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While London is one of the world’s largest and most known destinations, the United Kingdom has many other spots that are equally as exciting and often have less tourist traffic. Venturing up north or south of London gives a great look into the history and lifestyles of Great Britain. Here are 5 cities that should be on your itinerary during your trip to the UK.
Just over 50 miles south of London, Brighton is a beautiful seaside resort town. Known for its beach, nightlife, arts scene, shopping and festivals, Brighton draws in crowds throughout the entire year. While most tourists visit during the summer months, the weather in the winter rarely gets below freezing. The Palace Pier and Royal Pavilion are popular attractions in town, along with the Sea Life Aquarium and the British Airways i360, a moving observation tower. A walk through the city center can take you to The Lanes, a district formed historically as a village, but now encompasses many shops, pubs and cafes. For music lovers, Brighton is home to the Great Escape music festival every May, for new artists. Brighton is also known as one of the United Kingdom’s gay capitals, and the Pride celebration is held annually in August.
With the historical symbol of a worker bee, Manchester, “the original modern city,” sits 200 miles north of London. Manchester was home to heavy mass production during the Industrial Revolution, and many buildings continue to stand as a tribute to the city’s workers and their families. The city has many unique restaurants, museums, shops and hotels for visitors to experience. It’s easy to get around the city by foot, and many free walking tours are offered to dive more in-depth into the area’s past and present. Along with the famous Manchester United football club, guests can also search for rugby, cricket, or speedway racing events. In the wintertime, Manchester has award-winning Christmas markets for those special gifts and souvenirs.
Further away, Liverpool lies 220 miles northwest of London. Liverpool is the birthplace of the one of the most popular bands of all time, The Beatles. There are several tours throughout the city that visit the famous Cavern Club site, Penny Lane, the Eleanor Rigby statue, and several other well-known Beatles spots. Vibrant music echoes out of pubs and Beatles souvenirs can be found in nearly any shop. Sitting near the River Mersey, guests can take a stroll along the waterfront on a day of nice weather or visit the Maritime Museum for an indoor activity. Soccer fans can also watch a Liverpool FC game inside of Anfield Stadium, which has been the team’s headquarters since their formation in 1892.
Newcastle upon Tyne
One of the largest nightlife hubs in England is Newcastle upon Tyne, which also hosts 2 universities (coincidence?). With a large proportion of young adults, Newcastle is guaranteed to be an exciting and upbeat stop on your English tour. The city is farther away from London, about 5 hours by car, but would definitely be worth the trip. Newcastle and its twin city, Gateshead, are situated on the River Tyne, and visitors can walk along the quayside to see both the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Tyne Bridge. The coast of the North Sea is only about 20 minutes away from the city center, so a walk along the water or a nice swim would be a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Taking a venture up to Scotland leads you to the historical city of Edinburgh, just over 400 miles north of London. Edinburgh is known for both its medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town, where visitors can get a glance into the Scottish past. The region is very green and hilly, and those who are fond of hiking can trek up to Arthur’s Seat, a peak in Holyrood Park. Magnificent views overlooking the city can be seen from the peak and from Edinburgh Castle, which as just as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. Art lovers can view the Scottish National Gallery, saints can step foot in St. Giles’ Cathedral, and sinners can visit the Scotch Whisky Experience. There’s something for everyone in Edinburgh!
These cities outside of London provide great alternatives to busy city life, allowing visitors to see more attractions without all of the waiting times. Going away from the center of the commotion will open doors to many historical and cultural locations. Any time is a great time to visit Great Britain!