Don’t be fooled by the relatively small size of the United Kingdom. This land offers some fantastic and unique experiences to travelers. The country is extremely diverse, which means that you won’t be bored for even a second. From the urban streets of London to the cold ruins of medieval castles, the UK is a place that has something to offer to everyone. You may even want to plan your trip in a way to fit as many of these versatile experiences into your schedule as you can. Here are 5 must-do things for your trip to the UK.
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1. Enjoy a tropical retreat right there
It turns out that you can indeed go to a tropical retreat when touring the UK, and you don’t have to go far to do it. The Isles of Scilly, located just off Cornwall, England’s most southerly county, and named as the best vacation spot in the UK by The Telegraph are a piece of tropical paradise located far away from where tropical islands should be.
A visit to these islands will give you a new respect for the Brits’ skills in gardening. The place is beautiful and offers a chance to relax and admire nature. You will also see some plants that you won’t be able to see in any other part of the country.
2. Walk the streets of London with a guide
London is a unique city in many ways and any trip to the UK must include at least one tour of its many sights. However, due to its long and rich history, there are too many attractions here to explore in a single visit. Therefore, taking a walking tour of London is another great activity. Leave any large bags or suitcase, somewhere like King’s Cross Luggage storage so that your tour isn’t back-breaking one. This way you’ll be able to get to know the layout of the area and even discover a new side to this eclectic city. Some tours are even free with an optional gratuity at the end.
You will be able to see all the important historical monuments, architectural masterpieces, sites associated with the Royal Family, etc. If you are looking for something more “adventurous” you can visit the many haunted sites, which can be found all over London, or you can follow the bloody steps of Jack the Ripper, or explore the streets of magical London to discover the places connected to the Harry Potter universe. And don’t forget themed tours that will take you to places associated with legendary musicians, actors, and other celebrities who all left their mark on this magnificent city.
3. Explore a Castle in the UK
There are hundreds of castles in the UK and it goes without saying that you should visit at least one of them during your visit. Many castles are managed and maintained by English Heritage and membership with them will save you a fortune should you decide to visit more than one.
Some of my favorite castles to visit in the UK are Barnard Castle, Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire, and then there’s Colchester Castle in the south, but you also shouldn’t miss the castle in Pickering.
4. Hunt for shells on top of a mountain
Hiking down the many trails of Snowdonia National Park is not only a chance to admire some scenic views. It’s also a unique opportunity to go shell hunting at the literal top of the highest mountain in the UK. If you’re looking for the highest mountain in England, then you’ll find that in the Lake District.
Mount Snowdon (and the entire range around it) used to be the bottom of the ocean millennia ago. Today, a sharp-eyed hiker can still find pieces of prehistoric fossils. That’s a kind of souvenir that will make for a truly amazing conversation piece. Make sure you take all the right equipment for hiking Snowdon. You’ll find a list of gear in our Hiking for Beginners guide here, but this is also one hike that I’d recommend a set of hiking poles for.
5. Crawl the pubs in the IK
Pub crawling is a traditional English type of entertainment, so be sure to include a night of it into your plans. The activity is simple, you just go from one pub or bar to the next, get one drink, have a bit of fun, and move on.
The challenge of it is staying sober enough to get home. Therefore, it’s always best for a traveler to set out on this adventure with trusted friends. Today you can also join specialized tours and make new friends while at it. London and Edinburgh are just two examples of great cities in the UK for a proper pub crawl.
6. Visit one of London’s many theatres
Royal National Theatre
This fantastic publicly funded theatre has been staging some of London’s most captivating and thought-provoking productions for the past 40 years. The National compromises of three theatres with the Olivier Theatre being the largest and most prominent. It has been run by some of theatre’s most charismatic and inspirational figures over the years including Trevor Nunn and even Lawrence Olivier himself. Many acclaimed productions have come from the National including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Warhorse, and One Man Two Governors.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Simply known as Drury Lane, the theatre has dominated the arts culture in London for the past 400 years. The theatre has had several redesigns since it was first opened in 1660 and is revered across the world for its gargantuan size and opulence. Over 2000 people have packed out Drury Lane for decades, principally to see large-scale musicals including Oliver, My Fair Lady, and Miss Saigon.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Situated in Queen Mary’s Gardens in the opulent Regent’s Park is London’s only outdoor theatre. It is thought to have the longest theatre bar in the world which runs the entire length of the impressive but uncovered auditorium. The stage is also uncovered but fantastic productions like Hello Dolly and Jesus Christ Superstar are performed daily throughout the summer months.
The Palladium is London’s largest theatre and seats a staggering 2,286 people. The Grade Two listed building is famed not only for staging plays and musicals but also as a concert venue hosting many of the world’s most iconic entertainers. Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra have all graced the stage at the Palladium and it has also played host to the Royal Variety Show on several occasions.
What would you most like to do in the UK?
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