Selina’s Top 15 Best Places to Visit in the UK for Holiday
By David Bolaños on Jul 11, 2022
The United Kingdom has a place on so many people’s bucket lists. Why not? There’s a near endless list of fabulous places to visit in the UK, most of which grace the front covers of world-famous travel magazines and movies.
Whether it’s getting lost in London museums, soaking up the natural beauty of the Scottish highlands or exploring the rugged coastlines and beautiful castles in Northern Ireland, there are plenty of attractions and places to visit in the UK for all travelers.
Consisting of four countries (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island), it’s almost impossible to capture all of the interesting places in the UK in a single list like this one. So while this review post isn’t exhaustive, we hope it guides you to the best holiday destinations the UK offers.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an island nation located northwest of mainland Europe. The UK is a union of four constituent countries: England, Wales and Scotland, which form Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland, which also comprises the Republic of Ireland.
Seasonality: Climate and Average Weather in the UK
Take advantage of summer’s warmer weather to enjoy attractions in the best cities to visit in the UK. Summer in the UK starts in late June and ends in late September. The peak tourist season in the UK is between July and August, when the weather is warm, the skies are blue, and the days are long.
Autumn (Sept through Nov) is another great time when the weather has just cooled down and the best places for holiday in the UK are less busy.
Winter in the UK runs from late December to late March and is typically cloudy and wet. If you can endure average temperatures of 2-7 degrees celsius, winter is a good time to visit the UK for lower rates and small crowds.
Spring (late March to late June) is another perfect time to travel to the UK for good weather. The rising temperature has melted the snow, the trees are blossoming, and countryside attractions that close during winter are starting to open.
Types of Attractions in the UK
Saying that the United Kingdom is one of the world’s most enchanting places is an understatement. Although it’s forty times smaller than the US, the UK packs a punch in terms of attractions and things to do:
World-famous cities– from London to Manchester, Leeds and Belfast, the United Kingdom is home to some of the most iconic cities in the world, and each city has a unique culture and identity.
Terrific scenery– within its boundaries, the forces of nature combine to give this island kingdom the most incredible landscapes, including dramatic coastlines, majestic hills and exquisite lakes.
Fascinating history– if you’re a history buff, you’ll have no shortage of awe-inspiring museums, towers, castles and other historical monuments and sites to explore.
Experience true British culture– on the subject of UK culture, you must include its museums and art galleries, jazz bars, festivals and carnivals, and of course, the afternoon tea.
Beaches– thanks to its strategic location, some of the nice places to visit in the UK include over 1500 beaches, some of which have been immortalized in films and TV shows.
How Much Time do You Need When Visiting the UK
There is an incredible wealth of things to do and nice places in the UK to visit. You could spend months and not see everything. But because the UK is easily explorable and has decent roads and a dependable public transport system, it’s possible to experience its top attractions in 2-3 weeks.
Best Places to Visit in the UK
Discover London- the Capital of Capitals
We’ll kick off this holiday destination UK itinerary with London, assuming this is where you’ll be arriving when coming to the United Kingdom. A city oozing with vibrant culture, popular landmarks and gothic architecture dating back to the middle ages, London or the Big Smoke is dubbed the Capital of Capitals for a reason.
When exploring London, we recommend taking in its chief highlights first. As a fairly walkable city, we’d advise starting your tour of London by checking out the famous Oxford Street for some high street shopping before experiencing the energy of the popular Piccadilly Circus down Regent Street.
Leicester Square is within walking distance from Piccadilly Circus. As the home to nationally significant cinemas, Leicester Square has no shortage of entertainment. A short walk from Leicester Square will lead you to Covent Garden- a mecca for food-lovers and fashionistas- and then Trafalgar Square- a bustling public space that’s home to several of London’s must-see attractions, from historic buildings to monuments, statues and galleries.
Just a short walk down the river from Trafalgar Square lies Big Ben (London’s most iconic landmark), the Houses of Parliament and the Gothic Westminster Abbey church. Other top London attractions include Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace.
As one of the best UK cities to visit, London is jam-packed with accommodation options. Check out Selina Camden hotel if you want to stay in one of London’s most artsy, creative and vibrant neighborhoods while being just steps from public transportation.
Attempt Solving the Stonehenge Riddle
A two-hour drive from the Capital of England lies one of the most mysterious monuments in the history of the United Kingdom. Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
This ancient monument is one of the best places to visit in the UK because of the mysteries and secrets shrouding its primary purpose and how it was built. Stonehenge comprises a ring of stones enclosing five sarsen trilithons (pairs of vertical stones supporting a third stone lying horizontally across the top).
