As the United Kingdom prepares for the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, you might have London on your mind. In this month’s issue of A&E we explored the United Kingdom beyond the capital city to offer some travel inspiration for autumn. See more of our favourite UK destinations below.
Beginning with the most iconic destination in the country, London is on every keen traveller’s bucket list and why not? From the iconic Royal palaces and buildings to the River Thames, to the modern tourist attractions, and not forgetting the incredible shopping, London has it all. Visit during the autumn months to discover al-fresco dining, see a West End show, visit contemporary food festivals and art galleries, or explore The Tower of London, home to the iconic Crown Jewels. There’s something for everyone to see and discover.
Just a short drive or train ride from the centre of London you’ll find Windsor, the former home of Queen Elizabeth II and one of the most historical cities in the country. This quaint town is the location of Windsor Castle, the world’s largest inhabited castle and has been home to British Royalty since William the Conqueror in 1078. Surrounding the castle you will find the Great Windsor park, the perfect venue for picturesque walks and picnics. The town itself is scattered with idyllic shops, restaurants and cafes to discover while a walk or a boat trip along the Thames river is a great way to end the afternoon. Nearby you’ll find the Royal Ascot Racecourse, the UK’s most famous horse-racing venue.
Hop on a train or a short flight from London to find Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city and one of the most diverse destinations in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh is a cultural capital thanks to its abundance of art galleries, cosmopolitan cafes, fine architecture, and boutique shops. If you’re lucky enough to be in town when the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival is taking place, get ready to discover an explosion of creative minds coming together from around the world. And of course, remember to visit Edinburgh Castle which stands high above the city upon Castle Rock. This historic landmark will take your breath away.
Picture perfect Cambridge is home to one of the world’s most famous universities and the largest collection of historic buildings in the country. For the best way to see it all take a walking tour around the university colleges and discover the Harry Potter-esque surroundings. Once you’re done, take a punt down the River Cam to discover more of this gem of a city. If the weather allows visit the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, home to over 8,000 plant species from all over the world. Meander around the city centre’s cobbled streets featuring quaint boutiques selling everything from souvenirs to locally produced handmade fudge.
- The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds has been the picture-perfect location for many films and TV shows over the years and it really is as beautiful as it looks. Located in rural England this region is made up of a series of English counties including Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire. Expect to get a true taste of rural English life as you discover idyllic villages, picturesque scenery and traditional cottages. Get outdoors as you try your hand at hiking, horse-riding, biking and more as you soak up the beauty of the natural surroundings.
- Lake District
Located in the north of England Lake District is considered one of the most beautiful places in the country. Spanning over 1,400 square kilometres the region is made up of hilltop lakes, staggering valleys and sites of great natural beauty. The Lake District National Park features 12 of the country’s largest lakes as well as a staggering 3,218 kilometres of hiking and walking trails. Check into a local bed and breakfast to get a true taste of this region and live as the locals do!
A visit to Cornwall could make you feel like you’re anywhere on Earth. Its stunning coastline rivals destinations such as Italy and Greece and its white sandy beaches mirror those found in the Indian Ocean. While Cornwall is not a year-round destination, summers in this South Western country are paradise. Cornwall is home to quaint fishing villages, wild moorland, stunning beaches and the best surfing conditions in the country. There’s also a busy nightlife scene as well as quiet, relaxing countryside spots for those who want to escape their busy lives.
Wales’ tallest mountain Snowdonia is home to some of the best views in the country. The remarkable scenery in the Snowdonia National Park resembles that of destinations as far affied as Canada. The park is a great day out for thrill seekers who will have the chance to discover the Snowdon Mountain railway, as well as see the spectacular views from the top. Considered one of the world’s top scenic railways, the journey starts in Llanberis before tackling steep inclines up to the “Eryri” visitor centre at the top of Snowdon.
- Norfolk Broads
Located in the East of England the tranquil location of the Norfolk Broads offers relaxation and discovery for those wanting to escape hectic city life. The riverside scenery is best seen by boat and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and discover the local area on foot. Life is slow-paced on the Broads so get ready to slow down as you discover over 150 kilometres of rivers and marshland, attracting some of the country’s most diverse wildlife.
- Giant’s Causeway
Just a short flight across the ocean to Northern Island and you’ll find Giant’s Causeway. This stunning feature of natural beauty is one of the region’s most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Made up of approximately 4,000 layered columns that jolt out of the sea, this natural landmark was formed over 60 million years ago during a period of intense volcanic activity. The impressive site is worth the journey and is a bucket-list attraction for many.
- Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales is one of the most beautiful locations in the United Kingdom, and is now a favourite destination of Dubai Ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Perfect for long walks over the hills, quiet weekends in the countryside and relaxing drives through winding roads, this tranquil area of valleys, meadows and lush green land will help you to escape from your busy life. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an area of outstanding beauty. Featuring beautiful valleys, towns and villages. There’s plenty to do from walking to outdoor watersports including kayaking, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing. A great place to escape from it all!
Bath is often a city overlooked by tourists as it is smaller and lesser known than the country’s capitals and vibrant party cities. But there is so much to see in this historical, quaint Roman destination. Named after its famous Roman Baths, the city has been attracting visitors for over 2,000 years thanks to the attraction of the historic Roman Baths. Formed of three hot springs the water pours out at a consistent temperature of 46.5 degrees Celsius. Today it’s not possible to bathe in the original springs but the Thermae Bath Spa offers visitors a chance to experience the old-age tradition. Around the city, there are also many beautiful sites to see including the curved Royal Crescent with its Palatial Townhouses and Gregorian architecture. The art and culture scene is also bustling in Bath with many interesting galleries, boutiques and interiors to marvel over.