There are so many beautiful places in the UK to explore, with some many different things to offer. The only trouble is picking them! How do you pick somewhere to go and what you going to do there. This mini-series is a guide of just that. Made to help you pick where to go and what to do. Whether it be city breaks, a beach trip or the countryside there’s somewhere for everyone.
If you find yourself always going to the same place and on the same holidays try somewhere new and fall in love with discovering the places you go to.
This is the first of the series ‘The best of the UK’. So keep an eye out for the other posts including beach holidays, hiking trips and many more.
The best of the UK – Places to go
10 of the best city breaks!
…Also they are in no particular order!!
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital, its population has been increasing slowly since the 90s and now has a population of 537,000 (2020). It is one of the most lively cities in Europe and full of things to do and see. This city has so much to offer and the views are incredible. It’s got a little of everything from green hills, blue sea to red cliffs and beautiful buildings that mix between rustic, medieval and classic architecture. It is located in central-eastern Scotland, close to the north sea. So a beach visit is a must!
This beautiful city is full of narrow streets, and hidden churchyards that will take you off track in the best ways. Edinburgh has an amazing art scene, throbbing nightlife and year-round festivals for those who love to party! It also has the complete opposite and the old town is a UNESCO heritage site, with medieval relics all over the city. It’s a city full of history.
Five of the best free things to do in Edinburgh
- Botanic gardens- a visit to the botanic gardens in Edinburgh is a must. Wondering the world-leading gardens on a sunny or dry day is a dream. You can learn all about the plants and the history of the gardens which dates back almost 350 years, just chill out on the green or walk around the 70 acres of landscape. It also offers a fantastic view of the capital’s skyline. It’s a great place to go for all types of people.
- The Royal mile- Being the most famous street in Edinburgh, it’s not to miss. It connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. To walk down the street it takes about 15-20minuets without stopping. With the castle and palace at either end, you should definitely check these both out.
- Pentland hills regional park- This is around a 20 mile stretch of a range of different hills. You can walk or cycle these hills and they are definitely a must! With some beautiful views and the crisp fresh air.
- The museum of childhood- This is the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the history of childhood. You will find toys, games, clothes, books and dolls dating back to the 1800s to the present day. You might even find things you recognise from your own childhood.
- The Scottish national gallery- This beautiful building is full of all different kinds of artwork some dating back to the 1300s. It is a great place to visit and you’ll be able to learn a bit about the history of Scotland whilst looking at the outstanding artwork.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Edinburgh
- Palace of Holyroodhouse- At the foot of the royal mile with an amazing backdrop of Arthurs seat the Palace of Holyroodhouse is definitely a place you don’t want to miss. Learn about its famous inhabitants and explore the stately rooms. Tickets cost- Adults- £16.50, Over 60s and students- £14.90, Under 17 and disabled tickets- £9.50 and under-fives go free.
- Camera obscura and world of illusions- Located at the top of the royal mile its definitely a place to visit. It has five floors filled with over 100 interactive and hands-on exhibits. There’s something for everyone in this museum. Tickets cost- Adults- £14.85, Students- £13.05, Senior- £13.05, Children 5-15- £11.25 and under-fives go free.
- The Scott monument- Standing in princes street gardens it is one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks and a must-visit place for tourist and locals. It is a monument to Sir Walter Scott and is one of the largest monuments dedicated to a writer in the world. Tickets cost-Adults- £8.00 and Concessions- £6.00
- Dynamic Earth- This is a museum about our planet. You can experience primaeval forces of nature as it shapes the planet. Journey through space and time. There are many interactive adventures to pick from. This is a great family day out. Ticket cost- Adults- £15.95, Children- £9.95, Concession- £13.95 and under 4s go free.
- The scotch whiskey experience- This five-star attraction is located at the top of the Royal mile. Take a tour and learn about the history of scotch whiskey whilst also trying a few different ones. There are many different tours to choose from starting at £17.
Best time to go-
Edinburgh is a great city to visit all year round with plenty going on throughout the year. For a warmer visit, May to September is best with lots of festivals in August. But for a completely opposite vibe, Christmas time in Edinburgh is just magical! The Christmas market is one to not miss.
Where to stay-
Edinburgh isn’t the biggest place and nearly everywhere is walking distance meaning easy access to attractions no matter where you stay. I recommend staying in either the old town or the new town depending on what your scene is. The old town is more for a sightseeing stay and the new town is full of restaurants and shops to look around.
Belfast is the capital and the largest city in Northern Ireland with a population of 613,000 in 2020 which is a huge rise from 333,871 in 2015! It is located at the mouth of River Lagan. The Belfast Harbour is famous for the construction of the Titanic, so there’s much to see in this area if you’re interested in the history of the unsinkable ship. When in Belfast you might notice seahorses around and that is because that is a symbol of Belfast that comes from 1890, Belfast’s coat of arms includes two seahorses, a ship and a ships bell. It represents the city’s strong relationship with its harbour. Seahorses stand for protection, recovery and health. As well as being known for the harbour the city also used to be referred to as ‘Linenopolis’ with the largest line of linen production in the world in the middle of the eighteen century.
