City breaks are one of the best ways to get introduced to a country. To discover its history and culture in as little time as a weekend away. The UK has so many fantastic cities to offer and such a variety! So if you are thinking of a weekend away and looking for inspiration on where to visit, here are 25 of the top UK city breaks we have to offer.
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Cambridge may be best known as home to the famous University, but it has so much more to offer. It’s one of the best city breaks in the UK because it has something for everyone whether you are interested in history, art, or adventure.
Cambridge University was founded back in 2019, and it’s the second oldest university in the English speaking world! Most of its 31 colleges allow visitors, although access may be limited during the school term. Try to tour at least one college. My favorites are King’s College, St. John’s, and Trinity College. The King’s College Chapel has some of the most beautiful stained glass you will ever see. At Trinity College, don’t miss the treasures inside the Wren Library, which was designed by Christopher Wren, who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Additionally, the University has eight museums that are open to the public for free. My favorites are the Fitzwilliam and the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. The Fitzwilliam reminds me of a smaller version of the British Museum in London because it has such a diverse collection including pieces from ancient Egypt.
If you are lucky enough to get nice weather, punting on the Cam River is one of the best things to do in Cambridge. Punting uses a boat similar to a gondola, where you stand on the back to paddle, but you use a pole instead of an oar. If you’re not brave enough to try it on your own, there are punting tours that go through the lovely area known as The Backs.
Thanks to Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
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Bristol is one of the UK’s most creative cities, regularly topping the charts of best places to live in England. It’s known for its music, excellent food scene and liberal-minded locals. This is a city filled with independent businesses and where people care about the environment and each other. And to top it all off, it’s surrounded by gorgeous countryside. There are so many
The city is made up of different neighbourhoods, all with distinct styles. Head to charming Clifton Village for cute boutiques, colourful homes and a view of the world-famous Clifton suspension bridge. The harbourside is where you can wander alongside the water while visiting museums, galleries, historic ships and a plethora of excellent restaurants. Stoke’s Croft and Southville are the places to go for street art, and Gloucester Road boasts one of the longest roads of independent shops in the UK. And finally, don’t miss Park Street, one of the city’s most iconic roads, featuring some of Bristol’s most beautiful architecture, including the Will’s Memorial Building and Bristol Cathedral.
Some of the most unmissable things to do in Bristol include doing a street art tour (it is after all, the home of Banksy) visiting the suspension bridge, walking the harbourside, wandering the streets of Clifton and choosing a park to while away an afternoon with a picnic and a local brew.
Every corner of the city has exciting food options to try, but some of the city’s best spots include: Jamaica Street Stores, Masa and Mezcal, Pasta Loco, The Mint Room and Dela. Or head to Wapping Wharf for lots of excellent options all in one place.
Thanks to Victoria from Bridges and Balloons
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Located near the East Coast of England, south of Yorkshire and north of Cambridgeshire and the north Norfolk coast, the historic Cathedral City of Lincoln is a well-kept secret. Due to its relative small size and population (approximately 100 000), it is often overlooked. This is a mistake – home to both a wonderful cathedral (of Anglo-Norman architecture), and a fabulous medieval Castle, there is lots to see and do.
Lincoln folk are proud of their heritage and their historical uniqueness. Tour guides will educate you about the locally famous Lincoln Imp. Folklore would have us believe that the Imp was turned to stone by angels in the cathedral who had become irritated with the havoc the Imp caused in the cathedral choir! Historians love to spend time in the castle as it is the only place in the world where visitors can see original copies of not only the Magna Carta (1215), but also the Charter of the Forest (1217). The third of a mile Castle City Walk is a wonderful way to enjoy some fresh air and soak up the ambience of this historic city.
Lincoln is famous for its aptly named Steep Hill. Walking down it is almost as challenging as hiking back up it! Fortunately the hill is lined with bookshops, cafes, pubs, sweetshops, charity shops and other curios so it is easy to take a rest. At the bottom of the hill is what is known as Upper Town where there are some wonderful medieval buildings to explore. From this it is quick and easy to walk to Lower Town which hosts all the high street chain-stores an enthusiastic shopper might ever need. From this area it is but a quick stroll to Brayford Waterfront where pubs and restaurants are ample. This is a lovely place to sit and eat lunch whilst watching life on the numerous canal boats on the River Witham.
Accessible by train and bus, Lincoln is a gem of a city not to be missed.
