Buckingham Palace in London, Europe's largest city

Buckingham Palace in London, Europe's largest city

The UK is four countries - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each with their own unique histories, cultures, urban centres and landscapes. To explore the entire country would demand several months, for these distinct regions offer up one of the most vibrantly diverse travel experiences in Europe.

Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire

Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire

Heritage

Britain’s ancient heritage has long been a tourist attraction, with the stories of settlement, great battles and conflict, royalty and religion, commerce and the industrial revolution revealed in the many pre-historic monuments and stone circles, castles, abbey ruins, great cathedrals, palaces, battle sites, canals, historic railways, maritime waterfronts and mighty mills. The list of UK UNESCO World Heritage Sites includes the greatest of these.

Urban Centres

In recent times the UK’s dazzling urban centres have taken centre stage, becoming as popular a draw to visitors as heritage, with their arts rich city scenes and popular culture, breathtaking modern architecture, world class museums and galleries, internationally acclaimed dining and fashion shopping experiences and a nightlife and live music scene ranking with the world’s best.

Newcastle Gateshead Waterfront, North East England

Newcastle Gateshead Waterfront, North East England

England’s capital London, Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast, Welsh capital Cardiff and Scotland’s World Heritage capital Edinburgh are the great shop windows of the four countries, home to National Galleries and Museums holding the UK’s greatest treasures. Beyond this are dynamic regional urban centres like Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow all with their own distinctive arts and culture.

Coast & Countryside

Islands make for spectacular coastlines and wherever you are in the UK you’ll never be far away from a waterfront playground, designated coastal trail or Heritage Coast. Dotted around the coastline are hundreds of off shore islands particularly along Scotland's west and north coasts. Many are protected and rich in wildlife, all easily accessed by ferry or boat cruise. Equally spectacular is the UK’s countryside with its magnificent National Parks rich in woodlands, wetlands, moorland and mountains. Britain is a real walker and outdoor paradise, criss-crossed by an extensive network of National Trails, long-distance walking paths and cycle routes.

Flag Fen near Peterborough, Eastern England

Flag Fen near Peterborough, Eastern England

England

The largest of the four UK countries with capital London ranking as the largest city in Europe. The country has nine distinctive regions offering up a mix of spectacular coast, countryside and iconic urban cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, and ancient cathedral cities like Canterbury and Norwich.

England's coast and countryside is both gentle and wild, ranging from the classic English rural scenes of the Cotswolds and South Downs to the mighty peaks of the Lake District and the rugged moorland of the Pennines. The UK's lowest point is in the eastern Fens 13 foot below sea level! Poets and writers attract a global audience from the Brontes to Dickens and Jane Austen, all well represented with tours, trails and museums.

Carreg Cennen Castle, Carmarthenshire - Wales on View

Carreg Cennen Castle, Carmarthenshire - Wales on View

Wales

Voted a Rough Guide readers best country to visit, Wales offers drama, natural beauty and some of the UK’s most spectacular castles, beaches and ancient monuments across its four regions. The country's most famous poet is Dylan Thomas, best explored in the Dylan Thomas Centre in the poet's birthplace home Swansea and at The Boathouse, his favourite writing spot in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire.

The coast and magical peninsulas like The Gower together with inland National Parks including Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons offer outdoor adventure at its best. Capital Cardiff is famed for its great nightlife, sports venues and central Bute Park flanked by the National Museum Cardiff displaying some of the best art and natural history treasures.