Five of the best free things to do in Belfast
- CS lewis square- This is a public space commemorating the Belfast-born author CS Lewis. The writer of the chronicles of Narnia. It is located at the intersection of the Connswater and Comber greenways. There is a visitor centre where you can access information on the city’s attractions. It is one to visit and see the wonderful sculptures of the characters from the book and films.
- The Big Fish- This is a 10-metre-long salmon statue you don’t want to miss. It was constructed in 1999 and installed on Donegall Quay near the Langan lookout. It is a printed ceramic mosaic sculpture made by John Kindness. Rumour has it that if you give this big fish a kiss you gain the wisdom it holds, some say it contains all of the wisdom in the world.
- The dome- The dome gives you a 360° view of Belfast. It’s free and one of the best places for views in Belfast so be sure to stop by. There is so much to see from up there and the dome also hosts yoga one Sunday every month. So be sure to check it out for yoga with an outstanding view.
- Botanical Gardens- The gardens were established in 1828 due to the public interest in horticulture and botany. It is home to the palm house and the tropical ravine. It is a venue for concerts, festivals and other events whilst being popular with residents, students and visitors.
- Ulster museum- This museum tells the unique story of this part of Ireland; it has a wide range of art, historical artefacts and specimens from the natural world. The other museums related to the ulster museum, are the ulster folk museum which allows you to discover towns and countrysides and experience what they were like over 100 years ago. The ulster transport museum holds one of the most comprehensive transport collections in Europe. Ulster American folk park allows you to explore the human drama behind the emigration from the thatched cottages of ulster to the completely new world homesteads of the American frontier.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Belfast
- Belfast Castle- The first Belfast castle was built by the Normans in the late 12 century, but in 1611 sir Arthur Chichester built a stone and timber castle on the same site. This was burnt down almost 100 years later.
- Titanic Belfast- Is a museum dedicated to the Titanic ship that was built in Belfast. There are six floors for you to explore with 9 different interpretive and interactive galleries to take you through the stories, sights, sounds and smells of the unsinkable ship. This is definitely a must-visit when in Belfast! Tickets cost- Adults- £19.50 and Children- £8.72
- Crumlin road gaol- Is a former prison that is situated on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast. It is the only remaining Victorian-era prison in Northern Ireland. Learn about the darkest secrets this goal holds from the 150 years of history, where 17 men were executed. Tickets cost- Adults- £12 on the door and £10.80 online, Children- £7.50 on the door and £5 online, Concessions £10 on the door and £9 online.
- WS- Is a museum with 6 themed exhibitions and over 250 interactive exhibits for everyone to enjoy. This is a great place for the kids! Tickets cost- Adults- £7.00 online £8.00 at the door, Children- £5.55 online and £6.55 at the door, Concession £5.85 online and £6.85 at the door.
- The observatory- This is the tallest bar in Ireland and home to some great views. Pick from afternoon tea in the sky or cocktails in the stars. The bar is in a hotel so be sure to look at staying there for a night or two.
Where to stay-
If you want everything at your fingertips the city centre is where you want to be. The cathedral quarter is a short walk from the centre but has more of a relaxed feel to it with an artsy and cultural vibe. Queen’s quarter is a lively student area with things being a little cheaper to suit the student lifestyle and younger vibes.
Best time to go-
The best time to visit Belfast is in the summer months from May to October, it has many cultural events in these months and offers the warmer weather to enjoy the city in.
Bristol is a city full of exciting attractions, events and festivals throughout the year. It has a population of 686,000 (2020) which is a slow increase from 2000 when the population was 549,000. It is located in the south-west of England between Gloucestershire and Somerset. With Bristol being at the edge of the British channel, the River Avon and wales only a stone’s throw away there are plenty of beaches to visit nearby. This city comes with its own currency as well as being the world’s largest manufacturer of hot air balloons. It is known for being the birthplace of Banksy and this city is full of art to see and admire.
Five of the best free things to do in Bristol
- Street art and graffiti- One of the best things to do in Bristol is to tour around the streets looking for the artwork that decorates the city’s walls. Follow narrow alleys, sides streets and under-passages as well as keeping your eye out for building walls and bridges. Bristol is the birthplace of Banksy and there is hidden work all over the city you don’t want to miss.
- Visit Clifton suspension bridge- It is one of the world’s greatest bridges and spans across the Avon gorge. The bridge itself spans 702 feet and sits 245 feet about the water at high tide. Walk across this bridge and take in the magical view.
- Bristol museum and art gallery- This is also a place you don’t want to miss. The museum is full of art, nature and history. It is also home to a range of different artwork by Banksy himself.
