The United Kingdom is one of the world’s most historic countries, with a rich history stretching back through the Vikings, Romans and beyond. London is the country’s capital and most popular destination, with visitors flocking to see Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and more. But the country has much more to offer. Packed with exciting man-made cities and towns, there is also a bounty of natural sites to be explored. From the birthplace of Shakespeare to one of the most famous university cities in the world, here are five of the best places to visit in the UK outside of London. Each perfect for a UK day trip!
Best Places to Visit in the UK
#1 Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Stonehenge is possibly the most recognizable site in the whole of England. Just over an hour’s drive from London, perched in the Wiltshire countryside is an impressive circle of stones. The mystery surrounding Stonehenge is that nobody knows where the stones came from or what they represent. Theories range from a religious ritual to alien invasion. Whatever you believe, the site is one of the best places to visit for a UK day trip. It should come as no surprise that Stonehenge gets very busy. Your best bet is to arrive first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is usually when the bus loads of tourists have mostly departed.
#2 Oxford, Oxfordshire
The University of Oxford is one of the most famous institutions in the world, renowned for its high quality education. Twenty-eight (28) British Prime Ministers studied at Oxford. In addition, international royalty like King Abdullah II of Jordan and a host of actors, journalists and authors, from Hugh Grant to J R R Tolkien. The actual city of Oxford is a beautiful place to explore, with stunning university college buildings, and charming gardens. Don’t forget the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral.
Oxford is also extremely close to the Cotswolds. This is an area of stunning natural beauty, famous for its old woodlands and quaint villages. If you have a few days to spare then it’s a great idea to combine Oxford sightseeing with a few days camping or staying in B & B’s in the Cotswolds. Definitely one of the best places to visit in the UK.
#3 Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire
He may have died in 1616, but William Shakespeare remains one of the most influential Englishmen to have ever lived. His plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth are still studied in schools and performed the world over. Shakespeare was born in the Warwickshire town of Stratford Upon Avon. Historic buildings connected to the playwright can still be visited to this day. The most famous of these is his birthplace, an ancient timber-framed building. It now sits on a pedestrianized street in the town centre, surrounded by charming cafes and shops.
Visitors to the town can also enjoy a show at the famous Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. Famous actors such as David Tennant and Dame Judi Dench have been known to appear in a variety of plays. The River Avon runs through the town and there are plenty of lovely walks to enjoy, as well as more country pubs than you’ll know what to do with. For families there is a fascinating Butterfly Farm and a variety of activities, from mini-golf to rowing boats on the river. A perfect destination for exploring the English countryside.
#4 Canterbury, Kent
Another easy UK day trip destination from London, Canterbury is most famous for its iconic UNESCO-listed Canterbury Cathedral. Home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is one of the most important sites in England for Christians, having been the centre of the religion in the country since the time of the Anglo-Saxons. The medieval streets of the town are a charming place to explore. Additionally, there are plenty of nice walks to be had along the River Stour. Nearby St Augustine’s Abbey is also well worth a visit.
#5 The Jurassic Coast & Durdle Door, Devon / Dorset
The name Jurassic Coast conjures up images of great dinosaurs with pointed teeth and a taste for flesh. Whilst Tyrannosaurs Rex no longer hunts along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, the eroding cliffs are constantly unearthing a host of ancient fossils. A stroll along the beach can uncover all sorts of treasures, which have been buried away for millions of years. Part way along the Jurassic Coast, near Lulworth, stands Durdle Door. This is one of the most incredible natural sites in the world and certainly one of the best places to visit in the UK. This limestone arch is probably the most famous of its type anywhere in the world and makes a perfect Instagram snap.
Best Places to Visit in the UK Revisited
For most travelers to the UK, London is the best place to start, home to a range of incredible attractions. But if you delve further into the country, there is a rich human history to be discovered. Plus incredible natural sites to boot. The country is connected by a sophisticated rail and flight network, as well as numerous coach companies. Rest assured it is easy to travel around the relatively small island nation.