Great Britain is the whole vacation package - from urban hot-spots to medieval market towns; from ruined castles perched on seaside cliffs to charming country manors; from garden-framed Kent to music-impassioned Manchester; from Dylan Thomas to Shakespeare. If you have the passion for it, you will find it in Britain.
No matter how many times you've visited Britain, there is always something new and unexpected to find throughout England, Scotland and Wales.Learn More »
Discover medieval market towns, ruined castles perched on seaside cliffs to charming country manors. Whatever your passion, Britain is sure to exceed your vacation dreams.Learn More »
Cities in Britain are not about size, they’re all about character. All of our cities offer not only their own history but also, most importantly, their own personality.Learn More »
Your Adventure starts in Britain!
Only in Britain can you walk in the footsteps of historic kings and queens, stroll over hills and moors on the most beautiful springtime walks, and create your own gin using local botanicals. Featuring a never-ending array of exciting tours, world-famous attractions, exotic experiences and so much more, there’s no limit to what you can do in Britain.
Film & TV
You may not realize it, but loads of your favourite films and TV shows were filmed in the UK, and you can see them in the flesh! Embark on a magical journey down Diagon Alley, roam the endless plains of King Arthur’s mighty kingdom, or enjoy a simple tea and scones in Paddington’s London – live out your big-screen dreams in our entertainment hotspots. Whether it’s magic, detective mystery or adventure, you’ll find iconic film and TV locations scattered all over the UK, waiting for your adventure.
Be King or Queen for a day! Ever wanted to explore Her Majesty the Queen’s iconic residence, Buckingham Palace, or take part in the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony? Britain’s long and rich regal history means there’s a golden nugget of royal heritage to be discovered in every corner. Enjoy nature and splendorous wildlife in one of many Royal Parks, take the grand tour of William and Kate’s Kensington Palace and breach Henry VIII’s domain at Hampton Court. Mind your head!
Landmarks & Attractions
With breath-taking sights like Big Ben and the Angel of the North on postcards all over the world, the UK is a proud home to some of the most iconic places you can see. There are countless more landmarks, from crumbling medieval ruins to stunning castles and cathedrals, and this section will help you find them. Chock-full of cool things to see and do, hidden or otherwise, the UK is a kaleidoscopic treasure-trove of sensory wonders waiting to be discovered.
Music & Festivals
The Brits love a good party, and there’s no party we like more than a festival. Whatever the season, here’s where you could be: out in the open, dancing with your friends to full blast music from your favourite internationally renowned artists, surrounded on all sides by a panoply of delicious food and drink from all over the world. That’s a festival for you. See iconic acts at Glastonbury, immerse yourself in beautiful art at Festival No. 6, or soak up the quirkiest of culture at Edinburgh Fringe… there’s something for everyone. Find out which events are taking place in the UK and where.
Winter’s lovely but it can really put a chill in your bones. Luckily, we’ve gathered together some places where you can warm up and restore that rosy-cheeked good cheer. Warming whisky tastings, a hot soak in a steamy spa or settling down around an open fire in a cosy pub: we’ve plenty of ideas to keep you feeling toasty.
Get out of the cold and into the wonderful warmth of a nice hot spa. Some of Britain’s best known include Thermae Bath Spa — the only natural hot spring in the UK — where you can enjoy a hot soak and look out over Bath’s historic buildings. Alternatively, grab a towel and admire the decorated Turkish-style tiles of Harrogate’s Victorian bath house beneath your bare feet as you make for the sauna.
If tropical plants are growing there, chances are it’s nice and warm: the Eden Project in Cornwall is one such hotspot. It houses the largest rainforest in captivity and it’s a green maze of jungle, crashing waterfalls and spectacular plants all growing beneath its giant geodesic domes. Most certainly a warm, tropical place to explore in the depths of winter. Up in London, you can linger among the palms in Kew Garden’s steamy Victorian Palm House, or get cosy in its rainforest area.
Winter dance festivals
Get your dancing shoes on and head to a winter festival. If you like the sound of ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dance parties pronounced “kaylees”) and traditional music, head to Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival in early January for some lively dancing, duelling fiddles and the thump of hands on drums.
Provided it hasn’t been taken by a resident dog or cat, you should be able to find some premium space by the fireside in one of Britain’s traditional pubs. The Kirkstile Inn up in The Lake District is a classic country pub with log fires, old oak beams, hearty food and tasty beers, with plenty of rooms if you want to make a weekend of it. Down in Rye, the 12th-century Mermaid Inn — once popular among smugglers — has two huge lounges warmed by roaring fires, centuries of history and plenty of delicious food and drink.
While winter food markets do tend to be outside, they also tend to sell plenty of hot mulled wine, warmed country cider and lots of delicious hot snacks to keep you warm. Borough Market in London in one of the best known, while Christkindelmarkt up in Leeds is an authentic German Christmas market – be sure to try some stollen.
While we don’t recommend getting too close to anything that’s actually on fire, for obvious reasons, there are a number of firebased winter events across Britain that might throw some stray warmth your way. In the Shetland Isles in January, Up Helly Aa is a great fiery Viking celebration with torch-lit processions that culminates in the burning of a Viking longship. Or, in Northumberland, stand back as brave townsfolk run past carrying burning barrels of tar on their backs to see in the New Year.
If you ever needed an excuse to go for curry, keeping warm could be it. Britain has some of the best South Asian food in the world. Tuck into delicious spicy food at some of the UK’s premier curry hotspots, from Brick Lane and Tayyabs in London to the neon-lit eateries of Manchester’s Curry Mile.
Hole up in a kitchen this winter and indulge in a seasonal cookery course, from masterclasses on the perfect Christmas dinner to hand making chocolates. Ashburton Cookery school in Devon is one of the best known, with Pudding Pie in Banbury another tasty-sounding spot to learn kitchen-based wisdom.
A dram of whisky can’t fail to restore some much needed warmth on a chilly evening. If you’d like to discover the many different types available – to research which is the most warming, naturally – you’ll find plenty of distilleries in Scotland. Try the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh to get a range of tastes, or head for your favourite single malt’s headquarters. Glen Moray and Glen Morangie are two of our favorites.
You’ve heard of London and Edinburgh, but it’s not just Britain’s best known cities that carry the culture torch. Thanks to a dazzlingly rich history, Britain is packed with more literature, arts and culture than you could absorb in a lifetime. Just take a look at our museums, theatres, and other cultural attractions in towns and cities all over the country. You’re bound to find a bit of culture in every corner!
Known the world over, London’s West End has been thrilling theatregoers night after night for centuries. A magical medley of famous shows and musicals, it’s the pulse of central London that boasts unrivalled variety and quality. As well as Theatreland staples such as Mamma Mia and Phantom of the Opera, new and exciting production-companies are stretching our imaginations with innovative and inspirational shows. The longest running theatre in the UK is the Bristol Old Vic. Bristol is the undisputed cultural capital of southwest England and this prized theatre is the city’s masterpiece. Many famed actors are associated with the playhouse, such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Patrick Stewart and Miranda Richardson.
British Theatre, Opera and Dance
Britain is a nation of drama lovers and in the land that brought you Shakespeare, you'll never be far from some of the best and most varied theatre in the world.
You could start with the smash shows and glitzy musicals in London’s historic ‘Theatreland’ where 40 theatres jostle for your attention. Or, if Shakespeare’s more your thing, head straight to the glorious re-creation of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan Globe Theatre on the south bank of the River Thames. His birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon, home to the internationally renowned Royal Shakespeare Company, is also a must-see.
London is also home to the Royal Opera House where world-class opera takes place in a beautiful setting and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the hub of dance in the UK where you can catch everything from flamenco to hip-hop.
Elsewhere, The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, housed in a spectacular former Cotton Exchange building, is known for first-rate classic and modern productions, while Birmingham’s REP theatre is fully deserving of its reputation as a centre for excellent drama.
Scotland’s capital is best known for the explosive arts jamboree that is the annual Edinburgh Festivals. But visit Edinburgh at any time of the year and you’ll find world-class theatre at some of the UK’s best venues. The Edinburgh Festival Theatre has the biggest stage of any theatre in Britain and is the venue for Edinburgh's most well-regarded shows.
Glasgow is a hotbed of theatrical action and is home to Scottish Opera, the Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland. Head to the Citizen's Theatre to witness ground-breaking contemporary drama or the Tron or The Tramway both known for demanding and thought-provoking work.
If you’re in Cardiff, a visit to the Wales Millennium Centre is a must. It hosts everything from touring West End musicals to ballet and modern dance in a high-tech building that’s worth a look in itself. If you don’t have time for a show, pop in for a backstage tour or a drink in the bar. Free concerts are held daily in the foyer.
Writers and Poets
Follow in the footsteps of Britain's greatest authors.
Britain has produced some of the world's greatest writers and the British landscape has inspired some of the world's most famous stories, poems and plays.
When it comes to literary greats and the locations they wrote about, you’d be hard pushed to find as many as we have in Britain. From Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon to the cobbled alleyways of Charles Dickens’ London, the places in your favorite British stories are just waiting to be explored. And many are just the same today as when our literary greats first experienced them…
You could start at Westminster Abbey in London to see Poets’ Corner where some of our greatest writers are buried including Chaucer, Kipling and the poet Tennyson. Then why not head north to the Lake District where the poet William Wordsworth first saw his ‘host of golden daffodils’? This beautiful National Park is also where Beatrix Potter settled and wrote her beloved children’s books from her enchanting cottage, Hill Top.
In Scotland you’ll discover Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet and the composer of Auld Lang Syne. The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum has rare manuscripts and a unique insight into Scotland’s national hero and his work. And you won’t want to miss Edinburgh, the historic Scottish capital where J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter and where crime novelist Ian Rankin sets his Rebus detective stories.
In Wales, a land of poetry and song, you can see where Dylan Thomas explored his native South Wales and created the lilting poetry and prose that reflects so vividly the Welsh character and landscape.
And if you’re bringing your kids on holiday, the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire is a great place to get a magical glimpse into the wonderful mind that gave us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches and many more.
Fall in love with the words of these writers, then come and see what inspired them yourself!
Top 10 public artworks
Art is everywhere! You don’t need to go to an art gallery to see art in the UK, public art is everywhere – at stations, in shopping centres and on the streets. And the best thing? It’s absolutely free.
Here are 10 pieces well worth seeing.
Angel of the North
Probably the most famous and well-liked piece of public art in the UK, Antony Gormley’s towering 70ft (20m) winged figure stands guard over Newcastle and has become an icon of contemporary art. It’s also one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world - seen by more than one person every second, 90,000 every day or 33 million every year. Most of these are driving by on the A1 but it’s well worth stopping off to see the Angel up close.
Antony Gormley’s second piece on our list consists of 100 cast-iron, life-sized figures spread out along 3km of the foreshore, stretching almost 1km out to sea. Covered by successive tides the piece looks different depending on the level of the water and the pensive figures, each staring continually out to sea are hypnotic. You can currently see Gormley’s new piece, 6 Times, in Edinburgh. The work consists of six life-sized figures positioned between the grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the ocean.
Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square
The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was originally designed in 1841 to display an equestrian statue but when funds ran out the plinth remained empty for over 150 years. In 1998 three pieces were commissioned to be displayed temporarily on the plinth. From then on it’s seen regularly rotating works with highlights including Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel (2007) and Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant (2005). At the time of writing, Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle occupies this coveted spot.
The Doulton Fountain
The biggest terracotta fountain in the world and the best preserved of its kind, the Doulton Fountain is superbly sculptural. Festooned with Victorian colonial detail it was designed to celebrate Britain’s Imperial achievements and includes statues representing Australia, Canada, India and South Africa. It stands on Glasgow Green in view of the equally spectacular Templeton Carpet Factory.
Burghers of Calais
Hopkins London, England
Rodin’s moving sculpture depicts the leaders of Calais sacrificing themselves to King Edward III during the Hundred Years War in order to spare the rest of Calais’ inhabitants. Slightly bigger than lifesize and wearing nooses around their necks, the six figures are tragic, wonderfully expressive and utterly compelling. You can see the bronze in Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster.
Jane Edden’s ordinary looking bollards are dotted around the Hayes and St David's shopping centre in Cardiff. Each bollard has a small peep-hole that you can peer through to see a small scene played out by monochrome figures. The 11 bollards are like little worlds that transport you away from the hubbub of Cardiff’s busy streets. Post Secrets is made all the more charming by the fact that you feel you’ve discovered a secret.
3 ellipses for 3 locks
A series of three yellow ellipses have been painted onto the working locks, gates and even the outer sea wall of the Cardiff Bay Barrage to create a piece that took a year to plan. From virtually every angle the marks look like splashes of random yellow color. But from one specific vantage point three perfectly formed yellow ellipses appear. Felice Varini's 'anamorphic illusion' is intriguing and absorbing.
Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Andy Goldsworthy is famous for his use of natural and often perishable materials. In the past he’s made intricate sculptures from leaves, icicles and flowers. Striding Arches is a permanent sculpture consisting of red sandstone arches that ‘stride’ around the natural amphitheatre that is Cairnhead, deep in the Southern Uplands. The self-supporting arches symbolize a celebration and monument to the Scottish people and the travels they have made’.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Set in the grounds of the Bretton Estate the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is brimming with large-scale outdoor pieces that cover a 500 acre site ranging from woodland to rolling grassland. Artists represented include Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Eduardo Paolozzi. YSP presents changing special exhibitions and individual works by eminent artists all year round, so there are always at least 40 sculptures on display.
Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes
Sir William Goscombe John’s granite obelisk at Pier Head, Liverpool, is a moving tribute to the brave engineering crew of the Titanic. These men, many of whom came from Liverpool, stayed at their posts and kept the ship's lights going as long as possible. After the horrors of World War I the statue was rededicated to ‘honour…all heroes of the marine engine room’. This sombre tribute is part of Liverpool’s fascinating maritime history, commemorating the port’s long association with the ocean and its often unforgiving power.
Just picture it; feel the fresh sea breeze on your face while taking in the sunshine and feeling the sand between your toes. The sea is just a few feet away for when you need a refresh amidst the many activities to engage in. Thousands of Britons and tourists alike flood the seaside looking for the golden stretches a relaxing time off and rightly so! Brighton Pier gives way to a whole range of family-friendly fun including rides and amusements. For sightseeing, you'll never go wrong with a trip to the Seven Sisters cliffs and its beautiful one-of-a-kind white chalk aesthetics. Be sure to pack your swimsuit gear and take a dip!
Brighton is more than the seaside, more than the city and the mix is more than double the fun. Fashionable, funky and loaded with style, Brighton & Hove has everything you could want from a trip to Britain - a royal palace, elegant Regency architecture, museums with more, laid-back beach life and superb shopping – all this on the south coast of England, just 49 minutes from central London.
Orkney, off the northern tip of mainland Scotland, is a group of over 70 islands, only 17 of which are inhabited. Most of Orkney’s locals live in the main towns of Kirkwall and Stromness, where you'll find great tourist attractions and activities to suit every interest. The quiet sandy beaches, stunning scenery, abundance of wildlife, fresh quality cuisine and warm welcoming hospitality make these islands an ideal place for a relaxing visit or an action-packed holiday.
One of England’s sunniest counties, Devon’s home to surfing lessons on long sandy beaches, hidden coves, wild camping on rugged Dartmoor and leisurely drives along country lanes. Get ready for rolling green fields, clotted cream, fresh crab sandwiches by the harbour and cider in a country pub. Devon really does have everything.
Dorset offers the 'best of England' - delightful rolling countryside, World Heritage coastline, pretty villages, historic market towns, colorful events, attractions and lovely accommodation. Dorset is the place to experience sailing, windsurfing and other watersports (Weymouth and Portland proudly hosted the Olympic sailing events in 2012). If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at kitesurfing or wakeboarding? For something a little more relaxing take a walk along the gloriously scenic South West Coast Path or a bit of fishing.
Top 10 ROYAL ATTRACTIONS
Britain is packed with historic monuments, royal palaces and some of the world's top museums. Your clients can visit the house where Shakespeare was born, walk in the footsteps of Harry and Meghan, climb cathedral spires or uncover the Tower of London's dark history.
1. Buckingham Palace
One of Britain’s most recognisable landmarks, Buckingham Palace is the office and official residence of the Queen. Every August and September the Queen opens her home to visitors, giving you the chance to tour the lavish State Rooms and Garden, and see some great treasures from the Royal Collection along the way. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is also a must for any first time visitor - this timeless custom occurs daily from May to July, and on alternative days for the rest of the year.
2. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace has been home to many members of the Royal Family, including Queen Victoria, Diana, Princess of Wales, and now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Pay the Palace a visit and discover stories from Queen Victoria's life told in her own words in the Victoria Revealed exhibition; master the games of royal court in the magnificent King's State Apartments; get a glimpse of a modern Princess in a special exhibition of some of Diana's dresses and uncover the secrets of a fragile dynasty in the beautiful Queen's State Apartments.
3. Windsor Castle
Any visit to the UK wouldn't be complete without reliving Harry & Meghan's Royal Wedding with a visit to Windsor Castle. Not only is Windsor Castle the Queen’s favourite residence, it’s also the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. Don’t miss the magnificent State Apartments, St George’s Chapel (the burial ground of 10 monarchs), the Drawings Gallery with its changing exhibitions, and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House - the most famous dolls’ house in the world.
4. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is steeped in over 1000 years of history, and has been the setting for the Coronation of every English monarch from 1066. It has also seen 16 royal weddings, including the Queen’s marriage to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
5. Balmoral Castle & Estate
Purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848, Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire has been a private Scottish home of the British Royal Family ever since. The Queen and her family usually spend their summer on the estate, which opens its grounds, gardens and Castle Ballroom to the public from April to July each year.
6. Sandringham House & Estate
Sandringham House in Norfolk is one of the Queen’s favourite houses, and where she chooses to spend Christmas with her family. Since 1862, Sandringham has been the private home of four generations of monarchs and was once described as ‘The most comfortable house in England’. Visitors can tour the house, gardens and museum are open to the public from April to November.
7. Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty The Queen, stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat. The Palace is best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots – she was married here, and witnessed the brutal killing of her secretary in her private apartments. A tour of the Palace will take you to the State Apartments, the gardens and the Queen’s Gallery, where you’ll find changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.
8. Hampton Court Palace
The magnificent Hampton Court Palace in Richmond, London, was Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence. Step back in time for a taste of Tudor life in Henry VIII’s kitchens; lose yourself in the famous Hampton Court Maze; attend a service at the beautiful Chapel Royal and explore the Hampton Court gardens – internationally renowned for being amongst the most beautiful gardens in the world.
9. Edinburgh Castle
Perched on top of an extinct volcano at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. It became Scotland's chief royal castle in the Middle Ages and is now home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.
10. Tower of London
One of the world’s most famous fortresses, the Tower of London has seen service as a royal palace, prison, armoury and even a zoo. Today, it’s a World Heritage Site, where you’ll be dazzled by the Crown Jewels; hear tales from the Tower on a Yeoman Warder tour; stand in the spot where Henry VIII’s wives Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were executed and discover 500 years of spectacular royal armour in the Fit for a King exhibition.
New Year’s Day Parade & Festival, London
The New Year’s Day Parade in London has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars with up to 10,000 performers from across the world and boasts a street-side audience approaching 500,000. The 2016 Parade will be filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, clowns, acrobats, kites and much more.
Slapstick Festival, Silent Comedy Film Gala, Bristol, west England
21 – 24 January
Your can start the year in good humour with the Slapstick Festival, Bristol’s annual celebration of silent comedy that brings guest comedians, experts and film historians together in a passionate and hilarious celebration of classic silent and visual comedy. Its Silent Comedy Gala has a standalone date in February and moves to Bristol Hippodrome for 2019.
Burns’ Night, Scotland
Every January Scotland celebrates the birthday of Robert Burns, the nation’s very own Bard, with food, drams, dancing and verse. Don’t forget to address the haggis!
Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland *QUIRKY!*
Up Helly Aa is a tradition that originated in the 1880s. This annual event in Shetland is Europe’s largest fire festival and involves a torchlit procession, the burning of a Viking longship and a ceilidh that lasts late into the night. The festival heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
RBS Six Nations Rugby; Cardiff, London, Edinburgh 1 Feb - 16 Mar
The Six Nations Championship for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will see matches take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Twickenham Stadium in London, and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
Olney Pancake Race, Buckinghamshire, England *QUIRKY!*
This unique race literally stops traffic as energetic local ladies in aprons run through the streets of Olney. The tradition supposedly began in the 15th century when a local housewife heard the ringing of the bell summoning the congregation to church while she was making her Shrove Tuesday pancakes – in a rush, she raced to church carrying her frying pan. The course is 415-yards long and the pancakes must be tossed at the start and finish.
Jorvik Viking Festival, York, north England
15 – 21 February
This annual city-wide celebration of York’s Viking heritage is recognized as the largest Viking Festival in Europe, attracting more than 40,000 visitors. Now in its 35th year it commemorates the traditional ‘Jolablot’ celebrations that the Vikings held each February to herald the coming of spring and the survival of winter hardships.
Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow, London
17 – 28 February
The Glasgow Film Festival is the fastest-growing and third-largest film event in Britain with over 350 events.
The National St. David's Day Parade, Cardiff, Wales
St. David is the patron saint of Wales and this day is a celebration of all things Welsh. Visitors will find parades of leeks, daffodils, flags of Saint David himself and herds of red dragons – on flags of course. The capital, Cardiff, holds a National St David's Day Parade.
Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham, South West England, 12-15 March
15 –18 March
Held close to the lovely Regency town of Cheltenham, this National Hunt race meeting attracts prize money second only to the Grand National. Famous for the roar arising from the stands as the tape is raised for the start of the first race on the Tuesday, the excitement continues to build until its climax with Friday’s signature Gold Cup – one of the greatest of all jump-racing events.
Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgow, Scotland 14-31 March
10 – 27 March
The Glasgow International Comedy Festival features a line up of both big league players and emerging talent performing over two and a half weeks in venues throughout the city.
St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland
The national saint of Ireland is celebrated in traditional fashion with festivals, parades, carnivals and concerts the length and breadth of Northern Ireland.