Each standing stone is around 13 ft tall and 7 ft wide and weighs roughly 25 tons. Experts are yet to understand exactly how the enigmatic horizontal lintels were lifted and positioned on top of the upright stones. But what’s even more puzzling is figuring out why these stones had to be sourced 200 miles away in west Wales, leave alone the technology used to move them to this site.
The primary purpose of Stonehenge is another mystery that experts are yet to solve 5000 years after its construction. The remains of 63 men, women and children excavated near Stonehenge suggest that it may have been a burial ground. But its strategic positioning also indicates a strong astronomical connection.
Another theory claims that Stonehenge stones may have been selected because they were lithophones (ringing rocks). In that case, sound specialists suggest that Stonehenge may have been used as a signal or musical instrument during burial.
A visit to Stonehenge via tours and guides will set you back £17.50 (adult’s ticket) and £10.50 for a child’s ticket. However, there’s a government trail that allows you to visit the site for free.
Visit Brighton- UK’s Hippest Coastal City
Brighton is a popular seaside town on England’s south coast in West Sussex, located an hour away from London by train. This city is aptly nicknamed London-by-the-sea thanks to its vibrant nightlife and popularity with day-trippers from the Big Smoke.
Most people planning a trip to Brighton are attracted by its stunning shingle beach, which stretches up to Hove. This is one of the best places in the UK to soak up a few rays after a refreshing dip. If you’re not sunbathing, walking or cycling along the shoreline paths is another excellent way to stay in touch with nature.
The Brighton Palace Pier is another must-visit spot in this coastal city. Officially opened in 1899, this wrought iron and wood structure stretching towards the sea packs an array of fun things to do for the whole family. Grab some fish and chips and get ready for modern rides and games, including the Turbo Coaster, the ‘roarsome’ Dragon Fly and Air Race, which mimics the sensation of being in an acrobatic airplane flight.
If you’re not hitting the beach, get your daily caffeine fix at any of Brighton’s coffee shops. Don’t forget to check out the Royal Pavilion. Especially notable for its nineteenth-century Indo-Saracenic architecture, this 235-year-old former palace was built as a seaside palace for King George IV but was later sold to the city by Queen Victoria.
Head over to Selina Brighton hotel for accommodation right by the seaside. This facility is located in the trendy neighborhood of Hove and puts you close to top Brighton attractions, bars and restaurants.
Explore the Rustic Villages of The Cotswolds
If you’re looking for something a little rustic and more charming, the English countryside of the Cotswolds- just two hours west of London- is worth considering. The Cotswold is a collection of 100+ picture-postcard villages and rural towns surrounded by rolling hills, meandering streams and wild meadows.
Most people are attracted to the Cotswolds by its storybook-style villages dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswold. This village is particularly popular thanks to the eighteenth-century bridges over the River Windrush that cuts through it. However, this village also packs several other family-friendly attractions, including The Model Village, a fantastic miniature version of the same village.
Other must-visit villages in the Cotswolds include Blockley, which is largely unspoiled, Burford (regarded as the gateway to the Cotswolds) and Castle Combe, considered the prettiest village in England.
These charming villages aren’t the only attractions that make the Cotswolds the best place to visit in the UK. Other places to include in your itinerary include the Cotswold Wildlife Park, the breathtaking Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe and the independent delis and farm shops.
Explore Birmingham, Britain’s Second City
Birmingham is located in the heart of England in the West Midlands region. Its size and location, just 160 kilometers away from London, make it the unofficial second city and one of the top places to visit in the UK.
Birmingham’s heritage is industrial and manufacturing, which is actually known as the “city of a thousand trades.” The influence of this is easily notable through its ethnic diversity as the city is a melting point for different ethnicities, cultures, religions and races- all coexisting in harmony.
One of Birmingham’s recent draws is its urban vibe, as reflected by the eye-catching modern architecture that dominates the city’s landscape.
The Bull Ring is a popular place to start when visiting Birmingham attractions. This shopping district lures shoppers and foodies with its vast collection of over 200 big-name fashion brands and restaurants.
A tour of Birmingham attractions has to include the Old Town hall- a Victorian architecture masterpiece built in 1832. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery within Chamberlain Square in the city center is another must-see attraction thanks to its world’s largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. Also, wander the Jewelry Quarter, where 40% of Britain’s jewelry is produced, before appeasing your sweet tooth at Cadbury World, Bournville.
