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Saving Money When Travelling By Ferry From UK Ports To St Malo

Travelling by ferry from the UK to St Malo in France can be a great way to save money and time. With the right planning and research, you can find the best deals and make sure that your trip is as cost-effective as possible. Here are some tips for saving money when travelling by ferry from UK ports to St Malo.

One of the best ways to save money on ferry travel is to book your tickets as early as possible. Many ferry companies offer discounts for early bookings, so it pays to plan ahead and book your tickets in advance. If you’re flexible with your dates, you may even be able to take advantage of last-minute deals or special offers.

Travel Off-Peak

If you’re looking to save money on ferry travel, it’s best to avoid peak times such as school holidays and bank holidays. Travelling during off-peak times can often result in cheaper fares, so it’s worth considering when booking your tickets.

Look For Deals And Discounts

It pays to shop around when looking for ferry tickets, as there are often deals and discounts available if you know where to look. Many ferry companies offer loyalty schemes or special offers for regular customers, so it’s worth signing up for these if you plan on travelling frequently. You can also check online for any promotions or discounts that may be available at the time of booking.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your trip from UK ports to St Malo is as cost-effective as possible. With a bit of research and planning, you can find the best deals and save money on your ferry travel.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

15 Absolute Best Cities to Visit in the UK (+Map & Travel Tips)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: September 12, 2023

15 Absolute Best Cities to Visit in the UK (+Map & Travel Tips)

The United Kingdom’s rich and vibrant culture make its cities among the most fascinating to visit in the world. Whether you’re looking for stunning architecture, world-class museums, or the cool vibe of contemporary art and music, you’ll find it all in the best UK cities.

However, with so many great cities throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (the four countries of the UK) it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit in a limited amount of time.

So in this guide, we list the very best cities to visit in the UK that are worth your time the most . For each city, we include the main attractions that you simply must see. We also listed a few extras that are well worth visiting if you have enough time. For each town, we also indicate how much time you need for a visit.

Good to know: The great thing about visiting the UK is its small size and good transport links. This makes it quite easy to travel from one part of the country to another. Furthermore, quite a few of these cities can also be visited with organized tours from London (or other nearby towns). So if you plan well, you can visit several of these UK towns in one trip.

To help you plan your trip and see several of the nicest cities and towns in Great Britain, we asked our writer Christine, a UK local, to share the best places and tips for your visit. We also created a map indicating each town. That way, you have a better idea of where everything is and can plan your trip accordingly. Take a look!

How to use this map:  Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

These are the most beautiful cities in the UK that are worth a visit the most:

London really has to be number one on any list of the best places in the UK! And there are so many reasons to visit the nation’s capital. Located on the banks of the River Thames, London is the country’s financial center, the seat of the Government of the United Kingdom, and home to the Royal Family.

All of this is reflected in its magnificent and historic architecture and a huge variety of things to see and do.

The diversity of London’s population is evident in its wonderful food scene. From traditional British food in local pubs, the finest cuisine in world-famous restaurants, to the ethnic street food in its many markets, London has it all. London also offers some of the very best shopping in the world. You’ll find designer stores, vintage boutiques, eclectic craft fairs, and quirky markets all over the city.

If you want to escape the bustling streets, museums, and galleries, London has some very beautiful and tranquil green spaces too. Don’t miss the scenic Hyde Park! If you have more time, visit the lesser-known Kew Gardens, with its stunning collection of tropical flora and fauna. London is truly a city that offers something for everyone.

Tower Bridge in London UK

Must see: The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace (don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ), Westminster (including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament), Tower Bridge, the London Eye , the British Museum, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square (home to Nelson’s Column), and Piccadilly Circus. Thames Cruise is also a must.

Nice to see: Greenwich , Hyde Park, Covent Garden, Kew Gardens, Borough Market, Camden Town & Camden Lock Market , National Gallery, Harrods, and Oxford Street. If you are visiting London with kids , don’t miss Madame Tussauds , the Natural History Museum, Leicester Square stores, and the Royal Mews. Also, don’t miss at least some of the best views in London !

How much time do you need. You can quickly see the major sites with just one day in London . However, if you want to be able to visit a few places inside and get a good feeling of the city you really need two days in London . To fully appreciate all of London’s major sights, visit a few of them inside, and check out a few different neighborhoods, you will need at least 3 to 4 days.

If you want to experience the diversity of attractions across the city, discover some of London’s hidden gems , or take a day tour to Windsor Castle or a day trip to other popular places near London , you can easily spend a week or even more.

Where to stay: Best areas to stay in London for first time .

Travel tips: Please see London travel tips for more information for planning your trip.

LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do in London (Must-See!)

Best UK Cities - London

2. Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh is truly a tale of two cities! It has a New Town – packed with modern shops and trendy eateries – on one side, and a historic Old Town on the other.

The imposing Edinburgh Castle – one of Europe’s oldest fortified places – overlooks the entire city. Surrounding it are rolling green hills which often draw a comparison with Rome. Indeed Italy’s capital, like Edinburgh, was said to have been built on seven hills. Its neoclassical architecture, along with its reputation for philosophy and learning, have earned Edinburgh the nickname of the ‘Athens of the North’.

Edinburgh has a rich history, awesome views, incredible green spaces, and several world-class museums and galleries. In contrast, it also has an intriguingly dark past that you can learn more about by exploring its creepy kirkyards (churchyards) and a fascinating underground street that shows you just what life used to be like in the city.

Scotland’s capital is also known for its many festivals, including the world-famous Hogmanay at New Year.

Edinburgh - one of the most beautiful cities in the UK

Must see: Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat (for the views), the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, National Museum of Scotland, and Royal Yacht Britannia.

Nice to see: Royal Botanic Gardens, St Giles’ Cathedral, Princes Street Gardens, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions (nice views of the city), Scottish National Gallery, The Real Mary King’s Close.

How much time do you need. Given the city’s relatively small size, it’s possible to see the main sights of Edinburgh in 1 day , but it would be quite a rush. We recommend 2-3 days to take in and fully appreciate everything the city has to offer.

LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

3. Cambridge

Cambridge is probably best known for its University (the world’s 4th oldest surviving university). Which is home to more winners of the Nobel prize than any other university in the UK.

Cambridge is also a beautiful town, with lots of well-preserved historic buildings that are mostly centered around its 31 (!) colleges. Cambridge has some world-famous Alumni too. 14 British Prime Ministers studied here, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, and many others who have made a real impact on the world.

A must-do in Cambridge is taking a punt tour along the beautiful River Cam. Punt is a traditional flat bottomed boat and a very typical thing to do here. The river runs through the heart of the city offering great views of the ancient architecture of the city.

Being a student town, this medieval city still has a very modern vibe too. So there’s plenty of music, festivals, and a strong performing arts scene. There are several art galleries exhibiting everything from the classics to contemporary works. And you’ll find some lovely, quirky shops to buy souvenirs.

Trinity College in Cambridge UK

Must see: King’s College Chapel, Queen’s College and the Mathematical Bridge (built without nails), Trinity College (and other collages if you have more time), Fitzwilliam Museum, Great St Mary’s Church (climb to the top of the tower for incredible city views), the River Cam and punting tours .

Nice to see: The Botanic Garden, Angelsey Abbey, Wren Library (the Trinity College Library where you can see Newton’s “Principia Mathematica”; it’s only open between noon and 2 pm on weekdays, and Saturday morning), the Round Church, the Bridge of Sighs, The Backs (behind the colleges).

How much time do you need. You can see much of Cambridge within one full day, and it’s also possible to visit with a tour from the capital . But to give yourself time to browse the main museum and to go punting along the River Cam, it’s worth planning two days for your visit.

Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge UK

Of all the cities in the UK, the wonderful, walled city of York boasts the most attractions per square mile. Although it has all the modern shops and amenities you’d expect from a major UK city, the main appeal of York is in fascinating history.

As you wander the cobbled, medieval streets – some with beautifully preserved buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries – you can also see hints of its Roman roots and signs of Viking influence.

Among its many attractions, York has 30 museums, the UK’s best racecourse, and festivals on an almost monthly basis.

The city’s Cathedral – York Minster – is one of the largest in Europe. You can enjoy some incredible views of the city from the top. You can also view the city from the water by taking a boat trip along River Ouse or on Foss River. Another fun thing to do is learn about the history of chocolate-making at the place where the famous UK confectioners Terry’s and Rowntree were founded.

River Ouse in York city UK

Must see: York Minster (formally known as the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York), the 14th century City Walls (you can walk along the top), National Railway Museum, the Shambles (one of the world’s best-preserved medieval streets), views along the River Ouse and river cruises .

Nice to see: York Maze, York Castle Museum, Castle Howard, York’s Chocolate Story, Clifford’s Tower (great views), York Racecourse.

How much time do you need. You can see the highlights of York in a day, but we recommend 2 full days to see things at a more leisurely pace. If you want to also explore the Yorkshire region, plan a few days extra. See the best suggestions for places to see via the link below.

READ ALSO: Best Day Trips from York

Shambles street in York city UK

Whilst it may have an interesting history and plenty of period architecture to admire, Glasgow is hip and happening. So much so that it is sometimes referred to as ‘Scotland’s city of cool!’.

A mecca for creativity, Glasgow has a strong art scene. You’ll find unique and original products sold everywhere from the city center to its cobbled lanes. You’ll also see impressive murals on walls throughout the city, depicting various figures who have played a large part in Glasgow’s culture.

There are several excellent museums, an architecturally stunning Cathedral, and a full-size sailing ship to explore. Many of Glasgow’s attractions are free to visit, making a visit here much more affordable than in many other UK cities.

There are also some beautiful green spaces throughout Glasgow to sit and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. You’ll find that locals are more than happy to share stories with you of their beloved home. In fact, Time Out magazine once named Glasgow as ‘first for friendliness’. The warmth it extends to its visitors is the reason that Glasgow remains one of the UK’s most popular destinations.

The Tall Ship at Riverside in Glasgow

Must see: Glasgow Cathedral and the adjacent Necropolis, Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Riverside Museum, and The Tall Ship.

Nice to see: George Square, Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland Street School Museum, Botanic Gardens, Celtic Park Stadium , the Science Museum, University of Glasgow, Hunterian Art Gallery & Museum.

How much time do you need. Glasgow is relatively compact and most attractions are within walking distance of each other. So you can see the very best of Glasgow in a day (see below for more information). But because there is so much to see and do in the city, we recommend planning 2-3 days here. If you have a day to spare, you can also make some really nice day trips to Loch Ness and see some of the Scottish Highlands.

READ ALSO: How to See the Best of Glasgow in One Day

Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis

Located in the county of Somerset in south-west England, Bath is famous for its Roman ruins. The city is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bath grew around its ancient Roman baths. Nowadays, you can still experience bathing in Britain’s only natural thermal hot springs at the modern Thermae Bath Spa.

In addition to museums and galleries, there is a great deal of beautiful architecture to enjoy in the city. From the individual honey-colored Georgian buildings to the neo-Classical style of many of its public buildings, Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK!

Bath’s iconic sights, such as the Circus and the Royal Cresent, have become world-famous thanks to TV and film. Some of Jane Austen’s works discussing city life were based on the five years she spent here. Much of the architecture is still just as she described it. A visit to Bath truly feels like taking a step back into history.

Pulteney Bridge over River Avon in Bath city UK

Must see: The Roman Baths, Bath Abbey (take the Tower Tour and climb to the top for breathtaking views of the city), Royal Crescent park, The Circus, Pulteney Bridge.

Nice to see: River cruises , Thermae Bath Spa, the Jane Austen Centre , No. 1 Royal Crescent (museum), Fashion Museum, Royal Victoria Park, The Museum of Bath Architecture.

How much time do you need . It is possible to see all the main sights of Bath in half a day to a day. This makes Bath one of the most popular day trips from London , often in combination with Stonehenge and Windsor Castle . However, a lot of the city’s charm is to be found in the evening. So if you have the time, stay a little longer and include an overnight stay in your visit.

Roman Baths in Bath city in the UK

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and largest city, but it is still relatively small compared to the other capitals. Nevertheless, there is a lot to see and do here. The close proximity of all its attractions makes it easy to see Belfast’s main sights in a short amount of time.

The city where the Titanic was built, Belfast has several excellent museums that look back over its shipbuilding past. You’ll also find museums celebrating its connection to the linen industry. And – more recently – Belfast’s time of political upheaval (known as The Troubles).

Alternatively, you can head to the lively Cathedral quarter with its lovely Victorian architecture and cobbled streets. It’s a popular place with an ever-developing pub and restaurant scene.

Belfast’s historic market gives you the opportunity to buy some authentic arts, crafts, and souvenirs whilst enjoying some stirring live music. Throughout the city, you can see some incredible street art, with hundreds of murals depicting all sorts of key moments in Belfast’s past.

Belfast City Hall

Must see: Titanic Belfast , St George’s Market (every Friday/Saturday/Sunday), Belfast City Hall, Crumlin Road Gaol, Ulster Museum.

Nice to see: Stormont (the home of Northern Ireland’s Parliament), Queens University, Botanic Gardens, C.S Lewis Square, St. Anne’s Cathedral, Cave Hill Country Park (for the excellent views).

How much time do you need. We recommend planning 2 days in order to see all of Belfast’s main attractions. In addition, you can take a day tour to Giant’s Causeway , which is not to be missed when visiting here!

Titanic Belfast

8. Liverpool

Liverpool’s main claim to fame is as the birthplace of the Beatles. If you’re a fan, it’s a great place to visit the city where the band started and drew their inspiration. But there’s so much more to this city that makes it a fantastic place for anyone!

Liverpool is located on the River Mersey. One of the nicest things to do is walk around the docks, which are teeming with cool boutiques, fantastic eateries, and lively bars. The streets of the modern city center are filled with shoppers and street entertainers. But there is lots of history and culture to explore too, with more museums and galleries than you’ll find anywhere else outside London.

Liverpool really comes alive at night! So make sure to stay the night. Dine at one of the many fine restaurants, ending the evening with live music at the iconic Cavern Club. This is the venue at which the Beatles performed nearly 300 times.

READ ALSO: The Beatles in Liverpool (Best Places to See)

The Beatles statue in Liverpool

Must see: The Cavern Club, the Beatles Story , the Royal Albert Dock, World Museum, Liverpool Cathedral, Mersey River Cruises .

Nice to see: Tate Liverpool, Anfield Stadium , Sefton Park, Western Approaches WWII Museum , Liverpool Library, British Music Experience , Museum of Liverpool, Strawberry Field , and the views from Royal Liver Building 360 .

How much time do you need. You will need 1-2 days to see Liverpool’s main sights. If you are a Beatles fan and want to be sure to see all the Beatles-related exhibitions and tours, then you may even need 3 days in the city.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Liverpool & How to visit Liverpool from London (travel info & 1-day itinerary)

Best UK Cities - Liverpool

Oxford is best known for its university which was established in the 12th century. It’s one of the oldest and most famous universities in the world, and so many of the city’s attractions are related to it.

There are 38 separate college buildings and their architecture is incredible! You should definitely see the Christ Church with its impressive Hall (Harry Potter fans will instantly recognize it!) and Cathedral. The gardens of this cathedral are said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

This beautiful English city was also used as a filming location for some scenes in the Harry Potter movies. While you can probably spot a few of them on your own, fans should really consider a walking tour of the filming locations .

Oxford also has a few interesting museums, a nice riverside ( sightseeing cruises are available), and even its own ‘Bridge of Sighs’, Hertford Bridge. It connects two parts of Hertford College allowing students and professors to quicker travel between different parts of the university.

Oxford - one of the nicest towns in the UK

Must see: Oxford University with the Bodleian Library and some of the oldest colleges (Christ Church College, All Souls College, Magdalen College, Keble College), Radcliffe Camera, Ashmolean Museum, and Hertford Bridge.

Nice to see: Oxford University Museum of Natural History, University Church, Sheldonian Theater, Oxford Castle and Prison, The Pett Rivers Museum. Boat trips are also nice to do, especially in the warmest months.

How much time do you need. You can see many of the main landmarks in Oxford in half a day to a day. With two days, you should be able to cover most of the best attractions in Oxford.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Tips for Traveling to Europe

The Hall at Oxford Christ Church College.

10. Cardiff

The Welsh capital, Cardiff is quite small in size. It only takes about 15 minutes to cycle from one side to the other. But it has a lot to offer its visitors! With a 2000-year-old castle and more green space per capita than any other UK city, it offers lots of opportunities for scenic strolls. Make sure to explore the banks of the River Taff which runs through its beautiful Bute Park.

Just outside the city center is Cardiff Bay. Here, you can visit the seat of the Welsh Government or enjoy everything from cultural attractions to boat trips. Cardiff is a quirky, vibrant, and creative city with numerous music and arts venues and an up and coming culinary scene.

Cardiff is also known to sports fans for its world-famous stadium, the home of Welsh rugby, and the venue for Britain’s Speedway Grand Prix. You can enjoy a meal and a drink at a sports bar and restaurant Elevens Bar And Grill, which is owned by professional footballer Gareth Bale.

Cardiff Wales - one of the best cities in the UK

Must see: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Bay, Principality Stadium, St Fagans National Museum of History, National Museum, Wales Millenium Centre.

Nice to see: Bute Park, Roath Park, Castell Coch, Cardiff International White Water Centre, the Senedd (the main building for the National Assembly of Wales), Spillers Records (the oldest record shop in the world). Doctor Who tours (popular TV series filming locations) are also very popular.

How much time do you need. Because of Cardiff’s compact size, you can see the best of its attractions in 1-2 days. But there is much worth exploring on its outskirts. So you might want to give yourself an extra day to venture outside the city center.

Pierhead and Wales Millennium Centre at Cardiff pier

11. Nottingham

Nottingham is another really nice city that’s worth your time when touring the UK! This city’s imposing, wide streets and scenic parks have earned it the nickname of the ‘Queen of the Midlands’. However, to most of us, Nottingham will always be the home of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood!

Boasting its own castle, a magnificent cathedral, a network of underground caves, and the vibrant Lace Market – teeming with independent cafes, restaurants, and bars – Nottingham is a city with something for everyone.

Yet just minutes away from its center you can enjoy the serenity and beauty of its green spaces. You can also venture a little further into the enormous Sherwood Forest, home to Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Robin Hood statue in Nottingham UK

Must see: Nottingham Castle , Wollaton Hall and Park, City of Caves, Old Market Square (Slab Square), Robin Hood Way & the Sherwood Forest.

Nice to see: National Justice Museum, the Arboretum, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (believed to be England’s oldest pub), Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery, Highfields Park, D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum.

How much time do you need. You can see most of Nottingham’s main sights in one full day. For a more relaxed experience (especially if you plan to include a trip out to Sherwood Forest), plan two days for your visit.

Nottingham Old Market Square and City Council

12. Manchester

Probably best known for its Premier League football teams, Manchester has a lot more going on than football! Located in the northwest of England, the city has a rich industrial past, but nowadays, you’ll find a vibrant place where history and modern-day life go hand in hand.

Manchester is a lively city with a warm atmosphere and plenty to see and do to suit all interests. You’ll find some world-class museums, beautiful architecture, great dining and shopping, and lots of fun activities for young and old. 

Be sure to explore the city center and visit some of its historic landmarks! Manchester Cathedral is an absolute must-see, just as John Rylands Library. For contemporary architecture, head to the Quays, where you’ll find the impressive Imperial War Museum North and The Lowry cultural center. River cruises are a great way to explore this part of town as well!

It would be unthinkable to visit Manchester and not check out at least one of its major football stadiums – Old Trafford, home to Manchester United F.C. or Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester City F.C. In addition, the city is also home to the National Football Museum, the largest football museum in the world.

Imperial War Museum North in Manchester

Must see:  City center, Manchester Cathedral, one of the football stadiums , John Rylands Library, and Science and Industry Museum.

Nice to see:  National Football Museum , Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays, river cruises , People’s History Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, and Castlefield conservation area.

How much time do you need.  It’s possible to see the main sights of Manchester in a day , but you won’t be able to explore much deeper. If you want to visit a few museums and do some shopping as well, you could easily spend 2-3 days here.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Manchester

Manchester Castlefield conservation area

13. Norwich

Norwich is a historic city in the heart of rural East Anglia. It was medieval England’s largest walled town. Because of its isolated location, Norwich was virtually bypassed by the Industrial Revolution. So the town has retained many of its medieval Churches and Tudor architecture. All this makes it a truly fascinating place to visit!

A UNESCO City of Literature, Norwich is also the only city in England to be located in a national park (the Norfolk Broads). It boasts a beautiful nature reserve with a river running through the city and an impressive Romanesque cathedral with scenic, peaceful grounds.

Thatched buildings and brightly colored merchant’s houses are just some of the historic sights that give the city its unique and ancient character. You’ll also find cozy pubs dotted everywhere, serving the finest craft beers and ales.

Norwich Cathedral

Must see: Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle, Norwich Market. Norwich Quayside. Outside the city – Blickling Estate.

Nice to see: The Forum, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Plantation Garden, Strangers Hall, City of Norwich Aviation Museum, Norwich Guildhall.

How much time do you need. You can see the main sights of Norwich in one day.

Quayside Norwich

14. Bristol

Bristol in the southwest of England is one of the country’s coolest cities. The home town of famed UK street artist Banksy has a strong reputation for creativity. Ultra-modern museums and trendy restaurants make it a fun and lively place to visit, particularly around the port and harbor area which is full of bars and cafes.

But the city has an interesting history, too, with stunning ancient churches, a cathedral, and galleries. Perhaps most fascinating of all is Bristol’s seafaring links. It was the birthplace of the notorious pirate Blackbeard and inspired parts of the famous maritime novels Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.

There are some lovely green spaces to explore in the city. Or you can choose to get away from the crowds by taking a boat trip along the River Avon. from the water, you can admire the unusually brightly colored buildings and houses that overlook it.

Statue of Ram Mohan Roy and Bristol Cathedral in the UK

Must see: Bristol Cathedral, Waterfront, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Clifton Suspension Bridge (looks great at night too), SS Great Britain, Brandon Hill Park & Cabot Tower (great views from the top).

Nice to see: St Mary Redcliffe church, Bristol Zoo Gardens (the 5th oldest zoo in the world), At-Bristol Science Centre, Queen Square. Also, Avon Valley Railway and Blaise Castle Estate (outside the city).

How much time do you need. Bristol is a relatively small city but has lots to see and do. You can cover the highlights in a day, but you need at least 2 days to enjoy it properly.

Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol UK

15. Brighton

The coastal city of Brighton is one of the UK’s most diverse places to visit. It offers everything from vintage seaside attractions to Bohemian markets and Victorian architecture. The city has Britain’s biggest gay scene and some of the best independent shops and boutiques, largely concentrated around the iconic Lanes.

Its pier – packed with rides and entertainment – is one of the biggest attractions in the southeast of England. Brighton even has an exotic palace, Royal Pavilion, that would look more at home in India or China than on the UK’s south coast!

Brighton is also a great UK city for foodies. You’ll find everything from traditional British fish & chips to the finest cuisine at gourmet restaurants. There are lots of bars and eateries lining the pebbled beach, which immediately gives you a vacation feel.

You are never far away from the raw beauty of nature either. Brighton is perfectly positioned to enjoy stunning walks along the England Coast Path. Be sure to visit the white cliffs of Seven Sisters and South Downs nearby!

Royal Pavilion in Brighton UK

Must see: Brighton Palace Pier, Brighton Royal Pavilion and Gardens, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, British Airways i360 Viewing Tower, The Lanes, North Laine.

Nice to see: Regency Square, Brighton Marina, Brighton Toy and Model Museum, Brighton Beach and Promenade, Old Steine Gardens, Brighton Festival (3 weeks every May).

How much time do you need. You will definitely need at least 3 days in Brighton. There is so much to do in Brighton that you could easily spend 5 days in the city, especially in summer.

Brighton Beach UK

So, this is our guide to the best, most beautiful cities in the UK.

As you can see, there’s so much more to the UK than just its cities! But even if you visit just a few of these, you’ll get to know a very different country than just by visiting London!

TIP: If you are looking for a more ‘local’ city/ beach holiday in the UK, check out Blackpool . It’s one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK! Here you can learn all about what there is to see and do in Blackpool . Check it out!

More travel tips and inspiration for all over the UK:

  • Must-see in London:  Top London Attractions
  • Different London :  Hidden Gems of London  &  Best Views in London
  • Good to know:  London Travel Tips & Best Areas to Stay in London
  • With kids:  London with Kids  &  Family Afternoon Tea in London
  • Greenwich:  Best Things to Do in Greenwich
  • Cornwall: Best Places to Visit in Cornwall & Where to Stay in Cornwall
  • Yorkshire:  Yorkshire Day Trips
  • Blackpool: Best Things to Do in Blackpool & Tips for Visiting Blackpool & Best Day Trips from Blackpool
  • Scotland:   Isle of Skye  &  Scotland Whisky Tour
  • Edinburgh:  Top Edinburgh Attractions  &  One Day in Edinburgh
  • Glasgow:  One Day in Glasgow

READ ALSO: Traditional British Food & Where to Try It in the UK

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!

Best UK cities to visit for tourists

Photos: Personal collection and Depositphotos.com. Additional credits: Featured image: TTstudio/Shutterstock.com// Cardiff Bay – photo by phil_bird/Depositphotos.com// Belfast Titanic – photo by zhuzhu/Depositphotos.com// Beatles – gianliguori/Depositphotos.com// Cambridge Bridge of Sighs – chrisdorney/Depositphotos.com// Cambridge University – Umdash9/Depositphotos.com// Manchester Castlefield – cowardlion /Depositphotos.com//.

Best cities to visit in the United Kingdom

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Thursday 21st of September 2023

Go to Southampton if you want to see nice cruiseships and the New Forest is very close too.

Tuesday 1st of August 2023

Thank you for sharing useful information ...

Saturday 5th of August 2023

Glad to help. Have a great trip!

Saturday 11th of February 2023

I can't believe Birmingham is not on the list, it's the most underrated city in the UK, perhaps it's because once the heart of the Indudtrial Revolution the slums of back to back houses were there until the 1970's, and its maze of run down underground canals. Most canals have now been restored with many nice bars and restaurants on the side of the canals, in and outside the City. It's a compact City Centre that is easy to walk around. The Art Gallery is one of the best I have ever been in, and each time I'm in the City I can't resist going in there, and it is free to go around, unlike in Venice where you have to pay and is nowhere near as interesting as Brums Art Gallery. For those who like to shop it is a City Centre renown for its Bull Ring Shopping Centre. Eating and enjoying Asian food, there is no-where better in Europe. But go and see the City for yourself. The only thing is traveling into the City by train looks awful, but don't judge the book by its cover. Brum has everything, and is a multi cultural City. I live in Spain these days but my heart is in Birmingham, and it's surroundings Remember Stratford upon Avon is only 20 miles away. 👍👍

Sunday 12th of February 2023

Thanks for your suggestions and tips. I'm sure it can be helpful for some of our readers who are looking for even more cities to explore in the UK. Happy travels!