London Coffee Festival, Old Truman Brewery, London 28-31 March
Arabica aficionados can celebrate London coffee culture at this dedicated festival, which brings together a range of coffee-related activities under one roof, as well as art and food spin-off events.
FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, Oxford, south-east England March 30 – April 7
More than 350 writers flock to this famous university city to discuss literary, political, historical, environmental and culinary affairs for this eight-day festival, hosted in Christ Church College within its Tudor hall and cloisters. Visitors can also book to join guided literary walks, lunches and dinner parties with prominent authors. A creative writing course also forms part of the programme.
Grand National, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, North-West England
One of the most famous horse races in the world sees competitors make two circuits of the Grand National course, tackling 30 fences as they cover four and a half miles. The event’s colourful, fashionista celebration, Ladies’ Day, will take place on 5 April.
Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, London
First raced in 1829 the Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. Watched by thousands along the banks of The Tideway, between Putney and Mortlake in south London, this unique sporting event sees two strong squads of athletes competing in yet another great race.
RHS Flower Show Cardiff, Cardiff, south Wales 12-14 April
Cardiff hosts the Royal Horticultural Society’s first major outdoor show of the year. Getting the gardening season started, it’s packed full of amazing show gardens, fabulous floral displays, and lots of garden inspiration.
St. George’s Day, across England
St. George’s Day celebrates the patron saint of England with activities ranging from festivals, ‘dragon’ hunts and medieval banquets happening across England.
Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon, central England
23 – 24 April
Every year a unique event takes place in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the birth of the world’s greatest playwright and 2016 will see even more celebrations as the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death is market. The birthday celebrations are a tradition going back nearly 200 years and are held on the weekend closest to William Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23.
London Marathon, London
The Virgin London Marathon is a phenomenal event to be a part of, not just for the physical challenge, but also because it is the world's largest fundraising event. The London Marathon is one of the five top marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside, Scotland
Spirited, inspiring, Scottish – this festival puts on hundreds of whisky-inspired events over five days. Discover the passion behind the world’s finest whiskies.
Bath in Fashion, Bath, south-west England, April TBC
Bath in Fashion sees fashionistas descend upon the World Heritage City for a week-long celebration of fashion that promises stimulating debate, in-store events and fast-paced catwalks. Expect red carpets with a line-up of stellar designers and global fashion experts.
Highland Games, across Scotland
May – September – Dates TBC
Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year. Each one has a mix of piping, athletic events and Highland dancing.
Whisky Month, across Scotland
May is Whisky Month, taking in a diverse range of events ranging from whisky tasting sessions to behind-the-scenes experiences and distillery tours.
Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool, north-west England
3 – 5 May
Liverpool Sound City is an annual international music festival and industry conference taking place over the weekend. The event welcomes global stars, local artists and key industry figures. The festival has provided a platform for many future stars early on in their careers, including the likes of Ed Sheeran, The xx, Alt J and Calvin Harris.
Brighton Fringe Festival, Brighton, south-east, England
3 May – 2 June
Brighton Fringe is the largest arts festival in England and is set in a city with a unique heritage that has set a pace for diversity, creativity and innovative thinking. As an open-access festival – anyone can put on an event and be included in the brochure and website listings on payment of a fee – Brighton Fringe can include any art form, enabling the development of both new and established work to attract fresh audiences, press and promoters.
Tweed Love Bike Festival, Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders, Scotland
14 – 30 May
The UK's fastest growing cycling festival, held every year in the beautiful Tweed Valley.
Museums at Night, Britain-wide
15 – 18 May (and October TBC)
Britain’s major museums, historic sites and cultural venues open their doors after dark with a variety of torchlit tours, live music and new exhibitions.
Football Association Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London, England
The FA Cup, the oldest domestic Cup competition in the football world, is established as one of the country's great sporting institutions. The history and tradition of the competition, and the pageantry of the Cup Final, is familiar to millions.
Chelsea Flower Show, London
21 – 25 May
One of the best know Royal Horticultural Shows, the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show returns with even more unforgettable floral and horticultural displays.
Birmingham Gay Pride, Birmingham, central England
25 – 26 May
The second largest city in England hosts its annual gay pride, a technicolour spectacular celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender culture.
Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, Brecon Beacons, south Wales
23 May – 2 June
The renowned Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, held annually in a tented village on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, south Wales, brings together some of the greatest contemporary practitioners and the most exciting new voices in literature and arts.
Investec Derby, Epsom Downs Race Course, Surrey, south-east England
31 May – 1 June
The world’s most famous flat race will see riders and owners in pursuit of one of the richest prizes in British racing on 1 June, with the famous Ladies’ Day held the day before on 31 May.
The Bath Festival, Bath, south-west England
May – June TBC
Bath’s flagship festival consists of 17 days of music and literature in the city’s most beautiful venues. With more than 180 live events to choose from, highlights include Bath’s biggest night of free music, Party in the City, and the highly anticipated Finale Weekend.
Cheese rolling at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, south-west, England *QUIRKY!*
A passion for cheese is a must for this annual event, which involves daredevils hurling themselves down the steep, grassy slopes of Coopers Hill, near Gloucester, in pursuit of Double Gloucester cheeses. There are downhill races throughout the afternoon including ones for men and for women. The race starts with the master of ceremonies rolling a 7- 8 lb (4kg) Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. Dozens of competitors run, roll and somersault down the hill after it.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh International Magic Festival is one of the fastest-growing festivals in Edinburgh and the only event of its kind in Britain, giving an audience the opportunity to enjoy a breathtaking spectacle of the finest acts in magic.
Investec Derby, Epsom Downs Race Course, Surrey, south-east England
The world’s most famous flat race will be under starter’s orders for the 236th time, with riders and owners in pursuit of a purse of £1.25million, one of the richest prizes in UK racing.
Glasgow West End Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
June – date TBC
The West End Festival is Glasgow’s most extensive and vibrant cultural summer celebration. The Festival includes hundreds of events from the worlds of music, theatre, dance and also features gala days and guided walks.
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Derbyshire, North England
5 – 9 June
This Royal Horticultural Society’s flower shows made its debut in 2017, joining the existing portfolio of shows at Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park and is hosted in the expansive 1,000-acre grounds of stunning Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, south England
13 – 16 June
This popular music festival on the famous island situated off the south coast of England has impressive musical heritage stretching back to Bob Dylan (who performed here in 1969) and Jimi Hendrix (who took to the stage in 1970). Recent headliners have included Kasabian, The Killers and Liam Gallagher.
Taste of London Festival, London
June – Date TBC
Every year Regent's Park transforms into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. Around 40 of the city's best restaurants dish up their finest dishes for the ultimate alfresco feast, while 200 producers provide a bounty of the best food and beverages from Britain and around the world.
Man v Horse Marathon
The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual 22-mile race, where runners compete against riders on horseback, in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells. The event started in 1980 after a pub landlord overheard two drinkers discussing the merits of men and horses running over mountainous terrain. The course was changed in 1982 to provide a more even match between the man and the horse but it took until 2004 before a man finally beat a horse.
Queen’s Birthday / Trooping the Colour, London, England
Trooping the Colour is the annual celebration of the Queen's official birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, it’s a colourful display of military pageantry featuring 1,400 officers and men on parade in ceremonial uniform, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The Queen always attends the ceremony, which takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, London.
Royal Ascot, Ascot, Berkshire, south-east England
18 – 22 June
Royal Ascot has established itself as a national institution and a major focus of the British social calendar, as well as being the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. Tradition, pageantry, fashion and style all mix together, as well as around 30 races over five days.
Glastonbury Festival, Pilton Somerset, west England
22 – 26 June
Glastonbury Festival is one of the world’s biggest and best music festivals. The list of performers who have rocked the venue’s muddy fields include Dylan, Bowie, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Oasis, Blur, U2, Orbital, Björk, Radiohead and Coldplay. More than 175,000 revellers descend on 900 acres of farmland; the promoters are never afraid to mix it up.
Major League Baseball London Series, London
29 – 30 June
The first-ever Major League Baseball games to be held in Europe, the London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
The Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh, Scotland
20 – 23 June
One of Scotland’s most iconic events, the Royal Highland Show is a major highlight of the Scottish country calendar and firmly established as one of Europe’s most impressive celebrations of farming, food and rural life.
Pride in London, England
London hosts a huge party in the summer with Pride in London - one of Europe’s largest non-ticketed events. The festival usually comes to a close with a sizzling carnival of colour of music, floats and dancing, drawing a huge crowd of spectators.
Swaton Vintage Day & World Egg Throwing Championships, Swaton, Lincolnshire, central England *Quirky*
Contestants have to construct a gravity-powered egg-hurling device to launch an egg to a waiting team member. Distances to be achieved start at 30 metres but can be extended up to 150 in the knock-out competition. Another activity that takes place on the day is the Russian Egg Roulette where two participants select from five hard boiled eggs and one raw egg; they have to smash them onto their own foreheads.
Wimbledon Tennis Championships, London
Arguably the most famous tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships have been played since 1877. Starting at the end of June and lasting approximately two weeks, or until all events are complete, tickets for Wimbledon are always in fierce demand. The club therefore operates a public ballot (lottery) for advanced sales of Centre, No. 1 and No. 2 court tickets. The All England Club has also appointed two official tour operators who provide overseas tours and corporate hospitality packages.
Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames, central England
The picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames will be transformed into a cosmopolitan hub of rowing when the Henley Royal Regatta comes to town. This five-day festival, which attracts international rowing crews, is one of the highlights of the British summer social calendar and offers up to 90 world-class races. The races are head-to-head knock-out competitions, raced over a course of one mile 550 yards (2,112m) from Temple Island upstream towards Henley Bridge.
Upfest, Bristol, south-west England
Upfest, Europe’s biggest, free, street art and graffiti art festival, is now a firmly established annual event in the Bristol calendar attracting more than 250 cutting-edge graffiti artists from all over the world. The artists descend on Bristol to paint visual spectacles at venues throughout Southville and Bedminster with 30,000 square foot of artwork over the weekend. Artists paint to a soundtrack of live music at locations including the Tobacco Factory, The Hen and Chicken and Climbing Centre. Upfest is a family-friendly festival – kids can take part in graffiti workshops, draw on a ‘giant doodle wall’ and lots more art-related activities.
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Cardigan Bay, north Wales
A well-established seafood festival in picturesque Cardigan Bay. Previous participants have included Michelin chefs Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park and Roger Jones of the Little Bedwyn.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club, east Scotland
11 – 14 July
Watch some of the world’s top golfers at their best during this major golf tournament on the European Tour.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, central England
12 – 14 July
The jewel in the crown of British Motorsports, Silverstone is a fast circuit with a series of complex high-speed turns, and a short straight to add to the excitement. Average cornering speeds are higher than at any other championship racetrack.
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival
12 – 21 July
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival plays host to some of the finest jazz and blues talent from all corners of the globe. From bop to boogie-woogie to blues-rock, from samba to swing to soul, the festival takes place over ten groove-packed summer days.
