Compare cheap city hotels for great deals. The diversity of the people, cultures and traditions within the United Kingdom is phenomenal… which is why it is such a perfect holiday destination. From the Celtic heritage of the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, to the Anglo Saxon English. England, Scotland and Wales are filled to the brim with attractions so varied that you will need to come back again and again to discover them all!
England and its association with royalty, and all the extravagant trappings that goes with having a monarchy, is one of the most colourful countries in Europe. From the natural beauty of The Lake District in the North West of the country, to the hustle and bustle of ‘The Changing of the Guard Ceremony’ outside Buckingham Palace in London.
Review our UK travel guide. Up north lies Scotland, with its wondrous castles, snowy mountain peaks and celebrated folklore, including that of the infamous rascal, The Lough Ness Monster! Home of the Kilt, Sporran, Highland Games and Haggis, Scotland is a truly mythical-like place that will draw you in and rub off on you so much that you may end up with a developing soft Scottish accent before you leave!
The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, is world famous for its extravagant Hogmanay celebrations, whereas a visit to Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, will provide some hectic nightlife, shopping, cultural and sporting memories – just make sure you don’t get into an argument about the infamous Celtic/Rangers football club divide!
Wales, located to the west of the England, has its own wonderful Gaelic accent and some of the longest place names in the world. In fact over half a million of the country’s three million inhabitants speak the Welsh language fluently. The country is very mountainous and has an abundance of natural treasures, including the wonderfully scenic Snowdonia region, with its imposing one thousand metre-high SnowdenMountain (one of fourteen mountains within the country!) and its large eighth hundred square mile national park.
Across the Irish Sea lies Northern Ireland, home to wondrous attractions including The Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, with its forty thousand basalt columns, The Titanic Experience in Belfast, the city that built the iconic ship…and Bushmills Whiskey, one of the smoothest whiskies on the planet! Northern Ireland is renowned for the natural beauty of its landscape, and has been used to film many of the stunning scenes from the popular Game of Thrones TV series!
If sport is your passion, then a visit to United Kingdom will thrill every energetic bone in your body! From wonderful golf courses like St. Andrews in the east coast of Scotland, to passionate ruby stadiums like The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, the sports enthusiast will be spoilt for choice. And then there’s the soccer!
England is the home of this ever-popular game, with football teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal attracting fans from all over the world. Attending a cricket match at Lord’s Cricket Ground or any one of the horse racing events of The Cheltenham Festival, The Grand National or Epsom Derby are just a few more distractions to entertain the intrepid holidaymaker!
The United Kingdom attracts around thirty million visitors to its cities each year, mainly to see its castles, towers, palaces, museums, galleries, theatres…and of course all the associated ceremony and pomp! Its shopping streets of Oxford Street in London, Buchanan Street in Glasgow, Queen Street in Cardiff and Donegal Place in Belfast are typically thronged with eager bargain hunters!
With celebrity chef restaurants, including those run by Jamie Oliver, Gorgon Ramsey, Michael Roux, Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Bland and Rick Stein, the gourmet food lover will be more than satisfied. With all this and so much more to indulge the senses in the United Kingdom, why not become visitor number thirty million and one? The only thing you might regret visiting the United Kingdom is having to leave!
Compare great hotel deals for your trip to the UK for the cheapest prices, whether you’re planning a city break, romantic getaway or family holiday. Review prices today & save, we hope that you have a relaxing and enjoyable trip!
Home to the iconic red telephone box, black taxi cab and the domed police cap ‘bobby’, London is also home to over eight million people. The city is a tourist’s wonderland, attracting over fourteen million visitors each year.
There are so many sights/attractions to see in London that you are likely to fill your camera’s memory card within the first few hours of your arrival. Assisted by the city’s world famous London underground rail network, the visitor will find it easy to travel to almost every attraction, hopping on and off any one of the underground’s two hundred and seventy stations!
London is the European capital of theatre, with memorable shows running in its West End, like The Phantom of The Opera, Les Miserables, War Horse, The Loin King, We Will Rock You, Mama Mia, Wicked, Billy Elliot and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in fabulous, atmospheric theatres including The Apollo Victoria Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Novello Theatre and Queens Theatre.
And if you want to take in a good old pop, rock, classical or opera concert, London has a venue to suit all tastes, including The O2, Royal Albert Hall and Hammersmith Apollo. Review London hotels and airport car hire online & save. London car rental locations include; London Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Stansted and Luton Airport.
Shopping opportunities in the city are overwhelming, from the ever-popular Harrods and Fortnum and Mason stores to the eclectic Covent Garden, Camden and Borough markets. A well earned post shopping rest can be had in the beautiful city centre parks of Hyde Park, with its popular Speakers Corner to air your views (no matter how controversial!), and Regents park, which has an open air theatre and zoo onsite.
Wining and dining in London is a real pleasure with over fifty Michelin star rated restaurants to chose from, including restaurants run by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey. Alternatively, you can spoil the taste buds on the obligatory fish n chip takeaway and Indian curry houses. No culinary experience would be complete without a trip to London’s Chinatown for some sizzling Szechuan, crispy roast duck or succulent stir fry Chinese dishes! If you dare, another alternative is to visit the rather chaotic Faulty Tower Dining Experience in Charing Cross Hotel!
There is no better spot to visit to experience the very best of London nightlife than a visit to Soho. Pulsating nightclubs, pubs, music venues, stand-up comedy/cabaret venues and trendy restaurants will entertain the visitor into the small hours of the morning. Those looking for some real full-blooded entertainment should to visit the Notting Hill Carnival in August for lots of multicultural dancing, music and so much more.
1. Buckingham Palace: The very grand home of the Queen of England. The popular ‘changing of the guard’ ceremony takes place outside the palace every day in summer.
2. Tate Modern: Attracting nearly five million visitors per annum, this modern art gallery is free to enter and has over seventy thousand artworks on display by three thousand artists.
3. The London Eye: Enormous one hundred and thirty-five metre ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames with stunning views over the city.