- Clifton down- This public space in Bristol is a great place to look at the stars. Without all of the lights from the city, it’s a perfect place to pack an evening picnic and head out to watch the night sky. Have a walk around and enjoy the fresh air.
- Shop!- Bristol is great for shopping and food.
Bonus suggestion if you’re in Bristol for a few days take a drive over the Severn bridge to wales and explore the forest of dean! It’s only 40 minutes away and well worth it.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Bristol
- Tour the harbour by ferry- Get a different view of the city and the amazing buildings on the harbour. Pick your favourite coloured house whilst touring the harbour there are many to choose from.
- Bristol zoo- This one of the oldest in the world and was founded in July 1835 and opened its doors to the public one year later in July 1836. My grandparents visited this zoo when they were both children and during this time they were able to walk around with some of the animals. I have a photo of my granny standing next to an elephant that was strolling through the park and in the background of this photo there’s camels and more just wandering by. Of course, it’s not like this today but it still makes for an amazing day out. Tickets cost- Adults- £16.22, Children (2-14) £11 and under twos go free.
- Cheddar Gorge- Is another great day out, this is a little further afield from the city centre, 18 miles away. It’s well worth it. It’s such a good experience to roam around the caves. See where the cheese is stored and have a little walk around the town. Tickets cost- Adults- £16 and Children- £10.
- Tyntesfield- Take a walk around this national trust site. It is home to a gothic revival house and extensive garden. It is a great place to go no matter the weather but you might want to go on a dry day to have a lovely wander around the gardens. Tickets cost- Adults- £10 and Children- £5.
- Brunel’s ss- This is a ship that changed the world. Its design changed the way ships are today and it is the great-great-grandmother for all modern ships. There’s so much to learn and see in this museum. It also offers a free years return ticket when you buy yours. Tickets cost- Adults- £18, Children (5-16)- £10 and 4 years and under go free.
Where to stay-
The old city is a charming neighbourhood of cobblestone streets and home to some of the most famous landmarks in the city. Harbourside is a modern and attractive neighbourhood with cheaper accommodations and attractions. Whereas the Old market is great for nightlife and is one of the oldest areas packed with history.
Best time to go-
Something is going on all year round in bristol but for the best weather, it’s the spring to summertime. Be sure to check out the festivals, events and attractions that might take your fancy and decide around those. There’s the breathtaking Bristol international balloon fiesta in August so be sure to check out what’s on in the month you want to go.
Manchester is a huge city in England located in the northwest. It was the birthplace for the industrial revolution and has a large history of science, politics, music, arts and sports (with many famous sportspeople living in the city). It has a population of 2,730,000. Being home to the world’s first professional football team it’s not surprising that football is a huge part of manchester with two great teams, Manchester City and Manchester united. The bee is a symbol for Manchester and symbols the industrious nature of the city and its people.
Five of the best free things to do in Manchester
- Manchester museum- This museum is full of archaeology, anthropology and natural history, containing about 4.5 million items from every continent. It is owned by the University of Manchester and is located on Oxford Road at the heart of the universities group of neo-gothic buildings.
- China town- The Chinatown in Manchester is the second largest in the UK. There is a wide choice of restaurants, bakeries and shops to choose from. In February there is the annual Chinese new year festival, which includes stalls, dancing and dragons in the famous parade! It’s not one to miss.
- Heaton park- In Heaton park, there’s so much to do. Hire a boat, have a game of golf, football and bowls, have a run around on the playground. There’s also an animal centre and it has beehives in its beekeeping stations.
- Trafford centre- The Trafford Centre is a great place for shopping and food! With so many shops and restaurants to choose from. It has a dining hall that has been made to look like a ship. You should defiantly pay it a visit.
- The Whitworth- This art gallery is also part of the University of Manchester and is located in Whitworth Park. It contains about 55,000 items for you to look at and observe. With the glass wings, it is like walking through the park, and it also has artwork outside in the art garden. It is known as the gallery in the park and you should definitely visit this beautiful museum.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Manchester
- Football museum- This is England’s national football museum. It is in the Urbis building in the city centre after moving from Lancashire in 2012. Inside has important collections of football memorabilia that will bring back memories of the games you have been at before (if any). You can learn and see so much in the museum with different interactive activities and displays. It is a great place to go for all of the football fans no matter what team you support. Tickets cost- Adults (16-64)-£10.50, Children (5-15)- £5.50 and under 5s go free.
- Kitchen 202- Head over to Instagram to look at the true beauty of this restaurant and bar! With its pink barbie theme, it’s not hard to miss. Its menu is full of delicious foods and cocktails with the best and funniest names. If you’re in Manchester you should definitely pop by for a drink or dinner!
- Whistle punks- Axe throwing is a stress-relieving day or night out! Throw your troubles away when you throw the axe at the targets. Take friends and have a competitive night or day! Tickets cost- from £20-£25 per person.