Jessica Fletcher

Sunday 22nd of January 2023

London does not belong on any list of good cities, end of story. Miserable people, ugly buildings, expensive, nothing worthwhile to see except contrived tourist fodder and obscene wealth. One of the worst cities I've ever been to and I've been to most of the major towns and cities in the UK. Otherwise a great list! Glasgow is one that surprised me a lot, considering its bad reputation but it was surprisingly beautiful and the people were very friendly and down to Earth.

@Jessica Fletcher, Jessica you need to use the underground and look around different parts of the City. London is steeped in history and has something for all tastes..Dont be put off by being expensive. There are a lot of reasonably priced places just be adventurous and seek them out. Including places to stay.

Friday 10th of February 2023

@Jurga, now you know second person 😅 as I just hate London, anytime I have to go there it is a nightmare for me.

Monday 23rd of January 2023

Wow, that's a strong opinion about London, Jessica. You are literally the first person I ever 'met' who doesn't like London. I guess that just proves that everyone is different and likes different things. And that's ok. We all have our experiences and our opinions. For us, London is one of the most interesting cities in the world. No matter how many times we go back, there's always something new and exciting to discover, and so many amazing places everywhere you look. Perhaps you should give London a second chance and look beyond the main tourist attractions... We have a 'hidden gems' guide with some suggestions ;). Happy travels!

Friday 13th of January 2023

cardiff and Oxford do not deserve to be in that list, no where near as good as the others!

Sunday 15th of January 2023

Ha ha, we literally just added Oxford to this list because quite a few people thought it deserved a mention. :) And many of our American readers absolutely love it as a day trip from London too. I guess everybody has their own opinion and I'm sure our readers can make their own decisions on which places look the most interesting to them. Happy travels!

The Best Cities to Visit in the UK

By Dana Perkiss

Exploring the United Kingdom (UK) is an enchanting experience that everyone should have on their travel bucket list. This island nation is a fascinating blend of cultural, historical, and natural wonders across a variety of diverse destinations.

If you’re unsure where to start your explorations, then check out these best cities to visit in the uk that are totally worth the trip., london, england.

Undoubtedly, the most popular city in the UK is London. As a melting pot of cultures featuring a wonderful mix of iconic landmarks and world-class dining, this capital city is sure to leave you spellbound. Whether it’s admiring the iconic Big Ben, touring the magnificent Buckingham Palace, or shopping around Camden Town, every traveler is sure to find great things to do in London.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Featuring a blend of ancient and modern architecture, with famous sights like Edinburgh Castle, it’s no wonder why Edinburgh is the cultural capital of Scotland. Explore cultural highlights around the Royal Mile and Old Town, then indulge in a variety of shops and restaurants in New Town. Try to time your vacation around the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival held every August!

Titanic Belfast in Northern Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland

As both the largest and capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast is definitely one of the best cities to visit in the UK. It’s perhaps most well-known for being the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, which tragically sunk in 1912, but is now honored in the city’s Titanic Quarter. Other than history, Belfast also features a lively music and arts scene, as well as stunning countryside landscapes for nature-lovers.

The Beatles Statue in Liverpool, England

Liverpool, England

Liverpool, the land of The Beatles, is a city that’ll captivate you with its unique culture, sports, and music legacy. This vibrant city is also well-known for its maritime history, including the UNESCO-listed Albert Dock. Don’t leave Liverpool without visiting the Beatles’ Story Museum, where you can learn about one of the most famous bands in musical history.

Inverness, Scotland

Often overlooked by other destinations, Inverness is a hidden gem in Scotland beyond worth visiting. It’s known as the gateway to the magnificent Scottish Highlands and provides the perfect base to explore highlights like Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield. Inverness is also a highly-walkable city which makes visiting attractions like the Inverness Castle easy.

View of Cardiff Castle in Wales

Cardiff, Wales

Are you a fan of art, history, and culture? Then visit Cardiff, the capital city of Wales boasting everything from historic castles to modern museums, shopping districts, and friendly locals. Explore the city’s history by visiting the Cardiff Castle, Wales Millennium Centre, and the National Museum Cardiff. Alternatively, sports fans can catch an event at the Principality Stadium while shoppers can get some retail therapy at St. David's shopping center.

Roman Bath in Bath, England

Bath, England

If you like incredible architecture and rejuvenating experiences, then Bath should be on your England bucket list. This historic city is famous for its extravagant Georgian buildings and Roman Baths that date back to 75 AD. Relaxing in the hot springs is a must on any Bath vacation, while visiting the Royal Crescent and the Jane Austen Centre are also highly recommended.

Manchester United Stadium

Manchester, England

Mix together the love of football and music to discover the unforgettable city of Manchester. Home to Manchester United, one of the most famous football clubs in the world, the city is also beloved for its amazing museums, art galleries, music scene, and the famous Curry Mile.

Glasgow, Scotland

As the largest city in Scotland, there are tons of things to do in Glasgow. It’s most famous for its vibrant art and culture scene, featuring a wide variety of experiences like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum or listening to live music at the iconic King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Shopaholics will also delight with a visit to Buchanan Street, a half-mile shopping stretch right in Glasgow’s city center.

Aberystwyth, Wales

The vibrant seaside town of Aberystwyth blends together the perfect mix of natural beauty, history, and culture. Feel mesmerized by stunning mountain views while relaxing on picturesque beaches and take a boat trip to spot dolphins, seals, or even whales. Aberystwyth is also famously home to the National Library of Wales as well as the largest Arts Center in Wales.

Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Londonderry, also known as Derry, is famous for being the only remaining totally-walled city in Ireland – the walls are even a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Along with its rich history, Derry also boasts a lively arts and culture scene with various galleries and theaters open for exploration, as well as tons of nearby stunning scenery including the Causeway Coast and Glens.

Oxford, England

Nicknamed the "City of Dreaming Spires," Oxford is sure to captivate visitors with its gorgeous architecture, fascinating history, and energetic student life. It’s one of the most popular cities to visit in the UK thanks to its prestigious universities, museums, galleries, libraries, and shopping. Plus, Oxford is an easy day trip from London since it’s just an hour away by train.

York, England

The walled city of York is one of the best destinations in the UK for a weekend break. It boasts charming medieval architecture, a unique Roman and Viking heritage, plus vibrant festivals where the streets flood with performers and local vendors selling handmade chocolates and other treats.

Now that you know some of the best cities to visit in the UK, are you ready to book your trip?





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15 Very Best Cities To Visit In England

Best Things To Do In Bath, England (12)

There’s something so gorgeous about England and yes, I am slightly biased. After growing up in Wales , studying in Scotland , I finally set down some roots in England . From the rolling hills and villages in the Cotswolds  to England’s historic castles ; the whole country is so diverse. That being said, let’s not forget some of the best cities to visit in England; that is amazing, too! 

A Day In English Medieval City Of Norwich (11)

Now, As with all cities, each has its own pretty-darn cool identity.

Some are more historic, some are tiny, others are vibrant whilst one or two are total global cities that seem to have everything.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, hopefully, some of these best cities to visit in England will help you find your tribe and the type of holiday you want.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (2)

You’re going to love England (well, I hope so anyway).

24 Hours In Bath, England (39)

Okay, don’t tell the others but Bath is possibly one of the best cities to visit in England.

Now, although I try not to have favourites, Bath really does pack a hefty punch when it comes to things to see, explore and experience.

Best Things To Do In Bath, England (15)

Whilst wandering around the city, make sure you visit the incredible Roman Baths , grab one (or 10) of the freshly-baked buns at Sally Lunn’s.

Also, be sure to visit the Abbey and the Circus (think, much fewer acrobats and much more half-crescent, and a totally pretty, street).

24 Hours In Bath, England (17)

If you’re looking for a little relaxation after traipsing the city, pop into the Thermae Bath Spa. It’s Britain’s only natural thermal spa, you’ll love it.

Read more: Best things to do in Bath

2.) Norwich

A Day In English Medieval City Of Norwich (13)

Okay, I feel guilty saying this but my first ever trip to Norwich was this year. Trust me when I say it’s a mistake for me to have left it so long!

I mean, they have some of the best chefs in and around the city, like  Charlie Hodson’s delicious grub at the Fur & Feather (which, is so yummy).

Oh, and don’t forget the amazing  Grosvenor Fish Bar which is honestly one of the best spots for fish and chips in the whole of England.

A Day In English Medieval City Of Norwich (14)

After eating your weight in delicious food, pop for a stroll around the city to see some of the historic centre .

Make sure to explore the iconic Norwich Cathedral , wander around Elm Hill and visit the city’s amazing castle, too.

Read more: What you have to do in Norwich

3.) Cambridge

12 Experiences And Things To Do In Cambridge, England (13)

Cambridge is a totally beautiful city that’s perched on the edges of the River Cam. Plus, it’s made even more famous by its university (where Yaya studied).

Trust me, though, I don’t just like Cambridge because Yaya studied there; it really is one of the best cities to visit in England.

12 Experiences And Things To Do In Cambridge, England (41)

Once there, grab a boat for a punt on the river (in the winter, wrap up warm and in the summer slap on that sunblock), which is epic. Also, wander around some of the amazing places to see like Kings College Chapel. Oh, and if hunger beckons, gorge on a delicious brunch at Fitzbillies , too.

12 Experiences And Things To Do In Cambridge, England (3)

If you’re feeling fit, see the views from Great St. Mary’s Church Tower , that is stunning. It’s one of the best vistas over Kings College and the rest of the city.

Read more: Best things to do in Cambridge

4.) London

The 17 Best West End Theatre Shows In London To See (16)

London isn’t just one of the best cities to visit in England but (in my totally biased opinion) one of the best cities to explore. I love it so much and that’s why I made it my home!

Of course, London has some epic shopping spots like; Covent Garden to enjoy; but there’s so much more to the city, too.

After visiting the main sights like; the British Museum, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower of London and stopping off for a quick visit to the Queen’s house (Buckingham Palace) make sure to explore some of the other points of the city that make London so special.

Things to see and do in Peckham, London (37)

For a great night out, pop over to neighbourhoods like Shoreditch . Alternatively, check out some of these amazing bars with views over London.

If coffee is your thing, then make sure you visit some of the best independent coffee houses .

Also, if you wanna steer clear of the usual haunts of Trafalgar Square or Picadilly Circus, pop over to Peckham .  It has a proper foodie scene has some tasty spots to eat. 

10 Hidden London Places And Facts You Should Know (9)

Don’t forget, there’s also a whole heap of secret London spots that visitors often forget to see.

Read more: Best areas of London to visit

5.) Bristol

Gothic Bristol, Vintage Cameras, Dinosaurs And Trolls! (27)

Bristol is one of those cities that might not spring to mind when you initially think of visiting some cities in England. Perched near Bath, it’s really easy to get here by train or car.

Best Things To Do In Bristol (13)

As the home to Banksy , make sure you check out some of the epic artwork that he has created across the city. Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll even pass him on the street.

The Harbour Festival, Banksy, Steam Trains & The Girl With The Pierced Ear Drum... in Bristol, UK (7)

Whilst taking a wander around the city, make sure to visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge, explore Bristol Cathedral and stroll around Harbourside.

Also, for a tasty sweet treat, pop into Margot May who makes the yummiest scones in all of England.

Read more: Best things to do in Bristol

6.) Brighton

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (12)

Brighton is one of those English cities that rivals London as one of the best cities to visit in England.

Filled with its ancient narrow lanes, full of quirky shops and bars, Brighton is a great spot to visit on a day trip from London.

The Royal Pavilion and Pier is definitely one spot to visit whilst your there (with a ’99’ ice cream in hand, of course).

Plus, Brighton also has a totally vibrant nightlife with loads of live music bands which I know you enjoy.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (13)

For a lovely spot to stay at, book into the Hotel du Vin with its sweeping staircase and quirky rooms or stay in a Georgian terrace at Blanch House close to the seafront.

Read more: Best things to do in Brighton

7.) Durham

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (8)

One of the best ways to arrive in Durham is by train; well, in my opinion, anyway.

As the train pulls in, you’ll get a glimpse of how gorgeous the city is – all nestled within the stunning natural landscape of northern England.

Once you’re there, make sure to pop into the Romanesque cathedral overlooking this small city. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your camera; It’s stunning.

The cathedral is surrounded by cobbled lanes that are pretty picturesque. Nearby, the city’s ancient university and Crook Hall is also great to see. 

For a yummy treat, pop into Glady’s Vintage Tea Room which makes the tastiest breakfast and freshly brewed teas.

Read more: Best places to visit in the north of England

8.) Hull

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (4)

Hull is often an underrated spot when it comes to the best cities to visit in England, but that’s all changing. Historically, the city has a long history with the sea – with local fishing communities making this city what it is.

Awarded the UK’s City of Culture last year, Hull is a pretty up-and-coming spot to visit. 

Now, it has several quaint museums, like the; Wilberforce House Museum and Hull Maritime Museum to visit.

Also, they have a pretty epic spot you might (or might not) wanna see. Don’t forget to wander around the historic old town, visit Ferens Art Gallery and the stunning Holy Trinity Church.

Read more: Best places to visit in the East of England

9.) Liverpool

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (10)

Liverpool is famous for lots of reasons!

The Beatles are one of the biggest, obviously, but did you know it’s one of the best cities to visit in England for the number of galleries and museums, too.

For decades, Liverpool had a very active and vibrant music scene alongside two successful footy clubs (if that’s your sport of choice) that you’re almost guaranteed to experience. 

Whilst strolling through Liverpool, make sure to include; the Mersey ferry, the historic Albert Dock, the Liver Building and the stunning Tate Gallery.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (1)

For a great coffee, stop off at  Panna who make one of the best, freshly roasted coffee.

Read more: Best things to do in the West of England

10.) Manchester

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (18)

Manchester was once at the heart of Britain’s Industrial Revolution (hence, the worker bees 🐝).

Manchester still retains an important place in the culture of the country with loads of musical heritage. Though, best of all, that warm northern hospitality.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (19)

when you’re in the city, make sure to explore the stunning The John Rylands Library, see T-Rex at The Manchester Museum and explore the Manchester Art Gallery.

If you work up an appetite, pop over to Umezushi which make some of the best sushi in the city.

Read more: Best things to do in Manchester

11.) Nottingham

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (11)

Once the centre of the historic lace in England, Nottingham is now much more than it’s lacey heritage.

Today, Nottingham is a great location for a cultural break and one of the best cities to visit in England. This is especially true if you like to explore some of its amazing histories.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (5)

The Creative Corner has the Castle Museum, the Lace Market and the original shop of fashion icon Paul Smith to visit. Plus, outside the city is the legendary Sherwood Forest home of Robin Hood.

Finally, a top choice for a gorgeous hotel is the Lace Market Hotel with views of the historic neighbourhood.

12.) Portsmouth

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (16)

Portsmouth has long been known as the home of the British Navy and one place that’s dominated by the sea.

Its harbour has been a military port since the early days of Henry VII; making this one historical and best cities to visit in England.

Once you’ve arrived in Portsmouth , visit the Historic Dockyard it has HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and Henry VIII’s 16th-century flagship Mary Rose. From the top of the Spinnaker Tower, you can also see great views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Read more: Best things to do in Portsmouth

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (3)

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit York , it never gets old!

There’s always something new (or old) to explore, see and experience.

Here's A Surprising Spot For Afternoon Tea In York (16)

If it’s your first time here, make sure to walk around the ancient parts of the city centre.

Plus, follow the 14th-century walls that enclose the medieval city and stop off at all the little boutiques you’ll find.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (6)

Oh, also, don’t forget the impressive York Minster , the largest Gothic building in the whole of Britain.

Also, York is home to the National Railway Museum, though you might wanna give this a miss if trains aren’t your thing.

Alternatively, pop into the Jorvik Viking Centre where you can find out more about the city’s Nordic heritage.

Taking A Step Back Into The Past In York, England (47)

For a typically (and pretty decedent) afternoon tea, pop into the Countess of York. You’ll leave stuffed. After all, it’s hard to resist all the cakes. 😉

If you’re looking for a day trip from York, make sure to check out the nearby (and totally gorgeous) market town of Malton or the smuggler’s town of Robin Hood’s Bay .

Read more: Best things to do in York

14.) Stratford-upon-Avon

Best Things To Do In Stratford-upon-Avon (5)

Okay, so this is more of a town than a city –  but I couldn’t resist!

Known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is a gorgeous place that’s nestled in the English countryside.

Best Things To Do In Stratford-upon-Avon (4)

When you’re here, you can visit the birthplace of Shakespeare and learn much more about his life. You’ll also see; Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the theatres of the Swan and Royal Shakespeare to name but a few.

Afterwards, take a relaxing stroll along the river or visit one of the many pubs in the historic centre. Honestly, these alone make it one of the best cities to visit in England to visit. 

Read more: Best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon

 15.) Bournemouth

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (9)

One of the things I love most about Bournemouth is its seven miles of sandy beaches and lovely Victorian parks.

Best of all, Bournemouth is actually one of England’s warmest places in England, too. This all makes it one of the best cities to visit in England if you’re looking for a less chilly spot.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (15)

Close by, you’ll also find the start of the Jurassic Coast with Old Harry Rocks, Durdle Door and some gorgeous little hamlets to explore.

15 Of The Best Cities To Visit In England (17)

Oh, and don’t forget, you should go and look at the world’s shortest funicular railway linking the beach to the cliff-top.

Read more: The most beautiful towns in the UK

17 Beautiful Towns In The UK To Visit

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Whats the Best Way to Travel Multiple Cities in England? - England Forum

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' class=

Train train train!

And an added bonus - the train fare system in Britain will this summer become MUCH much easier!

city uk trip

Have a rethink here or you will be racking up hundreds and hundreds of miles and end up seeing very little.

Thanks for your help gentlemen. We definitely will use the train.

As far as covering all locations in 6/7 days....do you really think it would be too much even if we traveled by train? If we were to keep this itinerary, can anyone suggest an appropriate amount of time to cover all destinations?

Or make a suggestion on what we should see for our first trip to England? (Beatle-Lover Husband HAS to see Liverpool, I'll go anywhere with historic architecture)

Thanks Again....

If I was planning your trip to all these places on your list, I'd suggest at least 10-14 days and that still wouldn't leave any room for "cities in between".

I have to admit my crazy itinerary was based on a list of 10 or so of the oldest cities in England I found on the net. Unfortunately this year we can not do 10-14 days....but hopefully someday.

Would Stonehenge and Glastonbury Abbey be considered a day trip from London?


Glastonbury isn't relly worth a trip out to see specially - there's the Tor but that's about it. Wells is a far more interesting little city and has the wonderful cathedral, Bishops Palace and much more.

' class=

If you choose to go by train then my suggestion is to travel in the evening.

A lot of things in the UK shut at 5pm. Shops, tourist attractions etc. So as not to eat into your precious daylight (business) hours of sightseeing, get on a train to your next destination about 5pm (okay they might be busy with commuters but that is another post), arrive later in the evening to pre-booked accomodation and then get up and explore that place the next day.

Have a look at where you want to go and try to plan for direct train journeys of about 2 hours. Then you will be getting off the train at 7pm and able to be having dinner and a few drinks at 8pm. You wont miss any scenery because it is light till all hours and you can even have a quick walk around your new town and think about what you want to see the next day.

Depending on exactly how much you want to see in each place, your itinery is not impossible, but it will be constant sightseeing and moving on.

Joe - read the OP's second post! Hubby is a Beatle fanatic.

As GB says, by public transport it's train from Waterloo to Salisbury, and bus from Salisbury to Stonehenge and surrounds (I reviewed this tour bus on here recently, and worked out the cost for the day would be about £44 I think. (Train/bus/entrance to Stonehenge)

city uk trip

Liverpool is well worth a visit even if you aren't a Beatles fanatic - great waterfront, lots of interesting history, museums, art galleries, theatre, concerts, good beaches and countryside nearby - and football of course!

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Panoramic view of landmarks at night. London lit up

We don’t do ‘sightseeing’. Yes, our cities are full of iconic attractions – but why simply admire them when you can jump right in? Maybe you’ll explore London on a moonlit kayaking tour, go gin tasting and ghost hunting in Cardiff, or discover Edinburgh’s secret underground streets? From river cruises in floating hot-tubs, to overnight stays in our zoos and museums. Whatever you find, you’ll find it with a warm British welcome.

Top city destinations to visit

An unmissable destination for travellers, London is a melting pot of history, culture and green spaces.

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From palaces to cobbled alleys, and a dormant volcano, this city is a real show-stopper.

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Step into a land of castles, world-renowned rugby and a whole host of myths and legends.

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Packed with lively pubs, an eclectic food scene and a myriad of immersive experiences.

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Britain’s Ocean City offers a seamless blend of maritime charm and natural beauty; a cultural hub filled with award-winning museums and waterfront attractions.

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Small but mighty, Exeter is a city with seriously cool credentials.

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Chester’s charm is captivating and unmissable, from City Walls oozing with history and tales of Romans, to seeing the animal kingdom at Chester Zoo.

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A storyteller of history, Lincoln is a city with thousands of tales to tell.

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From its beginnings as a Norman Fortress, Lancaster’s buildings, streets and locals can tell tales of gigantic proportions.

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Sitting on the edge of the Peak District National Park, its a place for outdoor lovers, adrenaline cravers and creative thinkers.

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A place for roaming Romans, valiant Vikings and a playground for wizards, Durham is bursting with magical moments.

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A perfect blend of nature and urban living, this Essex city was made to be explored.

Man walking through arch covered in flowers at Lion Walk, Colchester

The city of Cambridge is a hotbed of history, architecture and innovation.

View of college in Cambridge with people punting on River

Cool creative Bristol is a must-see for art, culture and action-packed adventure.

Firework in the evening, illuminated hot air balloons on the ground at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

A quirky seaside city filled with diverse cuisine, vintage shopping and adrenaline fuelled adventure.

Female yoga class taking place on the viewing platform of British Airways i360 Viewing Tower

The birthplace of 2-Tone music, and home to a bohemian village and a showy modern cathedral.

Robot sculpture outside a building with geometric décor

Small and mighty – York is the medieval walled city that really packs a punch.

Woman wearing trench coat and pink hat walking

Lovers of The Crown can wrap themselves in royalty as this town is about as regal as it gets.

Guards marching, Windsor Castle


Birthplace of the great bard, William Shakespeare, fall in love with this hopelessly romantic 16th century town.

Couple walking around the exterior of Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

From The Beatles to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Liverpool is a UNESCO City of Music with seriously cool credentials.

Rooftop of Oh me oh my restaurant in Liverpool

A hotbed for shopping and the arts, you’ll find lots to explore in Leeds.

The Victorian formal gardens with statues and low hedges in front of Harewood House

Pushing the boundaries of art and culture and a heart that beats through its people.

Two men looking at installation of suspended head sculptures

Just an hour by train from London and you’re in the city of dreaming spires.

Two boys playing on a path in front of a palace

An industrial hub with a vibrant, creative heart and a whole host of quirky adventures.

Historical building, with a clock tower, beside a fountain

Steeped in legends that surround Robin Hood to literary greats, discover what this city has to offer.

A performer in front of Nottingham Castle

A wellness retreat for the Romans and Georgian architecture around every corner.

Woman swimming in a swimming pool at a spa

World-class football and a music scene that brought Oasis to centre stage – there’s lots to love about Manchester.

DJ playing to groups of people at Manchester Craft Beer Festival, in Depot Mayfield, Manchester

Newcastle upon Tyne

Linked by no fewer than seven bridges, it's one vibrant place to visit.

Couple kayaking on a river under blue skies

Things to do in the city

Cambridge university botanic garden.

Over 8,000 species spread across 40 acres of beautiful gardens and glasshouses in the centre of Cambridge offer year-round interest and inspiration to visitors of all ages.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Core by Clare Smyth (3 Michelin stars)

Serving up elegant fine dining whilst paying homage to natural and sustainable ingredients.

Plate of food

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

As well as live concerts and spectacular Baroque architecture, Kelvingrove is home to 8,000 treasured exhibits too.

Two men looking at installation of suspended head sculptures

Coventry Transport Museum

See the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles of anywhere, including the world’s two fastest cars.

Two men looking at an exhibit of motorbikes at Coventry Transport Museum.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Catch a performance by Liverpool’s historic orchestra.

Royal Liverpool Phil Hall Portrait

Titanic Belfast

Even 100 years after this mighty ship sank, its story still captures our imagination – brought to life by Titanic Belfast.

The Titanic, Belfast

Royal Pavilion

Visit this 19th-century seaside ‘pleasure palace’ in the heart of Brighton to discover its colourful history.

Royal Pavilion at dusk, lit up in a range of vivid colours

National Museum Cardiff

You’ll find everything from dinosaur bones to contemporary art at this fantastic free museum.

People viewing artwork in the National Museum Cardiff

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Spanning the beautiful Avon Gorge, this is one of the world’s most architecturally ambitious bridges – a true work of art.

Hot air baloons floating above the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol

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Still not sure where to go.

Want to kayak with dolphins, scuba with seals, or cruise to wildlife-filled islands? Britain’s coastline is yours to explore – and has beautiful beaches of every description.

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The best cities in the UK: 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

By Condé Nast Traveller

The best cities in the UK 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

What's your favourite city in the UK? In 2023, we asked our readers just that – and your responses rank the top 10 of the UK's 51 cities in some surprising ways. There are cities from all four devolved nations represented in this list, with a new city in the top spot and two new additions of Brighton and Dundee.

Our annual Reader's Choice Awards are the biggest and most influential in the business, shining a light on the best places around the world. In collaboration with our sister title in the USA, we can now reveal the urban destinations that scored the highest marks when it comes to nightlife, restaurants and friendliness. For more inspiration, see our pick of the best places to visit in the UK .

These are the best cities in the UK, according to the 2023 Readers' Choice Awards . The scores below are percentages representing overall average levels of satisfaction.

Two empty but colorful deckchairs sit on Brighton beach looking out to sea and Brighton's pleasure pier in the the...

10. Brighton. Score 80.22

This bohemian beach city has it all: a wealth of enticing restaurants , one of the UK's best LGBTQ+ scenes and – most importantly for any seaside destination – truly excellent fish and chips .

Where to stay: Bed down in elegant Regency Square in rooms filled with beautiful artworks at Artist Residence . Or opt for this sweet Airbnb in the historic Lanes . See more hotels in Brighton .

View of Dundee and the Tay railway bridge across the Tay River.

9. Dundee. Score 81.11

With its large-scale waterfront regeneration, including the architecturally impressive V&A Museum, Dundee is a thriving cultural hotspot.

Where to stay: Set in a former textile mill, Hotel Indigo has industrial interiors, a buzzy bar and is well located for exploring.

The Northern Irish capital is famous for being birthplace to the RMS Titanic  but also for its vibrant culture and art...

