Holidays in the UK are a popular option for many Britons in the summer – but where is best to go? Lonely Planet has unveiled its top 10 best Travel experiences for the UK. New book Lonely Planet’s Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist ranks the top 500 unmissable experiences and hidden gems across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. These are the top 10 best for you to try out.
1. See the greatest shows on earth at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This festival in Scotland occurs annually every August in Edinburgh for three weeks.
According to the Fringe Festival’s website: It “opens the doors, streets and alleyways of an entire city to an explosion of creative energy from around the globe.”
Expect a plethora of theatre, comedy, Dance, circus, cabaret, opera, music and spoken word.
Lonely Planet advises: “It’s best to tackle the Fringe over several days, dipping in and out of shows aided by word-of-mouth reviews and tips picked up in the pub…. Plan ahead too much and you’ll miss the freedom of spontaneity, but come ill-prepared and you may find the hot tickets already sold out.”
2. Take a world tour of treasures at the British Museum
The British Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts and is free to all visitors.
It boasts a permanent collection of some eight million works, among the largest and most comprehensive in existence.
Lonely Planet suggests: “There’s far too much to take in on one trip; if you only have a day, make a beeline for the Egyptian treasures, the Parthenon Marbles and quirky British antiquities such as the Sutton Hoo helmet and the Lewis chessmen.”
3. Step ogre-sized strides over hexagonal stones at the Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is an area in County Antrim of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, from an ancient volcanic fissure eruption, resulting in a landscape of dramatic cliffs. It is Northern Ireland’s only Unesco World Heritage site.
The National Trust advises visitors to: “Climb the Shepherd’s Steps and hike along the clifftop trail to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful causeway coast.
“Or enjoy the road less travelled capturing the World Heritage Site on an active five-mile hike along the stunning cliff-top path with the guided Clifftop Experience.”
4. Experience how the Romans bathed in Bath
The city of Bath was founded under Roman rule around 2,000 years ago after the discovery of the area’s geothermal hot springs, which warm the underground water to 46°C.
Today it is one of the best-preserved Roman bathhouses in the world.
According to Lonely Planet: “The only disappointment is that it’s no longer permitted for people to take a dip here – but you can get pretty close to a bona fide Roman bathing experience at the Thermae Bath Spa nearby, complete with its postcard-worthy panoramic rooftop pool.”
5. Retrace the Romans’ footsteps along Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall was built under Roman emperor Hadrian between AD 122 and 128 to keep out Scottish Picts.
It stretches 73 miles from coast to coast and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, although only 10 per cent survives today.
English Heritage reveals what tourists can find: “Discover the remains of the forts, towers, turrets and towns that once kept watch over the Wall. See rare Roman artefacts, get hands-on in museums and take in spectacular views of the rugged landscape to find out what life was like for the men, women and children on the edge of Roman Britain.”
6. Make a British weekend of it with a Sunday pub roast
Lonely Planet ranks tucking into a Sunday roast as the sixth-best experience in the UK.
The travel experts say: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a centuries-old, windowless pub in London or at a large country inn with tables sprawling over a lawn, you’ll be among friends and families laughing, drinking beer and tucking into plates of hot sliced roast beef or pork, Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes and assorted veggies, all slathered in gravy.”
7. Discover a powerhouse of modern art at Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is an art gallery located in London in the decommissioned Bankside Power Station. It houses international modern and contemporary art.
According to Lonely Planet: “Inside, you might see anything from permanently displayed Rothkos, Dalís and Picassos to visiting masterpieces by Monet, Matisse and Warhol, and eccentric installations from the likes of Ai Weiwei, Rachel Whiteread and Anish Kapoor.
“Before you leave, head to the top-floor viewing deck for stunning city views.”
8. Marvel at the mighty megaliths of Stonehenge
Prehistoric monument Stonehenge, found in Wiltshire, consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet high, seven feet wide and weighing around 25 tons
It’s one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.
English Heritage says of Stonehenge: “Explore the ancient landscape on foot and step inside the Neolithic Houses to discover the tools and objects of everyday Neolithic life. Visit the world-class exhibition and visitor centre with 250 ancient objects and come face to face with a 5,500-year-old man.”
9. Find poetry on the shores of Lake Windermere
Windermere is a large lake in Cumbria’s Lake District National Park surrounded by mountain peaks and villages.
England’s largest lake, Windermere is 10.5 miles long, that’s just over 18 km, and at its deepest point is 219 feet, that’s 66.7 m.
Poet William Wordsworth and author Beatrix Potter both lived in this beautiful part of the world.
10. Explore Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park was established as a National Park in 1952. It is the only one in the UK to have been awarded this status thanks to its spectacular coastline.
Lonely Planet advises checking out the beaches at Tenby and Barafundle Bay and visiting St Davids, Britain’s smallest city
The travel experts also recommend: “Break up drives by striking out on the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which dips and rises over kissing gates and windy clifftops to smuggler’s coves, wooded hollows where brooks burble, and Neolithic burial chambers.”
They add: “To up the adventure, go coasteering with the pros at eco-lodge Preseli Venture. Or turn your focus inland to the lonely Preseli Hills, a windswept range of rocky outcrops, low-lying peaks capped with prehistoric standing stones, and moorland flecked with gorse and heather.”