United Kingdom

Totally free travel guides to assist your exploration of the United Kingdom

View of traditional rural homes from a village in United Kingdom

Why We Love the UK – It’s undeniable – the United Kingdom has more scenery, culture, history, and travel opportunities than one could ever imagine. With over 50 cities, expansive countryside, castles, and cute small towns, it’s a great place to explore unique culture and history, regardless of your travel style. The UK is also home to a ton of coastal destinations equipped with delicious seafood, seaside shops, and beaches. There is so much to see and explore within the UK, and you’ll get a completely different experience everywhere you go.

Best of UK

🏙️ Destinations

The King’s College in Cambridge from the outside
King’s College in Cambridge, UK

From quaint countryside escapes to dreamy coastal towns, the UK is filled with destinations that are full of character. Some of the top places in the UK to visit include:

  • London, England – The most popular place to visit in the UK, and the first stop for most visitors.
  • Cambridge, England – One of the most prestigious and gorgeous places in the UK, you’ll want to tour Cambridge, whether by foot or punt.
  • Brighton, England – Characterized by the iconic pier, rock beach, and colorful streets, Brighton is one of the top day trips from London.
  • The Cotswolds, England – If you’re seeking a countryside escape that looks like you’re stepping into a fairytale, look no further than the Cotswolds. 
  • Margate, Kent, England – Filled with adorable independent shops, restaurants, and a nice sandy beach, Margate is a spot you’ll want to add to your UK travel list.  
  • Snowdonia National Park, Wales – Offering stunning views where you can see Ireland, Wales’ largest national park offers some of the best hikes in the UK.

🌆 Cities

The UK is home to several of the world’s most unique cities. Each of the top cities in the UK has something special to offer and has a completely different vibe.

  • London, England – The UK’s capital city and global metropolis, you will not be short on fun things to do, whether it’s sightseeing, hitting the pub, or attending a world-renowned event. 
  • Edinburgh, Scotland – Historic and hilly, Scotland’s capital is filled with gothic neoclassical architecture, traditions, and whisky.
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast is the birthplace of the Titanic, with a visitor experience where you can learn more about the sunken ocean liner. 
  • Manchester, England – The third biggest city in Britain, this vibrant city in the northwest of England is known for its nightlife and two famous football teams.
  • Cardiff, Wales – Located in the capital of Wales, there is surely something for everyone in this characteristic city, whether it’s a castle or white water rafting.
Colorful establishments at the Victoria Street in Edinburgh
The iconic Victoria Street in Edinburgh, UK

✨ Things to Do

A professional tennis player playing at Wimbledon 2022
Professional Slovenian tennis player Aljaž Bedene at Wimbledon 2022

If you’re looking for a holiday that offers many different types of activities in one, you’ve come to the right place. From coastal beaches and cliffs to mountains, world-class sporting events, and vibrant city life, the UK has it all.

  • Wimbledon – The world’s most iconic tennis event, Wimbledon is truly one of the best sporting experiences you can take part in, filled with strawberries and cream, Pimms, and some intense matches, and a great spot to go with friends.
  • Royal Ascot – Horse racing is a famous event in the UK and a great opportunity to get dressed up! Place your stakes and you could walk away a winner.
  • Check out the beautiful national parks – One of the best things about the UK is the amount of natural beauty within the nation, a lot of which you can see at the several different national parks. 
  • Tour one of several historic castles – Castles and medieval architecture is a great way to explore the history of the UK, each equipped with its own unique flair and stories.
  • Day trip to a seaside town – There’s nothing quite like a little beachy escape, especially when the sun is shining. The UK is full of charming seaside towns that will be sure to give you that relaxing getaway in the sun.

🛎️ Best Hotels

When you reach your destination, whether it’s by plane, train, car, or any other mode of transport, there’s nothing like settling into a relaxing and idyllic hotel. Below you’ll find some of the most unique hotels the country has to offer.