- Junkyard golf- This mini golf isn’t like the normal ones, with three crazy courses to pick from there’s so much fun to be had. With cracking cocktails and great music it is a fun night out for everyone! Definitely check this out when you’re in Manchester, but make sure to book as it can get busy! Tickets cost- Sun-Thurs (off-peak)- £8.50 per person per game and Fri-Sat (peak)- £10 per person per game.
- Total Ninja- This Ninja warrior course is so much fun with friends and family or alone. There are so many obstacles to overcome such as the spider wall, sea of swings, floating bridge and rotating logs just to name a few. Find your inner ninja and race through the course. Tickets cost- £10 Per person (+£1.50 for compulsory inflatable sock) and the under 5s soft play is free.
Where to stay-
If you’re in Manchester for shopping and restaurants Piccadilly if the place to stay. The Northern Quarter is full of galleries and cafes. It has a mix and Soho and Camden vibes. It is also a great place to stay for nightlife and cheaper hotels. It also has many bohemian bars and the street art shouldn’t be ignored. Slatford is best for football fans, being close to the stadium and has a larger choice of things just outside the centre. The city centre is the best place to stay for the main attractions on your doorstep.
Best time to go-
Manchester is great no matter the weather as it has tons to do inside and out. The best time to go for the sun is in the summer from June to August, this might also be a busy time so take that into consideration. It has an amazing Christmas market and will truly get you into the Christmas spirit if you visit around December time.
Liverpool is located in the north-west of the UK and the eastern side of the River Mersey. It has a population of only 902,000 (2020) compared to the 1960s population of 1,384,000. This wonderful city is known around the world for the music, culture, fashion sense and the beautiful waterfront for the River Mersey. There is a large sense of community in Liverpool and the people there are known for being extremely friendly with a great sense of humour. With stunning buildings, beaches, parks and the waterfront there’s a little of something for everyone.
Five of the best free things to do in Liverpool
- Tate Liverpool- This art museum is free for everyone and isn’t to be missed. It is full of British and international modern and contemporary art. It’s a great place to go to and wander around.
- Sefton park- Being nearly 250 acres this park offers an abundance of green space to relax in, walk around and have fun in. There is a huge playground for the children and it is also home to the Victorian Palm house. The botanical gardens are like being on another continent with all of the tropical plants, caves and waterfalls.
- World museum- The world museum is a great place to spend the afternoon, it’s also great for children. Discover outer space, treasures from around the world as well as meeting live creatures!
- Liverpool cathedral- This is one of the largest religious buildings in Britain and the fifth largest cathedral in the world. So is definitely one to visit.
- Liverpool central library- This is a library like no other. With outstanding views from the rooftop and a huge and wide range of books. Even if books aren’t your thing, definitely visit the library. It is a beautiful building!
Five of the best-paid things to do in Liverpool
- Anfield tour- This is Liverpool Football clubs home pitch. If you’re into football you should definitely book a tour, depending on which one you choose depends on the price but with starting at £10 you should definitely not miss this.
- Mersey ferry- Hop on to the Dazzle ferry and take a trip on the river. On this boat, you can learn about the history of the dazzle ferry. The colours of the boat alone will make you want to go for a trip on it. Tickets cost- Depending on the trip and boat you pick- Adults from (16+)- £11, children from (5-15)- £7 and under 5s go free.
- Radio City tower- This tower has some of the best views from the observation deck. Head up to look at Liverpool from above and see what you can spot down below. Tickets cost- Adults- £5.50, Children (5-15) – £3.50 and under 5s go free.
- Otterspool adventure- This outdoor play area is full of so much to do with the children. From the maze, adventure golf course and inflatable pillow to the racing rangers activity which gives children a chance to test out their driving skills. Tickets cost- Adults- £5, Children (2-13)- £10, Toddlers (12-23months)- £5 and under ones go free.
- St Georges hall tours- Take a tour of St Georges hall and learn about the extremes of Liverpool life with a visit to the prison cells, courtrooms and the biggest classical reception room in the UK, the Great Hall. Another way to tour the hall is by doing the ghost tour! But that’s not for the faint-hearted. The normal tour costs- £9.95
Where to stay-
If it’s your first time in Liverpool you might want to stay in the city centre with everything easily accessible. If you’re heading to Liverpool for the nightlife Baltic triangle is where you want to stay! The Hope Quarter is one of the coolest places to stay in Liverpool and if you’re on a budget you’ll find cheaper places in the Albert dock. The best place to stay for families is the Ropewalks.
Best time to go-
Summertime is the best to go and visit this city with longer nights and sunny days, but it is a lot less crowded in autumn which is a great time to visit for a quieter experience.
