5 of the best UK cities that you must put on your bucket list
What is a city, but the people; true, the people are the city."
The country is enchanting and not to be missed, but the cities in the United Kingdom hold a whole world within them. Art, music, literature, culture, architecture, colourful markets, green open spaces, and a cosmopolitan vibe…there’s all this and much more.
According to the UK Office of National Statistics, London and Edinburgh are the cities most commonly visited by travellers. But there are some others that you should put on your list when planning your next holiday.
The capital of the United Kingdom, London houses some of the most famous and iconic attractions in the world. Be it the Big Ben or the red telephone box, the Tate Modern or the Tower Bridge, London is big on the tourist’s map. Don’t miss any of the famous landmarks - London's Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, and St Paul's Cathedral. Ride the London Eye (the world's highest observation wheel in a 30-minute ride offers impressive views of London's famous landmarks) and take a guided tour of the Tower of London, one of the most famous fortified buildings in the world.
Check out the world’s most famous faces at Madame Tussauds. Soak in some culture at British Museum, National Gallery (it features works of da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner, Botticelli and Van Gogh), Natural History Museum (it has a permanent dinosaur exhibition, a life-sized Blue Whale and a 40-million-year-old spider), the Victoria & Albert Museum (a celebration of art and design) and the National Maritime Museum. Don’t miss Tate Modern, the national museum of modern art.
Walk around Trafalgar Square, now a beautiful pedestrianised piazza. Take a stroll at Hyde Park, neighbouring Kensington Gardens and Regent's Park (it houses the London Zoo). Head to picturesque Greenwich, London's historic cultural hub and visit the market. Shop at Oxford Street and enjoy a meal at one of the many bars and restaurants that dot the 1-mile-long Upper Street in Islington. And don’t miss a morning brekkie at Borough’s Market!
Life’s a beach at bohemian Brighton, one of the most vibrant and creative cities in the United Kingdom. Nestled between the South Downs and the sea on south coast, Brighton has a mix of iconic attractions, adventure activities and arts and culture. Walk by the gorgeous Brighton Marina. At the beach, you can opt to have traditional fun (swimming, snoozing, sandcastle building) or take a guided MP3 Brighton walk.
You can also go sailing, orbing, play basketball and volleyball, or go extreme mountain boarding. Check out the Royal Pavilion (a former royal palace built as a home for the Prince Regent and renowned for its Indo-Saracenic architecture and Oriental interior), the Regency architecture and Victorian aquariums. The Brighton Pier has a funfair, restaurants and arcade halls. The seafront is abuzz with bars, restaurants, nightclubs and amusement areas.
Step into the Brighton Artists Quarter (on the beach, between the two piers) where you can view and buy artworks. If in the city in May, check out the Brighton Festival, an arts festival. Visit the 11th century St. Nicholas Church (the oldest building in Brighton), St. Bartholomew's, the Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue, and Friends' Meeting House (a place of worship for the Quaker Community). Stop off at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery for a dose of culture. Nearby lies the beautiful Sussex countryside, complete with castles, forts, country houses, parks, and gardens. Explore at will.
A bustling and friendly city with a 2,000-year-old history, Newcastle came up on the banks of the River Tyne and is bordered by the scenic landscape of Northumbria. Newcastle provides the ideal base to tour the coastline or explore inland (where you can visit Hadrian's Wall and many castles).
Six bridges span the River Tyne, creating a picture-postcard view. Visit the attractions the city has to offer - Earl Grey's Monument, St. Nicholas Cathedral (with its elegant lantern tower), St. Mary's Cathedral, the Castle Keep, Bessie Surtees' House, and Blackfriars. Newcastle also has the only Bahá’í Centre in North East England.
For a leisurely stroll, head for Jesmond Dean, a beautiful park in the heart of Newcastle. The arts-inclined can visit the Centre for Life, the Great North Museum, Discovery Museum, Gallagher & Turner Gallery, the Laing Art Gallery, The Biscuit Factory and the Newburn Hall Motor Museum. Recently, Newcastle has become popular as a nightlife destination. The bars, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs are concentrated around the Bigg Market, and the Quayside area of the city centre. In October, catch the Newcastle Comedy Festival.
The second most popular destination in the United Kingdom after London, Edinburgh – the capital of Scotland - casts an enticing spell on vacationers with its many attractions and festivals. Edinburgh Castle, one of the loftiest castles in the world, offers magnificent views of the surrounding areas. Don’t miss the Scottish Crown Jewels displayed in the castle. Visit the Scottish Parliament, Royal Yacht, John Knox House, Arthur’s Seat, Greyfriars Bobby, St. Giles Cathedral, Holyrood Palace and the Museum of Scotland.
A ghosts and ghouls tour that takes you into the underbelly of Edinburgh promises to scare the heebie-jeebies out of you. For shopping, hit Princes Street. The surrounding coast and countryside of East, West and Midlothian is perfect for beach walks, hill walks and picnics in country parks. You can also visit the nearby Union Canal, the Scottish Mining Museum and the Scottish Seabird Centre.
Take a day trip to the mysterious 15th century Rosslyn Chapel (yes, the one featured in The Da Vinci Code) and learn more about Freemasonry, Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. Don’t miss the Harry Potter connection: check out the lane that inspired Diagon Alley, visit The Elephant House cafe where JK Rowling used to sit and write, and check into the Balmoral Hotel where the author ended the saga.
Home to one of England’s most popular football teams and the birthplace of the Beatles, Liverpool is an ideal holiday destination – be it for individuals, couples, families or friends. Set in a beautiful area that comprises seaside resorts, gorgeous landscapes, vibrant towns and villages, Liverpool offers something to every kind of tourist. The Victorian architecture of this industrial city is a treat to behold.
Check out the Pier Head (renowned for the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building - collectively referred to as the Three Graces), the Liverpool Town Hall, Speke Hall (a Tudor manor house), the Anglican Cathedral (the largest cathedral in Britain) and the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral. Drop in at Walker Art Gallery and World Museum Liverpool.
Visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum to learn the history of this seaport (the exhibits reveal Liverpool's role in the Battle of the Atlantic and other naval triumphs). Learn the history of the city in a tour (aboard what else but a yellow submarine) at Albert Dock.
Not to be missed is The Beatles Story, a museum that tells all to Beatles fans. Children will love Big Art at the Walker Art Gallery, the BugWorld Experience, the Big Mersey Adventure and the hands-on exhibits at World Museum Liverpool. For day trips, consider the beaches of Sefton and those near Wirral Peninsula.