Thanks to Sally from Sally Flint
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Sorry for the delay, here it is! Scotland by Elisa from World in Paris
Glasgow, in Scotland, makes an excellent weekend getaway in the UK. Glasgow is located in Scotland’s western lowlands, by the river Clyde, and it is very easy to reach from London by direct train (less than 5 hours) or flight.
The city is the largest seaport in Scotland and industrial city where the economy turned around shipbuilding. Compared to the elegant Edinburgh, the capital, Glasgow was always the industrial and popular city.
Over the last years, however, the city learned to reinvent itself and today Glasgow is also a city worth visiting for sightseeing, its cultural offer, and cool vibe. Glasgow is home to important institutions like the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland and it has a gorgeous Victorian and Art Nouveau architecture.
Due to its small size, Glasgow is a walkable city and it is great to wander around its streets when it does not rain! The city also has very interesting museums (some of them free to visit), such as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum or some distilleries to visit (with whiskey tasting). But there’s more! The city has many places to drink eat and have fun, that you will end up considering extending your weekend getaway.
Thanks to Elisa from A World In Paris
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Beautiful to visit during any time of the year, the historic city of Oxford, AKA the city of Dreaming Spires boasts the oldest university in the English speaking world, with some of the first colleges in the British destination having taught pupils since the 11th and 12th centuries.
And that’s not all! Just a couple of hours away from London via bus and even less via train, the city makes for the perfect weekend break for even the most discerning of travellers. Indeed, there’s enough things to do in Oxford to fill a month’s worth of activities, let alone a long weekend!
After all, once you’ve explored the city on foot, simply allowing your feet to guide you through the narrow lanes and cobbled streets (and spying many a filming location), make time to visit at least a couple of the historic colleges. Though some are completely free to visit, the most famous ones can be visited for the nominal of a couple of pounds.
Elsewhere in the city, there’s a burgeoning pub scene, with drinking establishments such as The Eagle and Child boasting notable guests like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Otherwise, be sure to follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter (there are filming locations dotted across the city), scout out inspirations which inspired the Alice in Wonderland books, and get lost in the largest single display of books in one room at Blackwell’s bookshop.
Thanks to Sophie from Escape To Britain.
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The city of Manchester is the perfect location for a weekend trip. It is known worldwide for its rich musical heritage and football, but Manchester has even more to offer. We’re talking an abundance of incredible restaurants, the best cocktails, interesting history, world class museums and art galleries, an exciting nightlife.. Everything you need for the perfect weekend with your better half, friends or family. Manchester’s variety of shops makes it the perfect shopping destination as well.
In Manchester you get the best of both worlds, perfect for those who enjoy experiencing big city life within a compact city centre. Getting around is easy, and although their public transportation is great (they even have a free bus) you can get far by walking.
One of the most unique places to explore is the Northern Quarter, a bohemian neighbourhood filled with quirky independent shops, record stores, vintage shops, impressive street art and interesting restaurants and bars. Pop by the very pink Deadstock General Store, the charming Northern Flower and the ecclectic Affleck’s while exploring the area.
Another lively and fun neighbourhood to check out is The Gay Village, a friendly area where everyone is welcome. Check out one of the fun bars along Canal Street, enjoy some afternoon tea at Richmond Tea Rooms, and pay a visit to WWII hero Alan Turing’s memorial in Sackville gardens while you’re there.
Castlefield is also well worthy of a visit. Art enthusiasts will love Castlefield Gallery and HOME, while the history buff will enjoy a visit to the ruins of the Roman fort Mamucium. Go for a relaxing stroll along the canals and grab some food at one of the charming waterfront restaurants like The Wharf or Barca to make the weekend complete.
Thanks to Tina from Manhattanite
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Wells in Somerset is the second smallest city in the UK (after, believe it or not, the City of London). It’s also one of the most beautiful in the UK. Wells owes its city status to its magnificent Gothic Cathedral, and many of the things to do in Wells revolve around it and its precincts.
Few cities have as beautiful a setting as Wells. It’s nestled serenely in the Somerset countryside at the foot of the Mendip Hills, close to the low-lying Somerset Levels. A short climb along the road to Bristol (less than an hour away) is rewarded with a view of the Cathedral and, in the distance, the unmistakable outline of Glastonbury Tor, the conical hill crowned by a medieval church tower.
