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Top Destinations Around the United Kingdom

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The UK is a small country that's big on variety. From the great global capital of London to the walled medieval gem that is York, and from the gently rolling farmlands and orchards of Kent to the towering peaks of Snowdonia or the Scottish Highlands, a journey of less than a day can take visitors to a totally different world. Stunning beaches, ancient forests, Roman settlements, cutting edge architecture - you name it, we've got it. Have a look around some of my favorite UK destinations.
  1. London and the Southeast
  2. The Southwest
  3. East Anglia
  4. The Midlands
  1. The Northeast
  2. The Northwest
  3. Scotland
  4. Wales

London and the Southeast

Fallow Deer in Richmond Park

Most first timers head for London - and with good reason. It's one of the world's great cosmopolitan cities, hosting a local population that speaks about 300 different languages and a visitor population drawn to the capital from everywhere. After the museums and royal landmarks, the shopping, dining, nightlife and parks, leave some time for exploring further afield. So many treasures are within easy reach of London: stately homes, historic university towns, beautiful cycling and hiking country, national parks, glorious beaches, storybook villages, amazing cathedrals. A feast of day trips and short breaks await.

The Southwest

View above South Sands Beach in Devon

The southwestern counties, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, are popular with British vacationers but largely unexplored by visitors from abroad. Yet they're home to some of the UK's most iconic landmarks - Stonehenge, Glastonbury Tor and Plymouth Hoe - the Pilgrim's departure port. There's something for almost everyone - great family vacations, a World Heritage Coast, the Roman and Georgian city of Bath and the lively, creative city of Bristol (home of Banksy). This is where to look for great surfing beaches, candy-colored fishing ports, picturesque yacht havens and outstanding seafood restaurants.

East Anglia

Lavenham

The great era of British motorway building ended before it penetrated into the East Anglian counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, leaving this part of the country relatively untouched by industrial development. Head to East Anglia for vast stretches of farmland, thoroughbred breeding, golden sands - the end of Shakespeare in Love was filmed on Holkham Sands in Norfolk - and some of England's best medieval cities, including Cambridge, Ely and Norwich. The region's relative flatness makes it ideal for cycle touring through rural villages. And the famous Norfolk Broads draw boating and wildlife enthusiasts.

The Midlands

Selfridges in Birmingham

The Midlands stretch from the Welsh border on the west to the Lincolnshire coast on the east. Except for Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, it is often overlooked by US visitors. Yet the heart of England is where to find the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games and the childhood home of Diana Princess of Wales. Look for heroes of myth - in Sherwood Forest - and history, along the Mayflower Trail. And enjoy the rise of the British landscape as it climbs to the heights of Derbyshire's Peak District.

The Northeast

plique a jour in Sheffield

The walled city of York with winding medieval lanes and magnificent cathedral is photogenic, walkable and visitor friendly. But don't forget Leeds - "the Knightsbridge of the North", the dramatic Yorkshire Moors, Dales and Wolds, the atmospheric North Sea Coast, the Viking influenced Northumbrian region and the dynamic, creative city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Americans seeking ancestral routes may find them in Hull often the first stop on a European's journey to the New World. Historic metalworking and artisan cutlery skills still flourish in Sheffield, where a large student population supports a hip music scene.

The Northwest

The Lake District - Kirkstone Pass is the Highest Road in the Lake District

The Northwest has some of Britain's most exciting and excitingly revitalized cities. Manchester - Britain's indie music capital is also becoming a showcase of modern architecture and a new, northern center for the BBC. Liverpool's Albert Docks are World Heritage Site, recognized for their role in the growth of Empire. The Lake District with its magnificent fells and dramatic mountain passes, inspired a generation of Romantic Poets, including Wordsworth who wrote about its daffodils. And you may find Peter Rabbit lurking in the Lakes as well. That is, afterall, where Beatrix Potter found him.

Scotland

Kilchurn Castle at the head of Loch Awe

From the wild mountains of the Highlands to the romantic Borders landscapes of Sir Walter Scott, Scotland has it all - National parks, windswept isles, heather-covered hills, sophisticated cities and fabulous festivals. Just about all Scotland doesn't have is people. This least populated country of the United Kingdom is covered with wide open spaces that you can enjoy, usually without crowds, just about any time of year. Except, of course, August in Edinburgh when festivals double the city's population.

Wales

Whistling Sands, Port Oer

Most people contemplating a visit to Wales know that it has one of the world's longest place names - Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch. But did you also know that it has Britain's smallest town? Also three spectacular national parks, an exciting new capital in the port city of Cardiff, some of Britain's best beaches and a patchwork of hills and valleys that would make a Hobbit weep with joy.

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