8. Belfast. Score 83.07

The Northern Irish capital is famous for being birthplace to the RMS Titanic – but also for its vibrant culture and art scene and welcoming locals, set against a backdrop of handsome cobbled streets and dapper Edwardian buildings. Check out our local's guide to Belfast to find out more.

Where to stay: At The Harrison , set in Victorian merchants' residences, given a colourful, light-hearted makeover. The hotel is close to some of the city's best cultural highlights, too. For more ideas, read our guide to the best hotels in Belfast .

This buzzy Scottish city has made the list for the sixth year in a row. Read our feature on the best things to do in...

7. Glasgow. Score 83.27

This buzzy Scottish city has made the list for the sixth year in a row. Read our feature on the best things to do in Glasgow to find out why, or tap into the Glaswegian food scene .

Where to stay: See our round-up of the best Airbnbs in Glasgow from which to base yourself – including this handsome studio in a classic townhouse that sleeps two.

Liverpool comes in sixth place on our list this year up a spot from last year. The oncegritty city is now a capital of...

6. Liverpool. Score 83.29

Liverpool comes in sixth place on our list this year, up a spot from last year. The once-gritty city is now a capital of cool, where vintage shops, art galleries and art venues inject a creative atmosphere into the streets – see our guide to things to do in Liverpool for ideas on how to spend a visit here.

Where to stay:

Book a room at Titanic Hotel Liverpool , converted from a soaring, cavernous former warehouse.

History is woven into the medieval lanes and cloistered colleges of this freewheeling university town. But now a perky...

5. Cambridge. Score 84.16

History is woven into the medieval lanes and cloistered colleges of this free-wheeling university town. But now a perky batch of new arrivals are adding cocktail and coffee culture to the equation. Before your visit, see our pick of the best things to do in Cambridge .

Where to stay: The smartest choice in town is The University Arms , a coaching inn that’s been artfully reimagined.

Vibrant Manchester is packed with excellent chefs music and culture. Grand libraries street art record shops and...

4. Manchester. Score 85.36

Vibrant Manchester is packed with excellent chefs, music and culture. Grand libraries, street art, record shops and galleries are among the best things to do in the city , while excellent restaurants in Manchester range from Korean cooking to donut shops via Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine. There's a thriving LGBTQ+ scene in Manchester , too.

Where to stay: Whitworth Locke comprises apartments painted in dreamy pastels in an old cotton mill. See more of the best hotels in Manchester .

Edinburgh famed for its festival and varied architecture has come third in our list of the best cities in the UK. For...

3. Edinburgh. Score 86.38

Edinburgh, famed for its festival and varied architecture, has come third in our list of the best cities in the UK. For first-time visitors, see our Edinburgh travel guide and the best things to do in the Scottish capital . In the last few years the city has developed into a foodie hotspot – these are the best restaurants in Edinburgh .

Where to stay: Gleneagles Townhouse is the most exciting newcomer on the scene. For a private stay, this loft Airbnb overlooks the city's most famous street. For more options, see our pick of the best Edinburgh hotels and the best Airbnbs in Edinburgh .

The best islands in the world: 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards

Caitlin Morton

7 European countries that don't use the euro

Preeti Shivani

A guide to Tromsø, Norway's Arctic Circle city

Sarah Rodrigues

The best exhibitions in London for October

Connor Sturges

London is not just a major city but a thriving hub of 32 boroughs each with their own distinct character from hip...

2. London. Score 86.44

London is not just a major city but a thriving hub of 32 boroughs, each with their own, distinct character, from hip Dalston to colourful Notting Hill and buzzing Soho . Stay up to date with the latest happenings via our weekly roundup of the best  things to do in London this weekend , as well as our list of the best restaurants in London  (even better, sign up to our weekly newsletter on London's hottest restaurants right now too).

Where to stay: For something smart and classic, you can't get much better than Claridge's , in splashy Mayfair . For a cooler, more casual stay, look further East to One Hundred Shoreditch , which boasts a gorgeous rooftop bar. For more, see our edit of the best London hotels .

The playful Welsh capital takes the top spot for 2023 with its exciting independent restaurants buzzy bars and...

1. Cardiff. Score 86.84

The playful Welsh capital takes the top spot for 2023 with its exciting independent restaurants, buzzy bars and up-and-coming neighbourhoods. Take a bite into the cool food scene and discover the unmissable places to visit with our guide to the best things to do in Cardiff .

Where to stay: Take over an Airbnb in the city to live like a local and explore the Welsh capital at your own pace.

Finding the Universe

Travel tales, photography and a dash of humor


2 Weeks in the UK – My Perfect UK Trip Itinerary

Last updated: October 30, 2023 . Written by Laurence Norah - 209 Comments

If you are looking for a two week UK itinerary which includes Ireland, you have come to the right place. This UK road trip itinerary has you starting in London, and using a rental car as the transportation method. It covers some of our highlights in the UK, including cities, castles, and stunning natural scenery.

I have spent a great deal of time living in and exploring the UK. I’ve drawn on my experiences travelling here to put together my perfect two week UK trip to help you plan your own trip.

This UK itinerary (which also includes Ireland) covers England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. It’s a self-drive road-trip, although could also be modified to support travel by public transport if you prefer.

If you haven’t driven in the UK before, do check out my guide to driving in the UK for helpful tips. We also have a guide to how much it costs to travel in the UK if you need budget planning help.

UK Two Week Itinerary - Alnwick Castle UK

Without further ado, allow me to present my two-week UK itinerary.

A 2 week UK Trip itinerary

This itinerary is very busy and fits a lot in, including time in Ireland. It is doable, but just be aware that it will be fast paced with quite a lot of driving. Naturally, you are welcome to take the itinerary and adjust it to meet your own interests and pace.

For example, many folks prefer to focus on the UK with their two weeks, and skip the island of Ireland, returning instead via the Lake District and Wales. However, if you want to see as much as possible, this itinerary is how to do it.

Days 1 & 2: London

The UK’s capital is one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s been hanging around for over 2000 years on the banks of the Thames, and there is just an incredible wealth of things to see, from historical sights, to amazing museums, to crazy street markets.

It’s a wonderfully walk-able capital, and you can easily take in the major central sights in a day or so, leaving you the second day to explore museums, art galleries, or go a little further afield and take in some of the other sights, from crumbling cemeteries to massive parks. And if all else fails, you will never be short on an incredible pub to while away some time before heading on.

For inspiration for your visit, take a look at our 2 day London itinerary , which covers the major highlights of the city, and also links to lots of other information about visiting, including tips on finding Harry Potter locations in London through to Winston Churchill locations in London – something for everyone!

My advice for London is to invest in an Oyster card to save money on your transport (don’t hire a car until you leave the capital – and check here for great rates on car hire ), and if you think you’re going to use it, look into buying a London Pass to save money on London’s top attractions.

Available in 1, 3 and 6 day versions, as well as a version with an included Oyster card, the savings can really be quite impressive if you plan on visiting a few locations. You can read a full break down on when the London Pass is worth buying here , and buy one yourself here .

Finally, London is probably going to be the most expensive city in the UK for your accommodation. We recommend booking well in advance to get a good deal.

Some of our recommended accommodation options in London are:

The Walrus Bar and Hostel , The Z hotel in Shoreditch , Point A Hotel , Lime Tree Hotel and the  Resident Victoria Hotel . You can see more London hotel listings here on booking.com . We also love the curated apartments available on Plum Guide .

city uk trip

Days 3 & 4: Oxford & the Cotswolds

One of the stipulations of the original question was the wish to avoid feeling too much like a tourist. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible in Oxford , as nearly everyone there is either a tourist or a student. I lived in and around Oxford for a number of years, and generally felt like a tourist most of that time too.

Part of the reason for that is that this tiny city is absolutely jam packed with incredible buildings, largely in the form of the Oxford Colleges. These are seriously wealthy establishments, who clearly had no problem flaunting that wealth in an architectural fashion back in the day.

Oxford Radcliffe Camera.png

This means that yes, it is full of people wandering around, mouths agape, at quite how pretty the whole thing is. Yes, it’s jam packed with tourists. But for good reason!

So strap that camera on and snap away. Then go for a punt on the river, and enjoy some Pimms or a cream tea. Seek out the Harry Potter filming locations . Take a walking tour of the Universities . There’s no shortage of way to fill your time!

Read more tips for spending a day in Oxford, here .

From Oxford you are also well located to take in the incredibly picturesque Cotswolds area – all quaint villages and rolling countryside. The England that everyone imagines England to be like, with country pubs, village greens and cricket ovals. Lovely stuff. Check out hotel prices for  Oxford here .

Days 5 & 6: Peak District and Manchester

From Oxford I’m going to suggest heading “up north”, towards the Peak District national park. Think rolling hills, quaint villages, and beautiful walks.

There are also some fabulous stately homes to visit , not to mention that on the way from Oxford you can stop off at Warwick Castle – one of the UK’s best-preserved castles.

If you’re interested in the industrial revolution in the UK I can highly recommend a visit to the city of Manchester.

Of course, if the industrial revolution isn’t your thing there are plenty of other reasons to visit Manchester, including excellent retail therapy, an awesome food scene, and a variety of architectural highlights. Not to mention the music scene!

You can see my guide to things to do in Manchester for lots more ideas, and you can see hotel prices for Manchester here .

One other thing you might consider as you pass through the Peak District and Manchester is a visit to Alton Towers . This is arguably the UK’s best known theme park, and would make for a great thrilling day out for those of you who like that sort of thing.

Day 7: York

Not that far from Manchester (England is so quaintly explorable!), the city of York is another of my favourite UK cities.

From the incredible Gothic York Minster (a climb to the top is highly recommended) to the winding, tumbled down alleyways of the shambles, to the Viking history – this is a city that just cries out for exploration.

York St Marys Abbey ruin church monastery

It’s also an awesome place if you’re into ghost stories. There are a whole number of ghost walks that take in the spooky past of York, so if you want an evening of entertainment and intrigue, likely accompanied with a number of fine drinking establishments, an evening ghost walk is a great bit of fun.

I’m not a great believer in this sort of thing usually, but I took a tour and thoroughly enjoyed it!

If you do plan on seeing a few things in York, you might save money with a York City Pass , which includes most of the attractions in the city as well as access to the York Sightseeing bus or York City Cruises. You can buy that in advance here .

For more York ideas, see our guide to spending two days in York , which has a comprehensive itinerary as well as tips on where to stay and how to get around.

For accommodation, you can check out and book the best York hotels here .

Days 8 & 9: Edinburgh via Northumberland

From York we’re going to wave farewell to England, and head up to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. On the way though, you’ll be passing through some of England’s least travelled, yet stunningly beautiful, landscapes.

I am of course talking about Northumbria. From miles of deserted beach, to crumbling castles, to the Roman equivalent of the great wall of China, Northumbria really has a lot to offer someone looking for a slightly off the beaten track England experience. The rolling landscapes are breath-taking and you’ll find yourself alone much of the time. Worth taking a bit of time to explore, in my opinion.

city uk trip

Then of course, it’s up to Edinburgh , where you’ll not be short of amazing things to look at. From Edinburgh castle, to Arthurs Seat, from fine whiskys, to Princes Street, there really is enough here for a number of days of entertainment. And if you visit during the Fringe festival… well… plan on being entertained for a good many weeks!

See more ideas on spending some time in Edinburgh in this detailed two day Edinburgh itinerary that I put together, as well as our guide to things to do in Edinburgh , our tips on visiting Edinburgh in winter , and our guide to finding Harry Potter in Edinburgh .

Then  check and book your Edinburgh hotels here.

Days 10 – 12: Ireland

Because the UK is an easily explorable place with decent roads and relatively short distances to drive, it is totally possible to include another country – Ireland! – in a trip like this if you’re up for it.

Do be aware that if you are renting a car, some car rental companies have restrictions on taking cars on ferries, or into other countries – so make sure you check before you go as there may be an additional fee to pay.

Of course, you could also fly to Ireland (Edinburgh to Belfast or Dublin for example), and use different rentals for different parts of your adventure!

If all that sounds like too much hard work, you could extend your time in Scotland, or alternatively, you could take in the west coast of the UK, including Glasgow , the Lake District, and Liverpool, as well as popping into Wales for the stunning Snowdonia national park, and rejoin this itinerary in South Wales or Bristol . The choice is yours!

If it is Ireland you want though, it’s a short ferry ride from Scotland (Cairnryan to be precise, which is 2-3 hour drive from Edinburgh) across to Belfast in Northern Ireland, from where you can spend a few days exploring the Emerald Isle.

We have previously travelled from Cairnryan with Stena Line , which has been a fast, comfortable and efficient service. You can book your ferry tickets here .

This part of the world has a lot to offer, and three days is quite a short amount of time. We can recommend spending some time in Belfast and driving north along the causeway coastal route to see such highlights as the Giant’s Causeway, ruined castles and spectacular coastline. Then, head south into Ireland, and see fabulous Dublin.

Guinness sign Dublin brewery

I’ve explored Dublin and her surroundings, taken a trip down to the Dingle Peninsula , kissed the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, gazed at the Cliffs of Moher ,  and visited the Dark Hedges of Game of Thrones fame – to name but a few of our wonderful experience on the Irish Isle.

In Dublin there’s the Guinness Factory, of course, as a popular highlight, but also oodles of Gaelic history and culture to get excited about.

There are also of course the Irish people, well known for their love of a good time! Personally, I’d head on down the coast from Belfast, through Dublin and down to the port of Rosslare, where after three exciting days in Ireland another ferry service will whisk you across to the last of the four countries to make up the UK: Wales!

Day 13: South Wales and Cardiff

In Wales you will arrive either at Fishguard or Pembroke – both excellent places to explore the Pembrokeshire Coast national park . Here you will find beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, and fabulous opportunities for walking.

You’re also not too far a drive from Cardiff, the Welsh capital. Four capitals in a fortnight – not bad going! Here you’ll find castles, sporting venues and more Welsh based culture than you can shake a stick at. Plus, arrive at the right time of year and you’ll find the Great British Cheese festival in full swing. What’s not to be excited about? Find and book your Cardiff hotels here .

Day 14: Bristol & Bath

From Cardiff you’ll cross the enormous Severn estuary over the impress Severn road bridge and be back in the UK, or Bristol to be precise. Here you’ll find all sorts of interesting items of historical interest, largely running on a nautical theme, as well as some of the best street art in Britain .

For over a thousand years Bristol has been an important English port. From early explorers and traders, to the dark years of the African slave vessels, to filling Australia with immigrants, it is hard to understate the role that Bristol has played in Britain’s sea faring history. There is, after all, a reason for the expression “ship-shape and Bristol fashion” having a place in the English language.

city uk trip

I can highly recommend taking a trip round the SS Great Britain when you’re in Bristol. Built in 1843, and designed by the engineering genius who was Isambard Kingdom Brunel – the man who almost single-handedly revolutionised both engineering and public transport in the UK.

The SS Great Britain is notable as being the first steamer to cross the Atlantic – setting a record pace for the time of 14 days. An amazing bit of history. Note that tickets are slightly cheaper if you book them online, which you can do online here .

For more ideas in Bristol, check out our guide to things to do in Bristol , which should give you plenty of ideas to fill your time. Find the best prices on Bristol hotels and book here .

From Bristol it’s on to the Roman spa city of Bath, a world heritage site. Like Oxford , this is a difficult place to be anything other than a tourist, but it is so worth it all the same!

Day 15: Back to London, via Stonehenge!

Our last day of our just over two week UK itinerary takes us back to London. No trip to the UK though would really be complete without taking in perhaps our most famous monument – the circle of rocks known as Stonehenge.

There is just something about the place that makes you wonder. A circle of rocks, built by a people who had nothing but their hands and some bits of wood to help them out, in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside, hundreds of miles from an actual quarry, is just mind blowing.

Add in the pagan ritualism, the relationship between the rocks and the sun, and the sheer mystery of the place, and you have somewhere that is capable of really capturing the imagination. Worth your time to visit (see more thoughts from a trip to Stonehenge here ).

Plus, while you’re there you can pop into Salisbury and enjoy the cathedral, which boasts the highest cathedral spire of any church in the UK.

And then… back to London, where this tour finishes!

city uk trip

2 Weeks in the UK: Road Trip Map

Here’s a map of the route , for your reference.

city uk trip

2 Week UK Itinerary Summary

  • Days 1 & 2 : London
  • Days 3 & 4 : Oxford & the Cotswolds
  • Days 5 & 6 : Peak District and Manchester
  • Day 7 : York
  • Days 8 & 9 : Edinburgh via Northumberland
  • Days 10 – 12 : Ireland
  • Day 13 : South Wales and Cardiff
  • Day 14 : Bristol & Bath
  • Day 15 : Back to London, via Stonehenge!

Can you do this 2 Week UK itinerary by public transport?

A popular question from readers is whether or not this itinerary can be done by public transport. I appreciate that of course not everyone wants to drive in the UK, and the answer, for the most part, is yes.

Certainly, between the major cities on the itinerary there are good rail and/or bus links, with the train usually being a little faster. The main challenge is the rural sections of the route – for example, exploring the Cotswolds, Northumbria or the Peak District. This is possible using local buses of course, but it can definitely slow you down a fair bit, and so you would need to adjust the itinerary a little to fit the schedule.

Another option is to add in some days in London or Edinburgh, and doing some specific day trips from these cities to take in the out of town attractions.

For example, there is this  day trip from London that takes in highlights such as Bath and Stonehenge. Then, for Northumbria and the Scottish Borders, including beautiful Alnwick Castle, consider this tour from Edinburgh .

If you are interested in doing this itinerary by public transport, check out my guide to taking a 10 day UK trip by public transport, which as well as a route, has lots of ideas for how to book different forms of transport in the most effective and cost-efficient way.

What About Touring the UK With A Tour Company?

Another popular question is whether or not this sort of trip can be done with a tour company, and if we have any companies we would recommend for this.

So you have a few options for doing this which I have outlined below.

The first option is to take a group tour of the UK. There are a number of companies offering small group tours – we’d recommend finding a service which operates tours of 15 people or less. We usually use and recommend Rabbie’s Trail Burners , who operate trips around the UK and Ireland, and have a number of tour options to choose from.

We haven’t found a tour that exactly matches our UK wide itinerary, but we still have a solution for those of you wanting the do a similar trip as part of a guided tour.

First, we recommend you spend two or three days in London, following our suggested London itinerary .

Next, we recommend you take something similar to this small group tour , which takes eight days to take you from London to Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh, you can spend a couple of days following our Edinburgh itinerary , after which you can easily fly to either Belfast or Dublin direct from Edinburgh.

Here you can either explore these lovely cities, or take a tour to explore more of the country, we’d recommend either this three day tour of Northern Ireland  or this three day tour of the southern and western coast .

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to skip Ireland, you could take something like this five day tour of the Scottish Highlands and Skye .

Finally, you can either return to London, or have your flights home depart from Dublin or Edinburgh, depending on your tour choice.

The other option is a bespoke tour company and/or a private tour guide, who will be able to put a tour together for you, including guiding, transport and accommodation.

Of all the options, this will generally be the most expensive way to travel, but it will also give you total flexibility in terms of your trip and schedule, plus you’ll have a guide with you every step of the way, taking all the hassle out of your trip.

For this sort of tour, we recommend the services of Robina Brown, who is a blue-badge guide offering tours across the UK. See her website here .

When to Visit the UK

You can visit the UK at any time of year, although for the best weather and longer daylight hours, we’d definitely suggest visiting in the warmer months – from May to September. May is probably our favourite time of year, the weather is usually quite reasonable but the tourist crowds are not too intense.

Christmas, and the period leading up to Christmas, can also be a wonderful time to visit, when the streets and shops are all brightly lit and decorated for the festive season. For a good example of this, check out our guide to visiting Edinburgh at Christmas .

Where to Stay in the UK:

For accommodation , there are a great many options to choose from, ranging from cosy B&B’s through to upmarket hotels, and everything in between. Finding the best deal on your accommodation is an important part of trip planning – helping you to get the most from your budget, as well as find the property that is right for you.

  • We’ve tried a lot of booking sites, and nearly always find ourselves using Booking.com. They have an extensive selection of properties, many with no-fee cancellation policies, and often run discounts and special offers. Click on each city title to see their listings:  London , Oxford ,  Manchester , York , Edinburgh , Dublin , Cardiff and Bristol .
  • If you prefer an apartment or more of a hosted stay, then we recommend Plum Guide . We’ve tried all the others, and in our experience Plum Guide consistently has the highest quality options for the locations they are available.
  • If you can’t find what you want on Plum Guide, or you want some new options to try out, we wrote a whole post on the best alternatives to AirBnB , as well as a guide to our favourite holiday cottage accommodation in the UK , which you should check out!

Between these options, you should find the best prices and places to stay for your trip, as well as a good selection of reviews and feedback to help you make an informed decision.

How to Get Around the UK

For this kind of trip I also obviously recommend that you look into renting a car. We have used and can recommend Enterprise Car Rental , they usually have great rates, especially for one way rentals. We also recommend comparing car prices using a service like Rentalcars.com , which compares prices across a range of providers to help you find the best deal.

A hire car will give you a lot more flexibility than public transport, and prices are generally fairly reasonable. However, if you would prefer to do a trip like this by public transport instead of driving yourself, check out our UK itinerary by public transport for ideas.

Another option for travelling in the UK is to hire a motorhome. Whilst this might not be practical for a city focused trip, you might prefer it if you are planning on visiting more rural locations.

For campervan rental we suggest checking out Motorhome Republic . They offer a campervans from a range of companies at different price points, so you can find the right one for you. You can see their UK listings here .

Further reading for your UK Trip

We’ve got lots of resources to help you plan your trip to the UK, from posts we’ve written ourselves to third party content we’re happy to recommend. Here it is:

  • If you want a shorter trip, taking in some more off the beaten path destinations, check out this one week itinerary of the UK that I put together. If you’d prefer not to drive yourself, we also have a 10 day UK itinerary by public transport .
  • To prepare for your trip to the UK, we’ve put together a detailed UK packing list which covers both London and the wider UK at any time of year
  • This is a self-drive trip, so you should definitely check out our guide to driving in the UK for helpful tips.
  • We also have a guide to how much it costs to travel in the UK  which will help you cost out a trip like this.
  • A guide to driving Scotland’s epic North Coast 500 , as well as accommodation options on the North Coast 500
  • When you’re near Glasgow, you should check out the beautiful Devil’s Pulpit in Finnich Glen
  • A two day Edinburgh itinerary & 21 Highlights in Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh: Getting off the beaten path
  • A Two Day Glasgow and Loch Lomond itinerary
  • A guide to 10 of the best Stately Homes in England , to give you some ideas as you plan your itinerary
  • For London, we have some detailed itineraries to help you plan your visit. These include a 1 Day London Itinerary , a Two Day London itinerary and a Six Day London itinerary
  • The top Harry Potter sites in London
  • The Best Photography Locations in London
  • Tips on Buying and Using the London Pass
  • Eight Things to Do in Kensington
  • The Highlights of Oxford
  • Our guide to things to do in Cambridge
  • Visiting Blenheim Palace and the Cotswolds
  • 20 Things To Do in Dublin , a 2 day Dublin itinerary and a 3 day Dublin itinerary
  • A Guide to Touring the Scottish Borders
  • Getting online when travelling in a foreign country can be daunting – check out our guide to getting online when travelling to help you figure out the best options for your trip
  • If you’re interested in getting better photos when you travel, take a look at my online photography course , where I’ll teach you everything you need to know about getting better photos – whatever camera you have!
  • If you want a physical (or digital!) book to accompany your travels, then Amazon do a good line in UK Travel Guides , and there is naturally a Lonely Planet and a Rough Guide to the UK available.

If you’re planning on visiting a number of historical properties, there are a couple of options you have for saving money as a visitor to the UK. Two main organisations exist to preserve these properties, the National Trust, and English Heritage.

Both of these organisations offer specific passes for visitors to the UK, which represent great value for money for visitors.

For the National Trust you can pick up a National Trust touring pass . This is valid for 7 or 14 days, and gives you access to every National Trust property in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For English Heritage , you can get an English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass . This is valid for 9 or 16 days, and gives you access to every English Heritage property in the UK.

Alternatively, you can also buy a full membership to these organisations, which will last a full year. You can buy an English Heritage Membership here and a National Trust membership here .

So those were my thoughts for taking in a slightly longer than two week trip in the UK. I’ve obviously missed out a great number of places, as no two week trip can possibly hope to see everything, but I’d like to think I covered a great many highlights of this truly fascinating country.

As always, if you’ve got any thoughts on this post, do hit up the comments below!

A detailed two week itinerary for a trip around the UK, taking in cultural highlights, national parks, four countries and four capital cities!

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Ingrid Ermanovics says

24th May 2022 at 3:45 pm

Hi, Love your blog. I hear that the traffic in July can be daunting and cause very long delays. As such, would you still recommend a private car hire (car rental)? Or have other suggestions to avoid the issue? Thanks!!

Laurence Norah says

24th May 2022 at 4:33 pm

Thanks very much! So in my experience, the main factors that contribute to traffic in the UK are road works, which can happen at any time, and travelling at specific times. For example, when there is a public holiday on a Monday or Friday, this tends to lead to a lot of holiday traffic. So avoiding those dates makes a lot of sense. July is not particularly worse in my experience, it can be a bit heavier, but it’s not normally awful unless you are unlucky and encounter an accident, or there are road works. I would advise against trips on Friday or Sunday afternoons, as this is when the traffic can be quite bad at any time of year as people go away for or come back from the weekends.

I’d also advise using an app like Google maps with real time traffic, and trying to plan your travel times so they don’t align with the busier times of day. In general though, i would still recommend using a car rental even in July 🙂

I hope this helps!

Debbie Hebert says

16th May 2022 at 12:16 am

Hi Laurence and Jessica, this trip looks super fun and we are looking to visit July-Aug of this year starting in Dublin (as the airfare is best to there from our home in New Orleans). Just a few questions. Would you suggest going North or South from Dublin? How many miles is the entire itinerary? Is there is a stretch where we could ditch the rental car and take the train and then pick up another car? And/or if we drop off the car before and after London and train in which cities would be best to do that? Thank you so much!

16th May 2022 at 3:11 pm

Thanks Debbie!

So I’d probably recommend dropping the rental car in Belfast or Dublin and then flying across to Cardiff or Edinburgh, depending which way you go. Many car rental firms don’t allow for rentals to be taken on the ferry, plus you have to pay more to transport a car, so this would likely save you money.

Direction wise in Ireland, it really depends what you want to see. In the Republic of Ireland you have lovely landscapes and places like the Dingle peninsula and Ring of Kerry. If you head north to Belfast (also a lovely city), then you can visit places like the Giant’s Causeway and the Coastal Causeway route.