Wells Cathedral’s precincts are the most complete in the UK. You can visit the neighbouring Bishop’s Palace and walk along the superb Vicars’ Close, a street of terraced chimneyed medieval cottages that’s one of the best-preserved streets anywhere in Europe.
The Cathedral Green is a superb stage for the star of the show, the twin-towered west front of the Cathedral. There’s nothing comparable in the UK, with an array of hundreds of statues. It’s also hugely impressive inside, the central tower supported by a unique set of scissor arches. The Cathedral Clock is also a popular draw – dating from 1390, a pair of jousting knights emerge every hour.
Beyond the Cathedral precincts, the church’s influence permeates through the whole city. The City’s Market takes place in the square directly outside the precincts, and has been held for over 800 years. St Cuthbert’s Church is a few minutes’ walk from the Cathedral and often gets mistaken for it. It’s well worth looking inside, especially to see the stunning 15th century
Outside Wells, Wookey Hole is one of the biggest limestone cave complexes in the UK, and Cheddar Caves and Gorge are also only 12 miles away.
Thanks to David from Delve Into Europe
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Salisbury is a beautiful, medieval city in Wiltshire with links going back to the time of the Druids. Just nine miles from Stonehenge and on the edge of the Salisbury Plain wilderness, it’s a fantastic and lively city to visit.
Head to the atmostpheric 13th century cathedral, with its’ delicate and soaring spire and the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta in existence. In front of the cathedral is the iconic Cathedral Close, where you will find museums dedicated to the military and the local area, as well as Mompesson House, a Queen Anne townhouse with gorgeous gardens.
In town, the quirky and on trend Fisherton Mill gallery and artists studios are well worth a visit. Art, glass work, pottery and jewellery feature in this treasure trove of local artisans work. Stop for a cuppa and slice of delicious home-made cake.
Just outside salisbury is Wilton House, containing one of the best art collections in Europe. With 21 acres of parkland and gardens, and loads of organised activities, this is a perfect place to visit with children and a picnic. From here head to Old Sarum, the home of Salisbury and its’ cathedral until 800 years ago, when the entire city moved to its current location. There is a wonderful tranquility at this Iron Age hill fort, where you can wander the grassy green hillocks and marvel at the feat of planning and logistics which were involved in its design and build.
And of course, Stonehenge is a must-see. This ancient and fascinating stone circle remains a mystery and place of worship. Sadly, it’s not possible to walk through the stones anymore and tickets are on a timed basis; book in advance as on the door availability is limited, especially in the summer months.
Thanks to Phil and Izzy from The Gap Decaders.
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Bath is one of the most unique cities in the UK. The whole city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its beautiful Georgian architecture, but Bath also has a history stretching back to Roman times.
Bath’s attractions are easily reached on foot as the city centre is compact. One of the most popular things to see is the beautifully preserved Roman Baths. The main pool still works, and it’s supplied by one of England’s few thermal springs. Don’t forget to taste the water – it’s a taste you won’t forget! To bathe in the springs you’ll have to head to the nearby modern Thermae Bath Spa.
To see the best of Bath’s Georgian architecture, take a walking tour. Free tours depart from outside Bath cathedral. The unmissable sights include the Circus and the Royal Crescent, but you should also explore the Assembly Rooms where the 19th century elite danced their nights away.
Bath has some fantastic museums in addition to the one at the Roman Baths. Take a look at Jane Austen’s life in more detail at the Jane Austen centre, learn more about Regency life at No 1. Royal Crescent, or walk through one of Bath’s art galleries.
The city has some fabulous parks and gardens, including botanical gardens and parks with canals running through them in the city centre. Prior Park Gardens is one of the best; there’s a beautiful Palladian Bridge, and you’re also close to the Bath skyline for views over the city.
Bath is one of the better shopping destinations in the south west. It’s got plenty of the usual chains but also has lots of independent shops and cafes tucked down little alleyways which are fun to explore. Make sure you visit Sally Lunn’s tearooms which is located in the oldest building in Bath and sells traditional buns.
You can use Bath as a base to see more of the surrounding countryside too. You’re right on the border of the Cotswolds and you can easily get to more of the south west’s attractions including Stonehenge.
If you’re looking for a truly unique city to visit in the UK, then York HAS to be it. Not only does this incredible metropolis have a colourful history dating back to 7000BC, it’s also been a home to the Romans, Vikings and Guy Fawkes.
