5 London Alternatives For UK City Breaks
When we think of UK city breaks London is our automatic go-to, perhaps it’s the tourist in us (and why not)! The old-smoke has much to offer, be it for a brisk day-jaunt or a full- blown long weekend of hotel life and all the trimmings. However, we can’t let the capital take all of the credit for the UK travel scene. If you’re looking for an alternative city frolic that’s just as fab, and perhaps a tad more friendly to your finances, then you may want to consider some of these vibrant cities.
Bristol is a real hidden gem of a city; it has a community vibe that’s second to none and a grand reputation for it’s arty and bohemian culture. Take in the glorious sights of the famous suspension bridge, Clifton Downs, and Avon Gorge for some truly spectacular views that stretch in miles of lush green landscapes. In the summertime, especially, the city really comes to life with so many festivals and events to suit every age and taste. The famous annual International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest gathering of hot air balloons from across the globe! Every August this is a fun-filled event that spans four days of music, food, trade stalls and fairground rides-not to mention over 100 balloons taking to the skies. It’s a sight not to be missed! Don’t forget to check out gloucester road for the longest stretch of independent shops in Europe; from quaint coffee houses and vintage shops to restaurants with ample tasty cuisines from around the world; Jamaican to Sri Lankan or Greek. Along the way, you’ll find much unique street art to please your cameras (and your Instagrams.)
The capital of Wales has plenty to offer for the travel-happy amongst you. One of the main attractions to see is Cardiff castle; a leading heritage site in Wales. This fairytale-like place has thousands of years of history; from the site of a Roman fort around the end of the 50s Ad, to its transformation via famous architect William Burges around 1866. If you’re a concert enthusiast, you’ll want to check out St David’s Hall, a beautiful 2,000 seat venue with some truly fantastic acoustics and much diverse entertainment to be enjoyed. If you’re in need of a place to stay there are many high quality serviced apartments you can look into; to indulge a little and fully make the most of your visit. Don’t forget to go and check out Cardiff Bay (Europe’s largest waterfront development). From the Bay, you can perfectly take in the surrounding famous buildings like the Norwegian Church or Pierhead. Boat tours run too if you wish to take to the waters!
Bath is a truly beautiful place, perfect for exploring as a tourist destination. Famous, of course, for the ancient Roman Baths along with the modern Thermae Bath Spa. There are many museums and galleries to sample from the Victoria Art Gallery to the Jane Austen centre, along with plentiful elegant places to eat, not forgetting the quaint and cosy pubs. There are many walking tours to try or if you’re a lover of boats why not hop on one of the River Adventures boating tours to really fill your tourist boots. If you’re not shy of heights, you may enjoy a climb of Bath Abbey’s Tower; a brave 212 steps to the top to access the beautiful views across the city and the landscapes beyond. Like Bristol, Bath is also home to plentiful independent shops for some truly unique shopping ventures!
Who needs an excuse to get beside the seaside and bask in the sun (if the English weather will permit)! Brighton’s charming pier is talk of the town for visitors. The famous Lanes are home to many a quirky boutique, stall, eatery or coffee haunt. There’s a vibrant music culture and an LGBTQ party scene that’s famous far and wide. The place is pretty compact, so you can wander to your heart’s content without getting lost (hopefully)! Why not take a bike tour and find your own secret spots or sample the Brighton art scene with an independent gallery or two. Many opt for visiting the open market or going to marvel at the Royal Pavilion; designed by John Nash in the 19th century this was once a holiday getaway for George Prince of Wales. For a quirky museum fix, you’ll love Brighton Toy and Model Museum to take a look at some real vintage gems.
At the spectacular Edinburgh castle, you’ll discover panoramic views across the city and get your historical fix by learning all about the sieges and battles fought here. (You may even sneak a look at the Crown Jewels!) Edinburg is a charming place of cobbled streets and inviting shops and pubs. Many visit in August time to take advantage of the famous Fringe Festival, not to be missed- the biggest independent theatre fest in the world. You’ll be treated to some fantastic established and up and coming comedians and theatre companies to entertain you in ever current and marvellous ways. Be sure to take a walk down the Royal Mile; running a mile from the castle to Holyrood Palace at the bottom, with lots of sights to see along the way. Hidden under the city streets is the famous Mary King’s Close, you can take a tour to access all this history and discover life in Edinburgh in the 16th and 19th centuries.
If your feeling spoilt for choice, all the better, pick the one that takes your fancy the most and come back to visit the others at another time! The world is your oyster, but good-old England has much to offer too, so don’t be afraid to put these UK beauties proudly on your bucket list! London is great, but you won’t want to miss out on the wonders that these slightly more understated destinations can provide you with. Happy travels!