4. Madam Tausauds: Wonderful lifelike wax dummies of world celebrities, as well as a dark, creepy chamber of horrors exhibition and 4D movie show.
5. The Tower of London: Home of the crown jewels, this ancient castle attracts over two million visitors each year and runs tours every fifteen minutes.
6. The British Museum: Containing over eight million exhibits, this truly memorising museum is free to enter and has a fabulous Egyptian tombs exhibition.
7. The Planetarium: Stunning visual presentation of space and the planets on large domed screen.
8. Natural History Museum: Containing over seventy million display items, including a dinosaur exhibition, this natural history museum is free to enter.
9. National Gallery: Wonderful art gallery with works by Monet, Cezanne, Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt and ‘The Sunflowers’ painting by Van Gogh.
10. Victoria and Albert Museum: Containing over four million exhibits, this museum is one of the largest eclectic design and art museums in the world.
11. Science Museum: Another wonderful free to access museum, this science museum has over three hundred thousand scientific artefacts/items and attracts nearly three million visitors each year.
12. West minister Palace and Big Ben: Home to the British parliament, overlooking the River Thames, this picturesque gothic building has four seven metre-wide clocks in its Elizabeth Tower, also called Big Ben.
13. Trafalgar Square: Large square and popular meeting place containing Nelson’s Colum and four large loin monuments.
14. London Zoo: Housing over eighteen thousand creatures of one kind or another, London Zoo can be found in Regents Park.
15. Westminster Cathedral: Stunning Roman Catholic cathedral with the tallest nave in England.
Belfast, in the shadow of the Black Mountain hill, is the capital city of Northern Ireland and birthplace of the infamous Titanic ocean liner. Once noted for its troubled conflict, the only fireworks the visitor is likely to see now are those on Saint Patrick’s Day!
In fact many tourists come specifically to the city to take a black taxi tour of iconic sites relating to ‘the troubles’ including visits to the Peace Wall, Catholic dominated Falls Road, Protestant dominated Shankill Road, Crumlin Road Jail, the many republican and loyalist street murals, the Irish Republican History Museum, Stormont Castle, the republican Milltown Cemetery and Sandy Row, a staunchly loyalist area of the city.
No matter where you go in Belfast there is no escaping the fact that the mighty Titanic was built in the city’s Harland and Wolff shipyards in 1912 using their massive, almost iconic, cranes. The Titanic enthusiast should first visit the Titanic’s Dock and Pump House in The Northern Ireland Science Park.
Once the appetite has been wetted, a trip to the world’s largest Titanic exhibition, Titanic Belfast, will take you back in time, so realistically that you’ll almost feel you were part of the ships maiden voyage! This state of the art exhibition is located inside a truly amazing futuristic building, with a façade composed solely of over three thousand silver shards! Inside, there are nine galleries over six floors to take in after the tour.
One of the main areas to visit for a true ‘wine and dine’ experience is Belfast’s Golden Mile area, which is crammed with a wonderful selection of restaurants and bars. Another ‘must go’ area is Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, again filled with trendy restaurants, pubs and outdoor performances.
Belfast is the ideal family holiday destination. If the Titanic exhibition was not thrilling enough, the kids will have a fantastic time visiting Belfast Zoo, The Dundonald International Ice Bowl (for a wee bit of skating), Bridges Urban Sports Park (for some skateboarding or BMXing), Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory (to stuff their little faces with homemade chocolate!), Lagan Valley Leisure Complex, Kelly’s Mobile Disco Centre and the W5 at the Odyssey (an interactive kids-orientated science museum).
The city is also a shopper’s paradise, with so many shopping centres, thoroughfares and markets to help you shop till you drop! The CastleCourt Centre, for example, has over sixteen million visitors each year and not forgetting Victoria Shopping Centre in the heart of the city. Review 9 of the top tourist attractions in Belfast below:
1. Crumlin Road Jail: Infamous Belfast nineteenth century jail, now operating as a sobering visitor attraction. The tour will take the visitor to the execution chamber, flogging room and the large underground tunnel. The jail runs standard public tours as well as creepier paranormal tours.
2. Ulster Museum: This museum has something for everyone, including art, biology and artefacts from the Spanish Armada! The exhibition relating to the city’s troubled past is definitely worth a visit. Café onsite.
3. Botanic Gardens: Next door to the Ulster Museum is this peaceful twenty-eight acre, city centre haven, filled with attractions including the large Palm House Conservatory, The Tropical Ravine House, The Rose Garden, the garden’s bird feeders…and some wild squirrels.
4. Belfast City Hall: Wonderful baroque, four-towered civic building, which is illuminated at night with specific colours relating to various special occasions. Hosts a wonderful Christmas market every December. Hour long guided tours are available. Visitors get to dress up as the Lord Major and sit in his chair.
5. Stormont Parliament Buildings: Stunning lavish building at the end of a long hill. A large dramatic statue of Lord Carson lies outside the building and there is a kid’s play park within the formal grounds. Guided tours available and there is a café onsite.
6. Belfast Zoo: This fifty acre zoo is home to over one hundred and forty species. Popular areas include the ape house, reptile house, walk-in aviary and the lake walk. Restaurant, treetop tea room, picnic area and gift shop are all onsite.
7. Grand Opera House: Unusual oriental-styled, nineteenth century opera house, with a capacity of just over one thousand seats, and host to wonderful opera, theatre, comedy, magic, and dance shows, among others! A restaurant and bistro are onsite.
8. Escap3d: One of the more unusual and very popular attractions in the city, where visitors are locked insides a room and are given sixty seconds to solve puzzles that will lead to their freedom! The kids will love this one.
9. Belfast Castle: Sitting high above Belfast City Centre, this nineteenth century castle offers fabulous views, historic rooms, formal gardens, a visitors centre, restaurant and gift shop.