Putting a mileage total on the entire itinerary is tricky as there are likely to be many detours but I’d say a ballpark of 1500 – 2000 miles seems about right. In terms of areas where you can drop the car and take public transport, a lot of this will depend on what you want to see. If you are happy with primarily cities, then you can easily get around between cities with a train instead of a car. So for example, Edinburgh to York, York to Manchester, Manchester to Bath and Bath to Oxford would all work. Then if there were specific day trips you wanted to do there’s the option to either rent a car for that day, or take a day tour. But if you are thinking of spending more time in the countryside and smaller towns, then a car would be a lot less useful. I’d definitely recommend against taking a car into London, and dropping it off somewhere like Oxford or Reading before taking the train into London.

Farooq Ghouri says

6th May 2022 at 2:56 am

Hi Laurence and Jessica We are visiting UK this summer for two weeks. Your two weeks itinerary is great resource for us. I wonder how we can squeeze Wales in it . Any suggestions will be much appreciated We will be using rental car Sincerely Farooq Ghouri from Chicago USA

6th May 2022 at 9:44 am

Thanks very much! So the southern part of Wales is included in this trip on the return from Ireland. However, if you wanted to add Wales your main option would be to do it as you drive north, or to consider skipping Ireland and to drive back down through Wales to Bath. The second option might be easier as it cuts down having to think about a ferry / flight across to Ireland, but it’s up to you. This itinerary is already very busy, so adding more to it as it exists would be a bit of a challenge in my opinion.

Let me know if I can offer any further advice, and have a great time in the UK!

6th May 2022 at 5:06 pm

Thank you much Laurence I will keep your suggestion in mind when finalizing the itinerary

Heather says

28th April 2022 at 2:35 am

I noticed your recommended the The Resident Victoria and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. I will be travelling with 3 people, one of which is a full time wheelchair user. Do you think the room size is adequate for a 5 day visit? Did you happen to notice if the showers were roll in or a wet room with chair? I realize most hotels only have accessible showers and whatnot in certain rooms so will understand if you don’t know. I found your travel blog a month ago and love it. Thanks from Canada

28th April 2022 at 12:01 pm

Hi Heather,

Sure thing. So, the first thing to be aware of is that rooms in central London tend to be quite small, especially if you are used to the size of hotel rooms in North America. Another thing to be aware of is that baths are quite common, and having a shower over the bath rather than a separate stall is also fairly common. So if looking for an accessible room it’s really important to specify that, and it’s always worth checking with the hotel what that actually means.

I would say that none of the rooms in the Resident Victoria would really be suitable for three adults to share for a longer stay, if that was what you were thinking. The superior rooms do have the option for three single beds, but these are not accessible rooms. In general, the rooms are fairly compact and I think a wheelchair user in particular would struggle in their standard rooms.

If you were thinking of separate rooms, some of their King Rooms are accessible so that would be an option. I called the hotel this morning and they confirmed that it is their King rooms which are accessible and the showers in these rooms are fully roll in. The toilets and sinks are also accessible. They can also provide a chair in the shower if you want. However these are definitely rooms for two people.

I hope this answers your question! The property is very well located for sure. Let me know if I can offer any further advice. I also have a full guide to where to stay in London which has a lot more options 🙂

Have a great trip!

13th April 2022 at 11:47 pm

Hi Laurence,

Was very interesting to read this trip. But it’s more suitable for adults without kids to travell to Ireland within two weeks. Can you please look for following trip plan: We are 2 adults + 2 kids (12 and 10) for 14 days. My daughter likes Harry Potter, so preference on these kind of attractions. So i wanted to divided for following parts: 1. London 5 days –>>> museums, parks and so on. 2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London 1 day 3. Oxford or Cambridge .. yet not decided… for one day + Windsor Castle 4. Rent a car(or by train) and drive to the north >> York 1 day Manchester + Alton Towers – 1 day 5. Drive to south Birmingham (Cadbury world + other attractions) – 1 day Costwolds area – 1 day Bath + Stonehenge – 1 day Total 12 + 2 days (driving + bufffer for other changes during the trip)

Do you think is it good? What to add or remove? Or continue to Edinburgh and cancel some places in current trip? Thanks in advance Sam

14th April 2022 at 11:23 am

Great to hear from you. I agree, trying to include Ireland on the trip would be challenging with family. I think your itinerary sounds good, spending more time focusing on a smaller number of areas is a good choice. For your options, I think I might suggest Oxford over Cambridge if your daughter likes Harry Potter as there are quite a few filming locations in Oxford (see the Oxford section of our Harry Potter guide here ). I would also probably allocate a whole day to Oxford and maybe do Windsor Castle on one of your days in London. Oxford is very easy to reach by train from London so makes an easy day trip, but the day might feel rushed if you include Windsor as well.

I think otherwise your itinerary sounds good. A car will make things easier for sure, especially for things like exploring the Cotswolds and getting to Alton Towers. These are doable by public transport but it will take up valuable time. I also think focusing on England is a good idea. Depending on how much of a Harry Potter fan your daughter is you might consider stopping at Gloucester as well to see Gloucester Cathedral, which was used for various Hogwarts scenes .It’s a spectacular cathedral and lovely city in its own right as well, easy to see in 2-3 hours between Birmingham and Bath before dipping into the Cotswolds.

Have a great trip – let me know if you have any questions!

Vincent Choo says

12th April 2022 at 11:04 am

Laurence, My family and I ( 4 of us intend to tour Great Britain for 2 weeks before joining our friends in Belfast to continue another 10 days covering the island of Ireland. We intend to travel with a combination of car, train , ferry and air and hope to have your recommendation on which sectors should I use the above modes of transport. The intineary is roughly the same as your 2 weeks ( loop from London and ends there ) Thank You

12th April 2022 at 2:43 pm

Hi Vincent!

This is a great question, and the answer will come down to both budget and your interests.

If you are primarily interested in cities and larger towns, then travelling by rail might be easier for the majority of your trip. You can get between most cities and towns quite easily by train, and if you book well in advance you can also get cheap fares. You can also use a Friends & Family railcard to save even more. Travelling by train has the advantage that you don’t have to worry about car rental costs, fuel costs and finding car parking, the latter of which can be a challenge in many cities. I’d definitely advise against a car in London at the very least.

If you prefer a mix of city sightseeing and countryside, then a car is going to be more useful as most countryside sights and places like the Lake District are going to be a lot easier to get to and around with your own vehicle. I’d just suggest leaving the car out of the London part of the trip, and remembering to think about parking and fuel prices as part of your budget. I think a car might end up being slightly more expensive than public transport, but honestly the car rental market is so turbulent these days it’s hard to know without doing the math.

My recommendation would be to fly to Ireland – low cost flights with budget airlines will likely be the best option, and most car rental companies actually don’t allow for their vehicles to go on a ferry. Then you could pick up a hire car in Ireland on arrival.

It sounds like you have a great trip planned – let me know if I can offer any more input!

Sanchay says

7th April 2022 at 8:05 pm

Hello, Im planning a 2 week trip which shall include England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland during the month of October 2022. Is it feasible to cover all the places in 2 weeks considering that we are a group of 6 adults and 2 children ( 11 and 12 yrs) or shall we skip any of the destinations. We shall use Public transport in London and prefer Self drive cars / Trains / Ferries elsewhere. I also want to know if you could share some ranch stays where in we can stay and enjoy the country side instead of hotels. Awaiting your kind suggestion

Thanks and Regards 🙂

8th April 2022 at 11:04 am

Hi Sanchay,

Thanks for your comment. So I would probably recommend that you focus on maybe a couple of countries so you can enjoy yourself a bit more. I would probably recommend perhaps the mainland UK, as the extra effort required to get across to Ireland will eat into your time with two weeks. So perhaps a trip which includes London and Edinburgh, and then areas like the Lake District and / or Wales. One thing to be aware of is that the weather in October can be a bit variable, so spending more time in the cities might be more appealing rather than the country side where the weather might not be suitable for a lot of outdoor activities. Of course, you might be lucky and get good weather, but this is not guaranteed.

For ranch stays, probably the closest in the UK would be countryside B&Bs. Some farms do have accommodation option, and there are some lovely self catering options in the country as well.

Have a great trip and let me know if you have any further questions!

Derek Bowen says

2nd June 2021 at 5:16 pm

A really good trip, but I would skip Manchester and head right up through Rawtenstall, up through Burnley and Nelson. This would be a really good look at the cotton industry as well a real feel of northern England, as well as the best fish and chips. Then carry on up through Skipton, trying to time market day, and over to York, which is a must.

3rd June 2021 at 12:53 pm

Thank you Derek! For sure, there are so many ways to change this route depending on interests, and your suggestion is a good one 😀

Patrick Russell says

22nd March 2021 at 5:18 pm

This is absolutely amazing itinerary. What would a rough cost be for a trip like this? Minus airfare, and passports.

Thank you, Patrick

22nd March 2021 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Patrick! So it will vary quite a bit depending on your travel style. The main costs on a trip like this are transport, accommodation, food and attraction entry. Accommodation will obviously depend on how comfortable you like to travel, and food will also vary a lot depending on if you prefer fine dining or simpler fare.

To help cost a trip like this I put a guide to the costs of travelling in the UK in a post, which should give you some guidance 🙂


Hope this helps!

Matthew says

8th December 2020 at 2:51 pm

Interesting itinerary. As a British person, rather than a traveller, my comment would be it doesn’t have much of the coast in, though I understand the time constraints. But a trip to the UK with no seaside towns! At least add Brighton, easy to reach from London. Dorset isn’t too far either, and has a fantastic coast. Also, Chester is beautiful and well worth inclusion.

8th December 2020 at 2:52 pm

Hey Matthew,

Great feedback. When I wrote this guide initially it was in response to a specific request, but of course there is so much of the UK that it doesn’t cover for various reasons (including time restraints!). I always encourage folks to use it as a rough guide, but to modify it for their own interests 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Tammy Howard says

25th February 2020 at 11:07 pm

Dear Laurence,

Thank you so much for this itinerary. It is fabulous!! We would like to sleep in a castle while on our trip. Are there any that you know of that allow this along this route?

26th February 2020 at 11:20 am

Dear Tammy,

My pleasure! So yes, there are quite a few options along the route, depending on your budget. Some options to consider:

Thornbury Castle – just north of Bristol

Glenapp Castle – just south of the Scotland – Ireland ferry crossing. We’ve stayed here and it’s wonderful

Kilkea Castle Hotel – south of Dublin. We’ve also stayed here.

Cringletie Castle Hotel – about a 40 minute drive south of Edinburgh. Another of our favourites.

Of course, this is just a small selection – there are many more across the UK to choose from, at a range of budgets. One tip when staying in a castle hotel – some of them have built more rooms outside the castle itself. So make sure when booking that you get a room that inside the castle (I think otherwise it sort of defeats the point!).

Have a great trip, let me know if you have any more questions!

Abdiaziz says

29th February 2020 at 8:27 am

How much will I pay if I want to travel next month

29th February 2020 at 10:14 am

Hi Abdiaziz,

March is not too busy a month for travel in the UK, so prices should be reasonable. To figure out your costs for this trip, see our guide to how much it costs to travel in the UK 🙂

Dhaval says

3rd February 2020 at 9:17 am

Hi Laurence, Thanks a lot for this amazing itinerary. We are a group of 4 adults + 4 kids (1Y,3Y,5Y,7Y) and are planning a 15 days trip to the UK. This will be our first time. Can you please assist us with the below queries:-

1. Considering we have small kids, what is the best mode of transport to travel from London to Edinburgh to Dublin? Should we keep one separate day for travelling in our itinerary? We will also have Kids Strollers everywhere we travel. 2. We want to do Day tours from London to Oxford, Cotswold, Stonehenge, Bath etc keeping our base in London. But few of my friends suggested that the Local operators don’t include kids below 5Years and we will be forced to take a rent a car. Any suggestions? 3. Also if we follow your above itinerary, can you guide us the exact cities in which we need to book our apartments/hotels to avoid hassle-free travelling.

Thanks a lot in Advance. Cheers 🙂

3rd February 2020 at 2:45 pm

My pleasure 🙂 I will do my best to help of course. To answer your questions:

1 – From London to Edinburgh I would recommend the train. This takes around 4.5 hours and will be a lot quicker than driving / taking a bus, plus you will have more space for your stroller / bags etc. You could fly too, but as it will take time to check everything in, go through security etc, I think the train will be easier. Just be sure to book your train well in advance to get a good price, and be aware that if you book a ticket in advance, you must take the booked train, the ticket will not work on a different train, even on the same day.

For Edinburgh to Dublin, your only option is realistically to fly.

2 – This is correct, for safety reasons most group tours do not accept children under a certain age, which is often 5. However, you can instead book a private tour. For a group of eight of you this should not work out much more expensive than a normal tour, plus you will be able to customise the itinerary. So I would advise reaching out to private tour operators who should be able to assist.

3 – All the cities are in the itinerary, you would need to stay in whichever ones you want to visit that don’t fall within the day tours you wish to take from London.

I hope this helps – have a great trip and let me know if I can help any further,

Serafina Macdonald says

11th January 2020 at 9:09 pm

Hi there, we are planning a trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland at the beginning of July. We are thinking about 16-18 days. I looked at your itinerary and love your suggestions! My husband does want to spend a half-day in Liverpool and I think we can tweak your itinerary to fit it in and try to do Isle of Skye as well. Since we do have the few extra days at the end of the trip, do you think it would be worthwhile to travel over to the other coast of Ireland to explore that side? (Galway, Aran Islands). Would love some suggestions.

11th January 2020 at 9:18 pm

Hi Serafina!

So Liverpool would definitely be an easy addition to the itinerary. The Isle of Skye is a bit more of a trek, as it’s a five hour drive each way from Edinburgh, so I’d suggest allocating at least 3 days for that, one day each for the drive and one day to actually explore. So do keep that in mind.

For Ireland, absolutely. The west coast is stunning, and if you can find time to head over there I would definitely suggest doing so. There’s a lot to see over there, so the hardest part will be choosing, but certainly the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry are some good candidates for your shortlist 🙂

Have a great time, and let me know if you have any more questions!

12th January 2020 at 2:15 pm

Thanks so much! Looking forward to this trip!

3rd December 2019 at 9:40 am

Dear Laurence, This is the first time I visit UK so could you help give a good advice to have plan visit UK during time 24th Dec- 08th Jan

Thanks Duong

3rd December 2019 at 6:11 pm

Thanks for your message. The majority of the information you need should be available on the site, both in this post and in the posts I link to. I am happy to try and help answer any specific questions you might have – is there anything in particular you are worried about?

The main things I would suggest, depending on where you are travelling from, are to plan what you want to see, to plan your accommodation and transport, and to pack properly for winter. Obviously you are visiting over Christmas and New Year, which is a busy time of year, so if you have not booked your accommodation yet you will definitely want to look into that, especially over New Year as that can be a busy time for both travel and accommodation.

Let me know if I can offer any more specific help for your trip,

Hang Tran says

26th November 2019 at 3:59 pm

Hi Laurence, Thank you for your advice and emails. I was able to put together our 2-week itinerary in England. I changed our lodging to London instead of Heathrow and booked different places when we travel around with our Britrail passes. I can’t say thank you enough. It’s very helpful for us. We will stay in London (3 days), Edinburgh (3 days:Edinburgh and York), Bristol for 5 days, Bath for 2 days and travel to other nearby cities (Stonehenge, Oxford, Cardiff) by train to make one-day trip. Is it right time to visit Cardiff in winter? If not, do you have any other places to spend a day? We’re thinking about Liverpool but it takes about 3-hours ride. If so, what should we can see in such a short time in Liverpool? We never ride a train before so we don’t mind riding the train everyday and enjoy the view together.

26th November 2019 at 5:20 pm

I am so pleased to have been able to help you and to hopefully make your trip a memorable one. It sounds like you have a wonderful itinerary planned now.

I would say that Cardiff is fine to visit in winter. Like many cities in the UK, lots of the attractions are indoors, so you can visit at any time of year and have a good time. Obviously you’ll want to dress warmly, but this will be the same all around the UK. Cardiff will definitely be one of the easier places to visit given its proximity. Another option would be Birmingham. I think I would probably not do Liverpool from Bristol – the 3 hour trip each way would be 6 hours on a train, so I don’t think you’d really have enough time to enjoy the city.

Let me know if I can be of any further help! We actually live in Bath too, so maybe we’ll see you 😉

28th November 2019 at 5:30 am

Hi Laurence, Thank you for the suggestion. We will look into Birmingham instead of Liverpool. We might be able to meet you for breakfast or lunch in Bath on Dec 22 or 23. I was able to find a place to stay that we can walk up or down the street to get to Bath Spa. Everything is in walking distance. Thanks to you again.

Sincerely, Hang

28th November 2019 at 7:22 pm

My pleasure – have a lovely trip. Do pop a comment here or send me an e-mail if you have some free time!

Laurel says

9th October 2019 at 7:23 am

Hi, love your itinerary of the UK. It includes much of what we want to see. Howev r, we are a senior couple of nomads from Australia and we are trying to organise a four week trip of the UK and Ireland including the islands off Scotland but we are steam train buffs and have the 10 best day trips on steam trains to try to include. Do you help with itinerary planning to include as many of these as we can but in some sort of order? If not can you head us in the right direction? We don’t need London as we have a couple of days there prior to a cruise of Norway. Is it feasible to do this trip in September and will he days still be long and fairly warm? Thanks in anticipation for your advice.

9th October 2019 at 6:16 pm

Thanks very much! So we don’t offer custom itinerary planning as it’s quite a time intensive process. We’re happy to answer specific questions and help where we can of course. Steam trains aren’t really an area of expertise though!

I can definitely answer your questions about September – I’d say September is a great month to travel. If you are lucky it might still be reasonably warm (recent years have been lovely in September), but you skip the crowds of the summer months and the schools will have gone back as well. September and May are our favourite months to travel. Of course, this is the UK, so rain and cooler weather is certainly possible (although you can get this in July and August as well!), so it’s always best to be prepared with layers of clothing, but you should be fine generally. The days will still be long, light until around 8pm depending on which part of the month you visit 🙂

Have a great trip, and let me know if I can answer any more specifics!

Kevin Ortyl says

19th September 2019 at 6:51 pm

Love the website and your two-week itinerary. Very easy to follow.. So glad we found your site. Need advice please… (Coming from Boston, USA) Thinking of a two-week vacation late August 2020 (family of 4… 2 college age kids) flying into London and out of Dublin. So similar trip you outlined but not returning to Heathrow once in Ireland. Planning on rental car and driving everywhere. Can the one way car rental work in this scenario (London, Scotland, ferry to the Emerald Isle, drop rental at Dublin)? Second Q… if we were to eliminate the Wales back to London segment how would you fill in that itinerary staying in Ireland?

19th September 2019 at 7:20 pm

Thanks very much. So dropping off the car in a different country might be a challenge. Most car rental companies will let you drop the car off in a different part of the same country, but as the Republic of Ireland is separate from the UK, that would likely be a challenge. So your best option is probably to rent the car in the UK, then drop it off at Edinburgh airport and fly to Dublin, then pick up a new rental there.

For your time in Ireland, you have a lot of options! If you are looking for a road trip the Causeway Coastal Route in northern Ireland is a favourite of ours, and the Wild Atlantic Way is also a great drive. Of course there is so much to see in Ireland and Northern Ireland depending on what you are interested in, with both Dublin and Belfast being worth a visit. It would just depend if you wanted to do more city or more country 🙂

Let me know if I can be of any more help – we have quite a few posts on Ireland as well on the site with some ideas!

19th September 2019 at 9:58 pm

Thank you for the reply, and the good information regarding rental cars.

To follow up, once in Ireland probably interested in seeing some of the quaint cities/towns, visit the pubs, little urban culture, castles, etc and those types of places in lieu of say hiking and biking. Hoping of course between destinations to see beautiful countryside and such!

20th September 2019 at 9:02 am

My pleasure 🙂 So I would suggest that driving the Causeway Coastal Route ( https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/causeway-coastal-route-northern-ireland/ ) Might be a good option 🙂

4th September 2019 at 2:13 am

Hi Laurence, I really like the two week trip itenerary. We’ll will be driving and are experienced with that. We’d like to see some worthy gardens along the suggested route. Any ideas?

4th September 2019 at 7:02 pm

Certainly. The gardens at Alnwick Castle are wonderful, as are the gardens at many of the stately homes in the UK (you can see our list of good stately homes in England here ). Not all of them have gardens of course, but that’s a good starting point. Many cities also have botanic gardens, including Edinburgh and Kew Gardens in London, which are well worth the visit.

I hope this helps a little 🙂

Rachel Sales says

16th August 2019 at 5:15 am

Hi! This post gave me lots of ideas. However, can you help me out in modifying this itinerary which will make Edinburgh as the last stop? My flight booking is DXB-LHR, EDI-DXB. I thought it will be nice it it’s an onward journey and not have to go back to my starting point. Thank you in advance!

16th August 2019 at 12:12 pm

Glad to be able to help! So as this itinerary is a loop, it’s a bit challenging to modify it that easily. My suggestion would perhaps be to drop Ireland from your trip, and instead to spend more time in Scotland. So you could follow the itinerary up to Edinburgh, and then add in time exploring more of Scotland before returning to Edinburgh. Let me know your thoughts,

Robin Major says

13th August 2019 at 12:53 am

Hello Lawrence,

I just found and love this site!! I’m trying to plan a 25th wedding anniversary trip for next September (2020) to surprise my hubby.

He’s never been to Europe. I was fortunate enough to get two and half lovely days in London a couple years back courtesy of my employer.

I’m not sure if what I want to do is totally doable though… No driving.. we would do transit and rail… I’m thinking a week in Britian and a week in Scotland. Maybe fly into London, spend two full days exploring the sites.. then I’m sort of lost. We are interested in Castles, love the supernatural aspect of York so that will be a must, definitely want to see Stonehenge.. and as odd as it sounds, my parents did Sherwood Forest and Nottingham on their 25th Wedding Anniversary many years ago so wondering if that would be a recommendation? Just not sure of the logistics for a week in Britian.. where to stay etc.

For Scotland, again, Castles and we are both big Outlander fans so we’ve have to see Loch Ness, Inverness and any and all sites made famous by Outlander. I am thinking a week up there and we fly home from either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Do you have any suggestions/recommendations on an itinerary for us? I would greatly appreciate any knowledge you wish to share with me.

Thank you so much! Robin

13th August 2019 at 10:19 am

Thanks very much! It certainly would be possible 🙂 I’ve actually written a 10 day UK itinerary by public transport. Whilst the route isn’t exactly what you want, the post does have some useful information to help you plan your trip, especially around booking the trains etc. If you’ve not seen that post yet, it’s here:


Regarding your specific itinerary, I would suggest you start in London as you suggest. You could then take a day tour from London out to Stonehenge. This is doable by public transport, but is way easier as a day tour, plus they usually have some extra stops like Bath. You can read our guide to doing that here:


So Nottingham is nice (I went to university there), but with limited time I wouldn’t say it was a must do. My suggestion would be to take the train from London to Oxford, and then up to York. A day in each location would work. You are now up to five days in England. Castles are a bit tricky by public transport as many of them are out of cities. I would perhaps suggest extending your time in London and taking the extra day to visit either Windsor Castle or Hampton Court Palace. From York you could head up to Durham which is a beautiful cathedral city.

From Durham the train to Edinburgh is not too far. I’d suggest basing yourself in Edinburgh for at least three days. Two days to explore the city, and then one day to take an Outlander tour. We have specifically done 1 day tour with Rabbies , and thought it was great. We have more suggested day tours from Edinburgh here:


From Edinburgh our recommendation would then be to take the train up to Inverness, from where you can explore more castles, Loch Ness and the Highlands. Again, plenty to do in this area, and there are lots of great day trips to plan. You can see our guide to some of the best here:


I think that should give you plenty to work with – let me know if you have any more questions!

8th August 2019 at 9:35 pm

I just found this page and so glad I did especially your “Best Stately Homes in England” We will be visiting England and Scotland for 2weeks October 16-29, 2019 and I am excited about your itinerary. We have been to Northern Ireland (once)and Republic of Ireland (4 times) so we can leave those out, so are there any other places you might suggest? My husband has driven every time we have visited Ireland so he can handle a manual transmission. We land at Gatwick Airport and I thought we could head to Edinburgh via a easterly route and return to London via a westerly route. We do not have to travel only motorways but don’t wait too many small country lanes (did plenty of those in Ireland). Any suggestions you could make would be greatly appreciated. Love Manor Houses, Castles, rolling landscape, waterfalls, quaint English market towns or villages, etc. THANKS

9th August 2019 at 8:54 am

Sounds like you have a great trip planned, and I will certainly do my best to help. It sounds like your route is pretty good already, coming down the west side of the UK gives you the chance to pop into the Lake District, explore towns like Chester, and even larger cities like Birmingham. In terms of stately homes, well, I would obviously recommend the majority of those in my post on stately homes. I’d also add Edinburgh Castle of course if you like castles, as well as the more ruined Craigmillar Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Alnwick Castle on the way up through Northumberland is stunning, as are many of the other castles in Northumberland, like Bamburgh and dunstanburgh. For rolling hills and greenery, the Lake District is lovely, but I can also recommend the Hadrian’s Wall area of Northumberland, particularly the area near Housesteads.

For quaint English towns, of course the Cotswolds would be by number one pick. The counties of Kent and Dorset are also good options.

I think that should get you started, let me know if you need some more ideas!

Christine Greentaner says

5th August 2019 at 12:26 pm

Hello!! I stumbled on your site asking google if I could do the this kind of trip and wow, here you are! Unsure of the driving though since we zero experience. However, this two week itinerary gives us something to start thinking about. Thank you so much!! Christine

7th August 2019 at 2:52 pm

Hi Christine!

Driving in the UK is definitely a bit different, especially if you are coming from a country where they drive on the right hand side. Also, if you’re coming from the USA, be aware that most cars in the UK have manual transmissions, so when you rent a car if you are not used to driving a manual you should specify an auto. I have a guide to driving in the Uk which you might also find useful 🙂


Let me know if you have any questions, and have a great trip!

Danie marais says

11th July 2019 at 8:54 pm

What will it cost for 2 adults

12th July 2019 at 4:17 am

Hi Danie – this really depends on your travel style – you can see a guide to how much travel in the UK costs here for some estimates: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/cost-travel-uk/

Margaret says

9th July 2019 at 6:29 am

HI , Just wanted to ask. I am getting a little a little worried,as our trip is getting closer and closer. Your site has helped so much. Does this sound ok to do. Day 1 arrive late afternoon explore Paddinton. Day 2 & 3 follow your 2 day guide of london sites. Day 4 train to oxford, free 2 hour tour. free time to explore oxford Day 5 train back to oxford ,pick up car. Drive to Cotswold explore.. Drive on up to peak district stay over night . 1 night Day 6 explore peak district , drive to Manchester and york .explore. Now I am unsure to travel to the Lake district Or follow onto Alnwick. as some people say not to miss out on the lake district. We dont have enought time to cut back over to Alnwick unsure . We arrive in paddington on the 20th want to leave Edinburgh 31st. So take into account at least 2 night in Edinburgh and head onto Belfast. We will then explore Belfast and Dublin for 2 weeks as we have friends there. follow onto wales Bath but we do want to stay in Southampton for two days once again friends. Can you get to Heathrow airport from Southampton We have 5.5 weeks for this trip but I do want to spend time with friends in Belfast and Dublin. I am so over whelmed .

