My Top Ten Non-London Things to do in the UK in 2016!
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It can’t be denied that London is an amazing city, one that you have to visit at least once in your lifetime and you’ll probably get home and start planning your next trip. London has always had a hold on me, it’s almost addictive. There’s a certain buzz that can’t be beaten but enough about that, as this is a post for all things NOT London! Sorry LDN, I love you but right now you aren’t taking centre stage.
In the UK there are an abundance of stunning cities to visit, views that will take your breath away and cultural landmarks that sometimes get overlooked for the big smoke. Over the past couple of years I’ve made an extra effort to explore my home country, rather than opting for my usual European city break. It made me feel a little shocked at just how much I’ve been missing, and how there is still so much to see despite living here for almost 24 years. Whether you’re based in the UK, or considering your first trip here, I’ve rounded up some of my personal favourites that will hopefully enable you to plan your itinerary and maybe even re-think where you might stay!
1.Visit the Roman Baths: Bath
Bath captured my heart like no other, almost parallel for my love of London. There is such a rich history within Bath and plenty to do and see. Visit the famous Roman Baths, which are surprisingly central and very reasonably priced. They also provide a handy headset in various languages to support you through your self-guided tour. Among the boutiques, tea rooms, restaurants and bars there’s also the stunning Royal Crescent, a terrace of thirty Georgian built buildings with a breath-taking view. It’s only a short ten minute walk from the centre and definitely worth it. Oh and for fashion lovers, there’s also the Bath Fashion Museum. See I told you, there’s lots to do here!
2. Discover The Lake District: Cumbria
Outdoorsy type? Then this is the destination for you. England’s largest national park is home to 12 of the largest lakes in England.
The views are almost unbeatable and it’s not just hiking, there are plenty of other activities to get involved in, including various water sports, cycling, boating and even a bit of rock-climbing if you fancy it! Tune out from technology for a few days and experience nature up close and personal.
3. Go Punting in this University City: Cambridge
There’s always a bit of Cambridge vs. Oxford rivalry here in the UK, but as Cambridge is my home city I have to go with it of course! Call me biased, but it’s a truly amazing city to spend a long weekend in. Go punting down the river (well if it’s good enough for David Beckham!), stroll around the world famous University grounds, grab lunch in one of the many cafes and just take in the stunning architecture which surrounds you. It’s an enchanting city and one that I’m so grateful to call home! For punting I would recommend Scudamore’s, as they’re very reasonably priced and also very central to the city centre, situated by the main bridge with a few local restaurants nearby (tip: La Margherita does the best pizza in the city).
4. Spend a Night at the Races: Newmarket
Are you feeling lucky? Located close to Cambridge, the Newmarket Races are a little part of British history. If you like to gamble (or watch other people gamble) then there’s a night of fun to be had here for you. Book a package and make a real evening of it with a nice three course meal to get you started followed by some winning!
5. Learn how to Surf: Cornwall
Yes, you really can surf in the UK! We can’t necessarily guarantee any sunshine mind you, but Cornwall (and Newquay in particular) are renowned for providing a good wave or two. There are plenty of surf instructors and other activities to keep you occupied plus Cornwall offers some truly stunning walks and views. Afternoon tea at the Hedland is one of my favourite things to do, mainly because ‘The Witches’ was filmed there, any fellow 90s kids will hopefully feel my excitement with this. If not, you need to wise up on your 90s classics.
6. Visit a Christmas Market: Birmingham
Our answer to the German Christmas markets is good old Birmingham, situated in the midlands with good links to London. The city does put on a surprisingly authentic feeling Christmas market, with stalls a plenty and lots of mulled wine and hot chocolate to warm your insides. Situated just by the famous Bullring shopping centre, this is a popular location for shoppers. There are also plenty of restaurants nearby, and Cadbury’s World for any chocoholics out there.
7. Explore Historic Sights: York
York is a history buffs dream, with plenty of museums displaying York’s rich and historic culture but it’s not all museums if this isn’t your thing. Wander down the Shambles, and visit quaint boutiques housed in buildings that date back as far as the fourteenth century, and stop for afternoon tea in the famous Betty’s Tea room! Trust me on this, the cakes are out of this world. The York Dungeon is a fun attraction for kids, and adults that like to pretend they’re still kids (ahem, guilty).
8. Get your Hiking Boots on: The Brecon Beacons
If tourist attractions aren’t your thing and you want to escape normality, then Wales is a good place to clear your head. The Brecon Beacons is a mountain range located in Wales that offers pure tranquillity and lots of good photography opportunities as the area is actually a national dark zone! There are plenty of trails to choose from and local pubs to cosy up in after a long and tiring walk (you will definitely need a well-earned beer!). The Three Horseshoes Inn at Groesffordd offer lovely food using local produce!
9. Visit Scotland: Edinburgh
I’ve chosen Edinburgh as it’s the only location (so far) that I’ve personally visited in Scotland. It’s a gorgeous city, split into a medieval looking side and then the more elegant Georgian New Town. In August there’s the exciting yearly Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a buzz throughout the city that you just can’t beat. Edinburgh Castle, located at the top of the Royal Mile is a stunning landmark and a must see if you’re visiting the city. There’s plenty of sightseeing tours too so you can really make the most of your time here and (just about!) squeeze everything in.
10. Experience Nightlife: Manchester
Manchester is a vibrant and buzzing city offering plenty to do for those who like to party. There are endless bars and clubs to enjoy a night out in one of the UK’s hottest cities. Or if a civilised meal is more your thing, enjoy a curry on the aptly named ‘curry mile’! The Manchester Museum offers much to see, with a great exhibition set in a tomb like setting, showcasing ancient Egyptian artefacts. The museum is actually home to no less than twenty mummies! Eeek!
These Non-London Things you can do in UK and locations are talking from my own personal experience, so I’m sure there are still lots of amazing places I’m still yet to discover! If you have any tips or suggestions then I’d love to hear, please leave me a comment or tweet me @tillyjayne_!