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20 things to do in UK that will take your breath away

Here are 20 of the best things to do in the UK, whether you are the type of traveler that enjoys city historic landmarks or if you are a nature lover


Things to do in UK

The UK is the northern European nation comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Each of these four places has its own special culture, history, and lifestyle. Though they are unique, they are all full of natural beauty and interesting attractions for travelers.

Here are 20 fun things to enjoy a visit to the UK, no matter what type of traveler you are. From hiking the peaks of Wales to touring castles in Northern Ireland, to tasting whisky in Scotland and relaxing on the beaches of England, these are some of the best things to do in the UK.

Things to do in England

1. Experience London

Of course, London is the first thing on the list! London is the biggest city in the UK, and easily one of the most popular cities in the world. Even if you’re not a city person, London has so many quiet hidden neighborhoods and sprawling green parks that you’re sure to find a spot that excites you.

In the city, you can find bustling street markets and vintage shops as well as designer stores and high-end restaurants. You can go to the theater, have a picnic in a park, or visit a free museum. Be sure to check out the world-famous sights like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.

And if you are wondering if it's possible to travel around London on a Budget, the answer is yes! Among many tips you will see in the article linked above, you'll see that it is possible to do a work exchange with Worldpackers, witch is a way to trade your time and skills for free accommodation in hostels, farm, guests houses and more.

Check out these opportunities to experiencing London while volunteer, make friends and do impact works that benefits you and your host.

2. See Stonehenge

Things to do in United Kingdom

After the city of London, Stonehenge may be the most famous landmark in England.

This odd assortment of rocks is one of the world's most fascinating prehistoric sites. People of the Neolithic Age, around 2500 BC, supposedly arranged the rocks as part of ceremonies to honor their dead. It's a really cool expression of ancient history that still stands tall in surprisingly great condition today.

Though it’s really just a mysterious collection of rocks, a trip to Stonehenge is still considered one of the best things to do in the UK.

3. Breathe in the Ocean Air in Brighton

For the ultimate seaside getaway in England, visit Brighton. This small city on the south coast is full of life, with plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, and sights to entertain travelers. The hub of the city is Brighton Pier, a wooden boardwalk that juts out into the ocean. After walking along the pier, you can lounge on the pebbly beach and indulge in some fresh fish and chips.

4. Admire the Historic Sights in Bath

Things to do in Bath, UK

Bath is a quaint city in western England that makes a very popular day trip from London. It is aesthetically pleasing and historically and culturally rich. The city was named after its 2,000-year-old Roman Baths, which are also the city’s biggest attraction.

Aside from seeing the Baths, other amazing things to do in Bath, UK include browsing the Bath Vintage Market, enjoying a high tea at a local hotel or cafe, and checking out the impressive architecture. Notable sights include the Royal Crescent, the Bath Abbey, the Theatre Royal, the Cross Bath, and Pulteney Bridge.

5. Visit Cornwall

Cornwall is the country that sits on the southwestern tip of England. It is a popular holiday spot for locals around the UK, and it is a beautiful spot for tourists to visit as well.

Full of quaint little villages and stunning beaches, Cornwall is the ideal spot for a summer vacation in the UK. You can surf, swim, sunbathe, eat, drink, and go hiking or cycling along the coast.

6. Adventure through the Lake District

Things to do in UK

Located in northern England, the Lake District is the perfect destination for nature lovers. Full of hills, mountains, valleys, and of course, lakes, the Lake District is peaceful and wild. Head up here to escape the crowds of the cities and hike some epic trails through the wilderness.

7. See the White Cliffs of Dover

Whether you visit this spot as a day trip from nearby cities in UK like London or Brighton, or you fit it into a UK travel itinerary, Dover is definitely worth a trip.

Years of erosion along England’s southern coastline have created the most magnificent, chalky white cliffs that stand tall on the edge of the country. The White Cliffs of Dover are gorgeous. Spend the day walking along the grassy footpaths atop the cliffs, snapping photos, eating wild berries, and mingling with the local horses that graze up there. On a clear day, you can even see the coastline of France across the English Channel.

8. Manchester

Manchester is one of the major cities in the UK. It is known for its universities, its music scene, and its industry. There are many ways to immerse yourself in the culture of Manchester; you can tour the museums, attend a show, and indulge in the vibrant nightlife of the city. You can also catch a football match featuring two of England’s best teams, Manchester City and Manchester United.

9. Explore Oxford

Home to the famous Oxford University, this city is worth a visit even if you’re not a student. From the colorful, tightly-packed buildings, to the world-class university, to the landscaped parks and gardens, Oxford exudes charm and sophistication.

Some of the best things to do in Oxford include checking out the many museums, browsing through the magnificent libraries, and seeing iconic sights like the Bridge of Sighs. You can do all of that volunteering in Oxford with Worldpackers

If you want to explore the English countryside in a different way, you can try cycling the Chiltern Hills!