Located in the midlands, Birmingham is second only to London in population size and so has a vast selection of amenities to cater for the lucky visitor, including historic galleries/museums, extravagant shopping outlets, Michelin-star dining and glorious cultural/artistic institutions, including the Birmingham Royal Ballet and The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
The city is particularly family friendly and a day out to Cadbury World, which attracts over half a million visitors each year, is a great first stop to treat the kids. Other potential family thrills can be had at the city’s National Sea Life Centre, BBC Birmingham Studio Tour, Birmingham Nature Centre, the Zoological Gardens in nearby Dudley, the Go Ape adventure centre in nearby Cannock, and the FK1 formula one go karting track in Kings Norton.
And if that’s not enough family entertainment, a visit to the NEC and LG arenas for a mega family concert night out might hit the spot! And don’t forget the football and cricket! Birmingham is home to Aston Villa FC and Birmingham City FC, as well as the world famous Edgbaston cricket ground.
One of the largest shopping centres in the UK can be found in Birmingham, with the unusual name of The Bullring! Other popular shopping centres vying for your sterling are The Pallasades, The Mailbox and The Great Western Arcade. The more popular shopping streets in the city are High Street and Corporation Street, and for a real authentic market experience why not join one of the six million shoppers who visit
The Bull Ring Markets each year! Those of you who like expensive ‘shiny objects’ might be enticed to visit Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, home to over one hundred jewellery shops! As with many major UK cities, Birmingham also has a vibrant Chinese quarter, located near New Street Station.
Birmingham offers a vast selection of evening entertainment options, including classy restaurants, lively pubs, hilarious comedy clubs and atmospheric theatres, including the fabulous Birmingham Hippodrome, where a travelling West End show is likely to be playing. The city also hosts many popular annual festivals including The International Dance Festival, Flatpack Film Festival, The Birmingham Asian Cultures and Food Festival, The Midlands Whisky Festival and The Birmingham International Blues and Jazz Festival. See 11 of the best tourist attractions In Birmingham below:
1. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: Nineteenth century museum and art gallery with paintings by artists including Constable, Gainsborough, Bacon, Turner and Rubens. The Grayson Perry tapestries are also a must see.
2. Symphony Hall: The base of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, this magnificent two thousand plus capacity venue is one of the finest in Europe and stages wonderful classical and popular music performances.
3. St Martin in the Bullring: Gothic Victorian Church of England church with sixteen bells and an amazing window by artist Edward Burne-Jones. Café onsite.
4. RAF Museum: Located in Shropshire, thirty minutes from Birmingham, is this extremely popular museum for the war enthusiast! A Lancaster, Vulcan and Spitfire are just a few of the seventy planes on display.
5. Barber Institute of Fine Arts: Combined art gallery and concert venue, the visitor will be able to view famous works by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir. The venue is located within the University of Birmingham complex.
6. Thinktank Science Museum: Located in the cuboid-styled Millennium Point complex, this science museum is definitely one for the kids and has over two hundred interactive displays/exhibits. A planetarium and giant seventy foot wide cinema screen are also onsite.
7. Museum of Jewellery Quarter: A museum based around the setting of a typical Birmingham jewellery factory. The tour guides are particularly informative about each of the factory workshops.
8. The Pen Museum: Unique British museum relating solely to the promotion of the history/evolution of the humble pen. Old feather quills, nibs and typewriters can be sampled by the visitor.
9. Library of Birmingham: The biggest library in the UK, housed in a magnificently futuristic building, is home to over forty-three thousand books, including some very special works/collections by William Shakespeare.
10. Ikon gallery: Contemporary art gallery with exhibitions relating to modern art, film, audio, photography and sculpture.
11. The motorcycle Museum: Enormous museum comprising over eight hundred motorbikes over five halls.
Bristol is a city that was once overshadowed by its more illustrious English neighbouring cities, but that is no longer the case. The best example of what this transformed city has to offer is the Bristol City Docks area, which is filled with trendy bars, lively nightclubs, gourmet restaurants, art galleries, media and exhibition centres and museums.
The harbour is home to some really special history-steeped vessels, including Brunel’s SS Great Britain, once the largest liner on the ocean. The cobblestones and pedestrian-only areas add to the relaxed and very ‘consumer friendly’ atmosphere of this picture postcard harbour ‘resort’.
One of the more unusual ways of seeing Bristol is by taking one of the many tourist ferries/boats/water busses operating from the harbour, which provide tours around the harbour and further afield. Amazingly, there are fifteen individual landing spots along the vast harbour, many next to some of the city’s more popular attractions. A cruise up the River Avon to Bath is also a very pleasurable way to spend the day.
Another wonderful way of passing through the city and on to nearby Bath is by means of the wonderfully atmospheric Avon Valley Railway steam train. Bristol is also a fun spot for the younger visitor with trips to Bristol Zoo and Gardens, Bristol Aquarium, Brandon Hill Nature Reserve and Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park a must!
The slightly older visitor may prefer to have the odd rest or two in one of the city’s many public parks, including Dyrham Park, Hengrove Park, Old Down Country Park and University of Bristol Botanic Garden! The city excels when it comes to festivals. The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in August is the biggest balloon event in Europe, when over one hundred and fifty colourful balloons take to the Bristol skies.
Over a quarter of a million visitors attend Bristol’s annual Harbour Festival, which takes place in July, when the harbour area is filed with music, dance, firework and water displays. The Bristol International Kite Festival, typically held every September, also brings colour to the Bristol skies and attracts up to thirty thousand kite enthusiasts.
Shopping is a real pleasure in the city, the most popular area being the Bristol Shopping Quarter, which has over five hundred shops in pedestrian-free streets, and indoor shopping arcades to choose from! The area also has over fifty cafes/restaurants for that well-earned shopping break. See 12 of the best tourist attractions in Bristol below:
1. Clifton Suspension Bridge: Nineteenth century bridge crossing the River Avon. This stunning construction, designed by Brunel, is seven hundred metres long and has a visitor’s centre.
2. At-Bristol: Wonderfully interactive science museum with various themed exhibitions regarding the planets, flying, animation, bubbles and so much more. Definitely one for the kids.
3. Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery: Multi themed museum with displays including Chinese glass and ceramics, Egyptian mummies and Roman treasures…and dinosaurs! Café onsite.
4. Brunel’s SS Great Britain: Nineteenth century Victorian passenger ship, once the biggest ship in its day, now a museum with interactive displays and waxworks. The engine room is particularly interesting.
5. St Mary Redcliffe Church: Imposing twelfth century gothic Anglican church with enormous ninety metre tall spire. The pendulum clock, stained glass windows, tombs and medieval carvings are particularly interesting.
6. Bristol Zoo: Twelve acre zoo with attractions including The Penguin Coasts, Bug World and Gorilla Island. The zoo contains over four hundred species.
7. Blaise Castle: Historic eighteenth century castle house and gardens. Wonderful views from the top of the castle. Playground, café, stream and mill also onsite.
8. Arnolfini: Contemporary arts centre in scenic waterside location specialising in dance, film, music and photography displays, performances and exhibitions. Bar, shop and cafe onsite.
9. M-Shed Museum: Located in a shed, this waterside museum explores the history of the city. Kids will enjoy the double decker bus exhibit.
10. Cabot Tower: Tall, three hundred foot tower named after seafarer, John Cabot, with spiral staircase and observation platforms, located in Brandon Hill public park.
11. Bristol Cathedral: Gothic, seven hundred year old Church of England cathedral, with impressive stained glass windows, crypt and choral music. Café and souvenir shop onsite.
12. Red Lodge Museum: Seventeenth century Tudor building with historic rooms including The Great Oak Room and The Print Room. Guided tours available. Entrance is free.
Cambridge is a very popular university town, only fifty miles from London. Filled with wonderful architecture, galleries, museums, public gardens, theatres, restaurants, pub, shops…and students.
One of the best ways of touring the city (and getting fit!) is by means of the humble bicycle. Cambridge Bike Tours have bikes for young and old, including electric bikes so the whole family can partake.
Another novel way of seeing the city is by means of the River Cam, which passes through the centre of Cambridge. A punting tour can be so romantic (a la Venice) and are run by companies including Lets Go Punting and Cambridge Chauffeur Punts. Shared or private punting tours are available.
The town is known throughout the world for its university. Cambridge University is the 3rd oldest university on the planet and consists of thirty one colleges! Visitors to the university will have so much to admire including the university’s stunning chapels, Mathematical Bridge, Regent and Senate Houses, libraries and many museums, including Kettles Yard, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University Museum of Zoology, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and the Polar Museum.
Linking Cambridge to the United Kingdom’s other famous university town, Oxford, is the annual boat race. Unfortunately, this immense rowing contest takes place on London’s River Thames and not in either town! Cambridge is fast becoming a gourmet food haven, and now has three Michelin Star restaurants, Midsummer House, Restaurant Alimentum and Restaurant Cotto, to its name.
The town is also filled with wonderfully atmospheric tea rooms and coffee shops. When planning your visit to Cambridge, try and coincide your visit with some of the town’s many popular festivals, including its film, folk, comedy, literary and buskers festivals. One of the liveliest places to visit in Cambridge is Market Square on Market Street, where you can wander through the amazing and unusual market stalls.
The market is a great place to sample Italian food, purchases spices from all over the world and taste some Ostrich burgers, and runs seven days a week! Another popular market is the All Saints Garden Art and Craft Market. If you prefer your shopping experience to be more of an indoor event, Cambridge’s Grand Arcade shopping centre on St. Andrews Street, with over sixty shops to choose from, is for you. Ten of the best tourist attractions In Cambridge below:
1. Imperial War Museum Duxford: Just eight miles out of the city is this multi hanger, aircraft and vehicle war museum. Highlight of the trip is the concord which visitors can enter. The interactive displays will keep the kids enthralled.
2. The Centre for Computing History: One for those hooked on social media and the information age! The museum also has plenty of interactive video games and of course very old computers.
3. Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial: Huge cemetery spread over thirty acres with nearly four thousand graves of those brave men who lost their lives in World War 2. The memorial centre also contains a small chapel.
4. Fitzwilliam Museum: Wonderful collection of treasures including paintings, medals, books, pottery and furniture from around the world, particularly Rome, Greece and Egypt. Admission is free.
5. Cambridge University Botanic Gardens: Beautiful forty acre city haven with over eight thousand plant and tree species. Café and gift shop onsite. Guided tours available.
6. Kings College: Stunning medieval gothic building with college chapel that hosts many concerts/recitals and an annual Christmas concert. Ruben’s ‘Adoration of the Magi’ hangs in the chapel.
7. Ely Cathedral: Church of England cathedral with wonderful stained glass museum and location for some blockbuster movies including The King’s Speech. A visit to the top of the cathedral’s towers offer marvellous views. The west tower is sixty-six metres tall.
8. Anglesey Abbey: Old priory with nearly one hundred acres of landscaped gardens/grounds, particularly popular among botanists for its roses, dahlias, wildflowers and eruption of snowdrops in spring. Great walks with a restaurant and gift shop onsite.
9. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences: Great attraction for the whole family, filled with geological treasures, some of which are over three billion years old! The kids will enjoy the dinosaur welcoming them at the entrance and the large model spider inside! Gift shop onsite.
The capital city of Wales, Cardiff is home to top quality attractions, including some of the best shopping centres/arcades in the whole of the UK, with six historic arcades to choose from as well as the Saint Davids Dewi Sant Shopping Centre, the biggest in the city. Queens Arcade and The Capitol Shopping Centre are also popular city shopping venues.
Queen Street is one of the city’s main shopping streets. After all that shopping a nice rest in the massive one hundred and thirty acre city park, Bute Park, is to be recommended! The park has nature trails, an education centre, sports fields, public toilets and baby changing rooms.