  • Grantley Hall – Located near Ripon Castle, this historic 5-star hotel and spa will make you feel like royalty as you take in the aesthetic interiors while enjoying a country escape in North Yorkshire.
  • Zetter Townhouse – A family of three aesthetically-pleasing boutique hotels in the heart of London, you’ll get the feeling of an exclusive residence paired with incredible cocktails and artistic accents.
  • Portmeirion Village & Castell Deudraeth – Built in 1925, this castle hotel in North Wales will make you feel like you’re living in a fairytale, equipped with only 11 rooms and suites overlooking an early Victorian walled garden. 
  • Fonab Castle Hotel – When completing your legendary road trip around the Scottish highlands, why not treat yourself to a 5-star castle and spa experience where you can relax with a view?
  • Watergate Bay Hotel – Styled with an impressive interior design and situated on the edge of one of Cornwall’s best surf spots, this urban playground is fantastic for a beachy adventure.
The Portmeirion Village & Castell Deudraeth from the outside
The Portmeirion Village & Castell Deudraeth in North Wales (photo: cktravels.com / Shutterstock)

🚗 Best Road Trips

The Giant’s Causeway during sunset
Sunsets over Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland (photo: Aitormmfoto / Depositphotos)

Grabbing your friends, throwing on a great playlist, and indulging in snacks on the road is one of the most exciting feelings. Especially when you’re en route to an awesome UK destination. 

  • Giant’s Causeway – A UNESCO world heritage site in Northern Ireland, this must-see spot is characterized by over 40,000 black basalt columns rising from the sea.
  • Yorkshire – England’s largest historical county, Yorkshire is a great spot for a road trip to learn all about history and architecture in the UK.
  • Norfolk Coast – This beachy destination contains 90 miles of coastline, and offers everything from beaches to cliffs, making it a great summer escape.
  • Peak District National Park – If a winding road overlooking vast green valleys is your version of an ideal getaway, this national park a 3-hour drive from London is the perfect spot for a road trip.
  • North Coast 500, Scotland – Descript in its name, this scenic route around Scotland’s north coast stretches for 516 miles and begins and ends at Inverness Castle, making it an unforgettable destination.

⛱️ Best Beach Destinations

People enjoying their day under the clear blue sky in Southwold beach
Southwold beach glimmering on a sunny afternoon

Weather permitting, the UK can be an incredible spot for a beachy getaway. Filled with a wide variety of quaint coastal towns and packed promenades, you’ll be sure to get your fill of fresh seafood and water sports at any of these spots.

  • Durdle Door, Dorset, England – England’s first ever natural UNESCO World Heritage site, this spot on the Jurassic Coast is most recognized by its majestic limestone arch.
  • Southwold, England – Filled with colorful bathing boxes and some of the best fish and chips in existence, this cute coastal town in the county of Suffolk is well worth a visit.
  • Newquay, Cornwall, England – This breathtaking spot on the north coast is the go-to destination for catching a wave in the UK.
  • Isle of Wight, England – In addition to the beautiful beaches, the Isle of Wight offers a plethora of year-round activities including walking and cycling paths, cottage escapes, excellent spots for stargazing, and much more.
  • Tenby, Wales – Known to be the most popular seaside town in Wales, this prehistoric fishing village will bring an extra splash of character to your beachy holiday.

⛰️ Best Hikes

Overlooking view of Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat
Arthur’s Seat has arguably the nicest view of Edinburgh

Although the UK may not be the top European destination that comes to mind when planning your next hiking trip, you will indeed be surprised by the national parks, cliffs, and views found within the country.

  • Arthur’s Seat, Scotland – A simple and rewarding hike right in the heart of Edinburgh, the views from the top are sure to amaze you. 
  • Mount Snowdon, Wales – This mountain in Wales contains six walking routes that will get you to the summit, reaching the highest point in the country.
  • Lake District National Park, England – Located in Cumbria, The Lake District is England’s largest national park and a popular destination for hiking lovers.
  • Isle of Skye, Scotland – A breathtaking Scottish venture in the highlands, Skye is 50 miles long and is known for its landscapes filled with lochs, mountains, and medieval castles
  • Seven Sisters Cliffs, England – A hike disguised as a coastal walk along a wall of chalk sea cliffs, you’ll be greeted by wildlife along your adventure.

🖼️ Best Museums

A series of photos displayed inside the The Tate Modern
A series of photos at The Tate

Arts and culture are not in short supply in this nation. You are practically guaranteed to find a museum or gallery that interests you, whether your passion lies in history, art, fashion, or something else entirely.