Loch Lomand, Central Scotland

Loch Lomand, Central Scotland

Scotland

The last great wilderness in Britain and home to the UK’s highest point – Ben Nevis at 4,406 ft (1,344m), Scotland also features some of the UK’s most exciting urban centres. Whether you’re looking for that Highlands or Islands cottage retreat or a luxury hotel in the heart of arts rich Glasgow (Scotland’s largest city) or capital Edinburgh, Scotland is unmatched with its diverse range of places to stay, its great poets and writers, its famous whisky and world class golf courses, and its majestic mountains, lochs and nearly 800 off shore islands.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland (Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18090920@N07/4869300163/in/photolist-8qhri6-8qgBMM-8qjd8W-8qgbrX-8qkb6y-8qgH7X-8qg7ND-8qhhRz-8qgdhg-8qkxBf-8qh8wK-8qkvU5-8qhz6n-8qgpu4-8qjsyE-8qjEVA-8qhtkZ-8qgkWX-8qjvW3-8qgUHF-8qgfkF-8qjPGG-8qgAoP-8qifVK-a5K3Ur-8qE15S-a5MVi9-a5K4dV-ajG7Ap-a5K19Z-866XNc-86a8nG-8DJ8Ae-bBa39f-bQ4dzr-bB9B2Q-bB9CfG-bQ4h6F)

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

The City of Belfast and the six counties of Northern Ireland in the far west of Europe all offer their own unique holiday experiences. Breathtaking landscapes are everywhere from famous World Heritage Site the Giant's Causeway on the North Antrim Coast to the magical Fermanagh Lakelands and the Mourne Mountains of County Down. Northern Ireland is for outdoor lovers with angling, boating and water sports across the coast, loughs and rivers. Fantastic opportunities for walking, cycling, golf and horse riding can be found around the many forest parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Ancient sites are numerous here in Northern Ireland - the Romans never got this far to disturb them. Highlights include the great Megaliths and stone circles in County Tyrone and the magnificent Carrickfergus and Enniskillen castles. Live music venues don’t come better than some of Northern Ireland’s lively pubs, especially in Belfast.

Accommodation in England

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    £45
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    Rating from 477 reviews
    Liverpool city centre hotel with contemporary, air conditioned rooms, satellite television, luxurious bathrooms & popular restaurant. Ideal for couples, families and business users
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    £40
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    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 305 reviews
    Rating from 305 reviews
    Traditional 12th century family run inn offering bed & breakfast near York. All rooms en-suite, four poster beds available. Great offers on short breaks for couples.
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    £57
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    Peacefully situated North York Moors B&B accommodation set one mile from the Cleveland Way. Families welcome, one pet friendly room, off road parking & bike lock up.
     
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Accommodation in Wales

  • Caernarfon
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    £35
    Per person B&B (2 sharing)
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    Rating from 1279 reviews
    Built in 1522 a charming inn offering accommodation in Caernarfon. Exceptional food served & award winning real ales. Four poster & executive rooms.
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  • Pembrokeshire
    Sleeps 3
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    £250
    per week (seasonal) Sleeps 3
     
    Delightful cottage on a Carmarthenshire dairy farm just west of Carmarthen. Single storey with a fully fitted kitchen, parking, garden, BBQ & play area. Pets welcome. Cot available
     
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    £75
    Apartments Per Night (Sleep 2-8)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 41 reviews
    Rating from 41 reviews
    Cardiff Apartments close to the city centre sleeping 2 to 8 people each. With fitted kitchens, ideal for a self catering break or business guests.
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    Rating from 41 reviews

Accommodation in Scotland

  • Wester Ross
    Sleeps 8
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    £400
    Per Week (Seasonal) Sleeps 8
     
    Exceptional pet friendly lodge on the Ledgowan Estate in Achnasheen with free parking and striking views. 4 spacious bedrooms set on single level and private patio. Sleeps 8.
     
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  • Isle of North Uist
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    £445
    Per Week (Seasonal) Sleeps 7
     
    Self catering cottage on the Isle of North Uist. Redeveloped croft cottage with car parking and gardens. Surrounded by wildlife and local beaches. Sleeps seven in four bedrooms.
     
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  • Inverness
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    £80
    per room (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 151 reviews
    Rating from 151 reviews
    Family owned 4* guest house in Inverness near the city centre. Children welcome, on-site sauna, hot tub & a steam room. 4 poster room for romantic break
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 151 reviews
    Rating from 151 reviews
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