Selina Birmingham Hotel awaits if you’re looking to base yourself here when visiting England. Located in the Jewelry Quarter, Selina Birmingham puts you within a short walk of the city center and the metro station for easy access to other nice places in the UK to visit.
Be Absorbed by Manchester’s Beautiful Attractions
Football fans know Manchester as the home to two of the most popular football clubs in the world. While you shouldn’t miss a tour of Manchester United and Manchester City training grounds, Manchester can take a different persona, depending on individual tourist’s interests. Whether you’re chasing history, culture, nightlife or art galleries, Manchester is one of the best places in the UK that offers all of that in one city.
Start by hitting Manchester Museum- a striking gothic-style building that houses over 4.5 million items from all over the world, including the renowned Stan the T. Rex. About a mile away from Manchester Museum, explore additional historical and international contemporary art at Manchester Art Gallery.
History buffs will want to go further to reach the Science and Industry Museum. This 12-gallery museum includes machines from Roman times, including a replica of the first British aircraft to fly, a rare 1904 Rolls Royce and other steam-driven machines. Two miles away lies the Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), which treats you to a display of fighting vehicles and aircraft.
Manchester Cathedral, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Manchester Town Hall are other must-see attractions in Manchester, thanks to their imposing architecture. Football lovers will also want to explore the National Football Museum. Your Manchester itinerary should not miss the immersive behind-the-scenes tour of Old Trafford and Etihad stadia.
Looking for accommodation in Manchester? Selina Manchester Hotel puts you in the heart of the Northern Quarter- Manchester’s trendiest neighborhood famed for its buzzy restaurants, bohemian bars, vibrant street art and irresistible nightlife.
Get the Perfect Beatles Experience at Liverpool
Liverpool has been named among the best places in the UK to explore, particularly at night. This maritime city in northwest England is famed for being the hometown of The Beatles and Liverpool F.C, arguably the most successful English football club. But this ‘capital of culture’ packs much more than that with its numerous art galleries, museums, parks and attractions to interest all groups.
Liverpool is renowned for its art collections, and the Walker Art Gallery is among its most popular galleries. Opened to the public in 1877, this gallery houses a large collection of sculptures, paintings and decorative art dating back to the 13th century. Tate Liverpool- a subsidiary of Tate Gallery in London- is another must-see art museum if you’re interested in contemporary and modern art.
Speaking of museums, the World Museum reveals stunning facts about our planet’s history through its extensive exhibits ranging from archaeology to ethnology to physical sciences. Just a three-minute walk away is St George’s Quarter, which is justifiably famous for its collection of fine Victorian architecture, theaters and shopping outlets.
Located in Liverpool city center, near a metro station, Selina Liverpool hotel is a perfect recommendation for where to stay. This hip hostel in the Baltic Triangle neighborhood is surrounded by street art and vibrant local bars and is just a walk away from Liverpool’s major attractions.
Take In Stunning Vista Views of the Lake District
With an average of 16 million visitors annually, it’s easy to see why the Lake District is categorized among the best holiday destinations in the UK. The Lake District, also known as Lakeland, is two thousand square kilometers of nature in a remote corner of Cumbria, North West England. It’s around 3.5 hours away from the city of London by train and only 1.5 hours away if you’re arriving from Manchester Airport.
The Lake District is renowned worldwide for its awe-inspiring sceneries expressed by dramatic mountains (called fells), lakes and forests. And there are tons of activities and top things to do here for three to five days, depending on your interests.
Lake Windermere near Ambleside town is one of the most popular lakes in the Lake District, thanks to its beautiful scenery and general enjoyableness. The lake offers a great picnic spot, and you can also explore it via a rental rowboat or lake cruise. The Rydal Cave walk is another major attraction near the town of Ambleside.
Standing 978 meters tall, Scafell Pike in the Lake District is the highest peak in England and one of the most popular spots for climbers. Helvellyn (the third tallest peak in England) is another excellent alternative if you’re not used to mountain climbing.
Be Awestruck By the Natural Beauty of the Scottish Highlands
Scotland’s answer to England’s Lake District is a majestic yet tranquil landscape bursting with heather-strewn hills, rugged horizons and deep blue lochs. Altogether, these features offer the quintessence of Scottish charms and the perfect backdrop for one of the best places to go in the UK.