Brighton is a city with everything to offer. This well-known city is actually named Brighton and Hove. It has had a large increase in population over the last 20+ years going from 437,102 in 1990 to 607,000 in 2020. This city has the most restaurants than any other city in the UK with a ratio of 1 restaurant to every 250 people. With beautiful beaches and over 40% of Brighton being a national park, it has so much to offer let alone all of the restaurants and shops. That is great no matter the weather and let’s face it in England who knows what the weather will be! It is a culturally vibrant destination that everyone will love.
Five of the best free things to do in Bridgton
- Brighton palace pier and beach- No visit to Brighton is complete without visiting the beach and pier. The famous pier is a sturdy old thing that has stood for well over a century and surviving two world wars and the constant battering of storms. Join the millions of visitors every year that play the arcade games, fairground rides and have a chippy on the beach.
- Brighton marina- You should also visit the marina when you’re in Brighton. Walk around the boats and grab a spot of lunch. You can also go on boat tours or hire a boat for the day!
- Paddling pools- If you don’t fancy a dip in the sea there are 4 different paddling pools in the summer that are open around the city to use for free. This is a great place to take the little ones.
- Booth museum- The booth museum is full of natural history. Take a look at the animals from the past and learn about fossils. This is a great place to take children to learn and look at all of the different animals.
- South down national park- Head to the newest national park in England to see some of the most incredible views. You can see the white cliff of the seven sisters as well as the devils dyke, which is the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Brighton
- Sealife centre- When in Brighton you need to visit the sea life centre at least once. It is the world’s oldest aquarium and was opened in 1872. There are many sea creatures to find and discover on your trip. Tickets cost- Adult (15+)- £14.40, Children (3-14)- £10.50 and under 3s go free.
- Royal pavilion- This beautiful building is also known at the Brighton pavilion. It was built in 1787 for royal residences. It was a seaside retreat for George the prince of wales. Tickets cost- Adult (19+)- £15.50, Children (5-18)- £9.50 and under 5s go free.
- British Airways i360- This is a 162-metre observation tower on the seafront of Brighton. The tower opened in August 2016 and has been giving visitors 360-degree views across Brighton, the south downs and the English channel. It’s a great place to go and get above the city. Tickets cost- £16.50 per person.
- Brighton toy and model museum- This museum is an independent toy museum that focuses on toy and models produced in the UK and Europe up until the mid-twentieth century. It holds over ten thousand toys and models to look at and discover how people in the past used to play. You might be able to spot some toys from your childhood. Tickets cost- Adults- £6.50, Children (4-15)- £4, Students- £4, senior citizens- £5.50 and under 4s go free.
- Brighton museum and art gallery- The building itself is something to visit and it is full of outstanding artwork to wander around and look at. Tickets cost £5.20 per person.
Where to stay-
For your first time in Brighton, you should stay in the North Laines neighbourhood, it is full of shops and cafes to visit so it is a nice afternoon in itself. If you’re staying on a budget the best place is the Lanes neighbourhood, for the cheaper options of hotels and accommodation. If you’re in Brighton for the nightlife, Kemptown is the place to stay, with many bars and clubs to choose from you’ll never be far from your accommodation.
Best time to go-
The best time to visit Brighton is in May to September to get the sunnier days and be able to chill out at the beach. The busiest time is July and August so you might want to avoid these months if you want a quieter experience.
Cambridge is a small city located on the River cam in eastern England. It is home to the prestigious University of Cambridge which dates back to 1209. The population of Cambridge for 2020 isn’t known but has been predicted at 140,927, the last known population was in 2014 at 128,500. This delightful city is as the birthplace of football as we know it. In 1863 at the Cambridge university the “Cambridge rules” were drawn up and this influenced the football association’s original rules. The city itself is fairly small and can easily be walked around in a day. The old town escaped damage in the second world war unlike many other towns in England, therefore still has many charming old buildings in the narrow medieval streets.
Five of the best free things to do in Cambridge
- Kettles yard art museum- This unique art museum is a lovely house that is full of a wonderful collection of modern art as well as a gallery that hosts modern and contemporary art exhibitions. This is definitely an art museum that you will remember.
- The Fitzwilliam museum- This museum is home to a world-renowned collection of over half a million works of art, paintings and historical artefacts. It is full of antiques right up until the present day. This is definitely a place you don’t want to miss when you’re in Cambridge.
- Whipple Museum of the history of science- This museum should be on your to-do list when you’re in Cambridge. Science is a huge part of daily life without you even realising, this museum is a great place to educate yourself about the history of science. The museum has so much to learn about from scientific instruments, apparatus, models to pictures, prints and books.
- Cambridge market- Is a wonderful market full of antiques and world street food. There’s always something to find. Take a stroll down the market and see what you can get.