As you meander through the labyrinth of medieval streets and Snickelways, you can find an endless list of historic and haunted places to visit. You can climb up to the top of the magnificent York Minster Cathedral to get a birds eye view from above and sail along the majestic River Ouse to take in the sights from the water. Travel back in time and take a stroll along the ancient city defence walls or head up to the fortress of Clifford’s Towe that dates back to the Norman era.
No visit to York would be complete without a peek inside The Shambles! An ancient cobbled street with overhanging timber-framed houses! Many say that this street was J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. So, you’ll find many magical Potter themed shops including The Shop That Must Not Be Named and the Potions Cauldron where you can perform your own spells!
York has often been named one of the most haunted cities in Europe and even, the world. So when the sun goes down you must join one of the many ghost walks. These spooky walking tours will show you around York’s most haunted streets and you may be able to see these wraiths with your own eyes!
Whatever you decide to do with your time in this amazing city, you can never be bored! It’s often been awarded one of the most popular cities in the UK! There is truly something for everyone and you will be welcomed with Yorkshire’s famous friendly hospitality.
Thanks to Sophie from Third Eye Traveller.
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The Historic Dockyard and its maritime heritage are what draw visitors to Portsmouth. But it has other world-class attractions, beautiful beaches, water sport avenues and a great shopping scene, which tick all the right boxes making it a great city break destination in the UK.
Some of the not-to-be-missed attractions in Portsmouth are the Historic Dockyard (where visitors can see historical ships like the HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860), the Mary Rose Museum, the iconic Emirates Spinnaker Tower which offers outstanding views of the city, the D-Day Story museum, the Southsea Castle and the Portsmouth Museum. But that’s not all; for those seeking an adventure, Portsmouth offers a number of water sports and outdoor activities – kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing, powerboating, sailing etc.
For shoppers, Portsmouth is a paradise. There are many shopping areas in the city but the most popular one is Gunwharf Quays where designer goods are sold at fantastic prices. Foodies are well taken care of too. There is no dearth of restaurants, bars, pubs and tearooms in Portsmouth and visitors will find everything from superb local fare to international cuisine.
To sum it up, Portsmouth caters to visitors of all interests and is definitely a top destination for a city break in the UK.
Thanks to Deeptha from The Globe Trotter.
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Just over an hour from London, Brighton is a great destination for a city break. Located in the South Coast, if you need to escape everyday life, heading to Brighton is the perfect solution for a getaway to switch off from the world.
There’s a lot going on in this beautiful seaside city. If you enjoy soaking up a little bit of culture, history or simply stunning architecture, a visit to the Royal Pavilion is a must. It’s Brighton’s number one visitor attraction. Built in the 18th century for the Prince Regent, it has an Indian inspired exterior and a Chinese inspired interior. It’s a true gem!
If you are a music and film fan, you will enjoy discovering the Brighton Dome, part of the Royal Pavilion complex, where ABBA won the Eurovision contest with their famous song Waterloo back in 1974, and it’s also the first venue where Pink Floyd played their iconic Dark Side of the Moon album. Don’t forget to head to Quadrophenia Alley, where you can discover the filming location of one of the major scenes of the cult British film Quadrophenia, which has now become a bit of a shrine for The Who fans.
Exploring The Lanes is another must in Brighton. A shopping lover’s paradise, here you will find beautiful old-fashion fronted independent shops like patisseries, jewellers, and even a shop that only sells rubber ducks!
If you really want to relax, head to Beach Box, a wood-fired public sauna right on the beach. You can choose to have a sauna in a converted horse trailer, or in a wooden cabin, with a sauna master and all. The sauna master will perform a sauna ritual of your choice – Aufguss, Pirtis, etc. And you will feel like a new person when you come out!
Thank you to Teresa from Brogan Abroad
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To visit Edinburgh is to visit the center of the scottish history. With its cobbled streets and its famous sandstone buildings, the capital of Scotland allows visitors to imagine how the city was a few centuries ago.
Edinburgh is one of the most popular destinations in the UK and it is a great stop for anyone who enjoys history, arts and culture.
Some of the places any good traveler should visit in Edinburgh to get to know more about the history of the city are the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the St. Giles Cathedral, the Scott Monument, the Greyfriars Kirkyard and the Holyrood Palace.
In case the visitor is more into parks and recreational areas, the recommended places are Calton Hill, Princes Street Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Dean Private Gardens and The Meadows.
