Winging your way to Europe? The United Kingdom beckons us all, with a plethora of world class attractions in London and sprawling green spaces across Scotland. Whether you would rather explore ancient castles, sip high tea inside a royal palace or sail along a mysterious loch, a holiday to the UK will be an adventure and fairytale all in one. To get the most out of your next holiday, here are our top 5 bucket list attractions in the UK.
You’ve seen her on the television, in magazines and on the internet, but nothing compares to the moment you first see the glorious Buckingham Palace in person. This grand mansion holds over 700 rooms including 19 staterooms and 78 bathrooms. If you are lucky enough to be travelling through England in August or September, you could even have the chance to peruse the beautifully furnished state rooms while the Queen makes her annual visit to Balmoral in Scotland. Your guided tour will also take you to explore the palace’s perfectly manicured gardens, showcasing over 350 different species of wild flower. If you happen to visit between April and July, you can witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a unique celebration of British pageantry.
Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Scotland is Edinburgh Castle. The historic fortress sits high on rugged rock overlooking the city. Visit the Great Hall with it stunning medieval wooden roof, the Royal Palace, believed to be the birthplace of James VI and see firsthand the crown, sceptre and sword of the state, said to be the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles. The size of the castle may take you by surprise, so be sure to set aside a few hours to explore. You can choose to go at your own pace or join a complimentary guided tour for insider knowledge. Complete your journey with a lovely afternoon tea at the castle in one of the elegant tea rooms and don’t forget to pick up a few special souvenirs on your way out.
The Giant’s Causeway is a geological wonder featuring rustic columns of layered basalts. Proudly honoured as Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the region was created by a volcanic eruption and now forms a dramatic coastline to the wild North Atlantic Ocean. Explore the area with a guided tour or choose to go at your own pace. Be sure to climb the Shepherd’s Steps for a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Causeway Coast. This is one attraction where you do not want to leave the camera at home, with stunning coastal views every way you turn. Stop by the award winning visitor centre to pick up a special memento or enjoy a seaside lunch.
Just a short drive northwest of Glasgow will have you landing at the banks of the idyllic Loch Lomond. Britain’s largest lake, this pretty body of water is hugely popular for locals and tourist alike. Many flock to not just admire the spectacular surrounds but also enjoy a host of water sports. The calm waters are perfect for kayaking, wake boarding, water skiing or cruising. Explore the historic paddle steamer, the Maid of the Loch or take cruise to sail through the dramatic northern end of Loch. You could also go cycling or mountain biking along the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path. Thrill seekers can visit the nearby aerial adventure course for a spot of ziplining on the shores of Loch Lomond.
A royal fortress situated on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London is one of the city’s premier attractions. The ancient stones hold many secrets but on a guided tour, you can have the chance to see the world-famous Crown Jewels and meet the uniformed Beefeaters that stroll the grounds. Situated in Central London, you can spend hours exploring the various sights. Take a walk through history at the Line of the Kings, which showcases armour, life-sized wooden horses and figures of kings. The Medieval Palace tells of a luxurious life gone by, while the White Castle is home to a unique 11th century Romanesque Chapel. Set aside at least 2-3 hours to explore all the Tower has to offer.
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