When planning your next vacation, consider the best places to visit in the UK. The area ranges from ancient castles to bustling cities, and it’s a trip you won’t regret. Read until the end to discover where to travel in the UK!
18 of the Best Places to Visit in the UK
The UK is an island nation and one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. It’s home to hundreds of sites dating back to prehistory, and you even can see remnants of Roman roads as you walk through city streets.
There are also many modern wonders, like the Eden Project in Cornwall or the famous London Underground tube system. The UK consists of four countries, making it a nation with many different cultures and traditions.
You can traverse islands in Scotland, go to the theater in England, and hear a new language in Wales.
Or, go across the water to Northern Ireland and hit the pubs in Belfast. Wherever you choose to visit in the UK will be fantastic, but we’re here to help you find the best location based on your preferences and needs.
We’ll consider things to do, affordability, transportation, and more in this roundup of the best places to visit in the UK. Keep reading to find your next great travel destination!
London is the UK’s most popular travel destination for a reason. It’s a bustling city with a population of nearly nine million people, and the city blends history and modernity in a way no other place does.
England’s capital sits in the southeast part of the country, wrapped within the iconic M25 motorway. Check out the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and The Shard while you’re there.
Stonehenge is a stone circle dating back to British prehistory. It’s in Salisbury, and the site consists of stones from Wales that ancient hunter-gatherers arranged in what’s now an iconic shape. The area is a protected heritage site, but you can purchase tickets to view the wonder and snap a photo.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and a top tourist destination. The city is famous for its connection to the RMS Titanic, and you can visit museums that honor the ship’s birthplace.
Head to a tavern and listen to live music, or tour the grand government buildings in the city. Or, visit the Ulster Museum to learn about Northern Irish history and culture.
Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland and is a hub for music, ballet, theater, and education. It’s famous for iconic Victorian buildings and imposing monuments, statues, and fountains.
Stroll along the riverside in the summer or retreat to the opera hall in the cold. The botanic gardens are indoor and open year-round, and you can invariably tour the University of Glasgow campus.
5. St. Andrews
St. Andrews may be tiny, but it’s famous in its own right. The seaside Scottish town hosts golf tournaments on the beautiful coastal Old Course, a location dating back to the 15th century.
Book a tee time at one of the courses or sit in a cafe and bask in the lovely views. You can also drive down to West Sands Beach for some relaxing fun.
6. Lake District National Park
You can’t visit the UK without going to the Lake District. It’s a national park in Cumbria encompassing over 500,000 acres.
The park, a world heritage site, includes mountains, lakes, and quaint towns. Spend a day at Hill Top Farm to discover the author Beatrix Potter, who donated 4,000 acres to the National Trust.
Brighton is a coastal town in the south of England, perfect for a sunny beach vacation. The iconic white buildings, trendy restaurants, and rocky beaches will make you want to head to Brighton as soon as possible.
Spend a day at Brighton Palace Pier and enjoy fairground rides and bars. Don’t forget to bring a sweater, as this resort town does have cloudy days.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital. A city with intricate Gothic architecture, rolling hills, and an imposing castle in the center of town, it’s a place you have to visit.
Tour the University of Edinburgh, see the Scottish Royal Jewels inside Edinburgh Castle and catch a play at one of the theater houses. Also, climb the Scott Monument for spectacular views, and check out the National Museum of Scotland.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the acclaimed Elizabethian playwright, but it’s also a charming Medieval market town that’s great for a weekend getaway.
See the Royal Shakespeare Company perform, visit the bard’s boyhood home, or attend a Shakespearian event. You can also visit a butterfly farm, browse art galleries, or grab a pint at The Stratford Alehouse.
10. Dartmoor National Park
You might remember Dartmoor National Park as the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Hound of the Baskervilles book, and the area has an abundance of fog and mystery.
It’s a top destination in Devon county and has free admission. Explore the wild moors, craggy rocks, and green fields. Bring your umbrella, as you might get caught in a rainstorm!
Visit the north of England and check out Liverpool, a waterfront city bordering the Irish Sea. It’s long been a center of trade and has a sizable tourist flow thanks to the fact it’s the home of the Beatles.
Book a Beatles-themed walking tour, snap a photo by the Eleanor Rigby statue, and see the Strawberry Fields children’s home that inspired the iconic song.