During the night, it’s easy to find some typical scotch pubs to taste some local ale and a few of the most tasty scottish cuisine. A cask ale and a haggis sound like a perfect scott dinner.
The ideal season to visit Edinburgh is summer, or as close to it as possible. Winter can be quite rainy and windy, and spring or fall are both cold and cloudy. Besides, days are longer in summer so there’s more time to explore the city. Edinburgh is a small city which makes it a perfect place for a weekend getaway.
Thanks to Laura from Laura No Esta
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Less than an hour southeast of London by train lies the historic village of Canterbury. Literature fans may recognise the name of the town from Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales. But that’s not all the town is famous for.
The cathedral in Canterbury was an important destination for pilgrimages during the middle ages, as archbishop Thomas Beckett was murdered here. The Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church form a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts hundreds of visitors each year.
The King’s Mile is another part of what makes Canterbury unique and this street definitely worth a visit. There’s plenty of traditional traders selling jewellery, leather products, antiques and much more. It’s also a great place for foodies, with many independent cafes and pubs.
This small town has a lot more to offer than historic buildings, small cobbled streets and beautiful architecture. There’s a lovely park where you can walk along the river. Theatre fans can pay a visit to the Marlowe Theatre that was rebuilt in 2012 and names after the areas most famous playwright, Christopher Marlowe.
A visit to Canterbury will transport you back to a time where life was a lot more simple. And it gives people that old-English-town-feeling that London misses.
Thanks to Maartje from Caffeinated Chapters
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If the fact that London is the capital of England isn’t enough to get you taking a city break here, then there are a host of other reasons to come here. To start with the transport system is superb – buses, overland and underground trains, as well as the iconic London taxi’s, get your around easily, as well, of course, the red double-decker buses.
When you’ve explored London on the ground, take to the skies and visit the stunning London Eye for a sky view of the city – or even the glorious St Paul’s Cathedral!. One of the best reasons to visit London for a UK city break is the fact that many of London’s best museums – like the fabulous Natural History Museum are free to enter. It is in London that you’ll also find the historic Tower of London where bonafide Beefeater Guards will take you around and teach you about some of her previous prisoners. See the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and visit the House of Commons at the mother of all Parliaments.
London is cosmopolitan and full of many high-quality international restaurants, but you’ll also find traditional fish and chips and London’s original street food, pie, mash and liquor. Be sure also to visit a traditional London pub, have a pint of London Pride – or maybe an artisan Gin and Tonic. Perhaps end your trip with a dinner cruise on the River Thames – watching the sunset over the city.
Thanks to Sarah from A Social Nomad
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If you want to enjoy a city break that involves captivating culture, fascinating history, cosy restaurants and the possibility to explore quaint nature as well, then Derry/Londonderry should be your choice!
When you arrive in Derry, you might already notice several murals. To see the culturally and historically most significant ones, a visit to the Free Derry Corner is a must. Here you will get a direct sense of the tensions of the period that is now known as The Troubles. This is essential for anyone who wants to get an important glimpse into the recent history of Northern Ireland.
Derry’s city walls are one of the most beautiful examples of a walled city in Europe and the only intact ones on the isle of Ireland. Strolling along on them is a great way to experience the inner city from above. Another historic landmark that you can spot from the city walls is the Guildhall. This neo-Gothic style building is a sort of civic and cultural hub for the city. Have a look inside – all the exhibitions are free!
You will spot the Peace Bridge just behind the Guildhall. This architecturally beautiful bridge that spans across the River Foyle is just for cyclists and pedestrians. Sauntering on it allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of a truly unique and not overly touristy city for a few minutes. Afterwards, why don’t you enjoy one of the many top-class pubs or restarants to finish off your day? Derry definitely has you covered!
Thanks to Emer and Nils from Let’s Go Ireland
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The historic city of Durham in the north east of the UK is an ideal destination for a city break. Durham lies on the main east coast rail line and is around three hours from London by train and just two hours from Edinburgh. It is a small, compact city which is easily explored on foot. As you approach Durham by road or rail, you will see the imposing, elevated Durham Cathedral dominating the city centre skyline.
The UNESCO World Heritage cathedral should be the first stop on a city break to Durham. The 11th century cathedral is a fascinating mix of architecture including carved Norman columns, Romanesque rounded arches and stunning stained glass windows ranging from the 18th to 20th century. The atmospheric exterior cloisters were used as a setting for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.
