16 of the best places to holiday in the UK
Choosing a UK holiday? Then you're going to want to check out our bang-up-to-date insider guides to these top towns and cities across the Muddy counties.
ST IVE’S, SOMERSET
The jewel in Cornwall’s crown, head to St Ives on a sunny weekend and you’d never know you’re still in Blighty. Beachgoers are spoilt for choice when it comes to white stretches of sand, clear sea and surf, plus there’s also a thriving art and independent foodie scene to explore.
There are few cities in the UK as postcard-perfect as Bath with its golden Georgian streets and Roman remnants. The history’s a given (you can hardly throw a stone for hitting a museum) but there’s also boating, shopping, eating and drinking aplenty in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arguably Britain’s favourite seaside spot, a portion of fish and chips and a wander down the pier are non-negotiable here. But Brighton also boasts a quirky hipster scene, bursting with independent eaters and cool bars as well as throwing one hell of a Pride celebration each summer. Fancy a trip?
A city of dreaming spires that houses the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford was home to the literary likes of J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lewis Carroll. Its quaint streets are packed with foodie gems, boutique stays, and classic pubs, and we know all the best places.
ISLE OF WIGHT
This sunny, picturesque island is accessible only by ferry, catamaran, or perhaps hovercraft — practically abroad! Holidaying here you’ll be spoilt for choice with fresh seafood, charming architecture, stunning landscape, and the amazing flora that comes with the island’s own microclimate.
Another cookie-cutter city, Canterbury can boast both the oldest still-running school in the world, and the oldest church in the English-speaking world. Not too shabby — but there’s more than one egg in this basket. You won’t want to miss the renowned theatre scene, the showstopper gardens, the indie boutiques, and the reems of farm-to-table restaurants.
The honey-tinged cottages of the Cotswolds are straight out of an American daydream about rural England, and a real sight to behold. Patchwork hills of rolling fields, ambling sheep, and charming market towns make this land of bucolic boltholes a dead-cert destination. Convinced? Check out our guide of the coolest places to visit.
If it’s good enough for the Queen it’s good enough for us, eh? But Windsor’s not all royal castles: find the coolest bars, destination hotels, and fashion-hotspot shops that you need to know about in our insider guide.
There’s the famous (and stunning) Salisbury Cathedral, sure. But did you know Wiltshire’s only city is also buzzing with arty, off-beat and indie places to shop, eat, and dive into culture? Even better: it’s pint-sized enough that you can do the lot in a well-managed weekend. Sorted.
A bustling market town with a cracking high street, Saxon origins, and a royal history, Guildford is crying out for a weekend escape. Wander along the River Wey or through the little cobbled lanes of the centre, and don’t miss the impressive array of arts and culture on offer.
BURY ST EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK
Fancy something a little more under the radar? Suffolk’s historic market town was a major player in the Medieval ages and today enjoys a Michelin-star restaurant, a thriving arts scene, and independent shops aplenty.
ST ALBANS, HERTFORDSHIRE
The third biggest city in Roman Britain, St Albans today is a historic metropolis complete with funky, buzzing independent shops, markets, a packed events calendar, and one of the best pub cultures in the country.
A holiday destination that’s off the beaten track but no less packed with charm, Northampton has a whole clutch of quirky hidden gems and independent foodie joints, waiting to be discovered.
Sitting comfortably between the rugged wilds of Dartmoor and the buzzy surfer beaches of the South Devon coast is Exeter, a historic city that’s still firmly alive and kicking today. There’s an array of eating delights, museums to peruse, and more boutique shops than you can shake a stick at.
LEAMINGTON SPA, WARWICKSHIRE
A riverside spa town with Regency streets, lush parks, and a vibrant and creative independent scene, Leamington Spa is a little under-the-radar gem. It’s known more as a well-heeled and happy place to live than as a tourist hotspot, and so offers a one-two punch of pretty museums without the tourist traps.
The most populous municipality in the East Midlands, Leicester’s a diverse hubbub of urban culture, exciting cuisines, fab indie shops, festivals, art, theatre, and more. If they could find Richard III in a carpark, just think what else is waiting to be discovered…