Cardiff has many wonderfully trendy restaurants areas including Mermaid Quay, overlooking Cardiff Bay, The Café Quarter, for some alfresco dinning, and The Brewery Quarter, with its large selection of fine international cuisine dining establishments. Cardiff even has its own Jamie Oliver restaurant, Jamie’s Italian! After dinner, why not pop down to Saint Mary Street or Greyfriars Road, home to many of Cardiff’s most popular bars and nightclubs.
If its family fun you’re seeking then Cardiff will not disappoint! A visit to the world’s best Dr Who exhibition, The Dr Who Experience, will thrill young and old. Visitors can walk into the Tardis, become part of an interactive Dr Who episode, and then get to meet the Daleks and Weeping Angels!
And if your kids are really brave, you can take them on a scary evening tour of Cardiff on the popular Llandaff Ghost Walk, where you get to visit creepy ruins, graveyards and dark lanes! For kids under twelve there is the slightly less scary Family Ghost Walk. A less scary option would be a visit to The Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff’s premier entertainment centre, with its twelve cinemas, bowling alley, restaurants and twenty four hour casino.
Sport lovers will no doubt plan to take in a rugby or soccer international in the impressive Millennium Stadium, the country’s national stadium. The stadium also hosts music and motorsport events as well as a beer festival! The city also hosts many wonderful festivals throughout the year including The Cardiff Festival, The Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival and The Cardiff Independent Film Festival. 9 top tourist attractions in Cardiff Wales
1. Cardiff Castle: Near the centre of Cardiff is this eleventh century medieval castle. Guided tours of the elegant castle rooms, some dressed in gold décor, and the black and clock tower are available. Interpretive centre, shop, cafe and museum also onsite.
2. St Fagan’s National History Museum: Extremely popular Cardiff attraction, this museum is dedicated to the history of the Welsh people and the country, and is located within a beautiful one hundred acre park. There are over forty buildings to visit, including a pigsty, school and mill. Café and gift shop onsite.
3. National Museum Cardiff: Combined museum and art gallery, with over seven million display items, including paintings and sculptures and works from Cezanne, Van Gogh and contemporary Welsh artists. Entrance to the museum is free.
4. Llandaff Cathedral: Twelfth century Church of Wales cathedral, with attractions including its twelve bells in the Jasper Tower, King Arthur stained glass window, electronic organ and Christ in Majesty sculpture. Gift shop onsite.
5. Techniquest: One for the kids! Situated along the bay, this fun science experience offers the visitor a planetarium and science theatre, with lots of interactive displays. Café onsite.
6. Castell Coch: Wonderful twenty-five metre tall gothic castle located in woodland above Cardiff City Centre. Once used as a sanatorium, the castle has a real fairy-tale vibe and was used for filming scenes from The Da Vinci Code movie.
7. Millennium Stadium: Seventy-five thousand seating stadium, used mainly for rugby, soccer and concerts. The stadium has a retractable roof which makes for a great atmospheric venue when the roof is shut! The stadium tour will bring you to the press box, president’s box, dressing rooms and pitch.
8. Norwegian Church: Located overlooking the bay area, this was once used by the Norwegian residents of the area for worship but has since been converted into an arts centre. Children’s author Roald Dahl was christened in the church and there is an exhibition dedicated to him within the building.
9. City Hall: Imposing large domed civic building with fifty-nine metre high clock tower, marble hall, sculptures and art collection. The location for many weddings, so don’t be surprised if you end up covered in confetti!
Edinburgh (and not Glasgow, as many people presume!) is the capital city of Scotland and is a real treasure trove of fun for the canny visitor! As well as the usual impressive palaces, museums and public gardens…and of course that castle, Edinburgh has an undercurrent of ‘ghostly/creepy’ attractions! Why not try the popular Ghostly Underground or Doomed, Dead and Buried or City of the Dead tours.
Or how about an equally spine-tingling tour of the Edinburgh dungeon or the haunted Edinburgh vaults? After all that you will probably need to go on the popular Scotch Whiskey Experience tour to unwind! At the end of this tour you can sample the very best of Scotch whiskey or some equally Scottish Irn Bru soft drink for the kids. The Scotch Whiskey Experience can be found on The Royal Mile and inside you will be shown the largest collection of Scotch whiskey bottles, now totalling three and a half thousand!
The city is home to many of the Scotland’s, indeed the United Kingdom’s, best festivals. Summer festivals comprise of The Film Festival and The Jazz and Blues Festival in June, with The Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival, The Arts Festival, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The International Festival and The Book Festival, all taking place in August. Of course the most widely publicised and eagerly anticipated festival is Edinburgh’s annual Hogmanay festival, organised to ring in the New Year, which tends to be beamed live on television throughout the UK!
Another great draw to the city is to witness a passionate Scottish rugby scrum in Murryfield Stadium or an equally passionate soccer encounter involving local Edinburgh teams, Hearts and Hibernians. If golf is more your sport then try a round at Braid Hills, overlooking Edinburgh Castle. Another popular local course is Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, one of the oldest courses on the planet!
The city’s main shopping street is Princess Street. And if you feel that your shopping legs are getting weary, then a stop off at the massive thirty acre Princess Street Gardens might be called for! If its gift shops you want then go along to The Royal Mile where you will find souvenirs of every shape under the sun! The Grassmarket market square is also a very popular shopping area for the more unusual purchase.
Edinburgh has four Michelin Star restaurants, The Castle Terrace, Number One, Kitchen and Restaurant Martin Wishart. The Peartree House pub in Edinburgh’s cobblestoned Old Town is a popular drinking haunt as is The Last Drop in The Grassmarket. And if you need to walk off all those indulgent food and drink calories then a good walk along Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach will do you the power of good. Nine of the best tourist attractions In Edinburgh Scotland below:
1. Edinburgh Castle: Wonderful twelfth century castle overlooking Edinburgh City, perched on top of the volcanic rock of Castle Hill. Filled with mesmerising attractions including war museums, crown jewels, a war memorial and POW exhibition.