The Open Championship, Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland
14 – 21 July
This year the major golf championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, will be held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
Wakestock Music Festival, Cardigan Bay, north Wales
Europe’s largest wakeboarding music festival, which attracts big name acts and thousands of festival goers, returns to picturesque Cardigan Bay in north Wales. There’s wakeboarding to watch by day and an array of top bands and DJs by night.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire, north-west England
17 – 21 July
This plant lover’s paradise is hosted at Cheshire’s historic neo-classical country mansion, Tatton Park, featuring stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of green-fingered inspiration.
Llangollen Fringe Festival, north-east Wales
18 – 28 July
The Festival includes an eclectic mix of performance-based events including punk, reggae, rock, folk, flamenco, poetry, drama, art and film. Main events take place in Llangollen's town hall, as well as on a narrow boat, steam train, at the ancient ruins of Castell Dinas Bran and in the atmospheric setting of Vale Crucis Abbey.
World Snail Racing Championship, Norfolk, east England *Quirky*
Ready, steady, slow! For more than 25 years, the World Snail Racing Championships have been held at Congham in Norfolk, where more than 300 snails slug it out for the title of ‘Fastest Snail in the World’. Anyone with a snail can enter and a number of heats are held before the final. The winner receives a silver tankard stuffed with lettuce.
The Royal Welsh Show, Llanelwedd, Powys, mid-Wales
22 – 25 July
A major event in the British agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show consists of four days of livestock competitions and wide range of activities including forestry, horticulture, crafts, entertainment, attractions, displays, countryside sports, and shopping.
Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
25 July – 26 August
Britain’s largest annual celebration of visual art, Edinburgh Art Festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year for a diverse and vibrant programme of exhibitions and events at the city’s galleries and museums.
Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, south-west England
26 – 29 July
Bestival consists of four days of live music and premier league DJ and is one of Britain's most colourful festivals, with dressing up encouraged and even a Roller Disco. Previous years have seen headliners such as The Cure, Rudimental and Hot Chip take the stage.
Glorious Goodwood Festival, West Sussex, south England
30 July – 3 August
Enjoy picnics, evening jazz and famous faces alongside flat racing at this small and sophisticated horse racing event held every year at the course owned by the Earl of March on his country estate near Chichester.
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Cardigan Bay, north Wales
A well-established seafood festival in picturesque Cardigan Bay. Previous participants have included Michelin chefs Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park and Roger Jones of the Little Bedwyn.
Pride, Bristol, south-west England
3 – 12 July
Bristol Pride is a week-long LGBT festival that culminates in a massive outdoor music and arts festival which takes place in Castle Park. Kicking off with the Pride Parade through the city the festival features entertainment, a family area, funfair, market stalls, food stalls, bars and a Community Area hosting more than 60 organisations ranging from health services, charities and sports groups.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Surrey, south-east England
1 – 7 July
The world’s largest annual flower show returns in 2019. A plant lover’s paradise, it’s packed with stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of garden inspiration.
International Eisteddfod, Llangollen, north-east Wales
5 – 10 July
Every year more than 4,000 singers from across the globe descend on the small town of Llangollen in north-east Wales – just 50km from Liverpool – to compete in 25 different competitions celebrating song, music and dance, closing with the prestigious ‘Choir of the World’ where winning choirs compete for the Pavarotti Trophy.
Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, Cardiff, Wales
Every year the Welsh capital welcomes this popular festival, with hundreds of stalls offering delicious food and drink to try and buy, from Wales and all over the world. Highlights include Welsh cheeses, Norwegian smoked salmon, French wines and Persian snack foods.
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening, London, England
July – September TBC
Explore the palace’s lavishly furnished State Rooms – where the Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions – and witness some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.
The Welsh Proms, Cardiff, Wales
The Welsh Proms feature the world's top orchestras, soloists and conductors. There’s a strong classical programme, alongside jazz, soul, rock dance and world music.
Goodwood Festival of Speed, Sussex, south England
Along the Sussex coast lies the Goodwood Motor Circuit near Chichester. Each summer the circuit is the venue for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the largest car culture event in the world. Around 150,000 visitors attend three days' worth of races to celebrate the history of motor racing, including a hill climb featuring classic Formula One cars, and a forest rally stage.
Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England
Bristol Pride is a week-long LGBT festival that culminates in a massive outdoor music and arts festival that takes place in Castle Park. Kicking off with the Pride parade through the city, the festival also features entertainment, a family area, funfair, market stalls, food stalls, and bars.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Castle Stuart, Inverness, Scotland
7 – 10 July
Watch some of the world’s leading golfers at their very best as the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. World number one Luke Donald will be back to defend his title and also playing before the Highland crowds is three-times Masters’ champion Phil Mickelson and three-times major champion Padraig Harrington. Castle Stuart Golf Links opened to worldwide acclaim in 2009 and is regarded as a modern links classic.
Bristol Harbour Festival
Bristol Harbour Festival is a free weekend of music, markets and maritime fun based around Bristol’s historic harbourside. Packed with live performance, artists, musicians, circus acts, children’s events, dancers, food markets and street stalls. On the water, hundreds of sailing vessels provide a vibrant backdrop to the activities.
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
See established jazz legends and rising stars in their element at this annual jazz and blues celebration in Scotland’s festival city.
The Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly, south Wales
The town of Caerphilly comes to life as people of all ages come to The Big Cheese, a free extravaganza including street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, troubadours and much more.
SummerTyne Americana Festival, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, north-east England
SummerTyne Americana Festival is a popular weekend event that attracts visitors from across the world for a sizzling celebration of Americana music in and around the spectacular setting of Sage Gateshead, on the south bank of the River Tyne.
Glasgow Mela, Glasgow, Scotland
Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival lights up Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park every summer in a kaleidoscope of colours, with music, dance, performance and tastes from around the globe.
Liverpool International Music Festival, Sefton Park, Liverpool, north-west England
This two-day celebration in Liverpool hosts big names in hip-hop, house and pop, while also promoting new talent, musical heritage and cultural diversity.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, central England
8 – 10 July
The jewel in the crown of British Motorsports, Silverstone is a fast circuit with a series of complex high-speed turns, and a short straight to add to the excitement – average cornering speeds are higher than at any other championship racetrack.
World Pea Shooting Championships, Cambridgeshire, east England *QUIRKY!*
Tension rises as the World Pea Shooting Festival in Witcham grows closer. The competition started as a means of fundraising for the village but has progressed to receive international recognition with contenders coming from as far afield as the USA. Skill will shoot one expert marksman (or woman) into the slot of World Champion, while the runners up can commiserate at the village fete that accompanies the festivities.
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
15 – 24 July
See jazz stars established and soon-to-be at the annual jazz and blues fest in Scotland’s festival city.
World Snail Racing Championship, Norfolk, east England *QUIRKY!*
Ready, Steady, Slow! For more than 25 years, the World Snail Racing Championships have been held at Congham, near King's Lynn, in Norfolk. More than 300 snails slug it out for the title of ‘Fastest Snail in the World’ at the World Snail Racing Championships. Anyone with a snail can enter and a number of heats are held before the grand final. The winner receives a silver tankard stuffed with lettuce. The world record is held by a snail called Archie who completed the 13-inch course (set up on top of a table) in two minutes.
Happy Days – Beckett Festival, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
July – Date TBC
The first annual multi-arts festival to celebrate the work and influence of writer and Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett, events range from concerts to visual art, theatre to poetry.
Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, Cardiff, Wales
July – Date TBC
Every year the Welsh capital welcomes this popular festival, which takes over Cardiff Bay, giving way to hundreds of stalls offering delicious food and drink to try and buy from all over the world and Wales. Highlights include Welsh cheeses, Norwegian smoked salmon, French wines and Persian snack foods.
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening, London
July – Date TBC
Explore lavishly furnished State Rooms – where the Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions – and witness some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection. The Palace’s 19 State Rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.
The Welsh Proms, Cardiff, Wales
July – Date TBC
The Welsh Proms features the world's top orchestras, soloists and conductors. There’s a strong classical programme but also jazz, soul, rock dance and world music.
SummerTyne Americana Festival, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, north-east England
July – TBC
SummerTyne Americana Festival is an immensely popular weekend event that attracts visitors from across the world for a sizzling celebration of Americana music in and around the spectacular setting of Sage Gateshead, on the south bank of the river Tyne.
No matter the time of year you visit, there will always be a festivity to earmark your holiday in Britain. Talk to your travel advisor about events you would like to experience!
From the idyllic sanctuaries of the Lake District to the brooding, legend-steeped Scottish Lochs – and so many ways to explore them – there’s no country like Britain for a taste of the great outdoors. Whether on bike or on foot, visitors can ravish the sprawling Welsh coast and wild landscapes of Devon—straight out of a fairy tale. With famous lakes, glens, hollow ways and a multitude of eccentric wildlife to be found all over the country, there’s enough eye candy to ensnare your imagination for years to come. You will need to bring a camera and step out into the great outdoors!
WALKING AND HIKING
There’s no better way to take in your surroundings and taste the outdoors than making use of the walking trails made just for you. Sightsee without distraction, take your time and absorb the stunning beauty of Dovedale, from the wooded valleys to the rare wildlife. The Wales Coast Path gives you the change to indulge in one of Britain’s best coastal scenery. You can even stop by the artistically enriching Street Art Tours in East London for some truly alternative artwork to get a taste of what British Street Art is truly about. Have your clients follow the trail and soak up the sights and culture!
England's Great Walking Trails:
England’s Great Walking Trails are a collection of some of the finest National Trails that England has to offer. See the very best of the English outdoors by walking one of these trails by day, whilst relaxing in true comfort at night. All of our trails have their own personalities that make each one of them special and by visiting the rural regions that they’re within, you will get to experience the very best of England’s intrinsic beauty. With itineraries from 3 to 14 days, and a range of accommodation from luxury to quirky, all set up for you to contract via local operators, there is a route for those looking for a gentle stroll, as well as those looking for an energetic hike.
Wales Coastal Path:
The first national trail to cover the coast of an entire country, the Wales Coast Path is an 870-mile (1400km) adventure through some of Britain’s best coastal scenery.
Hadrian’s Wall, Northeast England
Once an ancient Roman fortification built to ward off the northern tribes, these days Hadrian’s Wall is a World Heritage Site and fantastic location for walking.
It marks a National Trail that runs for 84 miles (135km) through the spectacular landscapes of the Northumberland National Park.
Walkers here can look over miles of sweeping farmland to the distant rise of the Whin Sill escarpment and the lush green pastures of Cumbria, and imagine the Roman soldiers who once kept guard on the wall.
Cotswold Way, Central England
If you’re looking for those traditional English countryside scenes of rolling green hills, forests and farmland, the Cotswolds offers just that.
The Cotswold Way runs for 102 miles (163km), rewarding walkers with great views over the beech woods, pasture and traditional limestone villages of the Severn Vale.
The West Highland Way, Highlands, Scotland
The West Highland Way is like a sightseer’s guide to Scotland’s most famous landscapes.
The snowy crags of Ben Lomond, the great glassy expanse of Loch Lomond, and the rugged peaks of Glencoe are among the sights you’ll encounter as you tackle Scotland’s great outdoors, and meet all kinds of wildlife as you go.
