Composed of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom has long been a favorite European tourist destination for many because of its beautiful countryside. Historic cities, topnotch museums and outstanding theaters.
From medieval castles to stately mansions and the awe-inspiring scenery of the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands. There are a diverse set of places to visit in the UK.
London is a fascinating city laden with history, filled with museums and art galleries, beautiful green parks, fantastic shopping and dining. A vibrant theater scene, and, of course, royalty. London is truly a city that has it all.
The English capital is a city that is steeped in history, from its museums and palaces to historic buildings such as Westminster Abbey. The final resting place for many of the country’s greatest individuals.
From writers to statesmen to royalty. London is home to some of the most famous museums in the world. The British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Tate Gallery, all of which offer free admission.
The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is a not-to-be-missed experience. As is watching the minutes tick away at Big Ben, probably the world’s most famous clock.
One of the most famous sites in the world. Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones in south west England.
It is also home to some of the most important Neolithic and Bronze Age finds and structures in the UK. And contains some 200 scheduled monuments.
Stonehenge was built in three stages. The first stage, built in approximately 3100 B.C, was the original Henge. It consisted of a circular ditch. An earthen bank and Aubrey holes.
Aubrey holes are circular pits in the chalk layer of the earth that are about one meter wide. Experts believe that the pits were used in religious ceremonies or for burials.
The site was abandoned not long after the completion of this first stage, and it was not used for more than 1000 years.
See Also : Best Places to Visit in the USA
York is a walled city with a rich heritage located where the River Foss meets the River Ouse. An impressive number of attractions are packed into the space of this ancient city. York is just a two-hour train ride away from London.
Plenty of exciting sights compete for visitors’ attention as they stroll along the city’s cobblestone streets. One of the city’s landmarks is York Minster.
This commanding stone cathedral is filled with remarkable works of art. Children are unlikely to be bored thanks to “explorer baskets” and other activities geared toward young people at the cathedral.
One of the more unique offerings in York is the JORVIK Viking Centre. This recreation of a Viking city captures the sights, sounds, and even the smells that existed a thousand years ago.
The medieval Clifford’s Tower, which was built by William the Conqueror and rebuilt by Henry III in the 13th century, is a great vantage point for panoramic views around the city.
4. Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands is the rugged northern and northwestern portion of Scotland. This is the Scotland conjured up by visions of tartan, kilts, lochs and Braveheart.
The area is very sparsely populated. With many mountain ranges dominating the region. And includes the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis.
The Highlands are home to many stunning castles including Dunrobin Castle and Eilean Donan Castle. A real picture postcard castle, situated on its own small island in Loch Duich.
Only reachable by crossing a stone bridge it was remodeled several times into an ‘ideal’ castle and is well worth a visit. With some interesting rooms and exhibits.
Scotland’s most famous lake, Loch Ness can also be found in the Highlands. About a mile wide at most places it is the purported home of the Loch Ness monster.
A possibly mythical creature, which dwells in the Loch and is occasionally spotted by locals and passers-by.
Cornwall is a study in contrasts. It is charming and quaint, yet rugged and isolated. Located in the westernmost point of the United Kingdom.
Cornwall is a peninsula that offers rocky cliffs overlooking the sea on its northern side and golden sand beaches that are loved by tourists on the south.
Pirates and smugglers called Cornwall home in the days of yore. Surrounded by water, except for the boundary with Devonshire.
Cornwall’s beaches were perfect for such activities. Eventually leading to a romanticization of these activities in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance”.
Cornwall also has a fairy tale quality about it. The children’s story, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, takes place here.
The legendary King Arthur of Camelot fame supposedly was born in Tintagel Castle. Pixies or fairies are popular even today among Cornish folk.
Snowdonia is an awesome national park. There is simply no other way to describe the stunning 360-degree views of the mountains. Valleys and coast below.
On a clear day, visitors can even see Ireland. Located along the coast of Wales. Snowdonia is home to Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and England.
And the largest lake in Wales. It is the third largest national park in the United Kingdom.
The national park is a dream come true for hikers and mountain bikers. But even couch potatoes can find walks suitable for them.
Climbing Snowdon will challenge most hikers, but other trails can be walked comfortably by those wearing regular walking shoes. Snowdonia even offers a narrow-gauge railway for those who prefer to view stunning scenery in comfort.
Not far from the border with Wales, the city of Chester lies on the River Dee in Cheshire, England. The city is more than 2,000 years old.
Which means there is plenty of history, culture and architecture on hand spanning several eras. Distinctive 19th century black-and-white revival architecture can be found throughout the city.
The Roman and medieval walls encircling the city are a big tourist attraction. After their defensive function became unnecessary, they were converted into an elevated walkway around the city.
A walk around the complete two-mile circuit takes about an hour, but most visitors will find plenty to stop and marvel at along the way.
The Chester Rows are walkways with a unique structure not found anywhere else in the world. These covered walkways that date back to the 13th century lead to two different levels of commercial properties.
The walkways pass in front of the first floor shops and restaurants. And they offer access to the street-level establishments via steps.
Cambridge is a charming English city located on the River Cam just north of London. As the home to one of the world’s top universities. The University of Cambridge. It has all of the cultural and entertainment options you might expect from a college town.
Cambridge touts itself as a “city for all seasons”. There is no shortage of things to do even on the coldest winter day. And the options are seemingly unlimited when the warmer weather sets in.
The King’s College Chapel, situated along the River Cam. Is considered a fine example of perpendicular Gothic architecture and is one of the most visited sights in the city.
The Cambridge University Botanic Garden features 8,000 species of plants and flowers. A winter garden, mature trees and glasshouses. It has been drawing in visitors for more than 150 years.
See Also : Best Places to Visit in Canada
10. Lake District
Located in north west England in the county of Cumbria, the Lake District is the second largest National Park in the UK. The main attractions are the lakes.
Mountains and hills carved by glacial erosion and providing dramatic and inspiring scenery. It is England’s premier destination for hiking and climbing.
Among the most popular places to visit in the United Kingdom, the park is visited by about 14 million tourists each year.