Cardiff is the capital of Wales and a southern coastal town. It’s a friendly city with plenty to do, from museums to parks to historic sites. Check out the Victorian-Gothic castle with Roman roots, the National Museum Cardiff about Welsh history, and the rocky Splott Beach.
Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, but it’s part of the UK and has both English and French speakers. It’s a scenic little area that’s only a quick flight from the mainland.
Book a cozy rental and wake up each morning to peaceful island views. The colorful architecture, global restaurants, art galleries, and numerous walking paths are just a few reasons to love Guernsey.
Are you looking for a relaxing holiday in the countryside? Consider visiting the Cotswolds, a woodsy area of central-southwest England with many quaint towns, rolling hills, and scenic driving paths.
Bibury is a lovely village with lush plants, stone paths, and a little river. Snowshill is also a great choice with its tiny cottages and authentic Cotswolds gastropub with local brews, the Snowshill Arms.
Manchester is a vibrant northwestern England city where you can learn about the UK’s industrial past. It’s also home to the Manchester United Football Club and their iconic Old Trafford Stadium.
Visit the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and the National Football Museum. Manchester also has a thriving music scene, and you can see local artists like Aitch and Bugzy Malone perform.
16. Hebrides Islands
The Hebrides Islands are one of the northernmost travel destinations in the UK. Head to the Outer Hebrides, and you can see the northern lights.
The Hebrides are an archipelago in eastern Scotland, and they boast stunning views of rugged rocky shores, lush green fields, and quaint fishing villages where some inhabitants speak ancient Gaelic.
The Vikings landed in the Hebrides in the 9th century, serving as the inspiration for the children’s book series, How to Train Your Dragon, about ancient Norse life in the area.
York is a beautiful northeast England city famed for its Gothic Revival architecture. The Romans founded York in 71 AD, and the town has thrived for nearly two thousand years.
Visit the Shambles, a well-preserved medieval street, and the York City Walls, ruins of the original city barrier. The city is near several national parks and is a great stopping-off point for the Yorkshire Dales or North York Moors National Park.
Birmingham is a northern city in the West Midlands area. It’s near the Welsh border and makes a great day trip from the beautiful Shropshire Hills.
Visit Birmingham to discover the UK’s role in the Industrial Revolution, and see a reconstruction of an 1850s town at the Black Country Living Museum. There’s also an art gallery with pre-Raphaelite works.
Things to Consider
Consider these cultural differences and travel tips before heading to the UK:
- Don’t break the queue! Brits are famous for queuing, or forming a line, for nearly anything, from bus stops to cafes. Respect the custom, and don’t cut ahead.
- Expect to hear many different languages. London and other cities have an immigrant population from mainland Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere. The UK also has two indigenous languages that are common to hear, Scots and Welsh.
- Learn how to make tea the British way. Boil tea on the stove, steep for three to five minutes with a good English tea like Harrods or PG Tips, and enjoy with cream or sugar.
- Transportation is a breeze. Grab an Oyster Card in London or a Brit Rail Pass elsewhere. You can also hop on an iconic double-decker bus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read these frequently asked questions to help you plan a memorable trip to the UK:
Which is the most beautiful part of the UK?
The Lake District is the most beautiful place in the UK, attracting 15.8 million visitors annually. It’s the largest national park in England and has mountains, lakes, and crisp weather.
Where should I go for three days in the UK?
Cornwall makes a perfect three-day trip. Spend the weekend discovering castles, drinking cream tea, and learning about the location’s fascinating history with smuggling.
Where is the prettiest village in England?
Bibury is a darling little village that regularly wins the spot for the prettiest town. It’s in the Cotswolds, on the Thames River, and has quaint architecture and lush plant life.
What is the number one tourist attraction in the UK?
The Tower of London is the top tourist destination in the UK. It’s a historic fortress on the Thames that houses the Crown Jewels.
What is the most visited town in the UK?
London is the most-visited town in the UK, followed by Edinburgh, Manchester, and Birmingham. Glasgow and Liverpool are two other highly visited metro areas.
So, What’s the Best Place to Visit in the UK?
It’s hard to decide on the best places to visit in the UK, but we think London is your best bet for a top destination. It has unbeatable restaurants, galleries, and historical sites, and the city is vibrant, multicultural, and always has something new going on.
Now that you know the best places to visit in the UK, you’re ready to start planning the trip of a lifetime. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!