Parks & Gardens
Woodland walks, classical follies, brilliant blooms and great estates. Explore some of the world's greatest parks and gardens for a taste of everything from elegance to romance, geometric layouts to topiary and plenty of Capability Brown. Travellers can walk in the grassy footsteps of historic figures from Winston Churchill to Anne Boleyn, stop by Chatsworth house for some royal exploration and beautiful acres of greenery. Don’t miss out on London’s Hyde Park for a nature break while roaming through London’s biggest and best shopping districts and stop by Marble Arch for a healthy dose of history!
Studley Royal, Yorkshire, England
Prepare yourself for Georgian elegance at its finest. The water gardens of Studley Royal are full of tranquil water features, neo-classical statues and sweeping landscaped lawns that tie everything together. You’ll find follies tucked away within the thick foliage as though you’ve been transported into a magical place, full of mysterious structures. Explore at your leisure and enjoy the views of the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. You’ll find a medieval deer park here too, and if you keep exploring, you’ll discover the ruins of 12th-century Fountain’s Abbey at the valley bottom.
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Wales
Unwind among the natural beauty of the National Botanic Garden of Wales. It’s full of things to see and do, from Wales’ rarest tree to an atmospheric sculpture garden and the enormous dome of the Great Glasshouse. Kids will love looking for little creatures in the dipping ponds and running wild in the adventure zone, while the range of themed gardens — particularly the spectacular Ghost Forest — ensures there’s always something new to see.
Kew Gardens, London, England
London’s Kew Gardens was established back in 1759, and today it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions and a World Heritage Site. From its grand Victorian glasshouses to its dazzling array of trees, plants and flowers from all across the world, it’s a real feast for the senses. Learn all about different plants and their uses in medicine, admire its collection of 40 listed buildings, and wander freely among trees and plants of all colours and kinds. The Japanese Garden, arboretum and treetop walkway are just a few of the highlights.
Stowe Landscape Gardens, Bucks, England
One of garden designer Capability Brown’s greatest works, Stowe Landscape Garden has a magical air to it. Full of water features, beautifully landscaped curves and long avenues, it’s brought to life by a collection of grand follies. Temples and monuments rise up out of wooded areas, or stand in isolation in grassy spaces, and give a mysterious atmosphere to a beautiful garden – in fact, they’re meant to tell a story about man’s path through life, but you’ll need to visit to discover more.
Eden Project, Cornwall, England
If you feel like a trip to a rainforest, you only need to go as far as Cornwall. Stroll past waterfalls and gigantic plants as you explore the Eden Project’s tropical jungle, which grows beneath huge geodesic domes among the rolling Cornish hills. See olive groves and lemon trees in the Mediterranean biome, then explore the outdoor gardens to see gorgeous native blooms, and learn all about the uses of plants. The Eden Project also hosts music and comedy events, so if you fancy an evening out among the flowers, this is the place to go.
Drumlanrig Castle Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Discover 40 acres of gorgeous gardens in the grounds of one of Scotland’s most magnificent castles. Drumlanrig Castle Gardens bring together woodland walks, a grand Victorian glasshouse and formal gardens which date back to the 17th century. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Kingfishers, red squirrels, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers as you explore.
BRITAIN'S BEST FAMILY ATTRACTIONS
From knights’ quests to tree-top adventures, high-speed rollercoasters to gruesome tales at the Tower of London: have a fun day out at one of Britain’s best family attractions. Choose between culture, heritage, or straight-up fun!
Alton Towers, Staffordshire, England
One of Britain’s best known theme parks, Alton Towers is home to a fantastic selection of death-defying rides. Venture into the dark forest of Thirteen, or whoosh along head-first on Air. Don’t worry if you prefer gentler fun, as there are plenty of slower rides too, not to mention a water park and even a spa for the adults. Be sure to explore Alton Towers itself, the partially ruined stately home that gives the park its name.
The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Manchester, England
Huge machines, steam-power, and science in action: the Museum of Science and Industry gives the inside story on how machinery has developed over the years. Learn about flight and space travel, the earliest telephone systems, the Industrial Revolution and the growth of Manchester as an industrial centre.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England
Alnwick Castle combines a stunning medieval castle with exciting activities for families, and it’s also rather famous among Harry Potter fans. Alnwick played the role of Hogwarts in the films, and you can learn all about its Hollywood career on the Battleaxe to Broomsticks Tour. You’ll also learn all about medieval life and try crafts on Knights Quest. And if all that’s given you an appetite, enjoy a picnic in the castle gardens.
Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland
Experience the past brought to life at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow’s museum of transport. Walk along a recreated 19th-century street, step inside shops and learn all about transport through the ages as you come face to face with the vehicles that changed city life. Historic trams, carriages, and cars are just some of the gleaming exhibits on display here.
Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, England
Cheetahs, lions, tigers, giraffes: Whipsnade Zoo has a very exotic list of residents, and it’s a long list, because this is the UK’s biggest zoo. They have room here for some of nature’s most sizeable specimens, including elephants and rhinos, so it’s an excellent choice if you want to meet a lot of different creatures. Learn about conservation, watch the animals being fed, and get to know more about their habits in fun Q&A sessions.
Tower of London, England
Step inside London’s forbidding fortress, seat of power through some of the most turbulent centuries of British history. Many famous figures have been held within these walls, including some of Henry VIII’s unfortunate wives. Hear about the princes in the tower, meet the ravens that live here, and see the highest prize of all, the fabulous Crown Jewels.
Dr Who Experience, Cardiff, Wales
Cybermen, daleks, and the mysterious two-brained Ood: come face to face with your favourite Doctor Who characters as you leap through time at the Dr Who Experience. Embark on an interactive adventure, fly the Tardis and see some fantastic special effects before you see behind the scenes of one of Britain’s classic TV characters.
CASTLES FOR KIDS
Castles are alive with the stories of the past and the events, exhibitions and activities of today. So whether you fancy a majestic fortress, grim prison or luxurious mansion you'll find a great family day out at one of Britain's castles...
Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
Framlingham in Suffolk is an impressive example of a 12th century medieval castle which has maintained its original character over the centuries. And now the spiral staircases and 13m curtain walls, the dry moat and ornate Tudor chimneys make for a great family day out. There are a number of events which take place throughout the year at Framlingham including Knight School where your children can learn the skills of a medieval warrior and attend sword-fighting lessons to fight in a mock battle!
Bateman's, East Sussex
If you’re a fan of the timeless children’s classic The Jungle Book, then a trip to Bateman’s in East Sussex will be a treat for the whole family. This beautiful Jacobean house was home to Rudyard Kipling from 1902 – 1936 and is still home to the author’s oriental artefacts and the original illustrations of the Jungle Book. Events surrounding these novels and annual festivals take place in the beautiful garden which boasts a river and working water mill. Such days out include Family Fun days, Kipling literary days, Paint the garden, Easter Egg trails, Jungle Hunt trails and Hallowe'en trails.
Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
With spectacular coastal views over Abersdeenshire, Scotland, Dunnottar Castle stands on the edge of a sheer-sided rock, 50m above the sea. It’s famous for holding out against Cromwell’s army for eight months and saving the Scottish Crown jewels for Charles II. William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots were other famous residents in this fortification. In total, eleven buildings remain which include the 13th century chapel and 17th century ballroom. For excellent views, historical events and a great place for a family picnic, this Scottish jewel is worth a visit.
St Mawes Castle, Cornwall
A wonderful example of a Tudor castle can be seen in St Mawes Castle in Cornwall. All visitors enter the fort via a small bridge into the central tower and there’s lots of room inside for children to explore and run around. Make sure you don’t miss the cannons and the unique decorative carvings within this clover-leaf shaped fort. Nearby is the sister castle, Pendennis Castle and family events take place both here and in St Mawes. The Grand Medieval Joust will transport you back in time and there is even an opportunity to see Henry VIII and experience Tudor times.
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Osborne House is Queen Victoria’s palace by the sea. After her first visit to the house on the Isle of Wight, England’s longest-reigning monarch wrote: ‘It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot’. In the mid 19th century, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Osbourne House and rebuilt it as an 800-hectare estate and family bolthole. The Swiss Cottage is a favourite with children with its child-size furniture and the play area is the ideal place to let off steam. There are acres of parkland and gardens to explore and relax in, which you can enjoy on foot or in a horse-drawn carriage. And a restaurant and café are on hand for family refreshments.
Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Steeped in royal history, Sudeley Castle was once the home of Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s last wife), and was also visited or lived in by Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. However, after lying empty for 200 years it was restored by the Dent and Brocklehurst families. It now has a busy calendar of events from Meet the Tudors to the House of Fairy Tales and families can appreciate the grounds and the exhibitions it boasts. Such exhibitions include the Emma Dent Collection and her correspondence with Florence Nightingale.
Carreg Cennen Castle, Carmarthenshire in Wales
Appearing suddenly from behind hedgerows of the winding country roads, Carreg Cennen Castle, Wales entices you to make a speedy advance. Perched high above the Welsh countryside, it commands great views of the Black Mountain. This 13th century castle, which was involved in the War of the Roses, has a unique atmosphere and is fun for families to explore. To the south east corner of the castle, a steep stairway leads into the bowels of the castle, and into a damp and narrow limestone cave. Be sure to take a torch as you will soon be plunged into complete darkness as it takes you right under the castle.
Hurst Castle, Hampshire
With 360 degree views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight, Hurst Castle stands at the end of Hurst Point in Hampshire, over a mile out into the English Channel along a shingle walk. Built by Henry VIII in 1544, Hurst Castle has had a varied history; Charles I was held prisoner here before being executed in London and it was subsequently used in the Napoleonic wars and during the two World Wars. The castle has a 12-sided Tudor Keep housing a narrow staircase and many small nooks and crannies, ideal for a game of hide and seek with the children. There are also exhibits on display and a working lighthouse right next door, so there is something for every member of your family.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland and is situated at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle. In the 12th century, Holyroodhouse was founded as a monastery and the ruins of the abbey can still be seen today. However, it became a royal palace and was home to Mary Queen of Scots whose bedroom and belongings are still on view. Find out more about the historical importance of Holyroodhouse with the audio guides available on site, ideal for the whole family.
Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
Castle Howard is an enchanting 18th century palace, home of the Howard family situated in the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The unique setting in 1,000 acres of parkland offers breathtaking views. Within the grounds you can relax in The Walled Rose Garden or have family fun feeding the peacocks, boating on the lake and enjoying the adventure playground. Castle Howard has several exhibitions running including Brideshead Revisited, The Women of Castle Howard and The Building of Castle Howard among others.
Food & Drink
No one does food like the British do. Whether it’s a traditional afternoon tea, fish and chips by the seaside or one of countless international cuisines when eating out, you can find everything you need to know about food in Britain here. From regional specialties like the legendary Cornish pasty to the dark and peppery Haggis, there’s a mouth-watering delight to be tried (and devoured!) in Britain’s every corner. Yum!
There’s no better way to describe a classic British tradition than afternoon tea. With its ever-rising popularity, more restaurants, hotels and cafes now offer indulgent, bold and colourful spreads. A classic afternoon tea selection usually consists of scones, clotted cream, jam, finger sandwiches, cakes, tarts and of course tea. However, various quirky variations have now been created including Japanese afternoon tea, Moroccan afternoon tea and even a Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea with cakes inspired from the Disney classic Alice in Wonderland.
