quiet and calm out of season, a true representation of living by the coast – Do not go in the school holidays, it is a completely different experience full of stress and queues and fighting for tables in the pub garden.
Go Wild on the Moors
Drive an hour and you can find yourself in a very different setting. Dartmoor National Park is a must visit. Home to Dartmoor Prison, it covers 368 sq. miles. Dartmoor is a vast area of moorland that includes rivers, heath clad moors, ancient rock formations and forests. You can find cycle routes, walk across the tors and try wild camping. The National Park is one of those areas of vast beauty that is forever changing, and it reminds you that you are tiny, and the world is huge.
It is home to many animals that are farmed in the wild. If you choose to drive across the moors, you will very quickly realise that they don’t care for you intruding. They will walk out in front of your car and they will lie down in the road. Some safety tips! Avoid driving with low fuel, and always carry a blanket and food because if you get stuck on the moors, you will be stuck for a while. This huge expanse of beauty does not play by the rules and there is no signal anywhere, it’s a great place to go and metaphorically get lost. Try not to actually get lost!
Bathe in Bath
Further north, I would recommend stopping in Bath – you’ve done the camping and great outdoors so it’s time to treat yourself to a bit of R&R. Find a nice bed and breakfast on the outskirts of the town (try to avoid the big hotels, they are more work than relaxation) and go on a romantic evening into Bath’s town. Graze Eatery and Microbrewery is a must; get yourself a juicy steak and a decent pint of real ale brewed on site. Then pop next door to an amazing cocktail bar where the staff will be your entertainment. If cocktails aren’t your thing, you will find a load of other choices in the area. Bath’s nightlife is completely varied with clubs, pubs and dive bars playing rock music into the night. I would also suggest the Roman Baths – The tours can get busy so go early.
Then when you leave, pop over the road where you will find some cracking homemade fudge which you can eat as you wander around their eclectic market.
Check Out the Capital
London is a must; a celebration of all kinds of different cultures. Go shopping in Covent Garden as you wander past street performers and musicians, you could even go when Notting Hill Carnival is on, or see a show in the West End. The list of things to do in the Capital is endless but one I would highly recommend is the Vegan Nights Festival. It is a celebration of the vegan culture with small business owners from all over the UK selling their vegan products. You can wander around the stalls eating yummy vegan bagels and drink vegan wine whilst listening to some music. Well worth the visit. Don’t forget some of the popular tourist spots like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament; they are important but not a true representation of London life. For the most authentic experience in London, ride the underground. It is beautiful chaos.
Why not Explore the Forest
The Forest of Dean is my favourite place in the UK. Home to the Wye Valley river and an endless forest, this is the most beautiful place to get away from normal life. Try kayaking down the Wye Valley river, stopping off at a waterfront pub to drink some ale and you will understand exactly why it is such a special place.
The views are incredible. There are cycle routes and walking paths all around the forest; avoid walking around at night as there are plenty of Wild Boars. It’s a great place for mountain biking too; the mountain biking community do regular digs to create some awesome trails and you may even see some pros whilst out on your bike. I’d recommend staying in the cabins located in the forest – upgrade to the ones with the hot tubs, sitting out in a hot tub in the middle of a forest is heaven.
Ske’daddle to Edinburgh and get some Scran
Finally, head up north to Edinburgh which is bustling with culture. Some of the best tattoo artists are planted firmly in the Edinburgh scene so if you like tattoos; try and get booked in whilst you are there. Go to the Scotch Whiskey Experience where you will be able to tour the distillery and try a variety of whiskeys. Check out the castle and the Royal Mile and finish off with some traditional Scottish food (or ‘scran’) such as Haggis with ‘neeps and tatties’.
Some other special mentions to York for it’s cool Viking history, Manchester for its music scene and amazing vintage shopping and Lincoln for the Cathedral and the steep hill full of cool shops. We’ve barely touched the surface of what the UK has to offer but we recommend exploring for yourselves!