Perhaps the most enjoyable way of experiencing the mystical beauty of these Highlands is taking a day trip through one of the scenic tourist routes. In that case, the North Coast 500 is overwhelmingly voted as the ultimate road trip in Scotland. This 830 kilometers route takes you from Inverness to John O’Groats before cutting across a jagged coastline to Durness, then Lochinver, Ullapool, Gairloch and Applecross before getting you back to Inverness.
A shorter alternative would be the Argyll Coastal Route, which covers 208 kilometers spanning Tarbet to Fort William. If you’re heading to Edinburgh, you may want to consider the Borders Historic Route. This route covers a distance of approximately 143 kilometers from the border of England and Scotland at Dumfries and Galloway through the lush countryside of Scotland and on into Edinburgh.
We bet nothing else makes your trip to the United Kingdom more English than a visit to the royal market town of Windsor. Flanked on the banks of River Thames in southeast England, Windsor is 30 minutes away from London by train and slightly over one hour if you’re driving. But what makes Windsor a nice place to visit in the UK?
To many, the biggest draw to this borough is Windsor Castle. This eleventh-century building built by William the Conqueror is the oldest inhabited castle in Europe and the world. Built around 1070, Windsor Castle has been home to 39 monarchs and is currently Her Majesty the Queen’s permanent residence since the start of the pandemic. Windsor Castle is open to visitors all year round, and the visit is totally worth it!
St. George’s Chapel is another top attraction in Windsor, barely half a mile from the castle. Built around 700 years ago as the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter by Edward IV, this chapel is the most beautiful Perpendicular Gothic-style building in the United Kingdom.
Legoland, Windsor Great Park and Thames river cruise are other top attractions in Windsor, especially if you have children in tow.
Be in Awe of Scotland’s Dear Green Place- Glasgow
Edinburgh may have beaten Glasgow to become the capital city of Scotland. But that doesn’t dispute the fact that Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and one of the top places in the UK to visit for culture, architecture, music, shopping and of course, friendly people.
A port city sitting on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow has it covered when it comes to world-class museums and art galleries. From the Scottish Football Museum to the Glasgow Police Museum and St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, the best museums in Glasgow, Scotland, can fulfill all curiosities from early medieval history to policing and religion.
Glasgow is justifiably Scotland’s Dear Green Place considering its 90+ parks and green spaces scattered around the city. Kelvingrove Park, next to the famous Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, is the perfect place to relax if you fancy some fresh air. But this city has a park for each day, so don’t limit yourself.
In 2021, Glasgow was listed among the top five foodie destinations in the UK. From Michelin star dining to street food, seafood to plant-based platters, Glasgow’s ever-evolving food scene has endless options if you’re looking forward to a culinary weekend away.
Check Out Belfast, the Birthplace of the RMS Titanic
Well, over 16 million annually can’t be wrong. That’s the number of visitors that Belfast receives every year, and there are so many reasons why they think this is a good place to visit in the UK.
Belfast is located on the northeastern coast of Northern Ireland along the banks of the River Lagan. This is the capital city of Northern Ireland and a sister city to Nashville, Tennessee, USA and Hefei, the capital of Anhui Sheng, China.
Belfast is best known as the birthplace of the RMS Titanic. In 2009, the city unveiled the Titanic Belfast- a star-shaped, state-of-the-art museum in the same spot where the Titanic was built 111 years ago. Titanic Belfast museum has six floors packed with interactive galleries inspired by the smells, sights, sounds and stories of the RMS Titanic. Remember to book your tickets in advance as this is Belfast’s most popular tourist attraction.
A sightseeing bus or walking tour is another way of taking in the city’s highlights. Most hop-on/off bus tours start from the city center and will take you through major tourist attractions in Belfast, including Titanic Belfast, the Golden Mile, Ulster Museum and Crescent Arts Center.
Soak In Spectacular Coastlines at Norfolk
When most people talk of nice places to visit in the UK, it’s always major cities like London, Manchester and Edinburgh or destinations like the Cotswold and Lake District. Norfolk is beckoning if you want to go off the beaten track and discover hidden gems in the UK.
Norfolk is a ceremonial county located east of England bordering Lincolnshire, Suffolk, the North Sea and The Wash. This is the fifth largest county in England and is famous for its sweeping beaches, fantastic wildlife, medieval churches and miles of spectacular coastline, part of which has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Norwich, the capital of Norfolk, is one of the country’s best places to visit. Some of the major attractions in this city include the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich Cathedral and the Plantation Garden. Roughly 40 miles to the north is Cromer- one of the best places to go in the UK with family, thanks to its sandy beaches, museums and tasty crabs.