The UK is full of hearty food across the country and now with much of the produce being home-grown there couldn’t be a better time to sample some of the regional specialties. Relax on the coastline of Cornwall and sink your teeth into a rich Cornish pasty or visit the home of cream tea – Devon for some scones and clotted cream. Head up north to Scotland to embark on the infamous Malt Whiskey Trail and for any cheese lovers out there a trip to Cheshire is in order for an evening of cheese and wine tasting.
London has long been a melting pot of people and cultures, and nothing illustrates this better than the city’s diverse culinary scene. Its drink offering is varied too; in fact, it is not uncommon to find a pub hundreds of years old in the same street as a curry house or tapas bar.
A plethora of exciting artisan producers work out of London, including gin distillers, craft beer brewers, and chocolatiers. Not only that, but you can find the best produce from across Britain at one of London’s many food markets, such as Borough Market near London Bridge. A thriving street food scene has also developed with events held regularly across the city.
Home to many world-famous and up-and-coming chefs, London is truly a gourmet capital, boasting 71 Michelin-starred restaurants in 2018, more than Madrid, Rome and Berlin combined.
The people of Yorkshire are immensely proud of their county, and especially their food and drink. There is certainly a lot more on offer than Yorkshire puddings! Yorkshire has a diverse landscape featuring cosmopolitan cities, pretty market towns, rugged coastline and the famous Moors and Dales, something which is reflected in the range of food and drink experiences on offer.
Famous for its sweet dishes such as curd tart or parkin (a type of ginger cake), it’s no surprise that Yorkshire is where famous confectioners like Rowntree’s, Terry’s and Bassett’s originated.
Today, some of Britain’s best meat, cheese, beer and baked goods producers can be found in Yorkshire and there is no better place to sample them than in one of the many outstanding pubs, restaurants and tea rooms, or direct from the producer at a farmer’s market or farm shop. Locals will also tell you that Whitby is the fish and chip capital of the world!
Devon & Cornwall
A visit to the South West counties of Devon and Cornwall never disappoints – not only is the region blessed with the best of the British weather, but also some of the finest food and drink.
A journey along the coast will take in many picturesque fishing towns and opportunities to sample the morning’s local catch, be it delicious oysters or crab, or a traditional fish and chips.
Head inland and you will find vineyards producing award-winning wines – happy to throw open their cellar doors to visitors – traditional pubs serving locally sourced food, beers and ciders (another specialty of the region), and grand country hotels offering superb fine dining experiences.
You can’t visit Cornwall without trying a Cornish pasty, and there is no doubt that the most delicious cream teas can be found in this part of Britain.
Scotland is known around the world as the home of the finest whisky and salmon, but there is so much more to Scotland’s unrivaled natural larder. Whether it is Angus beef for the juiciest steaks, delicious fresh oysters from Loch Fyne, or traditional shortbread, your clients can enjoy culinary experiences that perfectly complement the stunning scenery that rewards any who visit Scotland.
For city lovers, creative restaurateurs have inspired a vibrant food and drink scene in Glasgow, with modern Scottish cuisine that transforms traditional dishes like haggis into something unique. Edinburgh is no different, with an impressive collection of Michelin-starred restaurants. Both are fast gaining reputations as must-visit foodie destinations and are now easier than ever to reach, with excellent rail and air connections to the rest of Britain.
Wales offers a unique culinary adventure, set against the stunning backdrop of its hills, valleys and coastlines.
Renowned worldwide for its cheese, a visit to Wales not only gives visitors the chance to try some crumbly Caerphilly or some smooth Teifi, but also the chance to get up close to see how this and a wide range of other award winning cheese is made. But there’s more. With the clear waters of the Menai Strait producing some of the world’s best sea salt, and smooth whiskies coming from the hills of the Brecon Beacons, there are culinary discoveries to be made around every corner.
Pick up a picnic from a local farm shop, brimming with delicious regional produce, stop for a pint in a country pub that hasn’t changed for over 100 years, go on a foraging course to make hedgerow cocktails, or take a food safari through buzzing Cardiff. Whatever visitors are looking for, in a country that is just 140 miles from top to bottom, let us help you find something to whet their appetite.
For tea and luxury you won't find better than classic hotel venues like Brown's Hotel, Claridge’s, The Langham and The Ritz in London and The Balmoral in Edinburgh.
If you like tea with history, many British country houses and historic attractions will happily oblige. Visit The Pump Room at the Roman Baths in Bath for afternoon tea followed by a drop of famous Bath Spa water or take tea at Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
If you're in need of refreshment after a shopping trip, the Queen's grocer Fortnum and Mason in London is a lovely setting for tea and cakes as is the luxurious store, Harvey Nichols. Their fourth-floor restaurant overlooking Edinburgh's rooftops is a great place in which to enjoy delicately crafted cakes and moreish sandwiches.
For tea with a twist try Glasgow's 'magic teashop' Tchai-Ovna, a relaxed hangout with eclectic furnishings and dark, comfy corners serving 80 different teas or Liverpool's 'punk' Leaf tea bar. It serves tea by day and turns into a late-night club with DJ-sets and a cool crowd.
And don't be surprised if you're offered something a little stronger with your tea. What could be better than the finest handmade cakes and sandwiches washed down with a glass of Champagne? Delicious!
TOP TEN HISTORIC PUBS
Traditional English inns and pubs In the colder months, a cosy and traditional English inn can be the perfect place to be. After a crisp walk in the countryside, warm your toes by a roaring fire whilst savouring a local ale or fine liqueur. With many of England’s pubs and inns offering food and accommodation, they’re wonderfully hospitable too.
1. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, Liverpool
Built in 1858, the Phil, as it’s affectionately known, is special from its gilded iron gates to the luxurious marble urinals in the gents’ toilets. Standing appropriately between Liverpool’s two towering cathedrals this temple to Victorian pub design also has mosaic floors and stained glass. John Lennon famously complained that the chief price of fame was ‘not being able to go for a drink in the Phil’.
2. Eagle and Child, Oxford
Drink in the Oxford atmosphere at this 17th-century pub once a favourite of J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and later, Inspector Morse creator, Colin Dexter. Today you’ll find the Eagle and Child a simple pub with decent ales. Other historic pubs in Oxford include the The Bear and the Lamb and Flag.
3. Olde Cheshire Cheese, London
Of all the fascinating, historical and visit-worthy pubs in London we could list we’ve plumped for the 17th-century Olde Cheshire Cheese. Its cosy warren of dark rooms reeks of history and Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were all regulars. The pub is famously referred to in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. These days its snug rooms offer a perfect place for a restorative ale after a hard day’s sightseeing.
4. Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham
Favoured pitstop for crusading knights en route to the Holy Land, the Olde Trip to Jerusalem has stood beneath Nottingham Castle since 1189. It’s connected to the caves at the foot of the castle and still has an atmospheric cavern-like feel. The pub’s cellars used to be part of the castle gaol and an old cockfighting pit.
5. Crown Posada, Newcastle
The Crown Posada city centre pub is high on Victorian charm and Geordie spirit. Enjoy a Newcastle Brown Ale and admire the magnificent pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows, gilt mirrors and coffered ceiling. An old gramophone in a wooden cabinet and a stack of LPs provide mellow background music when the pub is quiet.
6. Haunch of Venison, Salisbury
The Haunch of Venison has been around since the 14th century. Its two bars have several unique features including England’s last surviving complete pewter bar top and the ‘horsebox’ - a small bar reputedly used by Churchill and Eisenhower during the planning of the D-Day landings. The House of Lords bar proudly displays a severed, mummified hand said to be that of a cheating cards player.
7. The Eagle, Cambridge
Though busy with tourists and students The Eagle is worth a stop for its varied and romantic history. It’s where James Watson and Francis Crick drank during their ground-breaking research into DNA and the RAF bar has a ceiling with World War II graffiti daubed in lipstick, smoke and candle wax.
8. Britons Protection, Manchester
The Britons Protection is stuffed with Victorian decorative detail and is famous for its bewildering selection of whiskies. Open fires, solid wooden furniture and etched glass all lend a pleasing, old-fashioned feel. Wall tiles depict the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819 when government troops killed 15 people who were among a crowd demonstrating for parliamentary reform. The incident took place not far from the pub.
9. Café Royal, Edinburgh
Built in 1863, the Café Royal is a Victorian gem that joins ornate plasterwork, stained glass and marble to dazzling effect. The highlight here, though, is the unique set of Doulton ceramic murals depicting historical innovators like Watt, Faraday and Caxton. The food is excellent with Scottish classics including Cullen Skin and Arbroath Smokies.
10. The White Lion, Barthomley, Cheshire
The Winner of the Good Pub Guide’s Unspoilt Pub of the Year Award, The White Lion has a fantastic Tudor interior with low beams, a thatched roof and latticed windows. Barthomley itself is a charming village and from the pub garden you can take in views of the early 15th-century church of St Bertoline.
The UK is home to hundreds of food markets embracing various cultures from across the globe. From artisan street food stalls to cool trendy farmers markets, regardless of your preference, you’re guaranteed to find a dish to suit your palette. Not only is street food great for sampling diverse cuisines but it’s also an affordable alternative to pricey restaurants. Head to Brick Lane Market to sample some of the best curries in the country or choose from a selection of 150 food stalls at the capital’s favourite Borough Market.
1. The oldest: The Old Ferry Boat, Cambridgeshire
Reputedly England’s oldest inn, The Old Ferry Boat sits on the riverbank in rural Cambridgeshire. The current premises, complete with thatched roof and white stonework, date from 1400 – although it’s believed that an inn stood on this site as long ago as 560. The pubs old heart is rustic and cosy, with inglenook fireplace and mismatched furniture. Its 7 guest bedrooms, housed in a later extension, are designed for today’s travellers with contemporary comforts such as modern en-suite bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.
Getting there: In Cambridgeshire, 2hrs north of London by car.
2. The most deadly: The Ostrich, Berkshire
With so many of Britain’s pubs being steeped in history, it’s not uncommon for some to have a gruesome past, but some have a reputation for gore that’s hard to beat. Dating from 1106, The Ostrich in the village of Colnbrook, near to London’s Heathrow Airport, hides a particularly murky past behind its historic white and timber façade. In the 17th-century, the pub landlord and his wife made a great deal of money by murdering guests as they slept. A trapdoor was built into the floor of one bedroom, and when a suitably rich candidate would retire to bed, a hinge mechanism would tip the sleeping victim into a vat of boiling liquid below, thus killing him. It’s said they murdered and robbed up to 60 guests before being caught. If you stay the night in one of its stylishly decorated rooms, beware of creaking hinges!
Getting there: 50mins west of London by car.
3. The haunted one: Mermaid Inn, Rye
Many British pubs lay claim to a resident ghost or two, but the Mermaid Inn in the old town of Rye, south east England, boasts five! This historic inn dates back to 1420, although its ancient cellars date from 1156. There are many eerie tales from the inn’s 600 years of history, including a legend that it was used as a base for a notorious band of smugglers. For those brave enough to spend the night, this impressive old inn has 31 bedrooms full of period character.