2. Edinburgh Zoo: Eighty-two acre animal wonderland with giant pandas, interactive chimp enclosure and a walk-through Saki monkey enclosure. Shops and restaurants onsite and the wonderful gardens make for an ideal picnic spot.
3. Arthurs Seat: At a height of over two hundred and fifty metres, lying within Hollyrood Park, this popular hill fort, when climbed, offers amazing 360 degree views across the city.
4. Royal Yacht Britannia: One of the most popular attractions in Edinburgh, the yacht, once owned by Queen Elizabeth II is now a public museum and offers guided tours. A visit into the Queen’s private rooms is particularly interesting. A restaurant and bar are onboard.
5. Natural Museum of Scotland: You may need up to three hours to explore all the wonderful treasures within this Scottish/world history museum, with exhibits including a whale bone sculpture, beautiful Celtic brooches, racing driver Jackie Stewart’s car and a Mammoth of The Ice Age exhibition. Café onsite.
6. Holyrood Palace: Historic sixteenth century royal castle. Ticket price includes an ‘audio’ tour. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside. Café and shop onsite.
7. Royal Botanic Garden: Over thirty hectares of plant heaven, with a collection of over three million preserved plant specimens and thirteen thousand living plant species. The cactus garden and palm house are particularly interesting. There are plenty of wild birds and squirrels to also marvel at during your leisurely colour-filled stroll; Saint Giles Cathedral.
8. Imposing twelfth century Church of Scotland cathedral: With stunning stained glass windows, memorials and tombs. Sometimes hosts free choral performances.
9. Scottish National Gallery: City centre art gallery inside stunning neoclassical nineteenth century building, housing paintings by artists including Cezanne, Constable and Monet. Café onsite. Compare Edinburgh Airport car hire and city hotels for great value deals!
If stunning cathedrals, museums, galleries, theatre, shopping, football, fine dining and hectic nightlife are on your holiday agenda, then Glasgow has it all! This once European City of Culture is Scotland’s biggest city and is located on the River Clyde. The people of Glasgow (Glaswegians) have a wonderful unique dialect/accent, were words seem to roll into each other in a melodic and sometimes mesmerising manner!
Transport around the city is made easy by the existence of the subway system, the 3rd oldest on the planet! If you prefer to hop on a bus then Buchanan Bus Station is Scotland’s biggest bus station. And if you feel the need to take a day trip out of Glasgow, the city has the second biggest railway network in the United Kingdom! Keep an eye out for the special ticket deals available allowing passengers avail of all of the above transport modes.
The main shopping centres in the city are Saint Enoch Centre, Buchanan Galleries and Princess Square. Glasgow’s main shopping streets are Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street. A very popular weekend market is Glasgow Barrowland Market, selling anything from fruit to antiques! And if you happen to be visiting the city over the festive season then there is a fabulous Christmas market each year in Saint Enoch Square.
One of the most favoured locations with visitors is Glasgow’s vibrant West End, where you can find unusual shops, charity shops, trendy restaurants and cafes, public gardens, an art gallery, university and lots of pubs! The area also has a wonderful cinema, Grosvenor Cinema, with leather seats…and they even allow the punter to bring their drinks from the cinema bar with them to watch the movie!
The very centre of Glasgow, and a great meeting point, is George Square, filled with historic buildings and monuments. You will find Glasgow’s main tourism information office in the square. From there you can head off for a nice afternoon of sightseeing and then in the evening relax with a nice pint of the local Tennent’s lager in any one of the city’s seven hundred pubs and clubs!
Glasgow is also well known for its many sporting attractions. A soccer match at Celtic FC or Rangers FC’s iconic stadiums, a game of golf at any one of the many citywide golf clubs, or a spot of skiing or snowboarding at The Glasgow Ski and Snowboarding Centre, with its four floodlit ski slopes, are just some of the more energetic options.
1. Glasgow School of Art: Renowned training institution in an iconic building built by Rennie Mackintosh, running courses on art, architecture and design. The school also organises events and exhibitions for the public. Students act as guides with tours lasting over an hour.
2. Glasgow Science Centre: Futuristic riverside building housing a science mall, tower, planetarium and cinema. The science mall uses interactive displays/exhibits very effectively. You can even touch a four billion year old meteorite! Café and shop onsite.
3. Botanic Gardens: Wonderfully interesting attraction with nineteenth century gardens, greenhouses – including the stunning Kibble Palace greenhouse – and an old disused railway station! Café onsite and entry is free.
4. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum: One of the most popular attractions in Glasgow, attracting over one million visitors each year, is this eye-catching baroque building housing over twenty differently themed galleries. With over nine thousand display items, including a Salvador Dali painting, and free entry, it is quite obvious why it is the place to visit in Glasgow.
5. The Riverside Museum: This transport museum is home to a myriad of fantastic trains, busses, cars and the world’s oldest bike! In fact there are up to three thousand items on display, so plan on staying a little longer than expected! Previously known as The Museum of Transport.
6. The Peoples Palace and Winter Gardens: Nineteenth century museum themed around the history of the people of Glasgow. The building also contains a large Winter Garden greenhouse, where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea in the café next to some exotic plants.
7. Glasgow Cathedral: Medieval twelfth century Church of Scotland cathedral containing the tomb of Scotland’s patron Saint, St. Mungo. The stained glass windows will amaze! Volunteer tour guides may be on hand to show you around.
8. Gallery of Modern Art: Glasgow’s contemporary art museum, located inside a spectacular multi-columned building, is free to enter and attracts over half a million visitors each year. Exhibits by the infamous Andy Warhol are just one of the must see items, café onsite.
Birthplace of the Beatles and home to a wonderfully melodic ‘Liverpudlian/scouse’ accent, Liverpool lies on the east coast of England. The city, also known worldwide for its passionate soccer fans, its steeped in culture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From internationally renowned museums to ‘a day out at the races’ Liverpool is the ideal spot for a memorable vacation. The draw for many visitors to the city is to soak up the atmosphere of a Liverpool FC or Everton FC soccer match, and when both sides play each other on derby day the atmosphere in town is palpable.