- Visit quayside and Jesus green- Take a stroll down quayside and watch the river run by then stop off at Jesus green for a relax and a picnic. This is a great place to stop on a sunny day, it’s often buzzing with students relaxing and studying on the grass.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Cambridge
- Punting- You can’t visit Cambridge without punting down the river, this is one of the most famous things to do here! Hire a boat and do it yourself or sit back and let someone else do all the work. Either way, it’s a great way to view the river. Cost- This can be a range of different prices depending on which company you go to but it is around £20-£30 per hour to hire a boat and £14 per person for a shared tour. (These prices are not exact and can change depending on the company.)
- Botanic gardens- The botanic garden has a collection of over 8,000 plant species from all over the world. The garden is a great resource material for the university; it has plant materials, horticultural expertise and facilities to use to research nature and plants. Tickets cost- Adults- £6 and children go free.
- Great st mary’s church- This church has some of the best views in Cambridge and all you need to do is climb the tower. It has been the university’s church since 1209 and has lots of history within its walls. Tickets cost- £6 per person.
- Kings college chapel- This chapel is packed full of history, with it being the oldest surviving building within king’s college, it is known to be one of the most iconic buildings in Cambridge. The chapel started five years after the college was founded in 1441 by Henry VI. It’s definitely worth a visit. Tickets cost- Adults- £10, children (6-17) and students- £8 and children under 6 go free.
- The Cambridge treasure hunt trail- This is definitely something to do with the children when visiting Cambridge. It’s an outside treasure hunt through the city that will help you learn interesting facts and stories whilst solving the clues and following the maps. Cost- £9.99 per trail.
Where to stay-
Depending on what you are going to Cambridge for depends on where you want to stay. If you are going for the nightlife it is suggested to stay in the city centre. Whereas if you’re a family the best area to stay in is De Freville avenue. If you’re on a budget I would suggest mill road for cheaper accommodation.
Best time to go-
June to October is the best time to go and although these are the busier months, you’ll find many of the students have gone back to their hometowns for the summer.
Bath is a small city but the largest in the county of Somerset. It is known for the Roman baths and being a Roman and Georgian spa city. It is also named after these baths. The last known population of the city was in 2011 with a population of 88,859. Pulteney Bridge is one of bath biggest attractions and this because it is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across both sides, as well as its amazing architecture. This city became a world heritage site in 1987. It is a very picturesque town and is one of England’s most popular film sets. Over 100 different films and tv productions have been filmed here.
Five of the best free things to do in Bath
- Pulteney bridge- This is a must-do in Bath. This bridge isn’t just wonderful to look at due to the magnificent architecture but it is one of four bridges in the world to have shops across both sides of it. You definitely need to take five minutes to take in the bridge and all of its glory.
- Bath Abbey- The abbey building is another one of baths breathtaking sites and should definitely be admired. Have a walk around the abbey and admire all of the carved angels scattered all around. Light a candle whilst there to remember a loved one and have a moment to yourself. The fan in the ceiling dates back from the 1500s and is the original although parts of the fan were not complete until many years later in the 1860s.
- Beazer maze- This little maze is more of a labyrinth but is a great stop for children. Watch them follow the path and find the way out.
- The royal crescent- This iconic half-moon is not to miss when in Bath, built in the 18th century it is a crescent-shaped set of 30 Georgian houses. It’s photogenic near-perfect symmetry and ionic columns are striking to look at. It also offers a wonderful view of the town centre.
- Victoria art gallery- This art gallery was opened in 1900 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. It is home to over 1500 objects of art including a collection of oil paintings by British artists dating back to 1700.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Bath
- The Roman Baths- This might be one of the most famous things to do in Bath and after all the city is named after them. The purpose of the baths was for Romans to get clean. You can visit the baths and listen to facts from the audio tour. It is a great time to learn about the Romans and what they did in Bath. Tickets cost- Adults (19+)- £23 (weekends) and £21 (weekdays), Students and seniors (65+)- £21.50 (weekends) and £19.50 (weekdays), Children (6-18)- £15.50 (weekends) and £13.50 (weekdays) and under 6s go free.
- Thermae Bath spa- This spa is a combination of the historic spa and a contemporary building. It is Britain’s only natural thermal spa. The spa offers many different treatments and packages meaning there’s something for everyone. The cost depends on what package and treatments you want.
- Prior park landscape garden- This national trust garden was designed in the 18 century and is a great day out and offers amazing views of the city of Bath. Tickets cost- Adults- £5 and children- £2.50.
- Longleat safari park- This safari park isn’t far from Bath (around 30 minutes drive) but is for sure one of the best things to do. It is an amazing safari park with so much to offer. It’s the UK number one safari park and you can see why. With animals roaming, a great play area and a testing maze (it took my family ages to find our way out!) it’s truly a great place to visit with and without children! This is by far the best safari park I have ever been to. Tickets cost- Adults (16+)- £29.95 (on the gate) and £25.45 (online), Children (3-15) £22.45 (on the gate) and £19.08 (online) and under 3s go free.