10th July 2019 at 5:43 am

Hi Margaret!

First, I’m delighted we’ve been able to help 🙂

Your comment covers a few points so I will try to help where I can. For your itinerary, the first six days look good, the only feedback I would offer is that trying to do the Peak District, Manchester and York in one day is likely going to be too much. Even Manchester and York in one day is quite a bit. York would need at least four hours to fully enjoy it, so I might suggest skipping Manchester unless you are particularly invested in it.

For your Lake District dilemma, I can’t really answer this for you. Everyone has a different idea as to what is “unmissable”, so it really depends on your priorities and interests. The Lake District is certainly very pretty, but so is much of the UK 😉

From Southampton you can definitely get to Heathrow airport. It takes around 2 hours by train. It’s not a direct train though, so you do have to change, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. If you would prefer a direct route, I believe National Express operates a coach service between the two locations.

I think for the rest of your trip you might want to reach out to your friends and ask for their advice in terms of what to see and do. I would try to relax and enjoy yourself instead of trying to see everything and becoming overwhelmed if you can. Travel is definitely a bit of work, but ultimately it is supposed to be fun. I always find that the less planned adventures are the more fun ones. So certainly come up with a framework, but don’t spend too much time worrying about it to the tiniest detail, as it will likely detract from the enjoyment.

22nd July 2019 at 4:35 am

Thank you Laurence, Your advice is so helpful. I have added days, so we can get the most out of our trip 2 days in the Peak District, Manchester and 1 day for York. Now I am on the end part of our trip and once again would like some advice. : After spending 18 days exploring Ireland. We will be catching the ferry to Wales. 20th Fishguard pick up car, early afternoon explore the country driving towards Cardiff, Bristol Question : Unsure as to time length of time needed

I was thinking, see Cardiff, then drive towards Bristol arrive around tea time. sleep overnight and have full day to explore Bristol. 21st after exploring Bristol drive towards Bath. arrive around tea time, find somewhere to sleep for 2 nights (21st and 22nd) 22nd full day to explore Bath. 23 th drive toward Stonehenge, Amesbury, drive onto southamption return Car

24th southamption .explore Southamption see family member. we need to be at Hearthrow airport on the 26th at 9:20 flight take off , My next question is , Should I return to paddington for the 25th so I can get the express train to airport , Is my flight to early to return from southamption. Once again . please guide me. Margaret

22nd July 2019 at 6:03 pm

Hi Margaret,

My pleasure! I will try to help again. Your timings for Bristol / Bath etc seem reasonable. They are very close together, my only advice is to avoid travelling at rush hour (4pm – 6pm), as it will make your journey much longer due to the traffic.

For your second question, in theory you could get from Southampton to Heathrow in time, but it’s around a 2 – 2.5 hour journey. You’d want to check train times for the day you are going, but the earliest trains are around 5am based on my research, so you would get to Heathrow around 7.30am. So yes, it’s possible, but it depends how happy you are with an early start and also the risk of any train delays. Up to you, but personally I avoid early mornings at all costs, so would personally probably just find a hotel near Heathrow 😉

Diana Cottrell says

1st July 2019 at 1:57 am

Loved seeing your site. Very helpful since I’m trying to plan a driving vacation for my husband and myself and really didn’t know were to start. I have some questions but will start with only one. We were in London last year but I could go again. Loved it. Hubby sick and had a different feeling. Would it be hard for someone from the US to land at Heathrow and rent a car…then drive to Windsor right after landing? Is it far enough out of London to get comfortable with driving on a different side of the road?

1st July 2019 at 10:18 pm

So, funny story, after passing my UK driving test the first thing I did was rent a car and drive out of Heathrow! I’m not sure I’d exactly recommend it, you’d be driving onto one of the busiest motorways in the UK (our equivalent of a freeway) which might be quite stressful. It’s possible of course, and I’m sure many people do it, but I would advise caution. Also, make sure you specify you want an automatic as most cars in the UK are manual 🙂

3rd July 2019 at 12:01 am

Thanks for the information. Think we’ll skip Heathrow. How would landing in Edinburgh, then heading up through Scotland and back down England (maybe to Bath). Then going up through York and returning back to Edinburgh to return car.

3rd July 2019 at 2:57 pm

That would likely work quite well. My only advice, if you plan on spending time in Edinburgh, is not to pick up the hire car until you leave, as you won’t need it in the city and you’ll just be paying for car rental and parking for no good reason – the city is very walkable.

6th July 2019 at 11:11 pm

Thanks so much. Will start planning.

Amanda says

23rd June 2019 at 5:59 pm

This is such a great detailed itinerary! We are planning to get a rental car in Cambridge and then driving to Scotland from there, so some of these places we will definitely have to visit! I do have one question, about renting a car. Is there a boarder crossing fee or any other type of fee the rental company could charge to go from England to Scotland? We are planning to do a one-way trip so I know there is a fee for that, but in terms of crossing between the two countries is there a fee? When I read about the boarding crossing fee it was unclear to me if that is only if we leave the UK?

Thank so much!

23rd June 2019 at 6:02 pm

Thanks very much! There’s no fee or anything like that for crossing into Scotland, it’s not really a border like that. It’s all part of the UK, so it’s one country.

Opal joiner says

18th June 2019 at 1:37 pm

Hi Do I need to purchase a London pass and a heritage pass? Or just one pass?

18th June 2019 at 7:05 pm

It depends what you want to see and where you are travelling, but for London the London Pass will cover the majority of the attractions 🙂 I definitely recommend checking what they cover before purchasing though 🙂

Chris Ryan says

17th June 2019 at 8:44 am

From an English persons point of view this is an excellent itinerary. It would be good to include the Lake District and Snowdonia but to cover all this in two weeks would be a nightmare and far too much time on the road. The average Brit would allow at least a month for the whole trip. If only two weeks available I would suggest you save Ireland for another time, it’s sacrilage not to explore more of that country, and maybe see more of the west of Scotland instead.

17th June 2019 at 11:06 am

Thanks very much 🙂 I agree, I was actually born in Snowdonia and that part of the world is wonderful. Have spent many happy weekends camping in the Lakes as well. The itinerary was in response to a specific request – we normally encourage folks to slow down where possible and spend more time seeing and less time travelling, but unfortunately many people don’t have much leave to play with and want to try and see as much as possible 🙂

Lillie says

15th June 2019 at 2:56 pm

Hi! So glad to have stumbled upon your site, as I am planning this trip to the UK in October, and I didn’t even know where to begin. I like the idea of doing all the traveling by road ourselves since we’ll be traveling with our baby who will be 9 month old at the time. I was thinking 10 days, including Ireland, but would you consider that possible? We are really interested in doing the whiskey distillery tours in Scotland and anything and everything related to Harry Potter. We’re also interested in visiting landmarks like the cliffs and stonehenge. We’re usually good at squeezing in a lot in our vacations, but this will be the first time we travel with our son, so I don’t want to set ourselves up for failure either. Any advice on what to cut out or if we need to lengthen the trip?

15th June 2019 at 8:38 pm

So, first off, I have to say that we’re not really experts on travelling with children as we don’t have any of our own. So any advice I offer you is based on what friends and other readers have shared with us about the logistics of travelling with a young person. Of course, everyone’s experience will also be different.

Generally, most folks say that you definitely need to slow down when travelling with young children, as you have to factor in things like feeding, changes and so on. This will definitely vary though depending on age and individual personalities 😉

That said, you are trying to do a great deal in 10 days. Scotland and England are around a 6 – 7 hour drive apart, and if you want to get up into the Highlands you’re looking at another few hours. To then add Ireland would make it more of a challenge for sure. It’s not impossible of course, but it would definitely be rushed. It might be that you would be best off focusing on Ireland and Scotland on this trip, perhaps five days in each, rather than trying to see everything and just having a stressful time. Alternatively, add 3 or 4 days and include some time in England 🙂

I hope this helps a bit!

Ashok Agarwal says

15th June 2019 at 6:01 am

Wow. I looked up the WWW for a 2 week itinerary for the UK and am glad I clicked on your site, from the numerous options that sprang up. The information contained here is so so exhaustive. Not only did I get a fantastic plan but ab amazing read, too. We are planning our first visit to the UK in October and are going to follow your tips to the T. You guys are fantastic. Thanks.

15th June 2019 at 11:04 am

Thanks very much Ashok! Much appreciated 🙂

9th June 2019 at 9:56 am

Dear Laurence!

Thank you SOOOOO much for your inspirational itinerary and all other articles you provide here. They’re great help!

We are going to spend 15 days in UK in August and this is cause we’ve planned to take our son to Warner Bros HP Studio as we are all massive HP fans :). We’ll start and finish in London, though initially we want to hire a car at the airport and start a trip and spend couple of days in London in the end.

Could you kindly give us some advice / decide whether it is possible, to plan a trip considering these simple priorities: 1) we’d love to see Scotland with its green hills, waterfalls etc. 2) we would really like to visit Snowdonia 3) I guess Stonehenge is sth 8-year-old traveler to England must see 4) I personally have dreamt all my life too see PUFFINS (I mean – free puffins) 5) we can skip Irelnad, no problem 😉

I must admit – reading about UK – I am getting a bit lost in huge amount if options and sites one must visit, so I’d be grateful for some advice.

10th June 2019 at 10:57 am

My pleasure 🙂

So my first tip, if you haven’t already booked the Harry Potter Studio Tour is to do it as soon as possible as it books out well in advance 🙂 I also have a guide to visiting which you might have already seen, but just in case you haven’t, it’s here:


Then, on to the question of your itinerary. Assuming two days in London, that gives you around 12 – 13 days to play with. I would suggest you spend them as follows. Given that you are Harry Potter fans I’m also including some HP filming locations you might enjoy 😉

Day 1 – head to Oxford, overnight here. Lots of awesome history, plus lots of Harry Potter filming locations to explore. Day 2 – head to Bath via Stonehenge Day 3 – head up to Snowdonia. Will be a bit of a drive, but worth it. I’d advise a couple of days in Snowdonia to do some hiking and exploring the towns, castles etc. The roads are slower here so it will take longer go get around

Day 5 – Head across to York Day 6 – Drive up to Alnwick Castle, another HP filming location. Then continue on to Edinburgh. Day 7 & 8, Edinburgh. Lots to see, lovely castle. Where Rowling wrote many of the HP books. Note the Edinburgh festival will be on so the city will be very busy. If you decide to stay in Edinburgh, you need to book now. Also, if you want to see puffins, the Isle of May just near Edinburgh is one of the best places to get up close to them. You need to book a trip, which you can do here: https://seabird-centre.seafari-edinburgh.co.uk/forth-ferry-and-isle-of-may

Day 9 – head across to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Overnight here or in Oban Day 10 – head up to Fort William / Glencoe. You can ride the HP train from here, or go see the viaduct at least Day 11 – head down to Glasgow, overnight Day 12 – drive down to Liverpool, overnight Day 13 – return to London.

I would say that would be a good way to do it! We have lots more info on Harry Potter sites if you are interested: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/london-harry-potter-locations/ https://independenttravelcats.com/guide-top-harry-potter-sites-in-edinburgh-scotland-jk-rowling/ https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/harry-potter-filming-locations-uk/ https://independenttravelcats.com/harry-potter-filming-locations-in-scotland/

10th June 2019 at 8:52 pm

Thank you a lot for your advice! The plan sounds great and we are definitely going to follow it step by step :)))

with best regards!

7th June 2019 at 9:00 am

Hi, what a great article! However, do you have any tips for hire car? Are there any fees/ extra charge or need to notice the supplier that the road trip route is involve Wales, Ireland and Scotland?

7th June 2019 at 8:37 pm

Thanks very much!

For driving in Wales and Scotland it won’t matter because they are part of the united Kingdom, so it’s still the same country.

The republic of Ireland however is a separate country, plus you have to take a ferry to get there. So that would be something you would need to check with the rental agency.

S. Steinback says

26th May 2019 at 9:16 am

Hi, my daughter and I are leaving mid August to the UK for 2 weeks. We are planning to start our trip in London. Then wanted to see Brighton, Cornwall, Wales and Scotland. We also want to see Bath and Oxford too. Is this doable using the train? We are unsure of how we should book our traveling using train, car or bus. Can you provide and manageable itinerary and recommendations on how we should travel from each place on a 2 week trip?

26th May 2019 at 11:04 am

Hi Sabrina,

So you should be able to see most of what you want to see by train. As an example, I’d suggest:

2 days in London 1 day in Brighton (train to Brighton takes about an hour, so can be done as a day trip from London or overnight) 1 day in Oxford (1 hour train from London to Oxford, overnight in Oxford) 1 day in Bath (1 hr 40 minute train from Oxford to Bath, overnight in Bath) 2 days in Cornwall (around 3 hours by train from Bath to Cornwall. You might want to take a tour in Cornwall as there is less public transport to get around) 3 days in Wales (train from Cornwall to Cardiff is around 3 – 4hours, but then you will have to plan how to get around Wales. Again a tour might be easiest) 3 days in Scotland (you can either fly from Cardiff to Glasgow / Edinburgh, or take the train, but the train will take around 8 hours)

I’d also suggest looking into Rabbie’s Trail Burners . They do a number of tours from London which might suit what you want to do and save you the hassle of planning. These cover the majority of the destinations you want to visit.

I hope this helps a bit with your planning!

Ed Hyland says

17th April 2019 at 12:01 am

Thankyou for your guide it was really helpful I am living in Argentina and j am planning on bringing Argentinian tourists to Wales and central England on a tour of castles and important historical sites .I plan on bringing groups of around 10 people and using a rented mini bus to move around. Do you have any helpful tips as this will be our first tour ,we are planning on visiting early September All the best .Ed,x

17th April 2019 at 10:56 am

My pleasure. So I don’t have any experience of running this kind of trip, so it’s tricky to give very specific advice. I am sure you have considered things like insurance and liability and so on, as well as any other legal requirements involved with running a tour.

THe only tips I have would be around admission to sights – there are usually group discounts available for attractions that you might be able to take advantage of, although you might need to call in advance to arrange these. I’d also advise to definitely book your accommodation in advance as you have a larger group.

Otherwise, I hope you have a great trip!

12th April 2019 at 12:04 am

I was planning this itinerary since I saw and had 15 days in the region. After more research I am now wondering what it takes to get a rental car from London to Ireland and back? Do you use the same car the entire trip, or would you switch cars at the water crossings in order to not have to pay to ferry the car across? Also I’ve heard rental agencies in England don’t really allow their rentals (or at least coverage) in Ireland? And yet another concern is time, I keep hearing that driving over there is quite a bit slower going than say the US, or by train, would this itinerary still give enough time to enjoy the locations or would it be quick stops and rushed in order to get to the next place? Sorry a lot of questions, just trying to decide if I need to break the trip up to just one or two countries. Thanks. And love you blogs and all the information and amazing photography.

12th April 2019 at 11:46 am

So it is certainly possible to take a hire car on the ferry, it just depends on the hire car company, and some of them charge a fee for doing so. Here’s an example of the Enterprise UK policy: https://www.enterprise.co.uk/en/help/faqs/driving-across-borders.html

Obviously you also then have to pay the ferry fee for the hire car as well. So an easier option to be honest is just to fly, for example to take a flight from Edinburgh to Belfast or Dublin. You would drop off the hire car in Edinburgh and pick up a new one in Belfast.

I appreciate this might be a bit of hassle, so certainly adjusting the itinerary so you skip Ireland is another option. In this case, I’d suggest either spending more time in Scotland, or coming down the west coast of the UK, visiting the Lakes and Wales.

The roads in the UK are definitely a bit busier and can also be slower than roads in the USA. This itinerary is definitely doable, but I’m always a fan of slowing down and seeing more, so that is a good option too 🙂

Let me know if you have any more questions!

David Cameron says

11th April 2019 at 1:56 pm

“You’ve packed up every possible solution in this one blog. I’m over the moon! I really am! How much would this trip cost, approximately? And if I’m going on this trip, Ireland will definitely be included coz from the moment I saw P.S I love you and Leap Year movie, I’ve been dreaming of visiting those places. Thank you. Thank you so much, Laurence !”

11th April 2019 at 2:04 pm

Thanks very much! So it’s hard to give an exact price as it will depend on your travel style. The best option is to cross reference this post with our guide to how much it costs to travel in the UK, which will let you come up with a budget based on your travel style 🙂

Have a great trip, and let me know if you have any more questions!

Usha Gupta says

10th April 2019 at 6:02 pm

Hi, we are travelling to London for a holiday from India. My 2 sons (29 & 27) and I are planning on spending 2 weeks in London and Wales. 13th-18th in London 19th-21st in Wales 22nd-26th in London Please advice how best to spend our holidays? We do not want to visit any of the normal places as we have seen n visited them all. What are the best places in wales to see and visit? We have not been to wales. Is it safe to take a road rrip from London to wales? Are 3 days in wales enough to get around? Pl advice

10th April 2019 at 6:52 pm

Well, there’s a huge amount to do and see in London beyond all the normal tourist things that you have likely already done. I can advise visiting Greenwich for example if you have not been out there already, and perhaps some of the palaces out of the city, like Kensington or Hampton Course. Sometimes we like to pick up the London Pass and visit some of the many attractions we’ve not been to before!

Wales is lovely but it is quite big so you will want to consider visiting a region. My favourite part of Wales is the northern part, including the Snowdonia national park and towns like Caernarfon, but there are many nice regions and places to visit. If you want to see more you will likely want a few more days in Wales.

It is certainly safe to take a road trip from London to Wales, of course, I can’t guarantee your safety, but it is no less safe than travel anywhere else in the UK 🙂

I hope this helps – have a great trip!

Usha gupta says

14th April 2019 at 3:24 am

Ty for you advise. We decided to spend all our time in London and do day trips, theatre etc.

14th April 2019 at 11:46 am

My pleasure. Enjoy!

Darlene Williams says

24th March 2019 at 6:10 pm

Lovely ideas here! My Granddaughter and I did a trip last summer to the Cotswolds, London and Paris. I’m thinking of a trip with my Granddaughter (18) in 2020 and would like to base myself in the Lakes District or Wales and take in Ireland and Scotland in a 2 week trip. Since I’ve been there I’ve decided I could probably drive it myself or possibly rent cars when needed and travel via train/bus/tours between Ireland & Scotland. I’m guessing the Highlands is probably out of reach for a 2 week trip? I would welcome your knowledge and suggestions. Thank you, Darlene

25th March 2019 at 3:44 pm

Thanks very much Darlene!

I would definitely recommend hiring a car for the Lakes – it’s a more remote part of the UK, and there are fewer public transport options, both for getting there, and for getting around. I would say that it would make for a good base, but just to be aware that the roads are not very fast in either the Lake District or Wales, so it can take a bit of time to get from place to place.

The Highlands would be achievable, but it would involve a great deal of driving, and if you wanted to head up there i would suggest that as a standalone trip, perhaps flying to Inverness (or overnight train from London), and then renting a car from there 🙂

Do let me know if I can provide any more specific information to help you plan!

Deep Shah says

22nd March 2019 at 5:43 am

Hello Laurence and Jessica,

It has been a pleasure reading about all your experiences in and around UK. I am planning to visit UK between April 22 and May 1. I am planning to start my trip from Edinburg cover a bit of scotland and than move on and end my trip in London.

Here is my itinerary Inverness (23 April) –> Isle of Skye (24 April) –> Fort William (25 April) –> Edinburgh (26 April) –> Jedburgh (27 April) –> York (28 April) –> Cambridge (29 April) –> Cotsworld (30 April) –> London (1 May)

Do you think this is doable? Or any particular section is too aggressive? Your help will really help me plan this better.

22nd March 2019 at 10:00 am

This is in theory do-able, but you will be spending a lot of time driving. From Inverness to the Isle of Skye is a 2.5 hour drive for example, and then there’s a lot to see and do on the island which will also require driving. If you are ok with lots of time driving then yes, this is doable, I just wanted to be sure you knew 🙂

24th March 2019 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I am aware that we will have a lot of driving. But thats ok with me. Thanks again for your time. I have made the reservations to follow this itinerary. Will let you know how it goes.

Thanks for sharing all the information on your website.

24th March 2019 at 12:38 pm

My pleasure – have a great time and do let us know how it goes! You can drop in here or in our facebook group 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelloversandphotography/

Omker Mahalanobish says

21st March 2019 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for your detailed itinerary. Looks exciting. By the way, could you please let me know, what should be the expected cost for the said trip? Further : I dont want to drive. Me and my wife would be travelling, and we would rather prefer a chauffer driven cab.

Thanks, Omker

21st March 2019 at 5:27 pm

I have a guide to how much it costs to travel in the UK here: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/cost-travel-uk/

However, if you want to travel with a private guide, this will generally cost in the region of £500 – £800 per day for the car / driver guide, and then you would need to add accommodation expenses and so on on top of that. We recommend Robina Brown for this sort of trip: http://driverguidetours.com/

Heather Reid says

20th March 2019 at 5:20 am

This site is the most perfect one for my needs. I am a solo traveler female aged 74 and I wish my 75th Birthday be spent on the next trip. If there be another solo person I would be happy to meet up before departure….male or female.

20th March 2019 at 12:49 pm

Thanks Heather – have a great trip, and we hope you find someone to travel with!

Phillip Armanas says

5th March 2019 at 12:20 am

Stumbled over your website while looking for ideas for a two week trip to the UK, glad I did. You’ve got a fantastic itinerary which includes a number of destinations my wife and I had in mind already. We are a retired couple, living in Australia six months of the year, and Atlanta, Georgia the other six months. This gives us great flexibility in travel terms, both in SE Asia and from the USA to many places including UK/Europe. A question I have is whether you have done any family history work on any of your travels? My ancestry is Scottish in the mid-1800s when my great-great-grandfather arrived into Port Adelaide, Australia. As yet we have been unable to track him accurately back into Scotland, but his surname is from a very ancient clan that can be traced back to the 13th century in Fife county. Have you any tips on places I might visit to pursue my elusive ghosts? Phill & Patti

5th March 2019 at 1:35 pm

Hi Phill & Patti!

We’re delighted you have found our content useful : ) So this isn’t something we have personally done, however I have some resources that might be helpful:

http://www.scottishgenealogyresearch.com/ https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/research-your-ancestry/steps/ https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/family-history https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/local-family-history-centres

It helps if you know the person’s name you are researching and where they lived before leaving Scotland. If you know this, you can look for a local research center or records office or clan center. The Visit Scotland link above is a good place to start. The Scottish Genealogy Research is a professional service that will do research for you for a fee.

Good luck, and have a great trip!

Ronald Rieder says

15th February 2019 at 1:22 am

My wife and I would like to take your “ideal itinerary” beginning Sept. 30, 2019. Is there anyone or any group that we could join?

17th February 2019 at 3:56 pm

So this itinerary is a self guided tour for those wanting to drive themselves. However, we appreciate not everyone wants to do that, and we’ve put some suggested tours that will allow you to do a similar trip but in a group tour format. My suggestion for that would be to focus on England and Scotland, and to take this small group tour followed by this five day tour of the Scottish Highlands and Skye .

I hope this helps – let me know if I can offer any more advice!

Cass Baron says

11th February 2019 at 2:19 am

Laurence and Jessica, We are from Utah, United States and have never traveled abroad (except a short trip to Canada and a Western Caribbean cruise). It has been our dream to come to England and retrace our family history roots. We were looking for trip ideas that covered the areas for both a historical trip as well as a family roots trip. We found your site and loved everything that you have written about. We like the 2 week itinerary but don’t want to do the Ireland and Wales portion. We would like to include Nottingham and Hastings areas, do you have any suggestions to add these in for the same amount of time. We are planning on this May. Thanks!

11th February 2019 at 7:40 am

Certainly. I’d recommend Hastings first, then heading from there along to Stonehenge and Bath, then the Cotswolds and Oxford. From there, start heading north, with Nottingham your next stop, before continuing with the itinerary. You could even drop the car off in Edinburgh and fly out from there if you didn’t want to drive back down to London 🙂

I hope this helps – let me know if you have any more questions!

Lashaun says

5th February 2019 at 11:42 pm

Hello. If we skip the Ireland portion where should we extend our time or add another destination for the 2 week adventure? Also we’d like to see a football game, suggestions for city (Manchester, Liverpool?), tickets etc? thank you!

6th February 2019 at 10:36 am

I’d say you could extend by visiting the Lake District and northern Wales, or by heading further north into Scotland, where there’s lots to see. You definitely won’t have trouble finding places to see!

For football, if you don’t have a particular affiliate with a team, then Manchester will likely be a good option as they have the largest stadium. Tickets can be bought online in advance for any of the teams from their official websites, just be aware that they can sell out so you’ll want to book well in advance to be sure of getting a spot.

I hope this helps! have a great trip 🙂

Steve Geller says

2nd February 2019 at 3:10 am

Hi there, Curious if this itinerary, or part of it, could be done in a motorhome (midsize RV) for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids. I’ve never been to most of these places, outside of some brief time in London and Dublin. For itineraries like these where there is a lot of moving around, I like the idea of a motorhome vs going from hotel to hotel (or apt to apt). Thanks!

3rd February 2019 at 11:45 am

So yes, it would be possible to do this is a motorhome. However, I’d probably advise modifying the itinerary fairly substantially, especially the city parts. Most UK cities don’t have centrally located motorhome camping locations, and the streets tend to be fairly narrow, which can make driving and parking a motorhome very challenging. I would instead suggest, if you wanted to do a motorhome holiday in the UK, to look at a driving route like the NC500 (see our camping itinerary for the NC500 here ), or adjusting this route so it visits more of the countryside parts, like the Cotswolds, Peak District, Lake District and Northumberland.

Let me know if we can answer any more questions!

Iskandar Zulkifly Bin Ali says

29th January 2019 at 10:05 pm

Hello there ! finding this website was such a blessing for me! i am a student who wishes to travel around UK for 2 weeks before i go outside UK ( around Europe for a month ). my only problem is, i am studying in london therefore i’m gonna skip london from this amazing itinerary, and am also skipping Scotland cuz i went there last Dec already. which will give me extra days to fill in to make it 2 weeks. would you please help me to suggest places to fill in between the itinerary ? ps; i really really want to see Jurassic coast and cambridge and watergate bay. where should i put these places in terms of best route wise?

thank you in advance for your time !! you got a follower on your ig !

30th January 2019 at 7:33 pm

Hi Iskandar!