Liverpool FC fans will be thrilled to discover that on occasion, ex players lead the Anfield Experience Legend’s Guided Tour. Tours of both team’s stadiums will take the visitor into the dressing rooms, tunnel, trophy room/museum, dugout and pitch. An attraction the kids will never forget! And if soccer is not your thing, a day out at the world famous Aintree racecourse might pay handsome dividends. Home of The Grand National (with the terrifying Bacher’s Brook fence!), Aintree Racecourse is now also a popular venue for weddings!
The city’s main claim to fame is the infamous 1960’s pop phenomenon band, the Beatles! A visit to The Beatle’s Story exhibition on Albert Dock is where you will discover everything you wanted to know about the band but were afraid to ask! Other venues closely associated with the band worth a visit include John Lennon’s family home, the Paul McCartney family home, The Cavern Club, The Casbah Coffee Club, Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. Just make sure to watch out for traffic as you cross the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing, immortalised on the front of the Beatle’s Abbey Road album!
Shopping opportunities in the city are extensive. The Metquarter, Liverpool One and Cavern Walks shopping centres are ideal for big brand shopping, while Church Street and Lord Street are some of the more popular shopping streets in the city. A trip to Chinatown will flood the senses with vibrant colours and the exotic smell of spices. There are over thirty thousand Chinese nationals living in Liverpool, so to say Chinatown is a hive of activity would be an understatement!
The city is also filled with wonderful evening entertainment venues including the Liverpool Empire Theatre, Royal Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool Arts Studio, Everyman Playhouse, Echo Arena, Unity Theatre and Royal Court Theatre. And of course let’s not forget the myriad of pubs, cafes and restaurants the city has to offer, as well as the Stanley Street Quarter, Liverpool’s gay village.
1. The International Slavery Museum: Disturbing exhibits, including restraining shackles and chains, reflect upon the history of slavery. African workshops are sometimes organised.
2. Liverpool Cathedral: The biggest Anglican cathedral in Europe and longest (at nearly two hundred metres) on the planet! The sights from the top are stunning with views as far as Wales possible on a clear day.
3. Merseyside Maritime Museum: Entry is free to this large, multi-floor maritime museum, with artefacts from the Titanic and a slavery exhibition. Café onsite.
4. Walker Art Gallery: One of the largest art museums in the United Kingdom, with paintings on display from artists including Rembrandt, Lowry and Freud. Also houses a David Hockney exhibition. Entrance is free. Restaurant and gift shop onsite.
5. Liverpool Central Library: Library in a stunning historical building with a wonderful atrium and a roof viewing area on top offering amazing city sights. The library has a great collection of modern literature. Free to enter and café onsite.
6. World Museum Liverpool: Brilliant family attraction with planetarium, bug house and natural history areas. Exhibits include Egyptian mummies and dinosaurs. Free entrance.
7. Pier Head: UNESCO World Heritage Site beside the Mersey River, has some wonderful old buildings to marvel at, including the imposing Cunard, Port and Royal Liver buildings.
8. Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King: Roman Catholic cathedral in an unusual wigwam-shaped building. Inside, the glass roof, crypt and glass stained lantern are definitely worth the visit.
9. Museum of Liverpool: Relatively new museum housed in amazing, modern building with exhibits relating to the history of this great city and its people. Entry is free. There is so much to see that it could take up to four hours from start to finish to take everything in.
10. St. George’s Hall: Wonderful Neoclassical architectural building housing a concert venue and crown and civil law courts.
11. Speke Hall: Wonderful picture postcard, Tudor manor house. Tour of this National Trust building takes forty-five minutes. Café onsite, although the formal grounds make for the perfect picnic venue.
Manchester is the place to visit for the sporting enthusiast, shopping addict, TV soap fanatic, cultural guru, concert goer, gourmet food lover and nightlife seeker! And to make it easy to access all these wonderful delights, Manchester has the biggest city tram network in the United Kingdom, called Metrolink. And if you prefer a good old bus ride, Manchester has over fifty bus companies vying to take you to your destination!
One of the first ports of call for many visiting Manchester will be to the Granada TV Studios to visit that infamous cobblestoned TV soap street, Coronation Street. A tour around this amazing venue will take the visitor past the iconic Rovers Return pub, into the studios to have look at the sets and props, and then into the actors dressing rooms and Green Room! Check with the tour’s website for opening times as it does vary year to year.
The city attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors to its most popular weekly event, the good old game of footie! Followers of Manchester United and Manchester City can take a tour of the Old Trafford or Etihad stadiums, where the visitor can witness the team’s interactive exhibits, trophy rooms, dressing rooms, tunnels, dugouts, press rooms and pitches.
And if you are really lucky and have managed to secure some match day tickets, the electric atmosphere inside a full stadium will live with you forever, especially if you are of the younger generation or young at heart! Staying with a sporting theme, Manchester has one of the biggest indoor ski centres in Europe, called Chill Factore. The main ski slope is over one hundred and eighty metres long and has two ski lifts.
Shopping enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice in the massive Arndale and Treford shopping centres. The city’s main shopping streets are Market Street and Cross Street. A trip to Manchester’s Northern Quarter will reward the visitor with interesting specialist shops, quaint galleries, restaurants and bars.
If markets are your thing, Manchester has over forty to choose from, including Afflecks on Tib Street. For a winter shopping experience, the city also has a huge selection of Christmas markets worth a visit, including those at Albert Square and The Corn Exchange. And for a truly unique shopping experience, a visit to Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre will spoil you with eighteen individual studio boutiques! The Manchester nightlife scene is legendary, and a visit to any one of the city’s many swanky nightclubs, concert venues, restaurants and bars will fill the visitor with many happy dancing, culinary and drinking memories!