  • The Tate Modern – This institution of modern art in London is located along the Southbank and offers everything from contemporary prints to thought-provoking statement pieces.
  • Titanic Belfast – Around for only 10 years, this museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland has become a world-renowned attraction diving into the history of the sunken ship.  
  • The British Museum – A gallery of over eight million works, this museum which contains one of the largest collections in the world is sure to offer something for everyone.
  • Natural History Museum – Located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, this scientific museum boasts extensive collections including everything from dinosaurs to volcanoes.
  • National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh – This diverse award-winning museum in Scotland’s capital offers a unique set of exhibits and events diving into exciting topics including anatomy, geometry, design, and much more.

🍽️ Best Restaurants

A fancy carrot cake on a plate in Number One
Carrot cake from the tasting menu at Number One

A country filled with history and culture, the UK is also not short on offering up some of the best dining spots in the world. Several restaurants across the country have earned Michelin Stars for their culinary excellence. 

  • Number One, The Balmoral – This fine dining restaurant is located within the luxury Balmoral hotel, offering artistic dishes including a multi-course tasting menu where you can sample some of the best local Scottish seafood, meat, and produce.
  • Manteca – A cozy pasta joint located in East London, Manteca makes a great spot for a date or to catch up with a friend. The spot also boasts an in-house salumeria.
  • The Muddlers Club Restaurant – Earning a Michelin Star, this industrial-chic restaurant is located in the historic Cathedral Quarter of Belfast and is known for its wine-paired tasting menus.
  • Ynyshir – Another restaurant receiving the Michelin Star accolade, this Welsh dining institution will not only satisfy your palate but provide an immersive experience to go along with the great taste of the food. 
  • Moor Hall – This award-winning and architecturally pleasing restaurant currently holds not one, but two Michelin Stars. Menus by the head chef are produce-focused and inspired by the surroundings of the restaurant.

UK Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

The UK has something exciting to offer any time of the year and it is best to plan your visit accordingly to ensure you’re able to partake in that season’s activities. 

  • 🍂 Fall – Fall in the UK is very cozy, making it arguably the best season to visit. Because the temperatures don’t get that cold, there isn’t a drastic drop in temperature like in other parts of the world, and the parks look extra pretty this time of year.
  • 🌞 Summer – The country comes to life in the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. Although the climate has a reputation for being damp, there are often still a few nice weeks where locals and visitors have the chance to soak up the sun.
  • 🌼 Spring – Around mid to late April, the cherry blossoms come out, brightening up the city and welcoming warmer weather. Just make sure you have an umbrella handy for those April showers.
  • ❄️ Winter – Although it’s probably the least popular season, winter in the UK is still fantastic, as the temperatures are still relatively mild and Christmas markets make the country an enchanting place to be.

⚠️ Safety

The UK tends to be quite a safe country, and the strict gun laws mean that gun crime is very low in relation to other parts of the world. Safety in the country can vary based on what region you’re in. That being said, the level of security is very high, making even metropolitan areas a place visitors can feel safe traveling. It is best to always be aware of your surroundings and travel in numbers if possible.

🚌 Getting In & Around

There are many ways to tour around the UK, so what you choose is really up to your preferred style of transport. If you’re in a city, you may want to go by foot or bike, whereas the countryside may be more suited for a scenic drive amongst the many winding roads surrounded by nature.

  • ✈️ Airports – There are 10 major airports in the UK, along with a few smaller ones. These are sprinkled throughout all of the main regions of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • 🚗 Driving – Road tripping can be a great way to see the UK and offers the convenience of your schedule! Car rentals are affordable, and I would recommend booking in advance.
  • 🚇 Public Transit – The public transit system in the UK is one of the best in the world, especially in London where it is super well connected. 
  • 📲 Ride Share – Apps like Uber can be a bit pricey in the UK but are worth it when traveling to destinations that require multiple modes of transport. Bolt is an app that sometimes offers cheaper rides.
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – Travelling by bike is a great way to explore the vast landscapes of the UK, especially in the countryside regions. 
  • 🛴 Scooters – Electric scooters are often available in the bigger metropolitan areas and are a great way to do a self-guided tour of the region. 
  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – If you’re not pressed for time, I would highly recommend doing larger walks around the area of the UK you’re visiting so you can truly take in the history in culture, while also getting your steps in!