Thanks for your lovely comment and following on IG! We’ve actually just recently visited Cambridge and written a detailed guide to the city, which will be live on the blog in the next few weeks 🙂

To answer your question, first I have to assume you are driving. If not, this might have to change a bit to accommodate public transport. But I would say I would go from London to Cambridge, then up to the Peak District, Manchester and York. You could then go across to the Lake District if you wanted, then across to Holyhead and to Ireland (if you wanted to visit Ireland). Then south wales, Oxford and the Jurassic coast.

I hope that works for you 🙂 Have a great trip!


29th January 2019 at 3:07 pm

This has been an amazing help! If possible, I did want to ask about more recommendations as far as castles/history goes. This is a very close itinerary for what I think we want to do, but I was wondering if you had any more info on what I could add/take away from this list in order to do more of that. Also, we will be departing from the atlanta, GA airport, and returning back to (or starting from) england isnt entirely necessarily. I definitely agree and would take your advice of ending in dublin and returning from there or wales, but im basically trying to avoid flying/ferrying more than need be. What would be your recommendation for doing everything in the UK in one vehicle and then only crossing into ireland once? if that makes sense

30th January 2019 at 7:38 pm

So there are a lot of great castles in the UK, and it’s hard to travel anywhere without finding history! Some of my favourite castles are in Scotland and the Northumberland area, and you’ve also got Hadrian’s wall up there. But York has all the Viking history too, and then cities like Oxford or Cambridge have more from the middles ages, Bath has the Roman empire.. So there’s really no shortage of history to find.

If it was me though, I’d spend a bit more time exploring some of the castles in Northumberland like Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh, as well as some in Scotland.

If you want to do everything in the UK that would be possible, just continue from Oxford to Bath and Cardiff, and then head north from there to York. You might want to bypass Manchester in order to get more of the history you are interested in as it’s more of a town that had it’s heyday with the industrial revolution, which might be a bit too recent history for your interests. You could instead add Warwick, which has a popular castle and a lovely town centre.

Have a great trip and let me know if I can be of any more help!

Hannah says

30th January 2019 at 8:25 pm

For sure! Thank you so much.

Maribel says

17th January 2019 at 4:13 am

Hi, I am planning a 2-week trip to Great Britain flying from Mexico City to London. Your post is very helpful. My trip HAS to include the Isle of Man but I do want to go to Edinburgh and Ireland. What do you think would be the best route? Thanks for your amazing post!

17th January 2019 at 6:37 pm

Hi Maribel!

Great question, and the first time anyone has asked me about the Isle of Man, which I have to admit, I haven’t been to!

There are direct ferry connections to the Isle of Man from Belfast, Dublin, Lancaster and Liverpool.

So assuming you want to do a fairly similar route, mug suggestion would be to follow the general outline of this trip, but take the ferry from Dublin to the Isle of Man, and then on to Liverpool, instead of from the southern end of Ireland to Fishguard. I think that’s the most logical option.

There are other option too – you could go London -> Oxford -> Liverpool -> Isle of Man -> Dublin -> Belfast -> Cairyan -> Edinburgh -> London.

So up to you really! Have a great trip, and let us know if you have any more questions!

Maribel Felix says

17th January 2019 at 6:40 pm

Muchas Gracias! I appreciate you advice very much. I will send you an update of my trip on my way back to Mexico.

17th January 2019 at 9:50 pm

Please do Maribel – we love to hear back from people on how their trips go, and incorporate feedback into our content to help everyone!

16th December 2018 at 12:15 am

Hello! I am planning a 28 day trip in in May 2019. What would you recommend to fill in the extra days? Thank you so much! And thank you for sharing such a lovely itinerary!

16th December 2018 at 11:49 am

Hi Sara! It’s hard to give a precise answer without knowing your interests, but if it was me I would extend my trip up into the northern half of Scotland, perhaps spending 7-10 days driving the North Coast 500, visiting the Isle of Skye and seeing the highlands. You could also head out to the some of the other islands, like Lewis. May is a great time to head up into that part of Scotland.

Other options include Wales or Cornwall, or extending your time in Ireland. There’s so much to see and do, even 28 days will be filled easily!

Nathaniel says

14th December 2018 at 7:57 pm

Could I use this itinerary for a school project. You will be credited and cited, obviously. Thank you if yes and thanks anyway if no. This was fun to read, regardless of your reply Thank you again, Nathaniel

14th December 2018 at 11:43 pm

Hi Nathaniel,

Thanks for asking! Could you e-mail me about this so I get more of an idea of the use? It’s [email protected] 🙂

9th December 2018 at 8:26 am

We are planning a 3 week trip to UK (2 weeks) and Amsterdam (1 week).. We will fly to Amsterdam from London. We were looking at your 2 week itinerary and wanted to ask what would you suggest instead of Ireland, We only want to visit London, Wales and Scotland start at London and return to London. Family with kids who like a bit of adventure, culture so interested in castles, nature etc. Also would like to visit Whisky distilleries preferably Glenfiddich and Aberlour. Also we will be hiring a car in London and return there. Would really appreciate your suggestions.

9th December 2018 at 10:37 am

So my suggestion would be to do a loop from London, similar to that I’ve described here, but instead of going across to Ireland, to head down the west coast of the UK, and then visit the Lake District and Wales on your way down.

In terms of distilleries, certainly, Aberlour and Glenfiddich are achievable from Edinburgh, but you are looking at a three hour drive each way. So you might prefer to visit a closer distillery like Deanston, which is also right next to Doune Castle, which I’m sure your kids will also enjoy 🙂

Hope this helps a bit!

Navtej says

22nd October 2018 at 11:18 am

Hi, a very helpful article. As I plan my next year travel to Europe after a gap of 15 years…it’s a god send. I propose to spend a few days in Amsterdam-Bruges and then fly to London. Here I catch up with another couple and there 12 year old daughter and plan to drive to Scotland and Ireland. We have a total of 10 / 11 days for this.

Am thinking will cut Wales from my itinerary and which other place would u recommend I skip ?

Many thanks

Navtej from New Delhi, India

PS another slighlty unrelates question : If I fly into London should I take a flight into Amsterdam and the train back from Bruges or is this complicated and expensive?

22nd October 2018 at 8:22 pm

It’s hard to give specific recommendations as to what to skip as I’m not sure as to your personal interests. If you are more interested in culture / museums etc, then you will want to include more of the cities, and less of the countryside. Conversely, if you are less interested in the outdoors, perhaps leaving out some of the countryside attractions would be a good idea 🙂

Generally my advice would be just to stick to flights as it’s likely going to be easier and probably less expensive. The train though can be a good option if you book far enough in advance, it will just take a little bit longer.

Hope this helps – have a great trip!

Leslie says

21st July 2018 at 11:12 pm

Four women from Texas will be traveling to the UK in September and wanted to drive (one of us is brave enough to drive on the wrong side of the road). We spend 8 days in London last September with side trips to Bath and a tour to Oxford and Cotswolds and Warwick Castle. We have relatives in Glasgow, so plan to see that area of Scotland. Your information is a Godsend and thank you so much for all your planning. We will let you know how it goes!

22nd July 2018 at 9:36 pm

Thanks Leslie – please do! We always love to hear feedback as to how our posts help people (or if they need changing, we love to hear about that too!)

Have an awesome trip!

Ruth Deane says

11th July 2018 at 6:24 am

A good travel guide to the UK. I know it is difficult to provided a balanced approach due to limited wordage but the emphasis should be on the UK. N. Ireland and its capital Belfast have been sadly neglected in this article and the focus was Dublin which is not part of the UK. Surely something coulf have been added about Belfast and N. Ireland in general. It is a beautiful place. The author did make a reference to the Dark Hedges but associates them with Dublin. Last time I checked they are quite definitely in N. IRELAND. Hope this criticism is constructive. N. Ireland continues to get a bad press but it is a beautiful place and the majority of the people are that bad either.

11th July 2018 at 9:44 am

Constructive feedback is always welcome! We’re actually visiting Northern Ireland next week for a week to fully explore Belfast and the Coastal Causeway, and will be updating our content (and creating new content!) to have more information on this part of the UK 🙂 Stay tuned!

Craig Grimston says

26th June 2018 at 2:47 am

Thank you!!

September is a perfect month to come to Texas – the weather is perfect then! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability (I’m not a native Texan – originally from Australia), but there is a lot of great things to do here. Austin and San Antonio are great too.

Thank you for offering to answer any questions! We are going in a group, so I’m sure a lot of questions will come up! I’ll try not to bombard you with them, but I may just hit you with a few! We are planning for somewhere in June to August next year (I plan ahead big time!) and couldn’t be more excited to see your beautiful country!

But please, definitely hit me up with any questions you have about Dallas or Texas. If I can’t answer them, I can track someone down who can!

Thanks!! Craig

22nd June 2018 at 8:02 pm

Hi Laurence and Jessica,

I just wanted to say thank you for posting this itinerary. I really wanted to plan a road trip in the UK and after googling about it all I got was a bunch of blogs pointing out all of the negative things and basically saying “don’t bother”!

As I was about to give up and go the typical tourist route, I came across your website. It was exactly what I was looking for! It is inspirational, and put the joy and adventure back into my travel plans.

I’m pretty much going to stick to your itinerary with the exception of Ireland (I wanted to check out the Lake District and Liverpool), so Ireland may have to be a separate road trip!

I have a million questions, but I’m going to spare you of that! LOL. I really just wanted to say a big thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge!

Kindest Regards, Craig – Dallas Texas

25th June 2018 at 9:28 pm

Thank you so much, it always means a lot to hear that people are finding our content useful. I think you are making a sensible choice – there is a lot to see on the mainland of the UK, and it’s also less hassle to worry about rental cars and ferries if you leave Ireland for another trip 🙂

We’re happy to answer any questions you have. We’re actually planning a trip to Texas for late September, and will be swinging by Dallas, so may have some questions for you in return!

Vanessa says

14th May 2018 at 9:38 pm

I’ve googled “hire car” and it says “rental car.” But on your site here it seems that a rental care and a hire car are different things. What exactly is the difference? Thank you! And also thank you for this post – it’s amazing and I think I will definitely base my trip -whenever that may be… – around it. Bookmarking this page!!

15th May 2018 at 5:57 pm

Thanks Vanessa! I think in the UK we use the term hire car, wheras in the USA it’s more likely to be called a rental car. But yes, they are the same thing in my mind, you can use the terms interchangeably as far as I know 🙂 Have a great trip, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions at all 😀

Saurabh says

7th May 2018 at 7:55 am

Hi Lawrence, This is a great post! I think I can use some help. We are planning a 2 week trip to UK in August with a 1 year old toddler. What from above or otherwise will be a good itinerary for us. How realistic is it for me to cover what you have listed here? Appreciate any help. Thanks!

7th May 2018 at 10:03 pm

Thanks Saurabh! First, I should say that not having kids ourselves this isn’t an area of expertise for us 🙂 However, based on experiences of friends who travel with family, my suggestion would be to probably cut the itinerary in half, and focus on some of the major cities. As it is, it’s quite a busy itinerary, and I think you will have a better time doing a bit less and having the time to really explore some of the cities on the itinerary. So for example, maybe just do England and Scotland, and skip Ireland and Wales. This will reduce your travel, and let you spend a bit longer in each city. I’d also advise finding accommodation close to the city centres and attractions, so at least one of you can go out sight-seeing if one of you needs to stay behind for naps etc. I hope this helps – have a wonderful trip!

3rd May 2018 at 12:38 am

My husband and I are following this itinerary this summer, flying round trip into Gatwick from Canada. I was looking at the cost of the ferry from Scotland to Ireland and than Ireland to Wales and was shocked at the cost. Do you know of any Ferry discounts?

3rd May 2018 at 7:12 pm

Hi Sarah – you can try the various ferry search companies like directferries or a1ferries I think they are called. Unfortunately that time of year is school holidays, and there aren’t many companies operating the routes, so the prices go up. You might consider instead flying from Edinburgh to Belfast or Dublin instead, and hiring a car in Ireland rather than taking the ferry, if that is a cheaper option!

Badariah says

21st March 2018 at 8:24 am

Awesome I am planning for a 2 week get away to UK. Your article helpsss a lot. Planning to go in mid sept till end of sept

21st March 2018 at 11:25 am

Thanks very much – have a wonderful trip!

11th March 2018 at 9:06 am

hi lawrence me n my wife middle aged planning to do england and scotland in 15 days in july which would be ideal places to cover by public transport. i am open to hire a car for 2 to 3 days if required. please suggest us best possible train route for this trip we are flying in n out of london thanks waiting for ur reply

11th March 2018 at 10:02 am

My advice would be to follow my 10 day UK itinerary, which is designed for public transport: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/10-day-uk-itinerary-public-transport-train-bus/

You could spend a little extra time in each location, or you could add a couple of stops. My advice would be to add 1 day in Bath near Bristol, stop in Manchester between Liverpool and York, and think about stopping in Newcastle on the way to Edinburgh. If you wanted to see the Cotswolds, you could do that with a hire car from Bath, or on a tour from London.

I hope this helps! That post also has lots of information on using public transport in the UK. Have a great trip!

Christine says

19th February 2018 at 4:57 am

Hello and Thank You!! I was just wondering, I’m not the best with timelines haha, but exactly how many hotel stays are there in total in each location? I’m just trying to determine if you actually spent the night in each location for both nights or if you spent the day touring then drove to the next location and got a room, especially for the 1 day places… if that makes sense? My husband and are are arriving March 10th and fly back out the 24th so just trying to sort out the timelines… Also it was suggested to me to go to Cornwall or Leeds, what are your thoughts? Thanks!

19th February 2018 at 6:11 pm

Hi! And my pleasure 😀

So you’d be looking at:

2 nights in London 1 night in Oxford 1 night in the Cotswolds 1 night in the Peak District 1 night in Manchester (could do Leeds here instead) 1 night in York 2 nights in Edinburgh (could do one night in Northumberland on the way up) 3 nights in Ireland / Northern Ireland 1 night in Cardiff 1 night in Bristol or Bath

You could of course spend more or less time in each destination, and leave say London after two full days but only one night, and overnight in Oxford. So really it’s up to you 🙂

Leeds you could easily fit into this itinerary. Cornwall would be a bit harder as it’s a bit further away. If you wanted to do Cornwall, you might need to leave Ireland out for example to give yourself enough time. Hope this helps!

15th February 2018 at 10:57 pm

Awesome Itinerary, I would add Canterbury to this list 🙂

17th February 2018 at 8:35 pm

I’ve only briefly visited Canterbury, must return!

22nd January 2018 at 4:52 pm

This came a blessing in disguise after searching for a week almost and making all shit loads of itineraries. I am thinking of blindly following this as it looks great to me. Need your help on a few points here if it doe snot bother you much, it would serve a great deal of planning for me in addition to what it already has, 1. Was this too hectic considering the number of places you covered? 2. Was driving time included in the time spent at each place you mentioned? 3. Is driving safe in and around England? 4. Is driving a cheaper option than using rail/bus transport? 5. How much did this two week trip cost you? 6. How much does the drive part of the trip cost?

22nd January 2018 at 5:44 pm

HI Saurabh!

Pleased to hear you found the itinerary 🙂 I’m happy to answer your questions of course.

1. This is definitely a busy itinerary, although as you can see from the other comments, many people have enjoyed it. So it really depends on your own personal style of travel and your preferences, as well as who you are travelling with. If you want a less hectic schedule, I’d suggest perhaps leaving the Irish part of the trip out, and maybe focusing on England and Scotland, and perhaps extending your time in cities like London and Edinburgh.

2. Yes, driving time is included. Driving time is not too great in the UK as distances are not large and the motorways are good, however, be aware that traffic can be bad around rush hour in the morning and evenings.

3. Yes, driving is very safe. Of course, accidents happen like anywhere in the world, but for the most part you shouldn’t have any trouble.

4. It depends on a few factors – mostly how many of you there are. For one person, it might be more cost-effective to take public transport. Also, if you book public transport well in advance, especially trains, this can be much cheaper than buying tickets on the day. Car hire also depends on the size of the car, but you can get pretty good value car hire. Fuel is quite expensive, but most modern hire cars are very fuel efficient. I am shortly going to publish a post with a similar itinerary that focuses on travelling in the UK by public transport, so stay tuned for that 🙂

5. Cost is really up to you, as it depends so much on what you want to see! I’d say you can hire a car for around £180 – £250 a week, fuel costs will be in the region of £50-£70 a week, and accommodation is likely to be in the range of £80 – £150 a night for two people sharing. You can of course get cheaper and more expensive accommodation options, it really depends on your style of travel.

6. The main costs for the car are the car hire, fuel, and any insurance you buy. I’d say between £200 and £300 a week, plus any parking fees. I’d definitely advise always booking a hotel that includes free parking.

I hope this helps with your planning – have a wonderful trip, and don’t miss my one week itinerary post for more ideas 🙂


Steve and Cheryl Bales says

26th February 2018 at 9:09 pm

Thank you for the wealth of information! We are planning to take a trip to visit our daughter who is in the Air Force in the UK this May. I’ve read your itinerary and the questions and answers that followed. There were a couple of questions that popped up for me and I was hoping you could answer them. You mentioned taking a car over on the ferry to Ireland. We will be driving our daughter’s car, but I was wondering if we needed special insurance on the car to have it ferried. My husband are both disabled to a degree; neither of us are capable of walking long distances or sitting for any duration. Is there a need for concern over these issues? And, what is the cost of a London Pass and how many people does it cover, there will be four in our group? Any information would be much appreciated, thank you in advance. Steve and Cheryl

26th February 2018 at 9:19 pm

Hi Steve and Cheryl,

Thanks for reaching out, and I’m happy to hear you have found the content useful. You don’t normally need special insurance on a car to have it ferried, but you will likely need to check with your daughter’s insurer to make sure it is covered in Ireland. As far as I am aware it should be covered in Northern Ireland with the full coverage, and most UK insurers do provide at least some level cover for the EU, which Ireland is a part of, but worth checking.

For the itinerary I’ve put together, it’s really up to you how much you do. All the major cities have good public transport if you choose not to drive, as well as sight-seeing buses and things like that.

The London Pass prices vary – you have to buy one price per person, so that would be four passes total. Again, the value is up to you and how much you can get out of them. My only concern would be to get real value out of them you do need to try and pack quite a lot in – if you aren’t sure if that’s going to be possible you might end up being better off not getting them and just paying the ticket prices. Also, I’m not sure of your ages, but many attractions have senior concessions, which might also save you money rather than getting a pass. Worth checking the individual websites for the different attractions you want to visit to see what those might be.

You can see the London Pass prices here; https://prf.hn/click/camref:1011lbTW/pubref:FTU2WeekQuestion/destination:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.londonpass.com%2Flondon-pass-prices.php

Derian Quek says

4th September 2017 at 1:10 pm

This trip seems a bit rushed when driving over to Ireland..I am also planning a 2 weeks this December to January. Any tips on this? Am planning London/Manchester/Lake district/Edinburgh/Cotswolds/bath/Stonehenge/Paris

Laurence says

4th September 2017 at 4:05 pm

Hey Darian,

This trip is definitely quite fast – unfortunately folks don’t have too much time sometimes, and are keen to see as much as possible, which is what I try to achieve on this itinerary.

Regarding your itinerary – at that time of year do be aware that the weather obviously won’t be great and it will be getting dark around 4pm – just something to bear in mind. Certainly your plan is possible but will also be quite packed. Perhaps focusing on a few less locations and seeing more. From your list I’d suggest London, with a day trip to bath, the Cotswolds and Stonehenge, then Edinburgh and Paris. You could add in Manchester as well of course. It would also depend on if you have visited any of the locations before and how you plan to travel. I’d suggest train from London to Edinburgh, and a cheap flight from Edinburgh to Paris.

4th September 2017 at 4:15 pm

Hi Laurence. It would actually be my first time to the UK. I’m visiting Manchester because I would wanna catch a game at old Trafford and that’s probably the only reason why. Flight from Edinburgh to Paris sounds like a good option though I would most likely be self driving from London up north. I’m thinking 3 days in London, 1 day in manchester, 2 days in lake district, 3 days in Edinburgh, 1 day to cotswolds and then 3 days in Paris via eurostar before heading back to London for my return flight

Mital Khona says

9th August 2017 at 2:43 pm

Hi Lawrence, Thanks a bunch for this wonderful itinerary… 1. We are travelling this September with 2 Kids ( 2 years old and 8 years old) and2 parents ( senior citizens).. Is this still doable.. I was thinking of picking up train for journey from London to Edinburgh 2. We would like to spend 3 days on the alternative route to Ireland suggested by you above. Can you help on the route/ time we should allot to Snowdonia, etc(west coast of the UK, including Glasgow, the Lake District, and Liverpool, as well as popping into Wales for the stunning Snowdonia national park)

7th January 2018 at 1:26 pm

Hi Mital! It really depends on your kids and grandparents and their stamina. I think this trip might be a bit much for some, and you might find it easier to go a bit slower and take things in a bit more. So perhaps a trip focusing on Edinburgh / London, with a hire car for the return journey down the west coast of the UK. I’d say three – four days in London, two to three days in Edinburgh, and then the rest of the time on the drive down the west coast would work!

Sussex Bloggers says

30th May 2017 at 12:56 pm

Can’t believe you’ve completely skipped Cornwall and the rest of the south coast. Such beautiful scenery all along the southern coastline and some wonderful towns and villages. Here’s a little teaser!

ipsita bhattacharya says

3rd May 2017 at 12:19 am

Hi guys, We are planning a trip to the UK in August/September 2017 and this 2-week itinerary is proving to be of great help! But if we plan to take public transport instead of driving, how much of this is doable? We are also looking at two weeks and while I understand taking trains/buses will eat into our travelling time, we are not sure we want to drive. Please advise. And thanks for this wonderful travel plan!

8th August 2017 at 8:56 am

Our pleasure. Much of this is doable, certainly between the major cities by train at least. We’d advice flying from the UK, likely Edinburgh to Dublin, and then back from Dublin to Cardiff or London. It’s definitely achievable in part though 🙂

Jessica says

2nd April 2017 at 1:15 am

I am so glad that I found your itinerary as we will be visiting the UK for a little over two weeks this coming summer. I do have question for a part of the trip when you have to ferry from Scotland to Ireland, is it easy to find ferries that will take your car across? Also do you recommend a car for the entire trip or to break it up with trains? Such as from London to Edinburgh? Thank you and I hope to hear back from you soon.

7th January 2018 at 1:24 pm

Hi Jessica! Sorry for the slow response. Most of the ferries take cars, but the question is as to whether or not your rental car company will let you take the car on the ferry. So you would need to check with them. If not, you might find it easier to say fly from Edinburgh to Belfast or Dublin to continue to journey, and perhaps pick up a hire car in Ireland instead.

Nishant says

19th March 2017 at 10:59 am

My family of 4 is planning in Aug’17 for 2 week and i like your write up here. we would be staying with our friend’s family (4 member) in LONDON and then accompany them to this tour plan. we wish to know approx budget in INR apart from AIR Ticket required for this kind of tour. Consider AIR BnB stay, Home cooking where ever possible, car drive and budgeted expense suitable for family.

แอโรคอม บริษัทจำกัด says

13th March 2017 at 8:24 am

Your 2 weeks itinerary seems very good. I am concerned with parking space in tourist attractions especially in big cities. Is it not so difficult to find parking area in all these recommended places (except London)? How much is a typical parking fee?

Thanks in advance! Pairoj S.

13th March 2017 at 2:24 pm

Thanks very much! Parking fees really vary depending on where you want to park. On road meter parking is usually the most expensive, around £3 an hour. I’d suggest finding a larger car park, like a multistorey operated by a company like NCP. These are more reasonable, and you would pay on a sliding scale where it is better value for staying for longer. I wouldn’t worry though, there is usually plenty of parking available, and sometimes if you don’t mind walking a little bit, if you don’t park centrally you can park for free. Have a great trip!

Mittal Shah says

10th March 2017 at 11:44 am

Hi Lawrence and Norah. I have been trying to plan a road trip in UK around July end for approximately 12days and have found a lot of helpful information.There are certain things i would like to know from you: For road trip should i consider hiring a caravan or a car( 4 of us travelling)? Is it better to book a hotel or bnb? Please help. Awaiting your reply

12th March 2017 at 9:47 pm

Thanks for your comment. A car would definitely be the best option, for four of you it would likely be the most cost effective option. I’d also suggest bed and breakfasts are a nice option, although there are lots of great hotels as well, it really depends on your budget,

Enjoy your trip!

rajul parikh says

19th February 2017 at 11:46 am

Hi Lawrence and Norah just been browsing through your site and taking in the information about the 2 week holiday in the UK. We find your information relevant and useful. We live in India and are considering a trip sometime mid June 2017. This would be our first trip to the UK. Lots of questions: would the weather be ok around that time? To cover your suggested itinerary (including ireland) how much driving would one end up doing everyday? Would your stops which are marked alphabetically on the map suggest overnight stay? Since we would like to spend at least 5 days in London we would need to extend our trip to about 21 days. Look forward to hearing from you.

19th February 2017 at 11:49 am

Happy that you found it useful! Yes, the main stopping points suggest an overnight stay. The weather is likely to be good in June, however, the weather in the UK can be very unpredictable. Coming from India, you’ll probably find it fairly cool 😉 I’d say between 15 and 25C would be the norm, and you should plan for rain whenever you visit the UK.

In terms of driving, the UK is quite small so not too much, probably not more than 2 – 3 hours a day.

Myn Wong says

14th February 2017 at 1:18 am

Hi. May I know the estimated cost of this trip?

George Monaghan says

30th January 2017 at 8:51 pm

Finding this site most interesting !

30th January 2017 at 8:52 pm

Thanks George, appreciated!

Dave_Toni says

18th January 2017 at 2:17 am

Hi guys, I’m staying in London for a short time (4 days) and I’m now thinking I should have booked a longer stay, but I’m on route to another destination. What would you recommend for a four day tour to get the best out of “must see” locations in in short amount of time? Really enjoying the site, keep up the great information. Thanks Dave.

18th January 2017 at 6:52 pm

Four days is a good time to see lots of London 🙂 My advice, if you’ve not been before, would be to focus on the highlights, plus allocate some time just to wander a bit. I have a two day Itinerary here: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2016/06/two-day-london-itinerary-essential-sight-seeing.html That should help a bit, and then an itinerary that focuses on the region of Kensington: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2015/07/top-8-things-to-do-in-kensington.html I also have a guide for getting around London: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2016/08/guide-public-transport-london.html Some tips for the best photo spots in London: https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2015/12/best-photography-locations-london.html And finally, we always recommend the London Pass to save money if you’re planning on visiting a lot of attractions. Here’s a great breakdown to find out if that’s worth it for you or not: independenttravelcats.com/2016/05/21/tips-using-buying-london-pass-worth/ Enjoy!

13th January 2017 at 10:19 am

So so perfect! Planning a 2 week UK holiday in June. This was God-sent!