Things to do in Wales, United Kingdom

Things to do in Wales

10. Hike Mount Snowdon

Wales, the small country on the western side of England, is an underrated destination. One of the best things to do in United Kingdom is hiking in Snowdonia National Park in the north of Wales. Mount Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, but you can hike to the top in one day. Expect to see lots of glassy lakes, rolling green hills, and local animals like sheep and horses.

11. Walk the Wales Coastal Path

Wales Coastal Path

One of the coolest things about Wales is that the entire coastline is home to an official walking path. So you could literally walk around the whole border. The path stretches on for 870 miles, though of course, most travelers choose to just walk small portions of the path. If you’re looking for some fresh air, exercise, and lovely coastal views, the Wales Coastal Path is perfect.

12. Visit Cardiff

As the capital city of Wales, Cardiff has many fun activities for travelers. Check out:

  • the magnificent Cardiff Castle;
  • the top-notch culinary scene;
  • entertainment options such as sports games and museums;
  • nice parks and gardens around Cardiff. 

Though it isn’t as famous as London or Edinburgh, Cardiff should not be overlooked when traveling through the UK!

13. Visit Brecon Beacons National Park

Things to do in UK

This gorgeous national park is one of the best in Wales. People venture from all over the UK to hike in these mountains. The park itself covers over 500 square miles and is full of breathtaking natural scenery.

Athletic travelers can hike in the steep mountains, but there are plenty of more leisurely walks through the park as well. Brecon Beacons is also perfect for camping, cycling, or attending music festivals.

Things to do in Scotland

Things to do in Scotland

14. Sail to the Inner Hebrides of Scotland

Scotland, the northernmost country of the UK, is home to over 700 islands. For tourists in the UK, the Inner Hebrides off the country’s west coast are often considered the best islands to visit. Here you’ll find:

  • the famous Isle of Skye;
  • home to jagged mountains and rocks like the Old Man of Storr; 
  • waterfalls, beaches, adorable guesthouses, and the famous fairy pools;
  • the Isle of Mull, home to the charming town of Tobermory. 

From the Isle of Mull, you can take a boat tour to see other uninhabited islands that are full of wildlife and unique natural formations.

Overall, the Inner Hebrides is an incredibly raw and untouched part of the UK where you can see some amazing sights without many other tourists around.

15. Ride a train through Scotland

Things to do in United Kingdom

A great way to soak in the beautiful views of Scotland is by train. There’s nothing like slowly chugging along the tracks while gazing out at the rich greenery and the jagged mountain peaks. The Highland Line, which travels throughout the Highlands, is considered one of the best train journeys in Scotland. Other popular routes include Perth to Inverness, the Far North Line, and the West Coast Main Line.

16. Explore the Scottish Highlands

The northwestern corner of Scotland is known as the Highlands. This rugged, wild and remote area is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature and escape the crowds of the cities. There are also many Scottish whisky distilleries here, as well as quiet, charming towns and majestic mountains.

Spend your days visiting castles and historical sights, seeing the famous Loch Ness, or hiking Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.

17. Visit Edinburgh

Edinburgh is easily one of the most charming cities in the UK. What it lacks in sunny weather it makes up for in dramatic architecture, a thriving music and arts scene, and historic sights. Top things to do in the city include:

  • exploring the rustic Old Town;
  • seeing Edinburgh Castle (one of the oldest palaces in Europe);
  • hiking up the nearby ancient volcano known as Arthur’s Seat.

If this kind of trip suits you, see these great opportunities of work exchange in Edinburgh. When you choose to exchange your time for accommodation it will introduce you to travelers from all over the world and it can add even more enthusiasm.

Things to do in Northern Ireland

Things to do in Nothern Ireland

18. Marvel at the Giant’s Causeway

As far as natural beauty goes, this is easily one of the best things to do in the United Kingdom. On Northern Ireland’s north coast, ancient volcanic activity has created a mind-blowing landscape. Thousands of basalt columns have gathered in clusters all along the coastline, and they are all perfectly symmetrical. It’s a fascinating expression of nature and makes for amazing photos.

Nearby is another famous spot in Northern Ireland: the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. You can combine the two into one epic day trip!

19. Catch a Sports Game in Belfast

Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is packed with culture and entertainment. One of the best things to do in Belfast is watching a sports game. Locals and tourists alike are big sports fans, so you’re sure to have a fun time at a rugby or ice hockey match.

Other fun things to do in Belfast include eating at the St. George’s food market, taking part in a pub crawl, and hiking the nearby Cave Hill for an aerial view of the city.

20. Tour Castles in Northern Ireland

Cities to visit in United Kingdom

After exploring the Giant’s Causeway along the northern coastline, head to the nearby Dunlace Castle from the 13th Century, or the Dunseverick Castle. Game of Thrones fans should check out the Winterfell Castle, or you can visit the medieval Carrickfergus Castle as a day trip from Belfast. 

Now you know many things to do in UK, wheter you are a city or a country person, I hope you book your trip as soon as possible to get so enchanted as I did. 

If you already live in UK, see these other 17 staycations ideas for travel locally.

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