United Kingdom Travel Guide
Capital city: London
Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP) 1 USD = 0.83 GBP
Electricity: Power voltage is 230 Volts. Power socket type G.
Languages: English in various dialects. A number of regional languages are also spoken, such as Welsh or Scots.
Fun fact: Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwlllllandysiliogogogoch. Think I just wrote a bunch of random letters? It’s actually the name of a city in Wales! It’s the longest name of any city in the world.
10 Handpicked Highlights of the United Kingdom
The truth is that there is no shortage of places to visit in the U.K. As a lover of nature and the outdoors, this list focuses on the best natural attractions in the U.K. Here we go.
Lake District, England
A regional park in Northwest England, Lake District is a popular destination for travelers in the U.K. The stunning landscape is made of ancient castles, picturesque villages, mountains, green vegetation, water bodies, wildlife and historic locations.
The beauty of the park is only matched by its tranquility and you can take a peaceful walk across the park or hike the well preserved trails. There’s also good accommodation options and delicious cuisine at the park. What else do you need?
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
The massive Snowdonia National Park in Northwest Wales is home to 14 mountains that exceed 3000 ft in height. Mt. Snowdon, from which the park gets its name, is the highest peak (3,560 ft) in all of Wales. Travelers flock to the park to enjoy its natural beauty and hike the mountains for a panoramic view of the park.
Paragliding, ziplining, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting are other activities you can enjoy at the park. You can also visit the nearby villages or the fascinating National Slate Museum.
The picture at the top of this page is from Snowdonia!
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Scotland’s second-largest archipelago, the Isle of Skye, is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. The reason for the Skye’s popularity is simple – otherworldly scenery. Thanks to its rising mountains, flaming sunset, beautiful fishing villages, stone outcropping, and cascading waterfalls, the beauty of the archipelago is unique and often seems otherworldly.
There are also the drawling beaches, Neist Point lighthouse, and the historic Dunbegan castle. Isle of Skye is a completely different animal.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
It’s hard to believe a place like the Giant’s Causeway exists until you visit it in person. After all, it’s hard to come across a coastline of perfectly formed hexagonal columns. Science says the Giant Causeway is a result of millions of years of volcanic activity. Irish legend says the Causeway was actually built by the Irish Giant, Finn MacCool.
It’s up to you to believe whichever one you want to believe. But remember to bring your camera along as there are endless photo opportunities.
Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
The astonishing Cairngorms National Park in Scotland is renowned for its natural beauty. Spanning about 1,748 square miles, the park boasts of sweeping values, trout filled rivers, and snow-dusted peaks.
Immerse yourself in this wonderful landscape by exploring the numerous trails on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. Several of the resident wildlife can also be easily spotted. The fun goes up a notch in summer as kayaking, snowboarding, and several other watersports become available.
Kew Gardens, England
Kew Gardens isn’t just a fancy place with fancy flowers. It’s a place of art since it takes nothing but art to have one of the biggest collections of plants and seasonal flowers in the world. You’ll also find rare specimens, historic greenhouses, and serene woodlands at the Kew Gardens.
The Kew Gardens is at its best in Summer and Spring when the plants bloom and fill the air with rich and sweet aromas. You don’t have to be a lover of flowers to appreciate the gardens. You just need to be a lover of nature…or art. As a botany enthusiast, I couldn’t not include it in this list!
White Cliffs of Dover, England
White cliffs are such a rare thing and you have the opportunity to see them on your trip to the United Kingdom. Be sure to make use of this opportunity. At 350 feet (110 meters) above sea level with wild lush grass, the view here is simply stunning.
If the landscape isn’t enough to make you visit the cliffs, perhaps the beautiful ponies that were introduced to there years ago to control the grass will change your mind. Who doesn’t love these adorable creatures?!
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wales
Aqueducts aren’t a new thing. They’ve been around for a very long time. What makes the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct special is that it’s the first aqueduct to be made out of cast iron and is considered an engineering feat. Visit the aqueduct and take a walk over a tiny cable and pavement that is about 40 meters above the valley floor. Take in the sights around you, feed the ducks, and have a couple of drinks at the pub.
