Yes we are but a tiny island, but the UK has so many amazing cities. Whether you’re looking for history and heritage, or great shopping and an awesome nightlife; there is a UK city for everyone.
City breaks are perfect for a weekend away or quick getaway because generally they can be done on a budget. They’re also super easy to organise because accommodation is simple; and there are always great transport links to a major city making getting there a breeze.
I’ve tried to be as all-inclusive with my city choices to show you just how much there is to do in every corner of the land!
A personal favourite of mine as it is my university town, the beautiful UK city of Canterbury.
You can’t go to Canterbury without visiting the cathedral. Founded in 597AD then completely rebuilt in the 9th century, the Cathedral has an incredible history, having been a place of pilgrimage and also known for the gruesome death of Thomas Beckett. You can explore the cathedral itself and the beautiful grounds, and if you fancy it, then attend a service too.
After you’ve explored the King’s Mile and Old Town walls, why not take a punting tour along the river? It’s the perfect way to relax and hear some of the city’s history from someone who really knows the place.
There are loads of fantastic restaurants to choose from, including loads of independent, locally run gems like Cafe du Solei and the Old Weavers. Both serve amazing food, and The Old Weavers actually dates back to the 15th century!
A UK city wouldn’t be a city without its Cathedral, and York has a pretty spectacular one. Founded in 637AD, York Minster is a Gothic structure that stands 235 feet tall. On your tour of the cathedral you have the opportunity to climb the tower… WARNING there is no lift! There are A LOT of stairs!
To recover from your climb, have a wander down Shambles, a road that dates back to the 14th century. It is filled with quirky shops and wonderful places to eat, and is just a really lovely place to get lost in the history and the hustle and bustle of the old town. York also has the best preserved town walls in England, and by walking the complete 3.4km route you can really get your bearings of the city. Alternatively you can just walk sections of the walls by joining and leaving at the many gates to the city,
If you fancy taking in a museum, the York Castle Museum is a fantastic ‘living museum’ with re-enactments of Jacobean events, and a reconstruction of a Victorian street which really emerses you in the history of the area.
Home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Oxford is a must-see city in the UK. The University of Oxford was established back in the 12th century, and some of the most notable former students include Oscar Wilde, Dr Suess, and Stephen Hawking, among many others.
With so much history, architecture, and scenery; Oxford is a paradise for literary-lovers, and anyone looking for a classic British city break. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History showcases some of the scientific collections of the university. These collections include both zoological and geological specimens, and are proudly displayed in a Grade 1 listed building in the city centre. If you’re visiting then be sure to give punting a try. Punting has been an Oxbridge tradition since before the 1880s, and cruising down the river in a punt is the ideal relaxing activity.
Now I’ve only done Edinburgh in the winter, taking in the Christmas markets and even getting to experience the beauty of Edinburgh castle in the snow! But the summer months also offer the Fringe Festival; a month-long arts festival for everything from music to comedy and everything in between. If you get the chance to go you’ll be immersed in the creative energy of cultures from around the globe! As any avid fan will know, Edinburgh is also the birthplace of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling sat in a tiny cafe just off the Royal Mile, taking inspiration from the magical city around her. There are now walking tours available if you want to follow in her footsteps, and you don’t have to look too hard to see what sparked her imagination.
While in Edinburgh you must explore the Royal Mile. It’s the historical heart of the city, and with so many closes leading off you can really lose yourself in the city and discover hidden gems of your own. At the end is Edinburgh Castle, which dates back to the Iron Age and is possibly most famous for being the birthplace of King James IV of Scotland and I of England.
If you fancy taking more of a trek, why not venture up Arthur’s Seat? An extinct volcano and the highest peak in the hills surrounding Edinburgh, it’s a bit of a hike but totally worth it when you see the view from the top!
I hope this has given you some insight into the beautiful cities that the UK has to offer. Each UK city is unique in it’s own way, and all are completely worth visiting if you get the chance.
To see our UK staycation recommendations, click here: http://www.emgoingplaces.com/2020/07/staycation-destinations-uk-top-picks/