From fictional characters like James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, to legends like Shakespeare and Jane Austen, the United Kingdom oozes culture. And it certainly doesn’t start and end in London. Made up of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, Great Britain is decidedly huge and offers lots of interesting contrasts for anyone who makes the effort to visit.
Birthplace of the Beatles and the gateway to the Isle of Man, today, the city is witnessing a renaissance of sorts. After years of neglect, the city is brimming with fashionable museums, world-famous football clubs, a lively music scene and welcoming Liverpudlians ensuring you have the time of your life.
This Scottish city is home of good literature – it hosts the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year, and is the city JK Rowling lived in while writing the Harry Potter series – so it’s hardly any wonder that it has the world’s highest structure, the Scott Monument, dedicated to the writer, Sir Walter Scott. It’s also the capital of Scotland, so expect to immerse yourself in the local culture in this compact city. When it gets too much, head to the Highlands for the spectacular rugged mountain landscape for which the region is famous.
The Scott Monument in Edinburgh
The capital of Wales, Cardiff is an unmissable place. The city has a vibe that is different from the rest of Britain. It is also the headquarters of BBC Wales, which produces most of the much-acclaimed series in UK, including Sherlock, and you can tour their facility for a small fee. Welsh is a notoriously difficult language to master so if you can pronounce even ten local words by the end of your trip, consider yourself a language pro.
Considered unsafe until recently, because of ‘The Troubles’ that rocked the city, Belfast in Northern Ireland turned a corner in the new century and is now a bedrock of stability. Visitors can experience not just the scars of the past, but also the vibrant cultural centre along with some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet on your trip.
Fans of Manchester United can’t miss a visit to their mecca at Old Trafford while in Manchester. For the rest of us, the city has more than its fair share of museums, quirky hotels and a multi-ethnic vibe that is hard to find in many British cities. The Christmas market here is one of the best, while the parks, canal and the quay are rare places of solitude.
Old Trafford: A football fan’s mecca
The historic Roman city of Bath is a delight for history lovers with its well-maintained Roman bath, cathedrals and Georgian architecture. For those who enjoy a good spa treatment, book a hot bath; also pay homage to Jane Austen in the city of her birth. While much of the city was destroyed during the second World War, its reconstructed main street and historic buildingd are evidence of its allure to this day.
Topping the list of best places to live in Britain, Bristol is a city with a vibe unlike any other. Because of its high student population, the nightlife here is one of the best outside London. The food scene is continually evolving with everything from food trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants to satiate your taste buds. Don’t miss the street art and unique café culture of this buzzing city.
Edinburgh’s neglected cousin, Glasgow is the beauty no one told you about. Scotland’s biggest city rose to prominence during the Industrial Revolution and recently hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Today, it offers the best shopping experience outside of London and hosts so many musical events that it won the title of UNESCO City of Music. Glasgow is also one of the best places to taste Scotland’s famous dish, haggis.
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