Way back in 2011, we discussed traveling to the UK and highlighted a few of the top landmarks and attractions that may interest tourists in this part of the world. Indeed, some of the thing we pointed out—the British Museum, the London Eye, etc.—rank not only among the most interesting attractions in the UK, but in Europe as a whole. However, they were also focused almost entirely in the London area, and the truth is there’s much more to the UK than its most famous city.
So, here are a few vacation highlights to consider around the UK, besides those in London!
Tour Castle Country
Let’s be honest: one of the reasons that England is so interesting as a destination is due to its place in history. Many of us view England as the land of knights and legends. While this era has been grossly fictionalized and exaggerated on numerous occasions, it’s also a real chapter of history! And a tour of England’s countryside castle regions will confirm it. Anglotopia has a nice point of reference to start with in the form of a list of the 16 best castles in England.offers a wonderful two-day tour that takes you everywhere from Windsor Castle, the home of Queen Elizabeth II, to Hever Castle, where Henry VIII housed some of his famous wives. Or, if you’d rather tour the countryside on your own,
Visit The Beaches
Most don’t think of the UK as a spot for beach culture, but with so much coastline, the area actually has a number of outstanding beaches. Granted, there are only a few months of the year during which typical beach weather arrives in the south of England, but many stretches of the coast are perfect for relaxing vacations regardless of the weather. Last summer, British news site The Telegraph did a write-up of the country’s 20 best beaches, highlighting all kinds of different settings: coves that appear plucked from the Caribbean, wide stretches of golden sand backed by cliffs, flat beaches, and hilly shorelines. In short, England has it all when it comes to beaches and is too often overlooked for this sort of travel.
Take In A Major Horse Race
Major horse races in the UK double as sporting and cultural events. Basically, they tend to be significant celebrations during which serious races take place, spectators gather, and all kinds of festivity ensues! Some, like March’s Cheltenham Festival, are geared almost as much toward social activity and fan entertainment than the races. Others, like the Royal Ascot, are perceived as more refined affairs, meant for high-class viewers and a particularly prestigious race. Perhaps the best mix between the two is the Grand National, held at Aintree outside of Liverpool. Betfair’s page on the event will alert you to the significance of the races, in that it provides a great deal of advance analysis. Trainers, writers, and betting experts alike weigh in to provide tips on the horses and race. However, the event is also fairly fun and easygoing, making it perfect for casual fans and serious racing spectators alike. Events like this one offer great opportunities to see countryside venues, engage with enthusiastic locals, and enjoy some entertainment.
Tour The Football Stadiums
Sticking with sport for a moment, many would consider a trip through the UK to be lacking if it didn’t include a few visits to iconic football stadiums. Wembley Stadium in London may actually be the best known of them all at this point, despite not housing a Premier League club on a regular basis. However, throughout the country there are incredible arenas where you can see matches between some of the best teams in the world. Just for reference, Reader’s Digest ranked the best football grounds across the UK.
View Historic Ruins
And finally, there are the historic ruins around the region to consider. Naturally, some of the castles you may see on one of the aforementioned castle tours will also fall into the category of historical ruins. However, there are separate landmarks throughout the area that define landmark events and periods of the history of England and the lands and peoples that preceded it. In particular, the mysterious monuments of Stonehenge are always worth a visit, and Hadrian’s Wall, built by a Roman emperor to protect the British lands as an outpost, still stands in the form of a long, twisted ruin. Places like these capture the mystique of this part of the world in a way not many other things can, and thus make for great stops on a UK vacation!