Durham Cathedral lies at the heart of Palace Green which is also home to the multi-angular tower of Durham Castle. Entry to the 11th century castle (part of the University of Durham) is by pre arranged guided tour and is well worth a visit.
After exploring Durham’s historic sites, head into the cobbled lanes of the city centre to browse Durham’s boutiques and independent shops. Wind your way to the central market square to the Victorian church of St Nicholas and the indoor market with over 70 independent traders. At the end of a long day of sightseeing, enjoy a quiet stroll along the tranquil River Wear.
Thanks to Sinead from Map Made Memories
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Northern Irelands historic capital has seen its fair share of violence from The Troubles. Now its firmly established itself as a lively weekend break filled with museums, street murals, architecture and oh so delectable restaurants. Each of Belfast’s quarters has a distinct personality which will showcase the best of this beautiful city.
The artists, historians and politicians among you will want to make a trip to the Gaeltacht Quarter where the Gaelic language is widely spoken. With the Belfast Black Cab tours, you can find the murals that chart the conflict and political passion of that time. Now they serve as memorial and optimism for the future.
Then another unmissable historic trip to the Titanic Quarter which hosts the impressive Titanic Belfast museum. A real experiential adventure where you can explore everything about the Titanic as well as what happened to its sister ships (it gets emotional!).
If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet to digest all that history then take a stroll into the Queens Quarter to relax in the Botanical Gardens.
And finally bask in the liveliness of the Cathedral Quarter, once the literary heart of the city, now home to incredible restaurants, bars and live music. I’d recommend having tasters at Coppis’, Hadski’s or House of Zen before opting to the many traditional pubs which includes one of the oldest pubs dating from the 1780, the Dirty Onion, The John Hewitt for some live music or Bert’s Jazz Bar for which plays Jazz 7 nights a week!
Thanks to Akid from Asian Boy Astray
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Located in North West England, Liverpool is the ideal destination for a city break in the UK. It’s only 50 minutes away from Manchester and 2 hours away from London by train.
For me, Liverpool is a very underrated city. It has so much to offer and yet suffers from an undeserved bad reputation due to events that took place in the past. It was named European city of culture in 2008 and since then, has been completely restructured. Liverpool counts 36 museums, making it the second largest collection of museums and galleries in the UK, after London. This includes: the World Museum, the Tate Liverpool, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool Museum… to only name a few
If you are a music fan, Liverpool will be your paradise! If you head to Mathew Street, you will discover the beauty of the Liverpool music scene. This is where the Cavern Club is. It’s the birthplace of the Beatles and so many other famous British bands. It’s also a great place to party. There are many clubs and pubs with live music, hence Liverpool being such a popular hen and stag do destination.
If culture is what you are looking for, I would highly recommend the free walking tour. It will give you an insight into the history of Liverpool and the role of the city during the triangle trade. In terms of food, Liverpool also has so much to offer! If you get a chance to do so, I recommend you try these 3 Liverpudlian dishes: Bubble and Squeak, Wet Nelly and Scouse. I’ll let you figure out what they are! Liverpool is also home to Europe’s biggest open commercial centre, Liverpool One. A utopia for shopaholics.
Finally, let’s talk about sport. Football is a very important part of the Liverpudlian culture. If you’d like to see a match with Liverpool FC or Everton, this is the place to go!
Thanks to Pauline from BeeLoved City.
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Norwich is the medieval heart of the Norfolk province and the unofficial capital of East Anglia. It has the most medieval churches of any city north of the Alps. Until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was, after London the largest city and one of the most prosperous towns in England. It still has the largest open-air market in the country and a wealth of medieval buildings, half-timbered houses and cobblestone alleys, like the famous Elm Hill.
The most important historic site is the Norman Cathedral dating back to the 11th century and a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture in England. The cloisters are only exceeded in size by those at Salisbury Cathedral. There is no entrance fee.
The other famous landmark is the castle. Once it was a royal residence, then county prison, nowadays the building houses a history museum and art gallery.
These days Norwich is primarily a university city, which means lively cafes, restaurants, music and art, like the Sainsbury centre. The centre is situtated across the University of East Anglia Campus. Here you will find a spectacular sculpture garden with work by Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick, Liliane Lijn and Antony Gormley. The gallery includes are by Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Edgar Degas. Best of all, admission is free.
