The United Kingdom (UK)- England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland - has for a long time been one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations.
With its rich cultural heritage and diverse scenery, there are several reasons behind the country's appeal. Tourists are often spoiled for choice as the best places to visit in UK include everything from castles to the beautifully preserved estates in the countryside and the numerous world-class museums and art galleries.
If tourists are asked about one of the greatest pleasures of enjoying a UK vacation, the answer is quite simple. It is extremely easy to explore the nooks and crannies of this diverse, fascinating country. As it is similar in size to the state of Texas in the USA, all you have to do is simply catch a bus or train to make your way to any big city in the country.
A 90-minute train ride from London is all it takes to pay a visit to the picturesque Salisbury, and a short bus ride or tour from here will take you to another attraction, the Stonehenge. If you want to hop to Edinburgh and Glasgow, two Scottish cities, a one-hour train ride is enough to reach the heart of either city.
Below, we have compiled a list of must-see places to visit in UK.
At the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London is the Great Bell or the striking clock, also known as Big Ben. In common language however, the name implies both the clock and the clock tower. Originally, the Clock Tower was the official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located. However, it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The tower was designed in a neo-Gothic style by Augustus Pugin. Completed in 1859, its clock was the most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock, and the largest in the world at that time.
The London Eye, also called the Millennium Wheel, is a cantilevered wheel on River Thames’ South Bank in London. It is the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in Europe and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. Over 3.75 million people visit it annually.
A historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, the Tower of London is officially referred to as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. It was founded as part of the Norman Conquest of England, towards the end of 1066.
Tower Bridge, built between 1886 and 1894, is a combined suspension bridge and bascule in London. The bridge has become an iconic symbol of London, which is why it is sometimes confused with London Bridge, about 0.8 km upstream.
The Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prehistoric monument located 3 km west of Amesbury in Wiltshire, England. It consists of a ring of standing stones, weighing around 25 tons and each of them is around 13 feet long and seven feet wide. The stones are set in the middle of an intricate complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. It is believed by archaeologists to be constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.
The Buckingham Palace is the administrative headquarters and the London residence of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. The palace is often at the centre of royal hospitality and state occasions and is located in the city of Westminster. For the British people, it has served as a focal point in times of national mourning or rejoicing.
Located in the Bloomsbury area of London, the British Museum is a public institution dedicated to art, culture and human history. It has a permanent collection of over eight million artworks, most of which were sourced during the British Empire era.
Located in County Antrim on Northern Ireland’s north coast and spread over an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, Giant's Causeway is the result of a prehistoric volcanic eruption. It received the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag in 1986.
Thames is a river that flows through southern England. It is the longest river in England at 215 miles, and the second-longest in the United Kingdom, after Severn. It flows through Oxford, Henley-on-Thames, London, Reading and Windsor.
The Edinburgh Castle which dominates the skyline of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is a historic fortress. Archaeologists believe human occupation of the rock commenced during the Iron Age.
Established by Henry VIII in 1536, Hyde Park is a major park in Central London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the main entrance to Buckingham Palace via Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and Kensington Gardens, to the front entrance of Kensington Palace.
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral and is the mother church of the Diocese of London and the seat of the Bishop of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the city and is dedicated to Paul the Apostle.
In the English county of Berkshire is the royal residence at Windsor called the Windsor Castle. Noted for its long association with the British royal family, the original castle was built in the 11th century after England was invaded by the Norman conqueror, William the Conqueror. It is the longest-occupied palace in the continent.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Westminster Abbey is a large Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London and lies to the west of the Palace of Westminster.
Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, and commemorates the British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain - the Battle of Trafalgar – which took place in 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.
Located in the Scottish Highlands, the Loch Ness is a deep and freshwater loch. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, also called Nessie.
The Snowdonia National Park in northwest Wales is spread around the mountains of the region. Its historic Snowdon Mountain Railway climbs to the summit of Mount Snowdon, Wales's highest mountain, and offers a lovely view of Ireland.
It doesn’t matter whether you start your journey at England’s historic capital or end it, what matters is that you don’t miss out on experiencing one of the most fascinating, iconic, multi-cultural cities in the world. You could have an entire list of must visit places in UK just found in London. Attractions you simply have to see include the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Victoria & Albert Museum, Trafalgar Square and the Tate Modern. And you’re still only skimming the surface of what the city has to offer!
Tip: As the most popular destination in the UK, you’re better off booking as early as possible.
With stunning landmarks like the Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, the Royal Mile with its folklore and quirky experiences, or the lushness of the Royal Botanical Garden – Edinburgh is simply amazing. The Scottish capital is not as crowded as its British counterpart, but every bit as inspiring. It’s also considered the festival capital of the world and offers up a host of events through the year that you could plan into your tour.
Tip: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and International Festival are the most popular of the lot. Ask SOTC for more if you’re interested.
One of the most friendly, cultured cities in all of England, Liverpool is a city renowned for being the home of the iconic band, The Beatles. That in itself is enough to draw millions of visitors a year, with attractions like the Beatles Story and Cavern Club. But that’s not all – there’s also the beautiful Albert Docks area, historic structures like the Town Hall, acclaimed art centres like Tate Gallery and Walker Art Gallery and a bustling food and bar renaissance.
Tip: For sports lovers, the historic Liverpool Football Club stadium, Anfield, is one of the top places to visit in UK.
Taking the name of its most famous attraction, Bath is a city that actually offers a lot more than the ancient Roman Baths that are still gloriously preserved 2000 years later. The city also holds many famous Georgian monuments to see, like the Royal Crescent. And there’s a lovely youthful vibe in the town, to perfectly juxtapose all its history.
Tip: Once you’re done visiting the Roman Baths, you could take a dip in the city’s famed healing waters yourself at a nearby spa.
In the mountains of Northern England, is the country’s largest national park and one of its most famous destinations. Aside from tremendous natural beauty, there’s lakes like Windermere to see, peaks like Scafell to climb and charming little towns like Grasmere to experience.
The medieval city of Salisbury is a mere 16 km away from one of the world’s oldest dating monuments, the mysterious Stonehenge. Both of them are rightly regarded as favourite places to visit in UK for their individual offerings. In the city, you can visit one of the country’s iconic cathedrals amongst other medieval monuments. And at Stonehenge, get a glimpse of the cryptic structure at the visitor centre onsite.
Tip: Pre-purchase your ticket to Stonehenge for convenience. SOTC can make the arrangements.
The seaside beauty of Brighton makes it one of the most popular tourist places in UK, for families, couples or a group of friends. Stroll along the beachfront, munch on the famous fish and chips, pose in front of stunning street art murals, explore local markets – there’s any number of memorable moments that you could choose to have.
The Welsh capital makes the list for its incredible ambience, attractions like the Cardiff Castle, Chapel, Cardiff Bay and Techniquest – a thrilling science centre with a planetarium too! But there’s plenty more in store, with thriving restaurants, happening Victorian-style markets and lovely parks for when you need a rest!
Northern Ireland’s capital one of the trending places to visit in UK, with its atmospheric charm, welcoming restaurants and pubs and historic marvels like Belfast Castle and Belfast City Hall. Crumlin Road Gaol and the Causeway Coast are other areas not to miss, and it’s a great base from where you can venture into the quainter regions of Northern Ireland.
Tip: As the birthplace of the Titanic, you can visit the world’s largest Titanic Visitor Experience at the location where the ship was built – including a walk on the deck of the ship that’s recreated to scale!