Getting there: Rye is on the Sussex coast, 80mins south east of London by train.
4. The award winner: The Bell at Ramsbury, Wiltshire
A 300 year old former coaching inn in the beautiful village of Ramsbury, The Bell at Ramsbury was named AA Pub of the Year England 2017-2018. Judges appreciated its ‘comfy rooms and welcoming bar and café’. As part of the Ramsbury Estate, with its own brewery, distillery and smokehouse, its restaurant serves the best of modern British cuisine using seasonal produce sourced from the estate. Its nine bedrooms are decorated in an understated classic style with neutral tones.
Getting there: Ramsbury is in Wiltshire, 1hr 40mins west of London by car.
5. The vegetarian: The Walnut Tree, Suffolk
Having run a successful little pub called The Veggie Red Lion, the team have now moved to bigger premises to open their very own vegetarian and vegan pub The Walnut Tree in a pretty, rural village in Suffolk, south east England.
Getting there: Suffolk is 2hrs 30mins north east of London by car.
6. The literary challenge: Jamaica Inn, Cornwall
One of Cornwall’s most notorious smugglers inns, Jamaica Inn is world famous thanks to Daphne du Maurier’s bestselling novel. Having stayed here in 1930, hearing tales of local smugglers, she was inspired to write her own compelling story. Built in 1750, Jamaica Inn was a rest-stop for travellers crossing the treacherous Bodmin Moor. Due to its remote location, the inn became a hideaway for smugglers and the contraband they brought ashore.
Getting there: In Cornwall, south-west England, 4hrs 15mins west of London by car.
7. The fully sustainable - The Long Arm, London
Britain’s first fully sustainable pub The Long Arm has opened in the trendy Shoreditch neighbourhood of east London. Its tank-fresh beers have a zero carbon footprint, because they’re produced, sold and consumed on site with no packaging required. The pub is also an urban farm: spent grains from the beer brewing process are fed to fish, which in turn makes organic fertilizer – altogether creating the optimal growing environment that enables them to produce vegetables, herbs and fish for the pub kitchen.
Getting there: The nearest underground station is Liverpool Street.
8. The museum quality art -The Gunton Arms, North Norfolk coast
A traditional pub with bedrooms set within a country park in North Norfolk, one thing sets The Gunton Arms apart from similar country pubs – and that’s the quality of the art on its walls. Owned by art dealer Ivor Braka since 2009, the pub reflects its owners passion for modern art, and boasts works by many renowned British and international artists included Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Lucian Freud, Glenn Brown, Beatriz Mihazes and Frank Auerbach. Getting there: Cromer is on the North Norfolk coast, 3hrs 30min north east of London by car.
WORLD HERITAGE SITES
World Heritage Sites Explore British landmarks and attractions that hold irreplaceable cultural, scientific and historical significance. For the archaeologists, the Giant’s Causeway is a treasure and continues to fascinate its thousands of visitors each year. It's the site of a remarkably unique rock formation leaving us with a jaw-dropping beautiful natural phenomenon. This birthed and inspired countless legends and makes it a keen tourist site for many. For some luxurious relaxation, the World Heritage Site that is Bath has Roman Baths to transport you back to the Roman era. When in Rome do as the Romans do!
Did you know that Britain has 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites? These range from sites of natural beauty like the Dorset and East Devon Coast to cultural riches such as the Tower of London and Stonehenge.
England's capital has some of the most iconic sites in the world, many of which are protected by World Heritage status. Step back in time at William the Conqueror's imposing Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels. Discover Westminster Abbey, the burial place of scores of great Britons from Charles Darwin to Charles Dickens and discover Maritime Greenwich, home of Christopher Wren's baroque masterpiece, the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark - the world's last surviving tea clipper ship.
And if all that history proves a little exhausting, head west and recharge your batteries at Kew Gardens, home to 300 acres of enchanting greenery, ancient trees, palm houses and even a treetop walkway.
For thousands of years of history and soaring architecture, explore the great cathedrals of Durham and Canterbury and the largest monastic ruin in Britain, Fountains Abbey. To follow in the footsteps of Roman invaders, a trip to Hadrian's Wall is a must, and if you're interested in our industrial heritage don't miss Derwent Valley Mills, Saltaire, Ironbridge or the Cornwall and West Devon mining Landscape from where mining technologies spread across the world.
And if you want to explore one of the world's biggest mysteries, head to Stonehenge, the most famous megalithic (literally meaning ‘big stone’) monument in the world. Dating back an amazing 50,000 years, it’s drawn visitors for literally millennia.
Visit the city of Bath, famous for its associations with Jane Austen, to see its ancient Roman Baths, the elegant Pulteney Bridge, gorgeous Georgian architecture and Bath Abbey. Not far from here is the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace near Oxford. It's a perfectly preserved 18th-century stately home set in a 2,100-acre park landscaped by 'Capability' Brown.
Further north, Liverpool is recognised as a ‘supreme example’ of a British port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence and it's here where you can see the towering Liver Building, the Albert Dock and take a ferry across the Mersey river.
Elsewhere, The Dorset and East Devon Coast, also known as The Jurassic Coast was the first ever site to be inscribed as a 'natural' World Heritage Site. It spans 95 miles of dramatic coastline that's exposed to provide an almost continuous geological 'walk through time' spanning 185 million years of the Earth's history.
Any trip to Scotland would have to include a trip to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. The Old Town, topped by the castle, oozes history and a stroll along its cobbled streets and dark alleyways is a walk through time. The Georgian New Town is equally evocative with its graceful crescents, squares and terraces.
West of Edinburgh you'll find New Lanark, a small and beautifully restored 18th-century cotton mill village set in the gorgeous Scottish countryside. Further north is Orkney, a group of islands in Northeast Scotland home to prehistoric monuments that predate the Egyptian pyramids.
St Kilda, in Scotland's famous Outer Hebrides is one of only 24 locations in the world to be awarded World Heritage Status for both natural and cultural significance. Uninhabited since 1930, St Kilda bears the evidence of more than 2,000 years of human occupation and is the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe.
In a land of castles, Harlech, Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris stand out for their sheer scale and sophistication. Well-preserved, atmospheric and enormous they represent the pinnacle of medieval military architecture.
More recent, but no less impressive, is Britain’s newest World Heritage Site, the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain. Towering 126ft above the River Dee, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a 200-year-old engineering marvel. It looks fantastic from a distance but walking or travelling by canal boat over the top is truly exhilarating.
Not far from Cardiff is Blaenavon, an area shaped by the coal and iron industries. It highlights the importance of South Wales in the world's production of coal and iron in the 19th century.
FREE MUSEUMS IN BRITAIN
When it comes to museums, Great Britain can't be beat - it has three of the top five most visited museums in the world, with the British Museum holding the number one spot. Why is this museum so popular? Well, on view are the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies. Best part? All of the museum's regular exhibits are free.
In fact, many of Britain's museums are free, including the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, both in London; the V&A Museum, also in London, known as the 'world's greatest museum of art and design,' the Museum of Liverpool, located on the city's waterfront; and the National Museum Cardiff, home to the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings outside of Paris.
Art enthusiasts would soon over London's National Gallery, with Van Gogh's "Sunflowers;" the Tate Modern, with Rothko, Pollock, and Hockney; and Tate Britain, with works by Turner. In Glasgow, there's the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, which has 22 themed galleries displaying 8,000 objects; and Newcastle's Laing Art Gallery has a touring exhibit showcasing works from the Tate Collection Turner, Constable and their contemporaries.
It’ll come as no surprise that the free museums in London are among the biggest in Britain. Discover Aztec art and Egyptian mummies at the world-famous British Museum ; marvel at the fascinating dinosaur exhibition and iconic blue whale at the Natural History Museum ; take the kids along for the interactive exhibits and awe-inspiring objects at the Science Museum and immerse yourself in all things art and design at the V&A Museum, all in London and all for free.
Other free museums in Britain
The museum magic doesn’t stop in the capital. Liverpool has one of the most impressive collections of free museums outside of London, including the newly opened Museum of Liverpool, which documents the history of the city. Glasgow’s Riverside Museum is another new addition to the museum circuit. Inside, it’s Scotland’s Museum of Transport, outside, it’s a waterfront landmark designed by internationally-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid.
There are also loads of smaller museums with plenty of weird and wonderful sights to behold for free. London’s Horniman Museum is home to an overstuffed walrus – you’ll find him in the taxidermy collection, along with the story of the taxidermist who had never seen a walrus before so stuffed the animal’s saggy skin too tight. In the Guildhall, Leicester, you can step back in time and come face to face with 'Crankie Gemmie' and 'Emma Smith', two of Leicester's notorious pick-pockets who can be found lurking within the Victorian police cells. And don’t miss the Leeds Tiger and the Leeds Mummy at the Leeds City Museum.
Putting the "great" in the great outdoors.
There are 15 National Parks in Britain and they contain some of the nation's most beautiful and inspiring landscapes. They attract around 100 million visitors every year who flock to enjoy the leisure opportunities the parks provide.
You’ll find some of Britain’s best walking, cycling and horse riding locations and a whole host of other adventure activities. Add to these 15 national trails and nearly 50 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring Britain’s famous countryside. The 15 National Parks are:
South West: Dartmoor & Exmoor
These two areas of moorland are beautiful, expansive, wind-scoured and truly wild. Visitors can camp wild on Dartmoor and both are superb for walking and hiking, have unique species of pony and are excellent areas for horse riding.
South East: New Forest & South Downs
The New Forest National Park is celebrated for its ancient woodland and heathland first given protection by William the Conqueror nearly 1,000 years ago. Ponies graze on wild heaths speckled with purple heather and wild deer flit beneath gnarled oak and beech trees. To the east of the New Forest lie the South Downs, an area stretching 100 miles from the edge of Winchester to Beachy Head. It’s best known for its famous rolling downlands that lead to the white, sheer cliffs at Seven Sisters and Beachy Head.
East: The Broads
This great, flat expanse of Eastern England punctuated by wide expanses of water is one of the most important wetland areas in Europe. Its 125 miles of waterways are best navigated by boat and our peppered with great pubs, historic churches and distinctive windmills.
Heart of England: Peak District
Britain's first national park and Europe's busiest is a diverse landscape, comprising heather-sprayed moorland, murky limestone caves, gentle hills and gritstone outcrops. It straddles several counties in central northern England, is a centre for rock climbing and is the landscape that inspired Jane Austen.
North West: Lake District
From 16 sparkling lakes and England’s highest mountains, to sheltered valleys and salty seascapes, Cumbria and the Lake District have inspired and captivated generations of visitors and famous writers and poets such as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. But there’s more to see than just scenery. The area has a rich heritage to discover, a vibrant and contemporary cultural scene, and a growing reputation for fine food and drink.
North East: Northumberland, North York Moor & Yorkshire Dales
Listen to the call of the upland birds, saunter through picturesque villages of honey sandstone, build sandcastles or sit and watch the world go by. All around are the signs of past generations - historic abbeys, embattled castles, churches, crosses and ancient trackways. Northumberland National Park stretches from Hadrian’s Wall to the Scottish border while the North York Moor spread westwards from the east coast of Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Dales park straddles the central Pennines in the counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria and is a favourite destination for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
Central Highlands: Cairngorms
Explore one of the last real wildernesses in Europe, home to red deer, osprey and golden eagle. Its mountains, glens and shimmering lochs have inspired generations of visitors and for many its stark grandeur is the quintessential Scottish landscape.
