United Kingdom Travel
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The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) is one
of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Historic attractions,
famous places and melodic place-names surround you wherever you travel in
the United Kingdom.
Home to "world- class" museums, notable art collections, lush
countryside, scenic landscapes, interesting architecture, quaint villages,
and varied cultures (the English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh), the United
Kingdom is a destination that provides a wealth of fantastic attractions.
Read our recommendations on the best places to visit in the United Kingdom
to find the attractions that match your interests.
Of particular note in 2012 is that London is Hosting the Summer Olympics
from July 27 through August 12, followed by the Paralympics from 29 August
to September 9. In addition, the country will be celebrating the 60th
Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth's reign from June 2 through
England, Scotland and Wales are commonly referred to as Britain and formally
as Great Britain. In 1927, six northern counties of Ireland became part of
this union and the name was changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland, formally known as the United Kingdom or the UK.
If you are looking for information on castles to visit in the UK, we have
assembled a separate section presenting the
best castles in England, Scotland and Wales
that will let you find just the right castles to visit during you stay in
the United Kingdom.
When you see our map symbol, click it for a detailed highway map.
Also, the map has a "satellite" button.
Best Places to Visit in England
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Names in Teal are regions of the
London is one of the world's great cities. It offers the tourist access
to palaces, monuments, historic prisons, cathedrals and other buildings that
were at the core of western civilization for hundreds of years. World
Class museums abound and you will find ones that focus on science, natural
history, art, fine arts, books, medieval weapons, and more.
From St. Paul's Cathedral to Westminster Abbey, London is blessed with
churches and cathedrals that will spark your imagination and demand your
The shopping is fantastic whether at Harrods, the shops on Regent Street,
or the boutiques at Beauchamp Place.
In the last decade, London has developed a fantastic set of new
restaurants and offers an ensemble of foods from international destinations.
London Travel Guide for a detailed review of London and its attractions.
The Best Castles in England
England has a number of spectacular castles. To see photos and
learn what makes these castles so special, click the
best castles in England. We cover Rochester, Bodiam, Dover,
Warwick, Windsor, Arundel, and Bamburgh castles in England and others in
Built five thousand years ago, the mysterious stone circle on the
Salisbury Plain near Amesbury, Wiltshire in southern England attracts many
Some reserachers have speculated that the large stones were set to
worship the gods of the ancients, while others have suggested that the site may
have acted as an observatory or solar chronometer to mark the seasons.
It purpose has been lost to history, but its magnificence has stood the test
Recent research in petrography has revealed that some of standing stones
(called bluestones) at Stonehenge came from near Pont Saeson in western
Wales. How the rocks, which weigh between two and four tons, were
transported to the Salisbury Plain remains a mystery.
Visits inside of the center circle of the site are not allowed during
normal hours, but can be arranged at other times.
For details on visiting Stonehenge, see the official English Heritage
The splendor, stately architecture and scenic grounds of Oxford
University are unique reminders of the history of this famous
institution. Take an afternoon to savor the historic
atmosphere by walking the beautiful buildings that comprise
this noted campus. Be sure to visit the Christ Church Cathedral for
its superb stained glass.
- Click here for the official tourism website of
- Click this link for the official website of
Christ Church Cathedral.
The city of Oxford is the eastern gateway to the
Cotswolds, an area that displays rural England
at its best. Known for its rounded, gentle hills and slow flowing
streams, the Cotswolds' offer beautiful scenery, quaint villages,
good food and fun shopping. The word rustic may be the best
way to describe this pleasant area.
Classic cities such
as Bath and Cheltenham are the major centers in the area, but for us
the real beauty lies in the sleepy villages such as Woodstock and Winchcombe.
- See the
official website of the Cotswolds for more information.
Internationally known for its historic hot springs, Bath has been
attracting visitors for centuries. The town is a delightful stop
and it is a great place to spend an afternoon.
Be sure to
tour the city's famous Roman Baths (in Bath Abbey) and allocate time to
tour the Great bath, as well as the East and West baths.
you visit in the afternoon, consider having tea at the Pump Room in
the Roman Baths (offered from 2:30 to closing). Visit the official
web site of the
for more information.
We recommend that you take a few minutes to tour the Royal Crescent's
notable architecture, which is considered by many to be some of the
finest examples of 18th century urban building. If you are
interested in the Royal Crescent, stop and see the museum at
No. 1 Royal Crescent.
See the town's official tourism website
York offers the tourist an interesting walled, old town and a
spectacular, historic cathedral. The York Minster (the Cathedral) is
monumental and not to be missed. If you have the time, take a walk along the
walls surrounding the town's historic core.
For more information on the attractions in York, as well as links to the
York Minster website and the town's tourism website, see our
The Lake District
The Lake District, in England's Northwest, is one of the most beautiful
areas of the United Kingdom. A bucolic combination of hills, mountains and
lakes makes for near perfect trekking, horse riding, kayaking and other
outdoor experiences. For us, a country walk in the Lake District is one of
the highlights of a visit to the United Kingdom.