- Bath postal museum- This museum was founded in 1979 in the basement of Audrey and Harold Swindells home. Since then it has moved to Broad Street. Here you can learn why postal services worldwide owe so much to the city of Bath, find out how the mail has been delivered through history and much more. Tickets cost- Adults- £5, students- £2.50, children (6+)- £2.50 and under 6s go free.
Where to stay-
If it is your first time to this beautiful city I would suggest to stay in the city centre. If you’re in the city for the nightlife stay in Walcot, this is also the coolest place to stay. For a different feel, Oldfield park is the best area to stay for families.
Best time to go-
The best time to go to the Roman baths is in the spring because of all of the flowers that bloom in the public gardens, it also gives you a good chance to visit the Roman Baths in the dry weather. I went in October and got rained on in the roman baths (no roof) but honestly, it was still amazing despite the weather.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, it is a port city on the River Clyde in Scotland’s western lowlands. It is famous for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture. A rich legacy from the city’s 18-20th century prosperity due to the trade and shipbuilding industry. The population in Glasgow is a steady increase from the 2000s. In 1960 the population was at a high of 1.8milion and had a huge drop to 1.59miliom in 2000. It is now back on the rise at 1,673,332. With trees in fossil grove that are twice as old as dinosaurs, this city has so much to offer.
Five of the best free things to do in Glasgow
- Kelvingrove art gallery and museum- The building has been standing for more than a century for the purpose of what it is today. Its architecture is marvellous both inside and out, with separate exhibit rooms to wander through. There are more than 22 themed galleries and over 8000 objects to catch your attention, this museum shouldn’t be missed.
- The west end- The west end is one of many of the beautiful parts of Glasgow and you don’t want to miss seeing it when you’re in the area. It is a place that will leave a mark on you whilst travelling as it has its own independent character that is hard to define. It is a mix of characters and amazing architecture with some of the prettiest vintage shops and alleyways full of intimate bars and restaurants.
- City centre mural trail- Glasgow is full of huge artwork on buildings. Go on a tour of the city looking for murals. The artworks are all so different from each other, you’re bound to find so many beautiful pieces.
- One or a few of the parks- Glasgow’s name in Gaelic is ‘dear green place’ and it really lives up to it with over 90 parks and gardens to choose from your spoilt for choice. Pollok country park is one of the city’s best-loved green spaces. You can cycle, walk and meet the highland cows here.
- The lighthouse- This overlooked gem has a spiral staircase that will reward you with spectacular views of Glasgow from the top. It’s definitely a place to visit.
Five of the best-paid things to do in Glasgow
- Glasgow science centre- This attraction is full of so much to do and learn. If you’re interested in learning about the body, space and the future this is the place to go. It’s a great day out with children and without. It also offers autism-friendly hours where they lower the volume and the lights so that everyone can enjoy their experience at the science centre. Tickets costs- Adults (16-59)- £10.45, children (3-15)- £8.60 and concessions- £8.60
- Tennent’s brewery tour- This popular Glasgow beer brand is known as “Scotland’s favourite pint”. Discover the history, brewing process, packing and distribution and taste the famous beer.- Tickets cost- From £12 depending on which tour you pick.
- Waverley excursion boat- Ride the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world. This boat has been restored to bring back its old glory days, with huge, towering funnels, clean timber decks and mirrored like brass. The engine rumbles beneath your feet when it roars to life. With a choice of different excursions, there’s something for everyone. Tickets cost- Adults from £19 and children from £9.50
- Soar- Soar is full of great things to do. It has a climbing zone, a fan drop to jump off, a Skypark, an indoor snow resort for skiing and snowboarding, 3D Odeon cinema, laser tag games, mini-golf, trampoline park, ice skating rink and bowling and arcade games at tenpin. There’s so much to do, it’s definitely home to many memories of this amazing day out. Prices are all different depending on what you choose to do.
- Pollock house- This is one of the national trusts grandest properties. You can see the servants quarters, an impressive collection of Spanish art and enjoy sweet treats at the Edwardian cafe. Its a house just waiting to be explored! Tickets cost- Adults- £7.50, Families- £18.50 and a one adult family- £12.50
Where to stay-
Glasgow city centre is the best place to stay for your first time in Glasgow. It is the most convenient place to stay with two train stations in the middle of the city so everywhere is easily accessible. Finnieston is proclaimed to be one of the hippest places in Britain, full of hipster restaurants, craft beer and boutique shopping. If you’re in Glasgow for a concert Finnieston is the place to stay with many hotels walking distances to the Hydro. The west end is a mix of vintage shops, boutiques, great pubs and cocktails bars as well as beautiful buildings. This is the best place to stay if you want a wide range of restaurants and bars. For families, the best place is the southside and then if you’re on a budget the east end is the place to be with cheaper hotel tariffs.
Best time to go-
March and August are the best times to visit Glasgow, this is due to the days are longer for you to be able to see and do more and hopefully in the sun, but it is also popular from May to June for best weather and with fewer crowds.
