By Dana Perkiss
Exploring the United Kingdom (UK) is an enchanting experience that everyone should have on their travel bucket list. This island nation is a fascinating blend of cultural, historical, and natural wonders across a variety of diverse destinations.
If you’re unsure where to start your explorations, then check out these best cities to visit in the UK that are totally worth the trip.
Undoubtedly, the most popular city in the UK is London. As a melting pot of cultures featuring a wonderful mix of iconic landmarks and world-class dining, this capital city is sure to leave you spellbound. Whether it’s admiring the iconic Big Ben, touring the magnificent Buckingham Palace, or shopping around Camden Town, every traveler is sure to find great things to do in London.
Featuring a blend of ancient and modern architecture, with famous sights like Edinburgh Castle, it’s no wonder why Edinburgh is the cultural capital of Scotland. Explore cultural highlights around the Royal Mile and Old Town, then indulge in a variety of shops and restaurants in New Town. Try to time your vacation around the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival held every August!
As both the largest and capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast is definitely one of the best cities to visit in the UK. It’s perhaps most well-known for being the birthplace of the RMS Titanic, which tragically sunk in 1912, but is now honored in the city’s Titanic Quarter. Other than history, Belfast also features a lively music and arts scene, as well as stunning countryside landscapes for nature-lovers.
Liverpool, the land of The Beatles, is a city that’ll captivate you with its unique culture, sports, and music legacy. This vibrant city is also well-known for its maritime history, including the UNESCO-listed Albert Dock. Don’t leave Liverpool without visiting the Beatles’ Story Museum, where you can learn about one of the most famous bands in musical history.
Often overlooked by other destinations, Inverness is a hidden gem in Scotland beyond worth visiting. It’s known as the gateway to the magnificent Scottish Highlands and provides the perfect base to explore highlights like Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield. Inverness is also a highly-walkable city which makes visiting attractions like the Inverness Castle easy.
Are you a fan of art, history, and culture? Then visit Cardiff, the capital city of Wales boasting everything from historic castles to modern museums, shopping districts, and friendly locals. Explore the city’s history by visiting the Cardiff Castle, Wales Millennium Centre, and the National Museum Cardiff. Alternatively, sports fans can catch an event at the Principality Stadium while shoppers can get some retail therapy at St. David's shopping center.
If you like incredible architecture and rejuvenating experiences, then Bath should be on your England bucket list. This historic city is famous for its extravagant Georgian buildings and Roman Baths that date back to 75 AD. Relaxing in the hot springs is a must on any Bath vacation, while visiting the Royal Crescent and the Jane Austen Centre are also highly recommended.
Mix together the love of football and music to discover the unforgettable city of Manchester. Home to Manchester United, one of the most famous football clubs in the world, the city is also beloved for its amazing museums, art galleries, music scene, and the famous Curry Mile.
As the largest city in Scotland, there are tons of things to do in Glasgow. It’s most famous for its vibrant art and culture scene, featuring a wide variety of experiences like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum or listening to live music at the iconic King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Shopaholics will also delight with a visit to Buchanan Street, a half-mile shopping stretch right in Glasgow’s city center.
The vibrant seaside town of Aberystwyth blends together the perfect mix of natural beauty, history, and culture. Feel mesmerized by stunning mountain views while relaxing on picturesque beaches and take a boat trip to spot dolphins, seals, or even whales. Aberystwyth is also famously home to the National Library of Wales as well as the largest Arts Center in Wales.
Londonderry, also known as Derry, is famous for being the only remaining totally-walled city in Ireland – the walls are even a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Along with its rich history, Derry also boasts a lively arts and culture scene with various galleries and theaters open for exploration, as well as tons of nearby stunning scenery including the Causeway Coast and Glens.
Nicknamed the "City of Dreaming Spires," Oxford is sure to captivate visitors with its gorgeous architecture, fascinating history, and energetic student life. It’s one of the most popular cities to visit in the UK thanks to its prestigious universities, museums, galleries, libraries, and shopping. Plus, Oxford is an easy day trip from London since it’s just an hour away by train.
The walled city of York is one of the best destinations in the UK for a weekend break. It boasts charming medieval architecture, a unique Roman and Viking heritage, plus vibrant festivals where the streets flood with performers and local vendors selling handmade chocolates and other treats.