There are numerous paths
and attractions to navigate in the Lake district and you should connect with
a local guide if you plan to wander afar.
- For more information on the delightful vistas awaiting you, see the
official site for
The town of Windermere and its lake often are the only stops made by many
visitors to the Lake Country. While Lake Windermere is stunning, the town is
touristy and crowded. There is much more to see in the Lake Country and
those who only visit Windermere will miss the best that this area has
By the way, the Lake County has been celebrated by numerous authors and
Beatrix Potter made the area her home, as she lived in the village of New
Sawrey. For more information on visiting her farm "Hill Top", see this
information from the
National Trust. For information on the Beatrix Potter
Gallery (a gallery showing many of her original watercolors) see this
England's other famous university town, Cambridge, has a dramatic
architecture and a wonderful sense of history. Be sure to tour the
University and make time for King's College Chapel. It is best to
arrange a walk or a guided tour.
See the town's
for more details.
Canterbury Cathedral, sitting brilliantly on its plain, is considered by
many to be the most glorious cathedral in the United Kingdom, although
several others compete for the title (most notably, York, Durham,
Winchester, and St. Paul's).
Canterbury has had a strong role in England's religious history and
Saint Thomas Becket was martyred here in 1170, as related in Chaucer's
Also, look for the Church of St Martin, which is the oldest church in
England, the ruins of the Abbey of St Augustine
The official tourism website for the city can be found
Visit Durham to see its cathedral. Durham Cathedral (sections
dating from the 11th century) is an awe- inspiring sight from the
inside. After entering through its tiny door, you will be dwarfed
by the height of its nave and intimidated by the sense of history that
permeates this cathedral.
Durham Cathedral is considered the most
original and intact of the Anglo-Norman churches. In addition, the
church contains the tombs of Bede the Venerable and St. Cuthbert.
See the cathedral's
website for additional details on its history and dramatic
Nearby Durham Castle is worth a quick look.
has details on other attraction in the town and nearby areas,
Hadrian's Wall was the Romans' attempt to gird the country across its
middle and keep the "barbarians" in the north of the island.
Numerous archaeological projects, aimed at restoring the Wall and its
fortifications can be found along its extent.
Housesteads Roman Fort in Northumberland is considered the
best-preserved fortification along the Wall.
For more information, see our
PhotoGuide to Hadrian's Wall
Oh the Bard
- he's the main reason that you might want to visit Stratford, which has
commercialized Shakespeare to the limit. Of course, Stratford Upon
Avon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the English
There are a number of places to see nestled along the Avon
River (including 5 houses connected with Shakespeare), so budget your time
carefully. Anne Hathaway's Cottage (his future wife's childhood home), Shakespeare's Birthplace and the
Mary Arden Farm (his mother's childhood home) are the most interesting of the houses,
but all are worth a look if you want to know more about the Bard.
- See the official website of the
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for detailed information on visiting these
and other locations associated with Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway are buried at the local parish church,
named Shakespeare's Church by some, but best known as Holy Trinity
You might be interested in touring the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre.
More details on the one-hour tours can be found at the office website of the
Royal Shakespeare Company.
Visit the Stratford-upon-Avon official
website for details on opening hours and information on other
attractions that might be of interest.
One of England's oldest towns, Winchester is a historic gem with a
unique cathedral whose original foundations are thought to be over
thirteen hundred years old. In addition, The cathedral contains the
grave of the author Jane Austin
See the website of the
cathedral for information on its interesting history.
While in Winchester, be sure to see the Great Hall, which is the
remnant of Winchester Castle built in the 13th century.
Unfortunately, the "Round Table" on display, did not exist at the time
of the legendary King Arthur - but that does not stop tourists from
flocking to see it.
For more information on visiting, see the town's official
Click for the Best Places to Visit in:
The official tourism website for Britain is
Visit Britain, which provides additional information on the best places to
visit we recommend, as well as information on places that did not make our list.
For country facts on the United Kingdom, as well as travel information
related to visas, driving rules, safety, medical conditions, visas and other
travel-related information, see this page on
United Kingdom Travel from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State
Department. Regardless of your home country, we think you will find the
information provided to be useful when planning a trip to the England, Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar.
If you need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.
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First Time Tour
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If you are planning your first trip to the United Kingdom, we suggest you
head for London and focus your touring there and in the surrounding areas. A
week in London will allow you to sample the delights of the city and
- We suggest you take the train or a tour to Windsor or Hampton Court
for a delightful day out of town
- If you like maps or astronomy, consider a taking a boat down the
Thames to Greenwich to stand on the Prime Meridian and tour the former
Royal Observatory where John Flamsteed tried to unravel the mysteries of
longitude and time.
- If you have an extra day, head for Canterbury and a visit to its
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Our editor's list of favorite places in the United Kingdom includes:
The Lake Country (It can be crowded in summer but it is a magical place,
especially if you wander the countryside).
Ruthin Castle, Wales (for a medieval banquet; touristy but great fun)
Ballater, Royal Deeside, Scotland (a quite village situated along the River Dee,
surrounded by beautiful countryside and great hiking).
Inverness and the