Yes, there is no denying that London is not only the ‘obvious’ UK city choice but is also a melting pot of bright lights, unbeatable culture, exhilarating entertainment and unrivalled historic sights. But, should you be visiting the UK any time soon, I implore you to look beyond the crowded capital to explore some other (less touristy, less expensive) cities, which each have their own unique charm and appeal.
Fast becoming a favourite with tourists, in the north of the UK proudly sits the city of York. Founded by the ancient romans, this city has oodles of historic charm. Walk the walls of the city, gape open-mouthed in awe at the exceptional gothic cathedral, potter through the quaint cobbled streets, marvel at the medieval buildings and indulge in breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea at the famous Betty’s.
Known for its bohemian vibe and cultural diversity, Bristol is a city worth exploring and exploring by foot. As one of Banksy’s favourite destinations for his street art, Bristol’s art and entertainment scene is eclectic and unique. Not only does this city, in the south west of the UK, play host to a mix of alternative music and arts events, it is also home to one of the most famous UK engineering feats of all times: The Clifton Suspension Bridge. Enjoy the green spaces of the Clifton Downs, eat and ice cream as you overlook the bridge and gorge, sample the finest cider the south west has to offer and discover entertainment that you are unlikely to get elsewhere in the UK.
No, it’s not Edinburgh and for good reason. North of the border, Scotland has SO much to offer as a country (I could and may write a whole other post about it), and whilst I can’t deny to curb appeal and beauty of Edinburgh, Glasgow has that real gritty Scottish charm that you shouldn’t miss out on. Not only that, but Glasgow is often seen as the culture capital of Scotland, with a fantastic live music scene and a host of great museums and galleries. Looking for an alternative way to explore Glasgow’s more recent history? Try visiting ‘The Tenement House’, a faithfully restored home of middle-class single lady from the early 20th Century.
If being by the sea brings you unbridled joy, like it does me, Brighton is a great city to escape to (it’s also super well connected to London). A city proud of its carefree, creative and welcoming credentials, Brighton makes for a great day out or short overnight adventure. Wander the famous lanes of this city and peruse the independent shops, eat your way through the vegetarian restaurants or even pop for a brilliant Mexican meal at La Choza. Finally, ascend the relatively new observation tower for views of the coast, across the colourful city and right out to the surrounding Sussex countryside.
Another coastal gem, Plymouth is a port city famed for its maritime heritage. Whilst the National Marine Aquarium is worthy of note for something to do in Plymouth, I would first like to advise a trip to the Plymouth Gin Distillery. Beyond gin and aquariums, the city has entertainment a-plenty, whether that be exploring the cobbled quayside or enjoying the water sports activities or comedy and music events that take place here throughout the year. Come at the right time of the year and you may even catch the British Firework Championships. Yes, that’s a real thing. And it looks unbelievable.