Other top attractions in Norfolk include the Norfolk Broads National Park and the towns of Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Wroxham, Sheringham and Wymondham.
Take On the Highest Peak in Wales at Snowdonia
Snowdonia National Park is one of the most dramatic and most visited regions of North Wales. This park stretches from the walled market town of Conwy to the small seaside village of Aberdyfi. In between, Snowdonia National Park is home to diverse landscapes with mighty mountains, jagged hills, magnificent lowland forests and a fine coastline, all of which make it one of the best UK places to visit.
Mount Snowdon is one of the main attractions in Snowdonia. Standing at an impressive 1085 meters, this is the highest peak in England and Wales. If you are up for an adrenaline-fuelled challenge, there are six distinct tracks for all skill levels to take you up the mountain. Even if you’re not into mountain climbing, Snowdonia National Park boasts close to 1500 miles of public footpaths, some with easy walking abilities for a leisurely stroll.
A visit to the town of Conwy is another must-do when visiting Snowdonia. There’s so much to see in Conwy, including the harbor, which offers a great place for a scenic walk. The exceptionally well-preserved Conwy Castle is another major draw, as is the Smallest House in Great Britain.
Wander the Fairytale Capital of Scotland- Edinburgh
It would be very remiss of us not to include the dreamy Scottish capital in this list. First-time and repeat visitors agree that this is one of the best places to visit in the UK, and for a good reason. Whether you aspire to soak up the flavor of old Scotland or you’re in the mood for first-class dining, the mix of old and new in this hilly capital is amazing.
Edinburgh is famous for its rich history of battles, weapons, forts and armies. Edinburgh’s most popular attraction has to be its castle. The architecture of this 900+-year-old masterpiece is its most fascinating aspect. Built on top of an extinct volcano, the Edinburgh castle also houses a museum where you can soak up Scotland’s history.
You’ll find many of the best attractions in Edinburgh along the Royal Mile, which connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Royal Mile comprises gothic churches, courtyard spaces and historic pubs offering the perfect Scottish whiskey experience. St. Gilles Cathedral on the Royal Mile is another of Scotland’s most visited monuments, thanks to its iconic Gothic architecture.
Moving further down the Royal Mile, you get to the Holyrood Park- an absolute haven surrounded by beautiful sites and attractions, including Holyrood Palace, Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s seat and St Margaret’s Loch.
With its miles upon miles of beaches, seaside and rural towns, historic buildings and iconic landmarks, the UK is a fantastic holiday destination with lots of things to do and places to visit whichever way you turn.
Most people are attracted by England’s rich history and breathtaking views, and top-class restaurants. Others say the rugged coastlines of Wales and Scotland’s cities and highlands are the major draws. For others, it’s the beauty, history and the increasingly vibrant culture and gastronomic scene of Northern Ireland that they find so magnetic.
Whatever your age and interests and whether you’re traveling alone or as a couple, we hope our suggestions of the best places to visit in the UK will make your trip all the more satisfying.
What is the most beautiful part of the UK?
The UK is full of stunningly beautiful places that it’s difficult to narrow down to just one. Those that stand out include Kirkstone Pass (Lake District, Cumbria, England), Giant Causeway (Antrim, Northern Ireland), Portmeirion Village (Wales), Ullapool (Scottish Highlands) and Salcombe (Devon).
What is the number 1 tourist attraction in the UK?
With roughly 5.4 million visitors, the Windsor Great Park was the most visited tourist attraction in 2021.
What is the most visited paid attraction in the UK?
In 2020, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Gardens, was the most visited paid attraction in the UK, with roughly 1.22 million visitors. Chester Zoo came a close second at 1.18 million visitors.
Where do most tourists to the UK come from?
Most UK tourists come from the US, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.
Why should I visit the UK?
Made up of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, the United Kingdom is a must-visit for its extensive history, bold and majestic architecture, breathtaking natural sceneries, culture and urban adventures.
What is the UK famous for?
The United Kingdom is famous for its countless castles, the Royal Family, historical landmarks, and heritage sites.
What is the most famous food in England?
Fish and chips have been a staple meal in the English diet since the second half of the nineteenth century. Other popular meals include roast chicken, English breakfast, soup and mashed potatoes.
How much money should I bring to the UK?
The average daily expense when visiting the United Kingdom is around £122 ($152) based on what past travelers have spent.