Things to do in the United Kingdom
Updated last year

The United Kingdom has a vast choice of leisure activities, from exploring the stunning countryside to discovering the diverse history, finding a bargain in the many shopping havens, and the festivals and street events. The country has many places well worth a visit. Besides, the leisure activities available cater to all tastes, budgets, and backgrounds.

Nature and landscapes in the UK

The UK is the perfect destination for nature lovers. Indeed, the country can boast ten national parks including the Exmoor Cliffs, the Lake District, The Peak District, Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia in Wales, and Loch Lomond in Scotland. The National Parks are perfect for hikers or anybody wishing to get away from bustling city life and enjoy the stunning scenery.

The UK also has a lot of canals, which were built during the Industrial Revolution. Many companies offer canal trips across the country as a perfect way to take in the countryside.

The UK, in general, has a wealth of impressive flora and fauna, rivers, hills, mountains and valleys. Scotland is particularly famous for its stunning nature with its many Lochs, the Highlands and Scottish islands such as Skye.

Exploring history in the UK

The United Kingdom also has a rich and long-standing historical heritage which can be discovered at numerous monuments, palaces, museums and castles. Below are some of the most famous historical moments of interest:
The history of the monarchy
The British Empire
The individual histories of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
The Industrial Revolution
The British inventions

You can also find art, science and history museums, particularly in London, Wales, Manchester and Liverpool.

London is a beacon of culture and history, with many of the monarchies palaces situated in the capital (Buckingham, Kensington, Windsor Palace) as well as a vast amount of museums, churches and cultural hotspots.

Here are some of the most famous museums in the UK:
The British History Museum
The Tate Modern
The Science and Industry Museum
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

You will be happy to know that entrance to most museums in the UK is free of charge.

The United Kingdom also has long been rumoured to have haunted castles which have given rise to many legends: the Glamis Castle in Scotland, the Chillingham in the Northumberland, and the Thornbury Castle, located in Gloucestershire.

Culture in the United Kingdom

The UK is a world-famous literary hub which has been the home of literary giants such as Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Chaucer, the Bronte Sisters and Virginia Woolf. This literary culture still beats in the veins of the country, and you can see many affordable theatre shows, literary talks or attend book clubs. The most famous theatre is the Globe, in London, where Shakespeare would show his plays.

Good to know:

Discounts are very often available for students and young people.

As well as literature, the UK has always been at the forefront of music. Some of the most famous musicians in the world have come from the country. Also, many music genres started in the UK (such as Britpop, Garage, Punk and Madchester). Music events and gigs are available throughout the country at very affordable prices and often are entirely free of charge in pubs and bars or street events.

Festivals are also very popular and famous in the UK, with around 14 million citizens attending music festivals throughout the year.

London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield are particular centres of the UK music scene.

Parks in the United Kingdom

You can also find many theme parks in the United Kingdom. Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Drayton Manor, Gulliver's World, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and LEGOLAND are some of the most popular, attracting both families and young people.

Beaches in the United Kingdom

Although most expats do not come to the UK for its beaches, the country does surprisingly have some very beautiful beaches that are often very pleasant in summer. Cornwall is particularly popular and enjoys some of the warmest weathers in England. Beaches like St Ives and Newquay are deemed to be the surfing centre of the UK. The Welsh coast enjoys the largest number of sunny days per year and is home to many beautiful beaches such as Rhossili and Tenby.

The UK has many islands, while most are too cold for a beach break there are some surprising warmer options. The Isle of Scilly enjoys a microclimate and reaches temperatures akin to more southern parts of the world, it also has several stunning beaches. Jersey and the Channel Islands also enjoy mild weather in the summer and have many beaches to choose from.

Shopping in the United Kingdom

If you are a shopaholic, most UK cities have plenty of options, including designer boutiques, high street shops and vintage dens. The British are notorious shoppers, so expect a vast amount of good quality shops on every high street. The UK also has a lot of large shopping malls, including The Trafford centre (the biggest in the country), Cheshire Oaks, Liverpool One, The Bull Ring and the Buchanan Galleries.

Selfridges, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser and Debenhams are the most popular department stores.

The market in the UK is very competitive, and there are generally sales or deals all year round to buy clothes, accessories, cosmetic products and other trendy material at a lower price.

Gastronomy in the United Kingdom

Since the 1980s, the UK's food scene has gone through a metamorphosis. Many new restaurants, independent bistros and cafes have opened up throughout the country and sell good quality modern and traditional food. The UK's eclectic identity also means that various international cuisines, including Indian, East Asian and Jamaican food, can be enjoyed throughout the country. There are now 163 restaurants in the UK that have at least 1 Michelin Star.

The UK has also recently been going back to locally sourced, traditional food, which has given rise to markets and food stall once more. In previous decades, many independent shops closed down in the wake of supermarkets opening across the country. In recent years, the UK has seen locally sourced, fresh food, especially street food events pop up across the country. Every city will have many events throughout the year, the cities that have the most market events are London, Manchester and Leeds. Towns and villages also enjoy regular markets.

The UK is arguably most famous for its beer, with many different choices available. Similarly, to the food culture, the UK has been growing its traditional beer sources such as independent ale breweries which are now present in many bars, pubs, and beer shops.

The British drinking culture

Gin is also very famous in Britain, the factory workers at the time of the industrial revolution would drink the spirit Gin palaces. With time, gin became a very old fashioned drink. However, gin is now enjoying a popularity surge with many bars and shops specialising in it. Manchester and London are gin hubs and offer a huge variety.

Scotland, for its part, is the home of whisky, with many distilleries dotted throughout the country. Some of the most renowned whisky areas are often located in the Scottish islands such as Jura, Islay, and Skye.

Useful links:

UK National Parks
Beaches in the UK
Whisky Distilleries in Scotland '''''''
Michelin Star Restaurants in London '''''''
Top 16 street food stalls in UK '''''''
The Best Farmers Markets in UK

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