Handa Island, Scotland
Scottish islands like the Isle of the Skye are very popular and see a lot of visitors. But there are a couple of hidden gems that deserve more attention. One of such gems is Handa island which is home to beautiful seabirds, including the iconic puffins.
But there are also other beautiful bird species on the Island. I think Handa Island should be called ‘the Island of birds.’ You can also relax and sunbathe at the two beaches on the island.
The Dark Hedges
The Stuart family planted silver beech trees on the path leading to their estate in the 1700s with the intention of impressing visitors. 300 years later, the trees have formed a twisted canopy that is impressing people from all over the globe.
Named the Dark Hedges, the silver beech trees have been featured in many movies and series including the HBO hit show Game of Thrones (I’m always touchy discussing GoT because of that disastrous ending) which has even made the Dark Hedges more popular.
The United Kingdom's Geography & Landscapes
The geography of the United Kingdom varies greatly. However, it can be broadly divided into three upland and lowland areas. The upland areas are above sea level and are mountainous while lowland areas are flat and below sea level.
Upland areas are mainly found in:
- Scotland – The Northwest Highlands, the Cairngorm Mountains, the Grampian Mountains and the Southern Uplands.
- England – The Pennines, Lake District, Dartmoor and Exmoor. Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England and is found in the Lake District.
- Wales – Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.
Lowland areas can be found in the following places:
- The London Basin.
- The Fens in East Anglia.
- The Vale of York.
Best Time To Go To The United Kingdom
The climate in the UK is generally temperate. As a result, the UK gets warm, wet summers and cool, wet winters. Extremes of temperatures are rarely experienced in the region.
The best time to visit the UK is in the summer which is usually between June and August. Unsurprisingly, this happens to be the peak tourist period as the weather is ideal for outdoor exploration and activities. Prices of accommodation and travel may increase or even be in short supply during this period. Make sure to book in advance.
If you want to escape the rush or high prices of summer, the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September) are another good time to visit the UK. With the exception of October which is the wettest period of the year, the other months of the shoulder months have pleasant weather that’s good for different outdoor activities.
The UK winter runs from December to February and is not ideal for exploring the outdoors. However, if your travel involves fewer outdoor activities or sightseeing, you can visit the country during this period.
Traveling in The United Kingdom
The UK is relatively safe and the rate of violent crime is low. However, you should still exercise caution in the region. Below are safety tips to follow when in the UK:
- Don’t walk alone at night and stick to busier areas when exploring a new area.
- Don’t get into an unlicensed taxi. Also, ask for identification before entering a taxi.
- Watch your drink at bars and pubs and never accept drinks from a stranger.
- Make photocopies of your documents and secure the original in your hotel room.
- Avoid carrying valuables and large sums of money.
- If you rent a car, don’t leave your valuables in the car overnight. Break-ins can occur.
- If you won’t do it at home, don’t do it in the UK.
- Purchase good travel insurance.
Getting to & Around The United Kingdom
While many travelers use London as their gateway to exploring the UK, you can start your exploration in any of the four UK countries. It’s totally up to you.
Transportation is fast and efficient in the UK as due to the large number of modern railways, paved roads, and airports.
Trains are the most common form of public transportation in the UK. They are faster, safer, and even more comfortable than buses or cars.
Buses are another way to travel in the UK. However, the further you get from a city, the fewer the buses, and the more expensive they become.
Taxis and minicabs are great ways for traveling within a city. Enter only licensed taxis and request identification from the driver as they are mandated to carry it.
Air travel is popular within the UK and there are several local airlines in the region.
Accommodation options in the UK include hotels, hostels, Guest houses and B&B, Airbnb, cottages and farm stays, and camping and caravan sites.
The one you go depends on your preference and your budget. Hotels range from four-star, five-star hotels to mid-range hotels (two-sthree-starree star) to budget hotels.
There are several camping and caravan sites in the UK catering for tents, caravans, and mobile homeowners.