York is a city in the northeast of England that was founded by the ancient Romans. It is perfectly placed half-way between London and Edinburgh. It has the glorious Yorkshire Dales, North York moors and wolds. There’s much to do and see in york. The last known population was 204400 and that was in the year 2014. There are thirty world-class museums to explore and learn in. It is home to the best racecourse in the country and has a thriving cultural scene. The cobbled medieval street and Georgian architecture tell the stories of the people here and their groundbreaking history. It is home to the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe and the largest railway museum and biggest food and drink festival in Britain. York is one of the most visited cities in the UK, on par with Manchester and only a little behind London. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to Roman times. It is full of historical buildings that are some of the best-preserved in the western world. It is a relatively small city but there are many charms and hidden gems throughout. It is home to many cultural festivals that are arranged throughout the year, this is definitely something to think about and research when booking your holiday to york. Try to book for a festival that takes your interest or book outside of festival dates for a quieter experience.
Five of the best free things to do in York
- Medieval walls- The centre of York is surrounded by a magnificent circuit of medieval stone walls, it is the best-preserved city walls in England. The walls stretch for 3.4 kilometres and take around two hours to cover the whole circuit. It is a great way to orientate yourself and to get a sense of the city. You can join the circuit at one of the many gates along the wall and choose to do the whole wall or just sections at a time. It gives you a great view of the minster from the section between the River Ouse and Micklegate.
- York art gallery- Head over York’s art gallery to look at their huge collection of paints, ceramics, and so much more. The building itself opened its doors to the public in 1879 so already has a large history. It definitely should be on your list of to-dos when in the city.
- York castle museum- This is free unless you want to go on a tour or a special exhibition. The museum opened on st Georges day in 1938 (23rd April) and is home to Dr Kirks collection of things ranging from antique weapons, potato dribblers, a Tudor barge, horse bridles and so much more. You need to see his marvellous collection of items that he donated to the museum in 1935.
- York museum gardens- Is home to St Mary’s Abbey and botanical gardens. St Mary’s Abbey was built in 1088! And the ruins are all we see now but this was once one of the wealthiest and most powerful Benedictine monasteries in England. The museum was opened in 1830 and was one of the first purpose-built museums in the country.
- Street art and cat statues- Follow the york cat trail and see how many cats you can spot and how much street art there is. Don’t forget to look high and low for these sneaky cats.
Five of the best-paid things to do in York
- Clifford’s tower- This is the last remaining structure of York Castle. It is on a small hill overlooking the city. Inside the tower, there’s not much to see but it is worth the climb to the top for the views it holds. It is a symbol of the power that England’s medieval kings had, the tower was originally built by William the conqueror before being burnt to the group twice and rebuilt in the 13th century by Henry the third. Tickets cost- Adults- £5.90, children (5-17)-£3.50, concessions- £5.30 and under 5s go free.
- York Chocolate story- The chocolate museum is on King’s square. It is a museum showing the history of chocolate making in York, including the Rowntree factory which opened in 1890. Here you can learn how cocoa is transformed from bar to bean as well as unwrapping the secret of york’s most famous brands and so much more. It’s definitely worth a visit! Tickets cost- Adults- £13.95, Senior citizens and students- £13.50, children (4-15)- £11.50 and under 4s go free.
- Hire a boat- Take a trip down the river for a unique view of the city. Boat hire costs- From £20-£50 depending on the trip you take.
- Cold war bunker- Visit a cold war bunker! This bunker is a two-story semi-subterranean cold war bunker in the Holgate area of york. It was built in 1961 to monitor nuclear explosions and fallout in Yorkshire in the event of a nuclear war. It holds the secret history of Britain’s cold war. Tickets cost- Adults- £9, Concession-£8.10, children (5-17)- £5.40 and under 5s go free.
- Jorvik Viking centre- This is one of the best-known tourist attractions in york. Nearly thirty years ago archaeologists excavated the site and revealed houses, workshops and the backyard of the Vikings of york. They recovered thousands of artefacts! The site is aimed to authentically recreate the look and feel of a Viking city. Tickets cost- Adults-£10.25, concessions- £8.25, children (5-16)-£7.25 and under 5s go free.
Where to stay-
The areas surrounding the city centre and Holgate are the best places to stay when in york this is because the majority of the attractions are close by and easily reached. It is also perfect for families. With the best museums, landmarks and recreational activities here as well as a great selection of pubs, restaurants and hotels to pick from, you’re spoilt for choice in York.
Best time to go-
The best time to visit York is from March to May. This is a quieter time so you are less likely to be waiting in ques and you’ll be saving money on cheaper hotel deals. It is also a beautiful time to visit with all of the flowers that come out in spring.
I hope you find a beautiful city to visit and if you can pick one try them all! The UK is full of great places to explore.
Keep your eyes out for the next of my series ‘The best of the UK- Beach holidays’