Popular evening haunts include the Funkademia Nightclub, the Manchester Arena (with over twenty-one thousand seats!) and Manchester Apollo concert venues, the Manchester Opera House, the Palace and Royal Exchange theatres, the Gay Village area in Canal Street, the infamous Night and Day Café, and of course Manchester’s Chinatown district, the third largest Chinatown in Europe.
1. Manchester Museum: The kids will adore a trip to this museum and marvel at the dinosaurs and mummies! In total, there are over four million specimens on display.
2. The Wheel of Manchester: Located in Piccadilly Gardens, this fifty-two metre ferris wheel offers amazing city views from each of its forty-two enclosed capsules.
3. John Ryland’s Library of Manchester: Home to rare books, manuscripts, photographs, art and ancient clay tablets, within a wonderful neo gothic building, this museum is free to enter and is located in Deansgate.
4. Museum of Science and Industry: Another treat for the kids, visitors can experience the Higgs Boson experiment, the 4D theatre and steam engine demonstrations.
5. Imperial War Museum: Architecturally acclaimed building overlooking the Quays housing a war museum, which uses video projection to great effect. Café onsite.
6. Manchester Art Gallery: Art gallery with works of art by popular artists including Lowry, Cezanne and Gainsborough. Shop and café onsite and entry is free.
7. Manchester Town Hall: Imposing Victorian building with clock tower, wonderful interior with spiral staircases, mosaic and glass roof and The Great Hall. Stunning Victorian county council building filled with atmosphere of times gone by. The courtyard has been used in film shoots including Harry Potter. Tours available.
8. Peoples History Museum: Unique museum dedicated to showing the history of working class people and evolution democracy within the UK. Café and shop onsite.
9. Museum of Transport: Take a tour of how transport vehicles looked in olden days. Contains over one hundred busses, as well as trams, uniforms and so much more.
10. Manchester Jewish Museum: Old synagogue, now displaying important exhibits, including photographs, art and documents relating to the history of the Manchester Jewish population.
11. Urbis: Visually stunning building made with over two thousand glass panels housing the National Football Museum. The museum has interactive games and many FIFA, Football Association and Football League exhibits.
Think of Oxford and you immediately think of Oxford University. Amazingly, Oxford University comprises of not one but thirty-eight colleges, and so to call Oxford a university town would be quite an understatement! The university attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors, particularly to its own museums, botanic gardens, libraries, observatory quarter, theatres, churches and parks!
One of the best ways of taking in the city’s wealth of attractions is by taking one of the many official walking tours. Some of the tour themes are intriguing, including The Gargoyles and Grotesques Tour, The Magic, Mayhem and Murder Tour and The Pottering in Harry’s Footsteps Tour!
Probably the most popular tour is to follow in the footsteps of Inspector Morse and visit many of the locations used filming the old TV detective series. In fact, Oxford is so photogenic that dozens of movies have been shot there, including Young Sherlock Holmes, A Fish Called Wanda, 102 Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland and of course Harry Potter! A slightly less energetic alternative to walking is to take a sightseeing tour by cruise, punt or pedalo along the Oxford River!
If you need a rest in between all the sightseeing, then why not visit one of Oxford’s many public parks, including Christ Church Meadow Park, Oxford University Parks, Harcourt Arboretum, Oxford War Memorial Garden and Iffley Meadows Nature Reserve.
It doesn’t have to be all culture in Oxford! Visitors can also relax by taking in a show or movie at one of the many atmospheric venues around town, including The Creation Theatre Company, New Theatre Oxford, Pegasus Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Phoenix Picturehouse and The Ultimate Picture Palace. Or how about some fine ‘wine and dining’?
Some of the more popular restaurants in town include Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian, and a fabulous Chinese restaurant called Xian…or if pub grub is you thing, try The Megdalen Arms! Other entertainment options include a visit to the Oxford Ice Rink, Go Karting in Oxford Stadium, Oxford Greyhound Stadium, Bowlplex or Temple Crowley Pools.
Oxford also offers some great shopping venues, including the eighteenth century Oxford Covered Market, or a visit to one of the many fine weekly farmers markets. And for those with a sweet tooth, why not try Hardy’s Sweet Shop on Oxford’s High Street.
1. University Museum of Natural History: This neo gothic structure houses many mineral and zoological specimens/exhibits, including the infamous dodo bird and T Rex dinosaur. Entry to the museum is free and there is a gift shop onsite.
2. Oxford Castle: Norman castle with eleventh century tower and crypt. The castle was once used as a prison and is now host to historic guided tours through the castle, and a hotel.
3. University of Oxford Botanic Garden: The oldest botanic garden in the UK, this wonderland of botany has over eight thousand species and some wonderful riverside greenhouses.
4. Pitt Rivers Museum: One for all the family! This atmospheric, worldly museum is free to enter and has exhibits/artefacts relating to Eskimos and Samurai, and so much more, including some shrunken heads and dinosaur footprints in the garden.
5. Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology: Seventeenth century museum and one of the oldest on the planet! The museum contains diverse collections, including Chinese, Egyptian, Roman and Greek rooms/sections. Wonderful rooftop restaurant onsite.
6. Bodleian Library: Historic university library located in different buildings housing over eleven millions items, including books, maps, newspapers and a gothic vault. Guided tours available.
7. Radcliffe Camera: Stunning eighteenth century, circular, Palladian-styled university building, home to a science library.
8. Museum of the History of Science: Museum housing over ten thousand scientific items dating back to the medieval period. One of the most interesting exhibits is Einstein’s blackboard! Entry is free.
9. University Church of Mary the Virgin: Historic thirteenth century Church of England church with many interesting features, including the Metzler organ, Adam de Brome’s tomb, stained glass windows and an extremely tall spire with fabulous citywide views.
10. Oxford Town Hall: Home to The Museum of Oxford, this Victorian building can also be used for marriage ceremonies and receptions! A visit to the crypt and court room is recommended.
11. Bridge of Sighs: This picturesque, twenty century skyway linking the Hertford College buildings is like something you might see in Venice! Quite an iconic structure so bring you camera.