The UK’s history is as colourful as the crown jewels which means there are more things to see than you can fit into a lifetime of trips, let alone a single holiday.
Does visiting the famous races at Cheltenham sound tempting, or discovering Newcastle’s music scene? Having a ballroom dancing lesson in Blackpool is one of the top things to do in the UK for couples, while a weekend in eye-wateringly picturesque Bath is unmissable.
Whatever type of traveller you are, you won’t be short of memorable things to do in the UK.
Best UK Festivals
The UK has a host of festivals and traditions which are celebrated throughout the year. Some, such as Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, date back to pagan times. Others, such as Glastonbury Music Festival, are newer but no less magical.
Burns Night is a very traditional celebration of Scottish culture, while Wales’ Hay Festival is the most famous literary and arts event in the world. Edinburgh Fringe Festival is newer, yet no less iconic. Read our run down right here…
London’s Notting Hill Carnival is a vibrant celebration of cultural diversity in the UK which sees the streets around Ladbroke Grove filled with crowds dressed in colourful festival gear and thumping sound systems, while Guy Fawkes Night (celebrated to remember the foiling of a plot to blow up the houses of Parliament in 1605) is particularly impressive in Lewes.
Tours & Deals
With four countries to choose from, it can be hard to know where to pick as the focus of your trip. Luckily there are a host of UK tours to choose from.
Guided walking tours are offered in every city and they often reveal secrets that you would otherwise miss, such as Charles Dickens’ favourite pub or the remains of a Roman baths. They are normally paid for by donation, making them some of the best cheap things to do in the UK.
Of course, the UK is an island and a fantastic way to get a sense of this is with a small-ship cruise. The Hebridean Princess is essentially a charming country house with space for just 50 guests and it goes to some of Scotland’s most beautiful and remote islands.
A self-guided rail tour can be very rewarding. Try catching the Caledonian sleeper from London to Edinburgh or the Night Riviera from London to Cornwall. You’ll wake up to the sound of the seagulls and views of the pastel-painted village of St.Ives, which overlooks a crescent moon of white sand.
Visit a chocolate factory
The birthplace of the famous Cadbury brand, the UK is a nation of chocaholics. Families will go wild for the decadent experiences on offer at Cadbury World, while you can watch chocolates being finished by hand at the Thornton’s in Derbyshire, which has to be one of the best chocolate factory visits in the UK.
Discover some of the London’s most iconic chocolate houses as well as exploring hidden side streets on The London Chocolate Tour, which focuses on Mayfair, the epicentre of British luxury.
The UK’s craft chocolate scene is booming and there are a host of regional chocolatiers to discover. Cocoa Cabana in Manchester offers chocolate-focused afternoon teas, so you can combine two Great British traditions in one.
Discover the UK beaches
A trip to the seaside is as much of a summer institution as Wimbledon, but you’ll get a very different flavour of it depending on where you go.
For old-school kitsch, Brighton’s long pebble beach is hard to beat. Expect donkey rides, sticks of sugary rock and coconut shies on Brighton Pier. Very different, Cornwall’s Scilly Isles look like they’ve sprung fully formed from the pages of an Enid Brighton novel with their rock pools, shell beaches, sandy coves and thatched villages.
For something even more remote, head to the north coast of Iona in Scotland. It’s milk-white sand and azure waves wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean – although the water temperature may be rather different! Also worth checking out are Littlehampton Beach, Hamilton Beach and Norfolk’s many dramatic beaches.