Central: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
The ‘bonnie bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond as immortalised in song and verse are a true taste of the Scottish Highlands just under an hour from Glasgow. Take a steamer across the loch, climb lofty Ben Lomond, visit Rob Roy’s grave or try local whisky at the Loch Lomond Distillery.
Wales’ famous uplands are known for their craggy mountains, brooding natural landscapes and grey-green slate villages. You’ll also find secluded valleys, Snowdonia’s famous heritage steam railways and some of Britain’s most imposing castles.
South: Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons National Park is an area of spectacular landscape that covers 542 square miles in Mid Wales. Stretching from Hay-on-Wye in the east to Llandeilo in the west, it includes four ranges of mountains; the Black Mountains, the Central Beacons, Fforest Fawr and the Black Mountain (Mynydd Du). Don’t miss the charming village of Crickhowell and Abergavenny, renowned for its food festival.
South East: Pembrokeshire
Britain's only truly coastal national park is a sweeping crescent of jagged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries and wild hills, a place of sanctuary for wildlife and a centre for water sports. You’ll also find Britain’s smallest city, the charming St David’s, and the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path that boasts some of Britain’s best sea views.
The 15 national trails of England and Wales provide walkers, cyclists and horse riders with around 2,500 miles (4,000km) of long distance paths extending through Britain’s countryside.
They have been constructed by joining existing paths and trails together to give maximum access to outdoor spaces traversing some of the finest natural landscapes in England and Wales, including national parks and ‘areas of outstanding natural beauty’. In Scotland there are 4 equivalent trails known as ‘long distance routes’.
For anyone interested in cycling, walking or horse riding, the trails provide a fantastic leisure resource and are well worth a visit.
Areas of outstanding natural beauty
These are ‘Precious landscapes whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them.’ Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) range from coastline to water meadows, and there are 40 in England and Wales (35 in England, 4 in Wales and 1 which straddles the border) and 9 in Northern Ireland.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) landscapes range from coastline to water meadows, and there are 40 in England and Wales (35 in England, 4 in Wales and 1 which straddles the border) and 9 in Northern Ireland.
If it is natural beauty you seek, areas of outstanding natural beauty are bound to please.
Take a city break
Thriving centres for arts, industry and commerce, Britain's cities and towns are some of the world's most culturally diverse. And from the frenetic metropolis of London to the stately allure of Edinburgh, you'll find them a joy to discover.
England’s dynamic capital is Europe’s most diverse metropolis. Gleaming skyscrapers stand alongside ancient monuments and Victorian cobbled streets are lined with fashionable shops selling the latest designs. Discover 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including the Tower of London), chill out in 8 lush Royal Parks and take in some fabulous free museums. There’s also shopping from flea markets to luxury stores like Harrods and Liberty as well as a world-renowned eating scene.
Get lost in the cobbled alleyways of the Old Town, admire the Georgian splendour of the New Town and climb Calton Hill for outstanding views across the city. One of the best times to visit is during summer when the enormous Edinburgh Festival is at its peak.
The thriving metropolis of Cardiff is Wales' capital city. See medieval knights joust at Cardiff Castle, catch major sporting events at the Millennium Stadium or explore the city's rejuvenated waterfront.
If it’s fine dining you’re after, then you’re in the right place! British food has come on leaps and bounds over the years, after decades of mockery and ridicule from neighbouring countries this has resulted in some of the finest eateries in the world. The UK is full of top restaurants up and down the country ranging from white-cloth Michelin star restaurants to traditional thatched roofed bistro pubs all offering supreme culinary experiences. If you fancy treating yourself or a loved one, head to one of many 5 star hotels for a spot of afternoon tea or explore one of many contemporary hotspots such as Nobu or Simpsons.
Food and drink in London
Famous for its grass-fed, dry-aged steak, Hawksmoor is considered one of the best steak restaurants in London. Its Sunday Roast dinners are legendary.
One of the most famous restaurants for traditional English food in the world! In the heart of Smithfield’s Market, enjoy lavish meaty dishes or stop in for a top quality sausage roll and great wines.
The most famous food market in London, overflowing with top-quality produce from meat to cheeses, wine, fish, pastries and lots more. Great for sampling a variety of different food and drink for lunch.
Tuck into this very English experience at one of London’s top hotels – fine tea, delicious cakes and pastries and dainty sandwiches. Claridges, the Sanderson, Browns, and the Ritz are among the best places to try it. Many hotels offer great themed afternoon teas, like the Alice in Wonderland themed Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson.
Everything from pizza to ribs in Brixton’s covered street market, along with drinks and great music in a bustling setting – great to start an evening out.
Britain’s famous for its Indian cuisine, and Dishoom is one of London’s most celebrated Indian restaurants. You’ll find a great variety of innovative dishes you won’t find elsewhere, from the delicious Ruby Chicken to Indian-inspired breakfasts..
CELEBRITY CHEF RESTAURANTS
Off the TV and into the kitchen! If you're ever stuck for somewhere to eat in Britain, help is at hand. These restaurants are run by some of our top celebrity chefs, so you're guaranteed a great meal. And you never know who might be working in the kitchen that night!
The Fat Duck Restaurant, Bray
Heston Blumenthal’s 3 Michelin-starred Fat Duck was named Best Restaurant in the World and it’s not hard to see why. Don’t miss the 17-course tasting menu and the wine list with wines from £30 to over £5,000. Blumenthal has a reputation for a scientific approach to cooking that results in flamboyant, theatrical dishes. Try his ‘sound of the sea’ which features seafood and edible seaweed on a bed of sand-like tapioca accompanied by an ipod playing seaside sounds.
Fifteen, London and Watergate Bay, Cornwall
You can find Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants in London and Watergate Bay in Cornwall. Expect Jamie’s trademark simple, delicious food in a trendy setting, and remember that the money from the bill goes towards training the Fifteen trainee chefs from underprivileged backgrounds.
Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir is the only country house hotel in the UK which has achieved 2 Michelin stars for a total of 22 years. You’ll find a sumptuous mix of English country charm and the best continental cooking around. Enjoy the exquisite, modern French menu while taking in the beautiful 2-acre gardens.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay earned the eponymous chef 3 Michelin Stars and is regarded as one of the best restaurants in London. It’s his flagship restaurant, so expect great service, impeccable food and a fabulous wine list.
St John, London
Chef Fergus Henderson owns this London restaurant with restaurateur Trevor Gulliver. Just round the corner from London’s Smithfield market, St John serves great British food made from the finest British produce with an emphasis on traditional meat dishes. If you’re dining in a group try the feasting menu which includes a whole roast suckling pig.
The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall
Just across from Padstow harbour in Cornwall, you’ll find Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant. From the restaurant you can see where the lobster boats and trawlers tie up and much of the fish comes, literally, straight off the boats and in the kitchen door. You can’t get much fresher than that.
Rhodes 24, London
Take a trip to the 24th floor of the City of London’s tallest building, Tower 42, where Gary Rhodes’ 24 serves traditional British food with an innovative twist. Enjoy some of the best views of London while dining on roasted rabbit, monkfish and some great British cheeses.
The River Café, London
The River Cafe in West London was opened by chefs Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray. Their cult restaurant was one of the first to bring Italian flavours to London, cooked in a simple, clean style. Signature dishes include chargrilled squid with chilli and rocket and whole pigeon stuffed with thyme and sage. Still phenomenally popular, eating here is a real treat.
From quirky crafts to iconic brands
Get lost in the world’s biggest shoe department at Selfridges, visit the iconic Harrods and buy unique gifts from Scottish tweed to rare Welsh gold. From vintage fashion markets to high-street shops and bespoke tailors to discount stores, we’ve got something for every taste and budget.
If there was an Olympic prize for shopping, there’s no doubt the Brits would win it every time. We take shopping seriously over here, and after years of hard work, we’ve perfected the art of retail therapy with our department stores and shopping centres.
Their department stores are famous all over the world. Take Selfridges, for example. It may be over 100 years old, but with innovative window displays, installations and collaborations with up-and-coming designers, it’s leading the pack and has been named Best Department Store in the World.
They’re also home to Harrods, the luxury department store and London landmark which encompasses seven floors of exquisite collections. Continuing the luxury theme, London is also home to the flagship Harvey Nichols, as well as the historic Liberty, Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick. But if your budget doesn’t allow for luxury, you’re in luck. Nationwide department stores like Debenhams, John Lewis and House of Fraser stock everything from designer diffusion lines and the latest high street trends to homeware and beauty must-haves.
For shopping on a grander scale, look no further than Britain’s plentiful shopping centres. With hundreds of stores under one roof, plus restaurants - and in some cases, cinemas – they are the perfect way to spend the day (and a few pounds). In London, head to Westfield – Europe’s largest urban shopping mall, where you’ll find a mix of designer and high street labels and enough leisure and entertainment to keep you busy all day.
But the amazing shopping opportunities don’t stop in London. In Birmingham, the Bullring is the place to be with 160 stores including its very own Selfridges; Manchester has the Trafford Centre, with over 200 stores, including three department stores; Liverpool One is the heart of Liverpool’s shopping, fashion and leisure scene; Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries offer the best shopping in the city and in Cardiff, you can’t miss St David’s – Wales’ newest, biggest and best fashion destination.
If you’ve heard we Brits are mad about football, you’re probably right. But it’s not just footie that gets us going—the UK has some of the most exciting sports attractions and facilities in the world (and some of the most dedicated fans, too!) From the Olympic Park to Wembley Stadium, we’ve really got it all. Have your clients get their boots on or set their tee—whatever they prefer, make sure they check out the mind-blowing range of sport attractions and events all over the country. Go on!
Football, cricket, rugby, golf: name a sport and there's a good chance we Brits invented it, wrote the rules or are just plain obsessed by it. And if playing or watching your favourites isn't enough, why not check out one of our top sporting museums or tours?
Love your football? Then take a tour of your favourite club. Sit in the dug-out at Manchester United, tour the players’ dressing room at Liverpool FC or discover Celtic’s fascinating history. And if you want to re-live the triumphs and tragedies of English international soccer, visit Wembley Stadium where you can see the England changing room and raise a replica FA Cup. The new National Football Museum in Manchester, opened in 2012, also boasts the greatest collection of football memorabilia ever assembled.
And if rugby’s your game, you won’t find more passionate fans than the Welsh. If you’re in Cardiff don’t miss a tour of the magnificent Millennium Stadium for an insider’s guide to this incredible building with its trademark retractable roof. A visit to the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham is also a must.
With its prestigious history, dazzling settings and world-class courses, Britain is a fairway to heaven. Scotland gave the world golf and nowhere else has hosted more Opens than the Old Course at St Andrews. Many of the courses across the country are open for members of public to book a round and walk in the footsteps of golf’s greats such as Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Popular courses include Gleneagles and for a truly stunning playing experience try your driver at Turnberry.