Thanks to Stefania from Views of the World by Stefania van Lieshout
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Chester is one of the lesser-known cities in the UK, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. This city, which dates back to the Roman conquest of Britain, has lots to offer! Chester has a lot of sights related to its’ Roman heritage. It’s home to the largest Roman Amphitheatre in the UK and the Roman Walls which encircle the city centre are still standing to this day. Walking around the walls is a great way to see the city and get to grips with it.
Chester is also home to the UK’s second most photographed clock, the Eastgate Clock. It’s right in the middle of the city and connects two parts of the walls. From above or below, it’s a magnificent sight! From May to September every year, Chester hosts numerous horse raving events. Coinciding a city break with the races offers another dimension to a visit and it’s a very lively event which is a lot of fun!
Shopping is a favourite pastime of many and it’s one of the best things to do in Chester. The city has a unique two-tier structure called The Rows, which features shops on both levels. These can be found on three of the main streets in the centre. A structure like The Rows is not found anywhere else in the UK and offers shoppers more of a variety of shops and cafes to browse than you would find in other cities!
A visit on a warm summer’s day requires you to cool off and you can do that if you head down to The Groves on the river. Rent a pedalo and glide along the river while catching some rays and admiring the views. Chester has a lot of pubs within the city walls too, so you can cool off inside with a pint and some delicious food to finish the day!
Thanks to Tom from The Travelling Tom.
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What amazes many people is that Exeter can be reached by train from London in just over two hours. Yes, you got it right! Every hour there is a train leaving Paddington Station and in two hours and ten minutes, will take you back in time to this small medieval city.
Almost everything is at hand. From the moment you get off the train you can walk everywhere. The historic centre surrounded by the remains of an ancient Roman wall, is perfectly preserved and houses countless attractions. One of them, St Peter’s Cathedral, will not fail to leave you breathless for its majesty and elegance.
Admire the longest unbroken Gothic vault in the world and don’t forget to appreciate the embroidered cushions that cover the seats along the perimeter walls. They tell the story of the cathedral and the main national events. Just outside the cathedral, some of the interesting and free red coat tours organised by the council start. Pick one from their busy schedule to discover the lesser known anecdotes of this enchanting town.
A walk through the characterful streets of the centre will then lead you to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the Guildhall, and more listed buildings, but where Exeter will astonish you again is upon arrival at the Quayside. Walking along the City Walls, in 10 minutes you will arrive from the Cathedral to the marina where it is impossible not to be fascinated by the atmosphere of times gone by where the only thing missing is a pirate galleon! Sports enthusiasts will also appreciate being able to cycle the lovely 10 or so miles to Exmouth!
Thanks to Clotilde from A Princess Travelling With Twins.
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It’s been a little while since Dr Foster went to Gloucester and stepped in a puddle of rain and since then the bustling Cathedral city has welcomed Alice in Wonderland, Dr Who, Sherlock Holmes and even Harry Potter so let’s take a quick look at the UK’s most inland port city.
Historians will relish Gloucester’s Roman history dating back some 2000 years whilst hikers and explorers will revel in the views from Robinswood Country Park just a few miles out of the city taking in the landscape across the Malvern’s, the Cotswolds and even Wales and the Severn bridge. Shoppers should not feel excluded- Gloucester has seen some of the most significant regeneration of any city throughout the South West with focus on the waterways feeding the Sharpness canal and Gloucester Quays now homes over 60 shops, bars and restaurants and hosts several major events throughout the calendar from Tall Ships festivals to Food markets and of course Xmas markets and Ice Skating rink in December.
The jewel in the crown for Gloucester is it’s Cathedral. With over 1000 years of architecture, the burial place of King Edward II has gained much press attention in recent years as the setting for various scenes in Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and even Dr Who as recent as January 2020. Entry is free with a donation of £5 welcome.
Getting to Gloucester is easy. The city has a train station in the centre along with a revamped bus station for National Express coaches or if driving is your preference the Quays has a number of car parks for when you arrive via the M5 motorway. There is no shortage of accommodation either with chain-hotels locating around the Historic Docks and boutique hotels a little further afield in the Cotswolds.
Thanks to Darren from Backpacker 2 Flashpacker
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So there you have it! 25 of the very best UK city breaks that we have to offer here and I hope it has provided you with some inspiration for your next trip to the UK or to take a staycation somewhere new if you are already UK based – there is so much to discover! What is your favourite city?
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