Having spent a few years outside of the UK now and speaking to so many people of all nationalities who are keen to visit the UK has really got me thinking about home. Although I consider myself pretty well travelled across the UK, there are still some British hotspots I’ve just not been to yet. Here are a few of those on my UK travel wish list, and why I’d like to visit each of them.
Sadly I’ve not really touched East Anglia yet, but every picture I see of Cambridge makes me so excited to visit. It looks so charming and pretty, and so it’s on my UK travel wish list. As a big fan of beautiful Oxford, I need to check out its rival university city. I’d love to see all the beautiful university buildings, the architecture, and the city’s rich history. I’d wander around the colleges and the riverside gardens, and of course fit in some punting along the river Cam. Of course, as it’s Cambridge, I’d have to get on a bike and whizz around the manicured gardens of this tranquil city. This would have to be finished off with a pint in one of the many historic pubs.
Leeds is another city that has slipped through my clutches, despite having travelled through it on my trips to Durham and back. I’ve always been struck by how vibrant it seems, and I’ve heard excellent things about the nightlife. Now one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, it’s adding a real oomph to the north of England. After fifteen years of redevelopment, the city centre has had a makeover from a nearly derelict mill town to a modern, chic metropolis. While less touristy than its neighbouring city of York, there are some impressively built malls, a transformed Victorian mill district, and some great restaurants and nightlife.
Dorset’s shoreline boasts the gorgeous Jurassic Coast, which is high on my UK travel wish list. England’s first natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast has a blend of carved bays, cliffs, and pristine beaches scattered with fossils. The coast stretches from Exmouth in East Devon all the way through to Swanage in Dorset. Fascinatingly it has over 185 million years of history, making it a true walk back in time. There are all kinds of sights, from rust colour rocks in Devon to the dark clay cliffs of Lyme Regis. In particular, I’d love to see iconic Lulworth Cove, where the sea has eroded rocks to form pretty stacks and arches in the ocean.
Another coastal region I need to visit is Brighton. I know – it’s pretty shocking that I live in London and still haven’t visited. Down in the southeast of England, Brighton has so many iconic places that I need to see, marking it high in my UK travel wish list. With its bohemian vibes, I want to see it all. From fish and chips in cold weather on the pebbly beach, and walks on Brighton Pier, to its crazy nightlife. Of course, any visitor to Brighton can’t miss the Royal Pavilion. Built in the nineteenth century by the Prince Regent, the palace apparently ignited Brighton’s love of the outrageous and colourful.
The ultimate Victorian spa town, Harrogate is another Yorkshire destination on my UK travel wish list. Boasting a pretty and traditional kind of patriotism, there are various things I’d like to see in Harrogate. Famous, of course, for its tearooms, I’d have to start off with afternoon tea at Betty’s. As a spa town much like my hometown Cheltenham, you can also try the water. For those brave enough, head to the Pump Rooms to try the sulphurous spring water for yourself. If not, dodge that and head to the beautiful Turkish baths for a little rest and relaxation. I’d also plan to wander around the pretty town looking for the scenic architecture.
I’m guilty in the fact that I haven’t really travelled much of Scotland beyond Edinburgh – terrible, I know. But that’s why the Orkney Islands are on my UK travel wish list. Looming beyond the Scottish mainland, the Orkney Islands are just a few miles away. The catch, however, is that they’re reachable via a treacherous stretch of sea known as the Pentland Firth. This only adds an extra layer of mystery and intrigue to the islands. Here, I’d want to explore the red cliffs, the fascinating Viking history, and the amazing coastal scenery. A major attraction for me is the beautiful beaches – the crystal clear waters look as though you’re somewhere tropical.
If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’m a big fan of a beach. Norfolk’s coast has inspired me for a while, making it onto my UK travel wish list. The broad sweeping beaches, marshes, sand dunes, and seafood cafes look so appealing. Firstly, I’d head to the north coast in search of the quaint villages, gastropubs, and chic hotels. I’d then head to the seaside towns of the east for the sandy beaches and marshes. With such a plethora of wildlife and birds, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the sea lions that sometimes like to lounge around on the shore.
Dundee is the second destination on my UK travel wish list. Who can blame me when the city is in a beautiful location on the seafront and is undergoing a cultural transformation. I really enjoy a good museum, so a trip to Dundee’s V&A Museum would be high on the agenda. Stretching across the Firth of Tay, I’d enjoy waterfront walks past Discovery Point and beyond. One of Dundee’s most iconic monuments is in Dundee City Square – a bronze figure of Desperate Dan. Relating to one of the most famous characters from the comic book Dandy, it’s one to see.
I’ve not yet been to Northern Ireland, so I’m keen to explore. A key city on my UK travel wish list, there’s so much I’d like to see in Belfast and beyond. As a former powerhouse with a turbulent history, nowadays it’s a chic city with a fabulous nightlife. First up, I’d visit the Titanic Quarter to learn more about the iconic liner and its history. On a cultural note, I’d like to find the many murals implicated with its political history. I’d like to explore the Cathedral Quarter, too, for its thriving arts scene. The nightlife must be explored, so I’d seek out anything from the traditional pubs to the jazz bars. Beyond, I’m really excited to one day visit Giant’s Causeway.
There’s my UK travel wish list. Let me know if you have any recommendations for when I finally get round to seeing these places. Which places are on yours?