13th January 2017 at 10:21 am

Wonderful, pleased you found it useful

Ashton says

5th November 2016 at 5:24 am

This is perfect! Exactly what I was looking for to start planning my honeymoon!! Thank you for taking the time to put this together

13th November 2016 at 7:58 pm

My pleasure – let us know how it goes and if there’s anything missing we can add to the post!

shiva bhavini says

16th July 2016 at 2:34 pm

Hi Laurence & Jessica, My husband and I are planning to have a 10 days UK trip , reaching London on September 16 and have return flight from london on september 26 , can you please suggest should we take some travel agent to take us around in UK ? Thanks much in advance

Ellana McNulty says

3rd July 2016 at 1:39 am

Hi Laurence & Jessica, My husband and I are planning on following your itinerary when we go over in August. When we first looked at your blog, there was a map at the end that you could zoom in on, but cannot find it now? Is the link still available.

3rd July 2016 at 11:24 am

Hi Ellana! Sorry about that, the map was causing issues for mobile users so I removed it. See comment below with a better answer!

Paul McNulty says

7th July 2016 at 12:09 am

Thanks for this Laurence!

Is it possible to have the whole route on the map like you had it before?

4th November 2016 at 11:13 pm

Hi Paul, I’ve been battling with google maps over this and gave up as it wouldn’t let me have enough waypoints. So I’ve switched to Bing Maps with the embedded image, and there’s a link to the route here: https://binged.it/2fDQGD2

Sorry for the delay!

5th November 2016 at 12:02 am

Thanks Laurence… we toured the UK in the last half of August using your itinerary. We modified it a bit to suit our personal tastes, but the basis of our trip was thanks to you. And it was even better than we expected!! Cheers.

5th November 2016 at 9:49 am

Brilliant! Delighted you had a good trip 😀

Alicia says

7th June 2017 at 3:22 am

The above link does not have a driving route in it. Is it no longer working (or I am doing it wrong)?

Unfortunately Google wouldn’t let me put together a driving route with this many stops, so this was the best I could do!

Seyne Tee says

27th June 2016 at 4:03 am

Hi Laurence & Jessica, I plan to visit UK for 2 weeks and rent a car to travel around places outside UK. Your perfect itinerary is exactly what I’m looking for, thanks! I have a problem here, I can only travel with my husband and son in the middle of November, will the weather be friendly enough to carry out activities as per your recommendation?

27th June 2016 at 9:23 am

Well, the weather in the UK can be quite varied, with sun even in November! However it will more likely be cold and grey, temperatures in the range of 3 – 10 degrees C. It will also be dark fairly early. However, that shouldn’t put you off, a lot of this itinerary is focused on the cities, and indoors activities, so you should be fine, although you might want to edit the itinerary a bit to focus more on indoor activities than outdoor ones 🙂

Stephen Mason says

9th May 2016 at 3:58 am

This trip is incredible! Can you give a price of what the final trip costed?

28th June 2016 at 11:55 am

Hi Stephen – it really depends on many factors, including your budget for accommodation / food. You can find places for £50 / night in most of the locations I’ve mentioned, food per person you could get away with £15 a day, then there’s fuel and car hire, not to mention attraction entry. I’d probably look to budgeting around £700 – £1500 per person, as a guideline, but a lot of variables to take into account 🙂

SharronJ says

8th March 2016 at 6:33 pm

This is just what I was looking for. I am planning on visiting your wonderful country for a month next year and just started doing research. Your article is just what I was looking for Thanks so much!

8th March 2016 at 6:35 pm

My pleasure! Have a wonderful trip 🙂

Edward says

17th January 2016 at 11:32 pm

Thank you for this. I will be going in UK late Spetember to October (one month) and this is a nice itnerary and I can do it in a slower pace. Would you say September and October is a good time to do this? How is the weather usually in those months?

2nd February 2016 at 2:47 am

It’s the Autum time so you might fair pretty well, considering. It starts to cool down in September and the trees start changing. There will be rain, especially in the West of England and Wales but there always is.

The best time to visit England is May – August, but if you don’t mind getting caught in the rain now and then, you shouldn’t have a problem

Joanne says

12th October 2015 at 2:18 pm

Is it possible to do this itinerary relying only on public transportation since I don’t drive? Thank you in advance.

12th October 2015 at 2:21 pm

Good parts of it are certainly possible, as the major cities are linked by public transport, and the trains in particular are an excellent and fast way to get around. One tip – book well in advance on specific trains to get the best prices in the UK, the fares you pay on the day are much higher. I’d also suggest flying from Edinburgh to Dublin if you wanted to include the Irish part of the trip.

You might have a bit more difficulty visiting places like the Cotswolds or other “country” parts on your own, however there are plenty of tour operators who can give you a day trip out from London to say the Cotswolds and Stonehenge.

On the whole though, yes, the majority of this itinerary would be more than do-able by public transport!

Nina Tchernova says

7th October 2015 at 2:43 pm

Hi Laurence, thank you so much for sharing this! We are planning to go in April, and this is exactly what we were hoping to do. And here it all is, so wonderfully explored and illustrated! One question though – what would you recommend about car rentals -one, or three? when we cross on a ferry to Ireland, do we bring the car, or is it better to rent another one there, and then another when we get back?

10th October 2015 at 1:14 pm

My pleasure 🙂 The answer to your question isn’t as simple as it sounds. One way rentals, as you’d need if you were to change cars, are generally more expensive than returning the car to the same place. On the other hand, a ferry ticket without a car is cheaper! So you might want to just check the math and see, depending on your budget. Personally, I’d not bother with the hassle of changing cars and just stick with the same one, you just need to check that it’s ok to drive the car in Ireland as well 🙂

10th October 2015 at 1:28 pm

Thank you very much, we will have to make a few enquiries.

Darryl Chan says

24th August 2015 at 6:03 pm

Hey! Love your itinerary! Is there anyway I can contact you to get more personalised advices from you? Looking forward to your reply!

27th August 2015 at 5:28 pm

Sure, you can just drop me an e-mail via the contact page on the site, or just fire away in the comments and I’ll see what I can do,

17th August 2015 at 4:58 am

Where’s the castle in your first picture?

25th September 2015 at 8:51 pm

The castle in the first picture (with the daffodils) is Alnwick castle in Northumberland. Home to Harry Potter or at least the was some filming taken place there and also some of Downtown Abbey. Alnwick is also home to Barter Books where the original ‘keep calm and carry on’ poster was discovered. Northumberland has one of the largest number of castles in the uk. Some of the most impressive I think are Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne Castle (on holy island – which needs a visit itself) and Chillingham Castle (known for being pretty spooky). Contact Wooler Tourist Infomation Office on +44 1668 282123 to learn about accommodation as Wooler is a fantastic base for the best of Northumberland.

25th September 2015 at 9:02 pm

Can I also say there is an awesome place for Brits and tourists alike; Beamish, the living museum. It is an outdoor village fashioned perfectly on olden days northern England complete with coal mine, dentis, working sweet shop and more

Monica says

11th August 2015 at 8:16 pm

I loved you itinerary and pictures. I’m definitely using your steps to trace some of my own. Thanks for sharing. I’m excited to read through more of your posts.

15th August 2015 at 8:32 pm

Thanks Monica, have a great trip!

3rd August 2015 at 9:50 pm

Great review of a nice trip through GB. My wife and I are trying to plan one for May, and we were thinking of spending more time in Scottland. Do you have any suggestions for moving from Endinburgh and into the northern part of Scotland and skipping Ireland. I thinking about Aberdeen and stopping by Ben Nevis, but it’s our first time traveling abroad and I’d love more information. Thanks!

3rd August 2015 at 11:49 pm

Hi Andy! To be honest I’ve not spent a lot of time in Scotland recently, but I can very much recommend taking the time to visit Glencoe. It’s a couple of hours from Edinburgh, and is an absolutely stunning valley in the highlands. I’ve also heard nothing but good things about the isle of Skye! Sorry I can’t be of much more help right now 🙁

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17 Best Cities in the UK to Visit Right Now

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

United Kingdom

Updated On: May 8, 2023

The UK is not short on incredible cities to visit. England , Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have fascinating cultures that you can experience through their cities’ architecture, attractions, and hospitality.

We’ll cover the finest in the United Kingdom – from major cities like London and Edinburgh to lesser-visited cities like Inverness, Bristol, and York. When planning a trip to the United Kingdom, these are the places that you should be adding to your itinerary.

Table of Contents

Top Cities in the UK

The UK includes some of the best countries to visit in the world, and each city reflects a unique culture and identity.

Whether you want to visit a lesser-known city or join the masses of tourists visiting major cities that have been darlings for decades, this list will give you plenty of choices.

1. London (Largest City)

As the capital of England and the country’s largest, London was always going to be on this list. It is one of the greatest arts and cultural hubs in both Europe and the rest of the world.

London is easily the most popular and famous to visit in England, and for many good reasons. London is full of attractions, including historical sites, landmarks , art galleries, theatres, and museums. Your days visiting London will be varied and action-packed. For example, you may spend a morning at the Natural History Museum, an afternoon grabbing lunch and shopping at the market in Camden Borough, and an evening watching a West End show.

If you are a first-time visitor to the UK, prioritize a visit to London. Not only does the city give you a broad impression of England, but London is also very accessible.

You’ll be bowled over by the number of things to do and see; just do some research and choose where to stay carefully beforehand to maximize your time when you arrive. If you need some extra guidance, you can read our 3-day itinerary for more information. Read More: 38 Best Things to do in London, England In 2023

2. Manchester

Manchester is one of the best cities in Northern England. Its flamboyant urban area and nightlife make it popular with university students, and visitors can expect a fun, friendly atmosphere.

Manchester was massively shaped by the Industrial Revolution and is widely claimed to be the world’s first industrial city. Manchester was once famous for textile production, the wealth from which was reinvested in the city’s development and into wealthy families. However, Manchester has outgrown its Revolution associations nowadays and is now known as an entertaining weekend getaway and sought-after place to live.

You can learn about the Industrial Revolution at Manchester’s Science & Industry Museum. We’d recommend also allowing time to visit the Manchester Art Gallery and the National Football Museum. The Manchester Art Gallery showcases artworks from over six centuries, and the football museum is a must for Premier League fans.

In the evening, head to The Gay Village or Spinningfields for a few drinks at the best pubs and clubs. The Manchester dress code is retro and indie regardless of the venue, so come prepared with your trendiest outfits.

If Manchester is one of the greatest cities in Northern England, Leeds is not far behind.

Like Manchester, Leeds was also massively influenced by the Industrial Revolution, and you’ll notice converted mill and factory buildings in many of the nearby areas. Leeds is the third biggest in England and is known for its hospitality, small city center, and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales.

Leeds is favored amongst university students – meaning you’ll enjoy a friendly atmosphere and lots of cheap eateries. The center is small, easily walkable, and perfect for a weekend of shopping, wining, and dining. We’d recommend allowing time to take a day trip to Yorkshire Dales National Park, visit the Industrial Museum, and Kirkstall Abbey.

If you want a drink, don an embarrassing fancy dress costume for the Otley Run (a famous local pub crawl) or head to The Calls for photogenic venues along the river.

4. Edinburgh

Edinburgh is an amazing city to visit. As the Scottish capital, it attracts millions of tourists and, honestly, you should join the crowd.

Edinburgh is famed for its Old Town, which has those dreamy cobbled streets lined with independent shops, cafes, and restaurants. Some of the buildings in the Old Town are 500 years old, and the architecture gives the neighborhood a time capsule effect – especially with Edinburgh Castle and the sound of bagpipes in the background.

Edinburgh Castle is easily one of the best things to do , although you should also visit the National Museum, climb the Scott Monument, and walk the Royal Mile. Edinburgh excellently encapsulates Scottish culture, history, and identity.

As a first-time visitor to Scotland, we’d highly recommend visiting Edinburgh.

Of course, just because Edinburgh is fantastic doesn’t mean you should skip visiting Glasgow.

Glasgow is a great city to visit, and you’ll find lots of things to do and see. It has a slightly more modern feel than Edinburgh and lots of public green space to enjoy in the summer. Of course, Glasgow has two very passionate rival football teams, and fans should try to attend a Celtic or Rangers game to experience the sporting passion firsthand.

You should prioritize visiting the Glasgow Necropolis, People’s Palace, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and Pollok Country Park. Pollok Country Park is particularly popular amongst tourists wanting to see Highland Cattle. The park has a herd that lives on-site, so note it down if you want to meet one.

Glasgow is widely known as the country’s second city, but we think it ranks just as highly as Edinburgh.

The Northern Irish capital is well-deserving of a place on our list; Belfast has a lot going for it.

Belfast is easily added to a trip to England. You can catch a ferry from Liverpool or a domestic flight from any UK airport – sometimes costing less than $15 when booked in advance.

Belfast has a vibrant feel, with plenty of new developments like Castle Court Shopping Center. However, there is also a lot of history. You can learn about The Troubles by touring Belfast’s political murals, visiting the Titanic Belfast Museum, touring Crumlin Road Gaol, or walking up to Stormont – the home of the NI government.

From the city, there are hundreds of things to do , including visiting The Giant’s Causeway and the Mourne Mountains. Belfast is a fantastic base if you want to experience Northern Ireland for the first or millionth time.

While not one of the most famous cities in Great Britain, Bristol is easily one of the best cities for tourists.

Over the years, Bristol has transformed from a port town to a thriving city – highly sought after to visit, study, and live. Bristol is located along the Bristol Channel, an inlet from the Atlantic Ocean, so it is close to beaches should you want a sunbathe or swim. However, most impressively, Bristol is divided by a deep river gorge. Visitors entering Bristol cross over suspension bridges – making a scenic and memorable start to a holiday.

Bristol’s attractions include the SS Great Britain. SS Great Britain is an 1843 restored passenger liner. The ship is revered as the world’s first great ocean liner and has two museums, refurbished ship areas, and dockyards. The ship also houses many artifacts from its sister ship, The Royal Charter, which sailed around the world before her shipwreck.

For more naval history, you can stop by the nearby Underfall Yard Visitor Center to visit its popular maritime museum. Bristol is a fascinating place in England for those interested in maritime stories.

8. Liverpool

Liverpool is cool. Birthplace of the Beatles, dockside bar hopping, and the home of the huge Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool is easily one of the most entertaining cities in England.

If you are traveling north of London, we recommend visiting Liverpool. The Liverpool atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly, and it is the sort of place where you could go for a drink alone and leave to the next bar with twenty new friends.

Visiting the Beatles Story is a number one recommendation of things to do in Liverpool and is a world-famous attraction. But the British Music Experience, World Museum, and Port Sunlight Museum are all also worth visiting.

Music is at the heart of Liverpool’s identity, so we highly suggest watching some live music at Cavern Club during your stay. Cavern Club is a popular venue in Liverpool and specializes in tribute performances that run day and night.

If you want to experience music culture in England, look no further than Liverpool.

Unlike Liverpool, York is a quiet city surrounded mostly by country towns and villages. It may not be a popular destination for first-time travelers to the UK, but York does provide an idyllic introduction to England.

York is in the county of North Yorkshire and, despite its city status, has more of a town feel than a metropolitan one. York has incredible architecture, with its walls dating back to the 13th century and its narrowing shopping street, The Shambles, widely hailed as one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe.

York Minster Cathedral is beautiful to visit, while the York Dungeons and Jorvik Viking Center are immersive historical attractions to enjoy. Since York is located near both the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, we’d suggest allowing time for a day trip in your itinerary.

For a laidback trip to Britain, York provides a relaxing experience with world-renowned, stunning medieval architecture.

10. Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle is a famously fun city with outrageous nightlife and plenty of culture. Newcastle is split in two by the River Tyne, with several footbridges and suspension bridges connecting either side of the city. Metropolitan but pretty (especially at night by the river), Newcastle has a lot to offer.

The city’s nightlife reputation was rocketed to fame by the reality TV program Geordie Shore, and it is also a popular choice amongst university students. The city’s popularity is well deserved, as you’ll find many pubs, clubs, and bars. However, the city isn’t just where you go for a party in the north of England.

Newcastle is fantastic for tourism, with lots of museums and art galleries. You should prioritize visiting Great North Museum: Hancock, Laing Art Gallery, and Discovery Museum. Newcastle Castle is also a great attraction to visit and doesn’t hold back on telling some of the most gruesome stories from history in England.

11. Birmingham (Second Largest City)

Birmingham is the second-largest city in England and has a massive population of over a million people. Visitors will find restaurants, attractions, and hotels at every step – a benefit of choosing such a major city to visit in England.

You can choose to visit popular attractions like Cadbury World, Legoland, and Sea Life. Or, visit some of Birmingham’s unique attractions like The Coffin Works, which runs tours explaining the process of coffin making and telling stories about the funerals of famous people. If you want diversity, Birmingham is one of the best cities in England.

Is Birmingham a little rough around the edges? Yes, in parts. Birmingham is best suited to people who want to experience a supercity in England and have already experienced other cities in the country. Birmingham is a destination for travelers who know exactly what they want and have a solid grasp on traveling in the UK.

12. Brighton

Brighton is a seaside city with a big personality. While only just south of London, Brighton has a strong identity and boldly stands as a destination in its own right. You’ll see plenty of young families and couples commuting to Brighton from London and teenagers traveling with friends from neighboring towns.

Located on the south coast of England, Brighton is lined by beaches and overlooks the English Channel. There’s a mix of cheesy seaside attractions, a twisting maze of shopping alleys called The Lanes that were built from the 1500s, and an eccentrically placed Royal Pavilion – a palace constructed with Asian architecture.

A medieval town? Seaside resort? City of luxurious architectural follies? Who knows. Brighton denies a category, which definitely adds to the city’s tourism appeal. If you want a memorable seaside city in England, Brighton is a good choice. Brighton constantly remixes any expectations you might have of English cities, meaning you’ll never get bored.

13. Cardiff

Cardiff is the largest city and capital of Wales. As far as Welsh cities go, Cardiff is the main celebrity and one of the best places to visit .

Located just south of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Cardiff is a riverside city famous for television production, sports, museums, and nightlife. Unfortunately, as many people rush to the coast or National Parks in Wales, Cardiff is often overlooked as a city break.

What’s Cardiff got? In short, everything that you need. You’ll find green space to sunbathe in summer, nearby beaches if you want to brave a swim, and indoor activities if you get unlucky with the weather.

We suggest planning a stay in Cardiff, even if you continue to the Welsh countryside. There is the Museum of Cardiff, Cardiff Castle, and even a White Water Rafting Center to challenge yourself with rapids. The castle is around 2,000 years old, so there is no denying that the Cardiff has substance and plenty of stories to tell.

Book a hotel, slow down, and enjoy the capital before rushing off around Wales.

14. Cambridge

Cambridge is a prestigious university city – perfect for getting a taste of the elite student experience in England. The city is classy to the core, and you can fill your days with punting on the River Cam and visiting its many museums.

Aside from museums, Cambridge is home to many churches and the Ely Cathedral. The Ely Cathedral is a classic gothic cathedral and a popular religious site to experience on a booked tour. The Round Church is also worth visiting and dates back to the 12th century. The medieval church has a distinctive rounded shape and is a fun bit of architecture to visit.

Cambridge is easily one of the best cities in England to experience southern Englishness firsthand.

Speaking of elite universities, Oxford is Cambridge’s rival city. Oxford is home to Oxford University, which was established in the 12th century and is renowned across the world.

Like Cambridge, Oxford is a city where you go to experience southern Englishness. The city center is full of gothic architecture, and the buildings are typically made from pale cream clipsham stone. Oxford has a definite aesthetic, and it is easy to imagine yourself stepping back a hundred years.

Oxford also has a beautiful cathedral and is famous for its arts. Literature lovers should prioritize visiting the Bodleian Library, the UK’s second-largest library and containing over 11 million texts.

Bath is a Georgian-styled city, with lots of terrace buildings cut from pale yellow Bath Stone. Like Oxford, Bath has an aesthetic feel, and the uniformed buildings cut from the same stone make you feel like you are stepping out from the 18th century.

If you are a history lover, we especially suggest considering Bath, as it is one of the best cities to visit in England for literary and Roman history.

Bath has a Mary Shelley and a Jane Austen museum. The city also has The Roman Baths, where you can tour the preserved ruins, learn from the interactive exhibits, and observe original Roman artifacts. Next door to the Roman Baths, you can actually bathe in the UK’s only natural thermal baths. The Thermae Bath Spa uses natural spring water to heat a rooftop pool and multi-level spa.

17. Inverness

Inverness is heaven. The Scottish Highlands are understandably popular and a stunning region of the UK to visit, and Inverness provides a city base in their center.

While Edinburgh and Glasgow get the brunt of tourist attention, those that venture further north are greatly rewarded. Known as the gateway to the Highlands, Inverness is a pocket of city life in a dramatic natural setting.

Just outside of the city, you can pay your respects at Culloden Battlefield – the final battle site of the Jacobite Rising. While in the city, you can visit St Andrew’s Cathedral, visit the Inverness Museum, or walk around Ness Islands. Inverness is a lesser-visited but fantastic Scottish city You can expect lots of exciting and inspiring things to do.

Cities in the United Kingdom FAQ

When is the best time to visit the uk.

The best time to visit the UK is in spring or summer. The UK will be warmer and have longer daylight hours during these months, and outdoor activities will be more enjoyable.

Keep in mind that there are school holidays in April and between July and August. School holidays may impact hotel availability and the busyness of tours and attractions.

What are the Largest Cities in the UK by population?

London has the largest population in the UK and has over seven million people. Birmingham, Leeds, then Glasgow follow closely behind.

What city in the UK should I visit first?

It might seem obvious, but you should visit London first. London is an amazing city with lots to see and do, but it is also the most accessible city for those flying into the UK. You should find the cheapest flights and a higher likelihood of direct flight routes.

Those wanting to combine visiting Britain and Europe should also consider taking the train to or from France. The Eurostar takes less than two and a half hours to reach Paris from London – which doesn’t get much easier.

What is the most beautiful city in the UK?

The most beautiful city in the UK is Bath. The bath stone color, Georgian street style, and general architecture make Bath a beautiful place.

What are the most popular cities in the UK?

The most popular cities in the UK are London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Liverpool, and Manchester.

These are thriving cities with plenty of arts, transport links, and things to do. Most people visiting the UK for the first time choose one of these cities.

The United Kingdom has a lot of beautiful cities that you should add to your bucket list. From incredible history and architecture to famous landmarks and tasty food, all of these cities in the UK offer something different depending on what you are looking for. If you are planning a trip to the UK anytime soon then make sure to add a few of these cities to your itinerary.

Plan Your Next Trip to The UK With These Resources

  • Amazing Places to Visit in the UK
  • 10 Fun Facts About England That You Don’t Already Know
  • British Food: 23 Best UK Dishes to Try at Home or Abroad
  • What to Expect when Coasteering in Wales
  • North Coast 500 – The Ultimate Trip Guide to Scotland’s Epic Drive

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About ThePlanetD Team

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15 of the best city breaks in the UK to take in 2023

From Oxford to Belfast, check out the ultimate list of best UK city breaks

city breaks uk

Staycations are as popular as ever, which is why we've rounded up the UK's best cities for you to explore the beauty of Britain, whether it's a trip to Bath, Edinburgh or York .

Whether you're after some culture, prefer to put food at the forefront or simply fancy some quaint streets to meander around, you'll want to keep scrolling for our pick of the best city breaks in the UK.

From the enchanting canals of Cambridge to the hilly capital of Scotland , with its medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town boasting gardens and neoclassical buildings, there's an abundance of beautiful British cities to explore.

Check out our wonderful selection for if you're travelling solo, as a couple, treating the family to a trip or catching up with old friends in a new place.

The countryside can wait for now, these are the city breaks in the UK that are top of our list.

Oxford - Best city breaks in the UK

best city breaks uk

Sophisticated, cultured and jam-packed with inspiring architecture, Oxford is defined by its ancient university – but there’s plenty to do besides touring its prestigious colleges.

For a start, the city boasts some of the nicest places to eat and drink in the country, from timeless English pubs with riverside gardens and terraces like The Head of the River or The Perch, to fashionable new spots like Wilding , and Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir , a short drive out of the city centre.

And if your appetite for learning matches your love of food, then you’ll find lots to keep you happy in Oxford. The Ashmolean houses everything from ancient Egyptian mummies to Roman and Islamic coins, tech-enthusiasts should head to the History of Science Museum , while nature-lovers can discover more than 5,000 plant species at the UK’s oldest botanic garden .

Complete your stay with a wander through the beautiful grounds of Magdalen College (with their own deer park!), or a leisurely browse in Oxford’s famous Blackwell’s bookshop.

Where to stay: Inside a handsome Georgian building on Oxford’s central High Street, the Old Bank Hotel has spacious modern rooms, a cool collection of modern art, and a high-class, varied all-day dining menu on offer in the lively Quod restaurant.

Bristol - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is undoubtedly the city’s best-known landmark and one of the most beautiful sights around, but that's not all that Bristol has to offer. Though we must add here that, if you are interested in the bridge, you can join free weekly walking tours to learn more about the history, construction and maintenance of this iconic structure.

Elsewhere in Bristol on one of the best city breaks in the UK, there's one of the top vintage scenes in the UK - with boutiques dotted all over the city (we recommend making a bee line for That Thing, a vintage store that has become somewhat of an institution here).

Bristol Harbour is another must-see spot that you can’t miss. It played a very important role in the city’s development and history, and today boasts a plethora of museums, galleries, restaurants and bars.

Where to stay: On the quayside of the Floating Harbour, The Bristol Hotel is 10 minutes' walk from Brunel's SS Great Britain and boasts stylish rooms, a riverside restaurant and an elegant River-side Lounge offers light snacks, afternoon teas and a fine wine list.


London - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

We couldn't round-up our favourite city breaks in the UK without adding London. The iconic capital is well-known for its architecture, plethora of multi-cultural restaurants and iconic landmarks and galleries.

However, there is also a quieter side to London - from the boutiques and sprawling greenery of Hampstead, to the winding backstreets of Angel, where hidden treasures reward those willing to head off-piste.

Where to stay: Overlooking the historic Tower of London, the luxury four-star Leonardo Royal London City - Tower Hill boasts a spa with a large swimming pool and gym.

Featuring a brasserie and a cocktail lounge, the hotel is just two minutes' walk from Tower Hill Tube Station and offers range of onsite bars and restaurants. Lutetia Brasserie provides a traditional French menu with an outdoor dining area and a wide variety of drinks can be enjoyed in the Isis Cocktail Bar and Lounge.

Belfast - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

Northern Ireland’s capital, as many people know, is the birthplace of the Titanic (which famously sunk in 1912 after hitting an iceberg), but it's a city with much more than this sad legacy. Although, if you are interested in learning more about the infamous cruise ship, delve into the story at the Titanic Belfast, an aluminium-clad museum reminiscent of a ship’s hull, as well as shipbuilder Harland & Wolff’s Drawing Offices and the Titanic Slipways, which now host open-air concerts.

There are many other enthralling things to do and see here though, from a stroll around the beautiful (and free) Botanic Garden and a visit to the Ulster Museum, to taking in the hilltop views of Belfast Castle, built in 1870.