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🚙 – UK Drives on the Left Side of the Car – One of the few countries in the world to do this, the UK drives on the right side of the car and left side of the road. 
  • 🍷 – The Drinking Age is 18 – In the UK, you must be 18 years or older to consume and purchase alcohol, regardless of which region you’re in.
  • 💰 – The Local Currency is the Great British Pound (GBP) – It’s best to check exchange rates before you travel so you can ensure you’re getting the best deal when exchanging money. Currently, the pound is worth $1.15 USD, however, that is subject to change. 
  • 🚆- You Can Visit Other European Countries By Train – From London, you’re able to take the Eurostar train to Lille and Paris France, Brussels Belgium, and Amsterdam Netherlands, making these countries even more accessible to visitors.
  • 🍎 – Groceries Are Cheap – If you’re planning a longer visit or staying at accommodations that have a kitchen, picking up groceries is not a bad idea. The groceries in the UK tend to be cheaper than in North America, and you’ll come across some unique treats that can’t be purchased elsewhere.

🧳 What to Pack

  • 🔌 UK Travel Adaptor – Don’t forget to bring an adapter for your trip to ensure you can plug in your electronic devices safely. Note that the UK uses different outlets than the rest of Europe.
  • 🌂 Umbrella – Due to the damp climate of the nation, an umbrella is highly recommended to have in your bag at all times, to be prepared.
  • 🌧️ Rain Jacket – In addition to the above, packing a rain jacket or wellies surely doesn’t hurt and will ensure you stay dry while touring around the UK.
  • 👖 Mixture of Clothing – Generally weather in the UK is quite mild, with temperatures not often dropping below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There can sometimes be an overlap in seasons, so it is best to bring a mixture of clothing items.
  • 📝 Travel Visa – Some countries will require a temporary travel visa to enter the UK. Please visit the UK government website for further guidance on entry requirements by country.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Population (2020) – 67.22 million
  • Capital – London
  • Largest Metro Areas – London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff
  • Time Zone – Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), British Summer Time (GMT+1) during daylight savings
  • Airports – London Heathrow Airport (LHR), London Gatwick Airport (LGW), London City Airport (LCY), London Stansted Airport (STN), London Luton Airport (LTN), Belfast International Airport (BFS), Cardiff International Airport (CWL), Edinburgh Airport (EDI), Glasgow International Airport (GLA), Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ)
  • Colleges & Universities – Cambridge, Oxford, London School of Economics, University College London, The University of Edinburgh, Cardiff University, University of St Andrews, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Nickname – Old Blighty
  • Demonym – Brit
  • USPS Abbreviation – GB
  • Governor – Liz Truss

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • 3-Star Hotel Room – Approx. $290
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $200 
  • Rental Car – from $180 / week 
  • Public Transit Ticket – ~$9 daily cap ($20 to airport from center)
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $50
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $70
  • Draft Beer – $6

FAQs About Visiting UK

Is the UK safe for tourists?

The UK is generally a safe country due to the level of security in larger metropolitan areas and the low crime rates. That being said, it’s always good to prepare and be aware of your surroundings at all times when traveling, especially if you are solo.

Do you need a Covid test to enter the UK?

You do not need a Covid test to enter the UK, nor do you need to complete a form before traveling or a quarantine upon arrival. These rules that previously existed during the height of the pandemic have now been waived.

Will I need cash or can I use a card?

Many places in the UK take cards, however, it is good to have some cash on you, particularly for smaller areas that may not accept cards.

How long can I stay as a visitor?

You are allowed to stay up to a maximum of 6 months per visit to the UK. You will not be able to stay any longer than 6 months at a time without a proper visa.

Is the UK expensive?

Unfortunately with inflation rates and the pound being worth slightly more than the US dollar, the UK can be quite an expensive place. That being said, if you’re staying in a non-metropolitan area, the prices tend to be significantly lower than in the major cities.

Meet Our United Kingdom Travel Expert

Brooke Horrobin

Brooke Horrobin is a London, UK-based freelance travel writer who originates from Ontario, Canada. She has a passion for travel, so much so that she decided to move her life to the UK in 2020 to take on new adventures. She loves giving recommendations, and her time in London so far has inspired her to share her favorite activities, places and culture with others.

👉 Read Brooke’s Articles

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