England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Four lands, many stories, many things to do and many things to admire. This could be a short, very modest and basic description of the UK. However, there’s so much more to all of them. Each one is beautiful and unique in an own way. From the rough and rugged terrains of Scotland up in the north to the small, picturesque Wales, rolling hills of England to the emerald beauty of Northern Ireland – the UK is a dream destination and an ultimate getaway.
While they most certainly have their differences, they also have many things in common. The rich heritage of history, culture, art, and traditions being just one. Then there’s an extensive list of various activities that will engage you round the clock. It’s a truly stunning place to visit. To be able to fully discover everything the UK has to offer read the following short and informative travel guide.
What to see and do in the UK
Enjoy the wonderful Wales
Located west of England, Wales is a small but ever so adorable region that will cast its spell on you with breathtaking beauty. Miles and miles of unspoiled nature make it a terrific holiday destination where you can unwind and recharge your batteries. If you ever needed a solid kick of motivation and inspiration, the enchanted landscape of Wales is the place to get it. It only takes around two hours to come from London, and enjoy Welsh serenity. But besides a relaxing holiday, what else is there to see and do in Wales?
Is Wales’ capital and largest city, offering a wide variety of activities. For starters, it’s home to the series Doctor Who, and you can take an excellent Doctor Who Experience. Nature lovers will appreciate the beauty of Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve, and if you like history and architecture, you’ll enjoy one of the numerous castles scattered nearby.
A stunning island off the northwest coast of Wales. The captivating beauty of seascapes is impossible to resist which is also well-known to the royal couple Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge who set their first home here soon after getting married. Apart from that, the area is packed with countless things to do and see. Admire the marvelous vistas, visit one of the many historic buildings and museums, but most importantly – don’t forget to relax and unwind on the astonishing beaches.
A small town that has a lot to offer. Here you can see one of the best preserved medieval walls and a magnificent castle from the 13th century. But the list of amazing things to see doesn’t stop here. You can also see the Britain’s smallest house here, visit Plas Mawr – a remarkable 16th-century townhouse, or Aberconwy medieval merchant’s house from the 14th century, hike around Conwy Mountain and admire the beauty of Bodnant Gardens. Conwy is like living history!
Visit the castles
While all of the UK is filled with historic castles, no other country in Europe has as many castles as Wales! So if you ever wanted to live like a lord or a milady, and try that castle life, now’s your chance. From Roman ruins, Iron Age forts to medieval castles, you can find them all (more than 600) in Wales.
Discover Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a land of enchanting scenery. After years of violence and restlessness, the country and its tourism are on the rise. And rightfully so. Its beauty is mesmerizing! Northern Ireland is a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered and explored.
The largest city in Northern Ireland and also its capital. It’s a city brimming with life and fun, coming to the spotlight, and offering an endless list of things to do and see. Here you can pay respect to the Titanic, visit some of the historic landmarks such as Belfast City Hall, Belfast Castle, Ulster Museum, or take a tour to the Game of Thrones Filming Locations. Stroll around the Botanic Gardens, Sir Thomas, and Lady Dixon Park or take a hike in Victoria Park or Black Mountain. The city is full of beautiful architecture too. After a busy day of exploring, come and sit down at one of the many pubs, have a pint of beer and enjoy the bustling nightlife of Belfast.
Enjoy the spectacular views on one of the most scenic routes in Europe. The Causeway coast stretches between the cities of Belfast and Londonderry and is super popular among tourists. It makes a great road trip on which you can marvel at astonishing vistas. If you head in this direction, be sure to stop by the Giant’s Causeway. This massive natural rock formation is located northwest of Belfast and is guaranteed to leave you breathless.
Cheer for England
England doesn’t need any special introduction. Its fame is well-known all around the globe. This diverse and dynamic country leaves an impression! Whether you visit London, head to Southeast or Southwest, travel to Central or Northern England, you are sure to find something that will inspire you and make lifelong memories.
England’s dynamic capital where you’ll never get bored. Enjoy the city views from the London Eye, see the changing of the guards at the Buckingham Palace, stroll around Big Ben and the House of Parliament, go on a shopping spree on Oxford Street, eat your way around the food markets, and simply enjoy the restless bustle of the city.
Find peace in the countryside
To see a real England, leave the cities behind and enjoy beautifully landscaped gardens, sleepy villages, historic castles, rolling green hills, ponds and lakes, parks, dramatic coastline and find some peace and quiet in the rural parts of England.
Scotland can be very deceiving. Rugged terrains, filled with glens and lochs might seem harsh at first sight, but once you walk among them, their untimely beauty will win your heart and leave you in awe. The country is full of surprises, and friendly locals make your stay extra enjoyable. A shot of whiskey will make your trip even more memorable.
Hikes and mysteries
Are a great way to see Scotland up close and personal. The craggy terrain of Highlands is perfect for that. Also don’t forget to stop by Loch Ness and check if Nessie, the famous dinosaur look-alike monster is at home. Even if she’s not, don’t be disappointed. The area offers some amazing hikes and views.
Enjoy the cities
Scotland is home to many great cities with rich history and a fascinating heritage of culture and art. Edinburgh is the impressive capital that will charm you with countless of landmarks, historic buildings and points of interest.
Prices vary and depend on your location.You can choose from hotels, self-catering cottages, campsites, budget hostels, farm stays and pubs with rooms. If you’re staying in bigger cities, expect to pay more. Small, rural areas tend to be cheaper but don’t count on that if they’re are very touristy and if you’re visiting during the high-season. Remember to book in advance. Airbnb is a great option. Once again, prices depend on the location and your chosen form of accommodation. In Wales, you can even try a Romany caravan accommodation and travel back in time for a romantic getaway. For the most budget-friendly option join the CouchSurfing community and sleep for free with the locals. It’ll save you lots of money, plus you’ll get some great first-hand tips.
Food and drinks
Meals at cheap eateries usually cost around 15 USD, but you can get fast food items for a much lower price. If you want to save on food stick to small delis, local shops, ethnic restaurants and of course pubs. If you’re staying in a hostel with a kitchen, you can prepare own meals. You’ll need roughly 60 USD for a week’s worth of groceries. Sitting down at a mid-range restaurant to enjoy a three-course meal for two people will cost you around 65 USD. A pint of the domestic beer costs some less than 5 USD – or more, depends on the location. Cappuccinos and coffees cost some more than 3 USD and soft drinks around 1.50 USD for a small bottle. Tap water should be safe and okay to drink all across the country, but if you have any doubts you better ask and double check.
The railway system in the UK is quite expensive and therefore not very budget-friendly, well organized and high standard, though. Your best bet is the cheap coach fares as well as low-cost airlines that fly from almost every bigger airport in the country. Renting a car is another great option, but remember that they drive on the left side in the UK so that may cause you some problems, especially if you’re not that skilled and experienced driver. The cost of transportation also depends on your whereabouts. Hitchhiking is an option, although it’s slowly dying mostly thanks to safety concerns and other widely available means of transportation.
How much money you’ll need on sights and tours mostly depends on what you like to see and do. You can save loads of money by planning your trips yourself, booking in advance and online and avoid the high-season. Sometimes it’s worth checking the deal websites to see if you can get good deals. Very often you can book activities for more than half a price. If you’re a student, don’t forget to bring your valid ID card with you as you’ll be able to claim discounts. Same goes for pensioners. Children under certain ages usually don’t have to pay for entrance or get a discount as well.