Where to stay: In a converted shipbuilding office dating from the 1880s, the polished Titanic Hotel Belfast is surrounded by the maritime landmarks of the Titanic Quarter. It’s two km from Titanic Quarter train station and four from the cultural exhibits at the Ulster Museum.

Cambridge - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

Well known for its waterways and Gothic university (the gorgeous buildings of which can be spotted all over the city), there really is something for everyone when it comes to entertainment in Cambridge.

You can go punting on the River Cam, enjoy a picnic in the park, join a walking tour of the city or rent a bike and traverse the intricate network of cycle paths in and around the city - it's a brilliant way to explore, as long as you've got good balance.

As well as the free-to-enter University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, which houses world-class collections of art and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations, and Kettle’s Yard, one of the country’s finest galleries and a major centre for 20th century and contemporary art, visitors will find a wide range of artworks, sculpture trail walks and galleries to appreciate. Where to stay: Following a comprehensive redesign by renowned architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki, University Arms has re-established itself as one of Cambridge's most enchanting destinations. The boutique hotel offers easy access to the university, as well as Newmarket Racecourse, IWM Duxford and the attractions of Cambridge city centre.

Brighton - Best city breaks in the UK

best city breaks uk

With its buzzing nightlife, thriving art scene and alternative atmosphere, Brighton is the ever-on-trend city for a fun UK break. Since there’s more to do than just chill on the beach (although we recommend that too!), there’s no need to limit yourself to only visiting in summer.

There are drinking dens to suit every taste, from hip hangouts offering retro arcade games and vegan fast food like The World’s End , to charming traditional boozers like the Bath Arms , tucked away among the quirky jewellery and antique shops in The Lanes, plus a dizzying array of clubs and cocktail bars.

For live entertainment, check out Brighton Dome’s cracking programme showcasing classical and contemporary music as well as the biggest names in comedy, or head to one of the city’s iconic LGBT+ venues for world-class cabaret and drag shows.

Where to stay: Wake up to stunning sea views with our brilliant offer on a two-night stay at The Grand . As well as an upgraded room, you’ll be treated to prosecco and chocolate strawberries in your room, plus dinner and an afternoon tea for two.

Bath - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

During the ancient Roman times, Bath became famous for its natural hot springs that bubbled up from the ground, and this charming city still retains its allure today.

You can pay a visit to those hot springs that first started it all, as, when the Romans established a settlement here called Aquae Sulis, they constructed a large bath complex and its labyrinth of rooms can still be explored today.

In addition to the Roman Baths (we advise booking in advance to avoid the queues), you can also admire the grand Georgian architecture at the Circus and the Royal Crescent; these imposing buildings are a reminder of Bath's history as a sophisticated spa town in the 18th century and - for a time - home to Jane Austen.

And, of course, no trip to Bath would be complete without taking advantage of a luxurious spa treatment - so, head to the Thermae Bath Spa to find out what all the fuss is about.

Where to stay: Originating from the 1780s, Henrietta House Hotel is a Georgian period townhouse set in the heart of Bath. Rooms are modern and individually styled, each dotted with hand-picked antiques, furnishings and original artwork. The prime location means you can easily explore Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, Thermae Bath Spa, The Jane Austen Centre and The Holburne Museum of Art.

Edinburgh - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

Edinburgh is Scotland's buzzing capital, with an enchanting medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Casting a shadow over it all is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland's crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, once used in the coronation of Scottish rulers.

Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park boasts sweeping views (and offers varying levels of walking difficulty), while Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.

Where to stay: Overlooking Carlton Hill, Princes Street Gardens and Waverley Station, the four-star Scotsman Hotel was originally built in 1905. This majestic, listed building was once The Scotsman newspaper.

Each unique room and suite at the Scotsman Hotel boasts individual features, including curved corner window bays with scenic views of the city and a marble-tiled en suite bathroom.

Winchester - Best city breaks in the UK

best city breaks uk

Did you know that quaint Winchester in the rolling South Downs used to be the capital of England? You almost wouldn’t guess it today. The city is small, but grand, and the astonishing Winchester Cathedral and historic university are subtle giveaways.

It’s also home to the country's largest farmers' market, as well as the brilliant pub and restaurant, The Black Rat, and the resting place of quintessential Hampshire author, Jane Austen.

Winchester is a destination for all seasons: in the deep midwinter, the Christmas market lights up the Cathedral grounds with cosy aromas, jolly ice-skaters and fabulous local arts and crafts stalls, and in the summer, you can take lazy walks along the riverside and venture out into the surrounding South Downs. Autumn walks around the leafy university are only rivalled by the spring bluebells in Micheldever Wood, a 20-minute drive away.

Where to stay: Hotel du Vin in the city centre features large period rooms with sumptuous styling and L'Occitane toiletries, Nespresso machines and soft fluffy robes. Sip an al fresco aperitif before bowls of French onion soup or moules frites in the bistro.

Alternatively, venture 10 minutes out into the countryside to Lainston House , with its 12th-century chapel, sundial and walled Victorian kitchen garden.

Cardiff - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

It's impossible to miss the rich history and culture that make Cardiff a fitting capital for Wales. With a striking medieval castle at its centre, market stalls selling authentic wares - think wooden love spoons and Welsh cakes - span out across the streets around it.

We recommend a walk around Bute Park right behind it or you could hop aboard and take a guided boat tour from the park and travel the short distance down to Cardiff Bay for an array of waterside eateries, and to see the iconic Millennium Centre building.

Where to stay: The Park Plaza is a city-centre hotel within walking distance of Cardiff’s main attractions, decked with original art, home to an extensive spa offering and a restaurant serving uplifted British cuisine – and where the sound distant of church bells offers a charming wake up call.

Manchester - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

Diverse and brimming with charm, Manchester is well-known for the warm welcome it gives visitors and is perhaps one of the most exciting city breaks in the UK.

More widely known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester has a proud history that spans science, politics, music, arts and sport, and it combines this heritage with a future-facing vision of culture and community.

Head for the centre to explore the eclectic range of restaurants, bars, shops, museums and galleries, or span out towards the Greater Manchester boroughs to immerse yourself in local culture in the quaint market towns, traditional pubs and beautiful green spaces and waterways that can be found here.

Where to stay: King Street Townhouse is set in an Italian Renaissance-style building dating from 1872 and the upscale hotel overlooking Manchester Town Hall is a four-minute walk from the Royal Exchange and four miles from the Lowry cultural centre.

Upgraded rooms have free-standing baths, while some offer Town Hall views, while opulent suites add living areas or separate lounges.

There's a chic wood-panelled restaurant, a cosy, art-filled afternoon tea lounge, and a mezzanine lounge with a fireplace, as well as a rooftop infinity pool, a gym and a spa.

Liverpool - Best city breaks in the UK

best city breaks uk

Famed for the Beatles, The Tate, The Mersey and Albert Docks, Liverpool is the perfect city for a staycation filled with cocktails, music and culture - it’s the UK city with the most museums and galleries outside of London, you know? The public’s favourite has to be The Beatles Story, a walk-through museum which paints a picture of Liverpool in the swinging ’60s and tells you everything there is to know about the band.

Albert Dock is a feast of bars, cafes, restaurants and museums, with listed buildings galore, and if you prefer the view from the sea, you can take a ferry tour here. As well as sauntering down Penny Lane, because you have to, and having a bite to eat in Europe’s oldest Chinatown, the leafy Georgian Quarter is another lovely area to explore, with highlights like the Everyman Theatre and the Liverpool Philharmonic.

For something a little greener, head out to the Botanical Gardens at Sefton Park or enjoy a northwestern sunset at Crosby Beach. Liverpool is the port city with something for everyone.

Where to stay: Hope Street Hotel is one of Liverpool’s best boutique boltholes, situated among elegant buildings in the Georgian Quarter between Liverpool’s two cathedrals.

Nespresso machines, Rainfall showers and Egyptian cotton are a given here, where staff really know how to look after their guests.

Newcastle - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

There is a common misconception that Newcastle is all about the nightlife, but there is so much more to see in ‘the Toon’.

Head to the Quayside for culture at the Baltic Art Gallery, with its ever-changing exhibition (with stunning views across the city from its top floor), explore the imposing Norman fortress, steeped in history, a rugged reminder of northern England’s turbulent past or find the 1838 Grey’s Monument, a prominent landmark in the centre of the city.

Where to stay: The Hotel Du Vin is situated in central Newcastle, with breathtaking views over the quayside and the River Tyne, and luxurious accommodation to boot.

York - Best city breaks in the UK

city breaks uk

Perched between London and Edinburgh, with the Yorkshire Dales and Moors spanning out from its sides, York has definitely earned itself a place as one of our top city breaks in the UK.

As well as its 13th-century Gothic cathedral and walkway through the old city walls along the river, York is home to terrific museums.

From Monk Bar, which houses an exhibition tracing the life of 15th-century Plantagenet King Richard III, to Jorvik Viking Centre - containing lifelike mannequins depicting Viking life in the city - there's no shortage of things to learn, see and do.

Where to stay: The five-star Grand Hotel & Spa offers stylish rooms and a luxury vaulted spa. Set in the iconic Grade II listed former railway headquarters, the Rise Restaurant, Terrace & Bar offers modern British cuisine, with locally sourced, freshly prepared dishes from the open kitchen and bedrooms with luxury amenities.

Glasgow - Best city breaks in the UK

best city breaks uk

Edinburgh’s bigger, bolder, brasher cousin might have a livelier reputation than the genteel capital, but it’s got plenty to offer in terms of history and culture too. It’s a city where stately Victorian and Gothic architecture sits next to stylish steel and glass, and its friendly, boisterous atmosphere has birthed some of the UK’s most celebrated actors and comedians.

Get to know the beating heart of the city with a wander down the River Clyde, where you’ll see the mighty cranes that pay homage to Glasgow’s shipbuilding past still standing. Nowadays, this regenerated area is home to an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, shopping and entertainment, as well as the Glasgow Science Centre and BBC Scotland HQ.

Of course, Glasgow has a legendary drinking culture, and as well as any number of traditional haunts, there are newer additions like the Clydeside Distillery – housed inside the old Pumphouse and the city’s first new single malt distillery for more than 100 years – and the craft-focused Drygate micro-brewery.

And if all that excitement’s making your head spin, chill out with a wander through the spectacular botanic garden, or get a dose of culture at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art.

Where to stay: Glasgow’s trendy West End is famous for its sandstone terraced streets, and you can stay on one at Hotel du Vin Glasgow , where you’ll enjoy classic French cuisine in the bistro, and be guaranteed a great night’s sleep with super king size beds, roll-top baths and monsoon showers.


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14 Best Cities to Visit in England

Last updated on October 3, 2023 by Touropia Editors - 3 Comments

England is a richly historic country, and one that is packed with fascinating destinations. From the mystery of ancient Stonehenge to the modern architecture along the Thames River, England has a wide range of appeal to visitors from around the world.

To make the most of a trip to England, don’t spend all your time in a single destination. Be sure to explore as many of the best cities to visit in England as your itinerary and travel plans will allow.

In this post, we'll cover:

14. Cambridge

View of Cambridge's Colleges

There is no question that the main attraction in the city of Cambridge is the University of Cambridge, a campus with hundreds of years of history. The university is made up of several colleges, some of the most famous of which include King’s College, Queen’s College and Trinity College.

Perhaps the best way to see Cambridge is just to stroll through the campus architecture, peeking into halls and admiring the Backs, a park located on the banks of the river.

Radcliffe Camera

Just as Cambridge is known for its university, so too is Oxford. Since Oxford University was established in the 12th century, however, its provenance dates even further back, making it the oldest English-speaking campus in the world.

If you only get the chance to see one building in Oxford , make it the breathtaking Bodleian Library. Established in 1601, the library is home to more than 11 million volumes. Film buffs will appreciate that it has served as the backdrop for countless movies, including several from the Harry Potter series.

12. Brighton


Brighton is another historic university town in England, but it is best known for its location on the coast and its fantastic beaches. Since it is just an hour from London by train, it is a popular day trip destination as well as a beloved summer getaway spot.

When you visit, take time to explore the iconic Palace Pier, which is a boardwalk stretching along the beach. The Palace Pier is where you’ll find rides, attractions and vendors selling everything from ice cream cones to fish and chips.

11. Manchester


Manchester is one of the biggest cities in England, and it is sometimes known as the Capital of the North. While certainly not as large or as busy as London, Manchester does give the capital city a good run for its money.

Architecture fans may want to check out the impressive Manchester Cathedral, located in the Millennium Quarter, which also boasts a visitor’s center and guided tours. For some international cuisine, head to Manchester’s Chinatown and dig into some tasty Cantonese and Mandarin fare.


As the name implies, Bath is a spa town. This destination in England’s West Country has Roman roots, and many of its ancient Roman baths and structures still stand and are available for tours.

Arguably the most picture-worthy landmark in Bath is the Royal Crescent, a curved structure erected in the 18th century with a sprawling garden out front. Of course, no trip to Bath would be complete without visiting the namesake Roman Baths, which are hot springs that are over 2,000 years old.

9. Liverpool


Many travelers know of Liverpool because of the Beatles, but the thriving, vibrant city has a lot more to offer than its musical heritage. Liverpool is home to two major soccer teams, Everton FC and Liverpool FC.

Even if you can’t catch a home game played by either team, you can tour both of the stadiums and embrace the “football” culture in Liverpool. You can also hang with the Liverpudlians at one of the many pubs and bars on nocturnally popular Wood Street.

8. Nottingham


Nicknamed the Queen of the Midlands, Nottingham is an underrated and scenic city in the heart of England. Whether you’re a history fan or an architectural enthusiast, the 11th century Nottingham Castle is certainly worth a visit.

The famous Robin Hood statue is located just outside the castle walls. Whet your whistle at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn, a pub that is more than 800 years old and claims to be one of the oldest in all of Britain.

7. Newcastle


The port city of Newcastle is located on the banks of the Tyne River, and it is best known for the strong accents of its residents, known as Geordies. Built as a Roman fort more than 2,000 years ago, Newcastle is yet another in a long line of historic cities in England.

Spanning the river is the impressive Gateshead Millennium Bridge, a landmark of the city. If the weather isn’t quite right for a stroll along the river’s banks, head indoors to the Victorian Central Arcade to explore the quaint shops and the local tourism center.

St Ives in Cornwall

In the Southwest of England is a district called Cornwall, where residents are fiercely proud of their heritage, their beaches and the culture. One of the biggest Cornish cities is St. Ives, a relatively small destination that is packed with culture.

In St. Ives, visitors won’t want to miss the amazing art collection at the Tate St. Ives, which rivals some of the most popular art museums in London. You can follow it up with a stroll along Porthminster Beach, which boasts great swimming potential and even views of a nearby lighthouse.


In 1155, Bristol was founded, and in the centuries since it has amassed a sizable collection of architectural landmarks, attractions and museums. Start your visit in the Old City, where some of the medieval city walls still stand.

Of particular note is St Nicholas Market, where you can shop for local produce and delicious international fare in a glass-covered historic market. If you’re a fan of culture, don’t miss a show at the historic Old Vic, arguably one of the best-known theaters in all of England.


In Northwest England is Chester , a charming city with Roman origins and a location just on the Welsh border. Its biggest attraction might just be the Chester Cathedral, a stunning structure that was one of the few to survive under Henry VIII because it was simply too beautiful to tear down.

Travel back even further in time by exploring some of the Roman Chester landmarks, such as the ancient walls or the ruins of an enormous amphitheater. Just across the street from the Roman amphitheater is Grosvenor Park, a traditional 19th century Victorian garden perfect for picnics, strolls or people watching.


The English city of Durham is known for its beautiful university campus and its Roman architecture, and the two are clearly linked. Durham Castle, which was constructed in the 11th century, now serves as the oldest student accommodation in the world.

Also worth touring is the Durham Cathedral, which boasts a stunning tower, striking Norman design and free admission for all visitors. The nearby Botanical Gardens are also a favorite attraction for nature lovers, and the manicured gardens boast a stunning array of plant life throughout the year.


The city of York is a truly ancient destination, and it boasts an impressive collection of architectural remains that date to Roman, medieval and even viking times. A tour of the many ruins is a great way to experience the history of York, and one of the top tourist attractions is the York Minster, a cathedral whose origins date to the eighth century.

If you want to bring some of the culture of the past to life, check out the incredible collection at the JORVIK Viking Centre, where you can see recreations of viking life in the area.


London is the center of politics, finance, shopping and culture in England, and remains the best city to visit in England. It is hard to pin down just one must-see attraction in London , but first-time visitors might want to make Westminster a priority.

Westminster is home to Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister, as well as the Houses of Parliament and the famed Westminster Abbey. Also in Westminster, and perhaps one of the best-known structures in the world, is Buckingham Palace.

Map of cities in England

Map of cities in England

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Reader interactions.

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December 18, 2020 at 10:44 am

No mention of Norwich I see…. That’s fine, we want the capital of East Anglia with its castle, cathedral, market, lanes, shopping, university, museums and gorgeous people all to ourselves!

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April 7, 2020 at 6:43 pm

Nightlife: Newcastle, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, London (in that order) “Olde Worlde” buildings: York, Chester, Oxford Cambridge, Bath St Ives is great, but is not a “city” – it is more of a village – population 11,000. And if you want to get out, get to the Lake District (the most beautiful part of England without question) or the Peak District, Exmoor/Dartmoor or – best of all – do a “super North” trip of the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and Northumberland Coast, which can be combined with a trip to Newcastle and Durham, and – even though further from London – will be distinctly cheaper than the cities further South.

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July 18, 2018 at 5:26 am

Nottingham is great destination and it is true that it’s underrated. I visited last year advised by a friend and the town is definitely worth the ride.

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Best city breaks in the UK: 15 top destinations

city uk trip

Richard Mellor

Friday August 26 2022, 12:53pm

Each British city has its own distinct character and heritage, contributing to an incredible array of short-break options. While Lincoln, Bath and the like revel in their history, creative hotbeds such as Manchester and Bristol are ever-evolving and full of enterprise. No matter what you’re looking for on your next trip, there’s something for everyone in this pick of the best city breaks in the UK.

Main photo: Victoria Street, Edinburgh

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Roman baths in Bath, a top romantic UK break

Ever since Iron Age invalids began visiting a mineral-rich spring attributed to the healing goddess Sulis, hilly Bath has been a go-to for wellness breaks in the UK. And while the southwestern spa city’s old Roman baths may now only be inspected, modern-day pilgrims can wallow in the state-of-the-art Thermae Bath Spa complex. Two other big draws are a Jane Austen museum — the writer lived here — and the litany of gorgeous honeystone streets and bridges. Stay on the stateliest street of them all, at the luxurious Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa.

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Best things to do in Bath

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The Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge, England

2. Cambridge

Just like eternal rival Oxford, Cambridge abounds with university spires, cloisters and cobbles, all of them bisected by a peaceful waterway along which people punt. The dreamiest architecture is arguably offered by King’s College, where you can take a guided tour. A 123-step climb up Great St. Mary’s church tower will reward you with stirring views over it all; otherwise, follow the River Cam to Grantchester for tea rooms and meadows that enchanted the poet Rupert Brooke. The city’s hotel scene has been revived, as the apartment-style Fellows House typifies.

Best things to do in Cambridge

Best hotels in Cambridge

The Lowry in Salford Quays, Manchester, England

3. Manchester

Having previously powered Britain’s Industrial Revolution, Manchester spent the 20th century’s second half anchoring its musical equivalent. The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division and Oasis all hailed from this gig-loving northwestern city or neighbouring Salford. Gullivers and YES are the best venues to catch tomorrow’s bands, while Dusk Til Pawn leads a quality cocktail scene repurposing old spaces. Elsewhere, await steam trains on the scenic East Lancashire Railway, admire LS Lowry’s works in the Manchester Art Gallery, then enjoy bedtime milk and cookies at hotel Cow Hollow in the vibrant Northern Quarter.

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The Cavern Club, where The Beatles played, is a must-visit on a weekend break to Liverpool, England

4. Liverpool

There’s much musical heritage an hour west in welcoming Liverpool , too: The Beatles hailed from here, as Penny Lane walking tours, the enduring Cavern Club — scene of their debut in 1961 — and The Beatles Story, a museum in the renovated Albert Docks area, all reiterate. Near the latter are Tate Liverpool and, crowning its eponymous listed building, the port’s emblematic Liver Bird. In terms of accommodation, you’ll find Scandi-style rooms at the Georgian Quarter’s artsy Hope Street Hotel.

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Durham University botanic garden, England

This city could be the thinking man’s York . Perfect for cultured city breaks in the UK, Durham is dominated by its remarkable Romanesque cathedral — whose central tower’s platform commands fine countryside views — and castle, both dramatically elevated above a hook of the River Wear. Close by, shopping lanes soon morph into the city campus of an ancient university, and contain all the student-lined coffee bars you’d expect. You’ll find quietude in a 25-acre botanic garden south of the main university plot. For a funky, boudoir-style base near the Wear try The Townhouse.

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a top activity on a Scottish weekend trip

6. Edinburgh

Appealingly, the two most famous sights in Edinburgh are nearly always visible: its 13th-century castle, towering atop the old Royal Mile, and Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano whose easily surmounted 251m tip offers North Sea vistas. Below both are the Old Town’s wiggly lanes, the New Town’s broad avenues and the Royal Yacht Britannia. Summer’s glut of galas is led by the arts-focused Edinburgh Festival Fringe, while nowhere in Britain does New Year’s Eve better. Gin-lovers will appreciate The Dunstane Houses’ gently stylish rooms and specialist bar.

Best hotels in Edinburgh

Riverside Museum Glasgow, Scotland

Over near Scotland’s west coast, Glasgow was long considered an unfashionable, plain alternative to Edinburgh. Of late, however, a sweeping revival has yielded Zaha Hadid’s zig-zag-roofed Riverside Museum, while this second city’s existing assets are increasingly gaining airtime. Those include winsome art nouveau architecture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and otter-supporting Kelvingrove Park. In the trendy West End, Cail Bruich is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland with a female chef, the award-winning Lorna McNee. Stay atop the station at the restored Voco Grand Central.

Best hotels in Glasgow

Best things to do in Glasgow

The Big Fish mosaic in Belfast, Ireland

Northern Ireland’s capital has gladly recovered from the Troubles, which wrought regular bloodshed. That context remains important, though, and tours of Belfast will explain more while visiting “peace walls” still dividing Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. Before all that, RMS Titanic was built here, as a massive waterfront museum describes. Guided Game of Thrones day trips, visiting castles and sights used as filming locations, also start here. The Harrison Chambers of Distinction occupies old Victorian merchants’ residences and is now a flamboyant boutique hotel.

The Chapter House Lincoln Cathedral, England

Wrongly unsung among British city-break destinations, Lincoln particularly delights anyone who likes a historic building. Thanks to William the Conqueror, this eastern city has a millennium-old gothic cathedral which once ranked as the tallest building in the world, plus the two-motte Lincoln Castle and its viewable Magna Carta copy. For foodies there are fabulous Lincolnshire sausages to buy; fashionistas bee-line for the aptly named Steep Hill’s array of indie boutiques. The city-centre Castle Hotel has dark-hued rooms and an acclaimed restaurant.

Cardiff Bay, Wales, England

10. Cardiff

Behind its impressive-enough exterior, Cardiff Castle is staggering inside: there are mosaic floor maps and murals here, then ornate gold ceilings there. Occupying its former grounds is the lovely, 130-acre Bute Park, perfect for picnics. The redeveloped warehouses around waterfront development Cardiff Bay house restaurants, theatres and galleries, not to mention World of Boats — home to vessels from around the planet. Stylish B&B Number One Hundred is hidden inside an Edwardian terrace house and makes for a smart base.

Best hotels in Cardiff

Best things to do in Cardiff

One of Norwich's historic cobbled lanes, England

11. Norwich

Despite the Alan Partridge associations, Norwich is cool and creative. There are the cobblestone Lanes, with their thriving shops, pastel buildings and coffee bars, and the award-winning, open-air market, now approaching a thousand years old. Then there’s a square-shaped Norman castle — these days a museum that houses a wide-range of historical exhibits — and the glorious cathedral, with its huge cloisters. The city’s top craft ales and literary festival, held in May, are also draws. Stay at Assembly House — a handsome Georgian house where afternoon tea is served.

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum Coventry, England

12. Coventry

Meet 2021’s UK City of Culture: due to said accolade, Turner Prize exhibits are on show at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (from September 29 to January 12, 2022), poetry verses line pavements and a walking trail honours the late poet Philip Larkin, who was born here. Long before his arrival, Lady Godiva famously rode through the original streets in her birthday suit to decry the 11th century’s tax situation. Soon after materialised Coventry’s red-sandstone city walls, whose best-surviving remains hug Lady Herbert’s Garden. For a snazzy stay in former newspaper offices try the Telegraph Hotel.

London Borough Market, England

Ranking among the country’s ultimate weekend breaks, London brings Britain’s most major theatres and best-known markets: Portobello, Camden, foodie Borough. It has Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral, it has the world’s greatest garden in Kew and it has food-and-drink trends popping up by the week. The only issue is its size: so big is the capital that you’re best off picking a section and devoting yourself to that. For a budget-friendly stay try Z at Gloucester Place. Located between Oxford Street and Madame Tussaud’s in Marylebone, it serves complimentary cheese and wine.

Best budget hotels in London

21 fun things to do in London

Quayside market, Newcastle, England

14. Newcastle

Friendly locals, Georgian architecture and blinking bridges — Newcastle has plenty to tempt you for a long weekend. Every Sunday, market stalls spring up along the striking Quayside, stacked high with everything from craft beers and homemade fudge to cushions and prints. Cross the swing bridge and make time to visit the Baltic, a former flour mill that now houses a free contemporary art gallery, and take the lift to the viewing platform at the top for a panoramic view of the city. If you are visiting in summer, venture to Ouseburn — the city’s latest regeneration project — for buzzing waterside bars and live music. Check in at Innside for a prime spot on the Quayside — you can book kayaks at reception to sail under those famous arches.

Brighton Palace Pier, England

15. Brighton

Hippy Brighton has been a “down from London” weekend favourite ever since a rail line joined the two cities in the mid-19th century. This seaside town is now best known for its kiss-me-quick pier and shingle beach, and the higgledy-piggledy Lanes for quirky shopping and nightlife. There’s grand architecture too: the Indo-Saracenic-style Royal Pavilion and sweeping Regency crescents are well worth a gawp. When it comes to hotels, The Grand Brighton has history (Abba celebrated winning Eurovision there in 1974), gorgeous seafront views and architectural flourishes — check out the staircase.

Additional reporting by Lucy Perrin and Cathy Adams

Best hotels in Brighton

Best places to go for a city break in summer

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Inspired to visit UK but yet to book your trip? Here are the best hotels from Hotels.com and Mr & Mrs Smith .

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