Go, UK, Weekend Trips from London

The Best British Holidays

Highlands Scottland

The best holidays and vacations not only check out the top sites, but visit the places outside of the well traveled areas. The British countryside has plenty of sights to draw visitors out of the big cities, from must-see and off-the-beaten path locations to organized breaks for the summer holidays in the UK.  However, while there are plenty of guides to ‘local’s favorite’ spots in the big cites, it’s a bit more difficult to find these ‘must see’ or lesser known locations.  For all the explorers out there who really want to make the most of their british holiday, here are some of the must see sites and locations in the UK countryside.

New Forest

If there is one thing we love to find during our travels, it’s animals – especially in the wild.  This town, situated on the edge of New Forest National Park, has a wild roaming population of horses and deer in and about the town as well as in the surrounding forest.  While the horses are not totally wild (they are cared for by the town) they live with a freedom usually reserved to Indian cattle.

While not the most compelling video, I would love to see this many wild deer and horses in a field!

New Forest is not just a summer retreat but rather even offers fun on the coast in the October holidays

Cornwall

While Cornwall is a well known summer holiday spot for Brits, it is lesser traveled by visitors from abroad.  Don’t miss out.  The varied history and landscape of Cornwall has created an area that is architecturally and naturally rich, offering up a wide array of must see sights, such as:

  • The Minack Theatre – Set on the coastline, this open air amphitheatre offers up a breath-taking view of its ocean backdrop.
    Flickr via JoJo77 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jovriens/)

    Flickr via JoJo77 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jovriens/)

    During most days, the theater is available to tour and throughout the summer the theatre runs a series of performances.

  • St. Michael’s Mount – This rocky island has everything needed for a memorable experience, unique access, mythological history, and historical sites.  St. Michael’s Mount is dominated by a large – castle-esk – abby near which it is said that the archangel St. Michael appeared in the year 495.  Visitors are welcome to wonder the grounds and explore the abby, but one of the best parts may be that it is accessible via a walkway that disappears during high tide (there are boats to carry visitors during high tide).
  • Kynance Cove – Situated on the Lizard Penninsula, this beach is rated one of the most beautiful in the world.
Flickr via Gary Henderson (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gary2/)

Flickr via Gary Henderson (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gary2/)

Smoo Cave

One of my favorite places on Earth is the Scottish Highlands, and I suggest everyone spend some time cruising through its mountains and valleys, especially in the far North.  While there are plenty of well worn castle and distillery tours, a good stop when cruising the North is Smoo Cave.  Half carved by the sea and half by freshwater, this cave offers visitors a few shallow caverns to explore and amazing photo opportunities.  While this may not be a sight worth driving all the way from London to see – is it a must stop for far flung travelers; not to mention that the vistas and hikes along the way will be well worth the trip.

view from on top of cliff

Adventure Along the Coastline

Most pictures of the English coastline show the UK’s dramatic cliffs and open waters.  We highly recommend trying out an adventure weekend surfing, climbing, and hiking the coast.  There is even a for of sport called coasteering which involved climbing up and jumping off the cliffs with hiking and swimming. Our favorite UK adventure trip has been a weekend spent in Whales, but whatever part of the country you are visiting, make sure to check out options to get up close and personal to the wild outdoors.

These are just a few of the places that are worth visiting outside of the major cities, and we didn’t even scratch the surface of the Lakes District or day trips to Bath or Stratford-Upon-Avon.  However, if you have time, adding a short trip to one of these spots will make your UK holiday much more rewarding.

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